Chapel St Opened to Cut-through Traffic without Consulting Sandy Hillers

On Monday via an unsolicited email from a concerned citizen SandyHillSeen (SHS) discovered that a developer was proposing a 31-storey build in 9-storey zoned Sandy Hill.

On Tuesday Cllr Mathieu Fleury’s “Community Progress Report” came through the letter box.  The positive announcements were reviewed with interest  then relegated to the recycling bin.

On Wednesday another email from concerned citizen brought to our attention that Chapel St was to be opened at Beausoleil Dr in Lowertown. Essentially creating a traffic cut-through from the Queesway via Mann & Chapel through Lowertown to the Market, New Edinburgh or Gatineau. A great new route for all those neighbourhoods to reach the 417 but it cuts right through the heart of a residential zone.

Mat Fleury Progress RepSome how both the significant challenge to zoning and the significant potential increase in traffic on an already busy residential street weren’t important enough to feature in the Councillor’s report. This alone is incredibly disappointing and it demonstrates a lack of transparency when important information is received via the grapevine rather than official channels where decisions are taken on our behalf.

Any Sandy Hill’er who walks or bikes knows the danger of the Chapel & Beausoleil intersection. The danger here is of vital importance as it is the key pedestrian and cycling route to 3 schools: De La Salle, York Street Public & St Anne’s.  Not one of the emails received in regards to the opening of a cut-through route on Chapel St challenged the idea of creating a safe crossing for children. All championed the idea of much needed safety measures to provide a secure crossing. The emails did however share dismay at the lack of consultation, let alone information, and the appropriateness of increasing car traffic in the name of protecting pedestrians. One also has to consider the increase of traffic here at peak times. As well as a great new route to the 417 it’s also perfect for parents driving to the schools.

The Councillors officer Alana Dale, consulted today, puts forth that opening the intersection to traffic is the only way to create a safe crossing and allow for Stop signs under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). 

Of course one can’t really aptly respond to the above as there is no detailed information on the other methods of traffic calming or safe-passage explored – from crossing-guards to traffic lights, speed bumps or closing an alternate section of Chapel St (say Chapel at Rideau for instance) to reduce cut-through.

Allowing more cars on to Chapel St by creating a cut-through will significantly raise tensions between cyclist/pedestrians and car traffic on this already busy route in the heart of the residential neighbourhood. Bear in mind that during the upcoming LRT work at the Campus station more buses will be routed to King Edward which will create a further burden on Chapel St as it stands.

A discussion needs to share what other solutions have been examined and whether the one proposed, without consulting the residents, is indeed the most appropriate.  This website received many alternate ideas however it is our Councillor that must establish an open house discussion on solutions to ensure true responsive and well documented transparency.

At this point, with the news received unofficially less than 24-hours ago, there are very few answers to any questions.

An on-site meeting is set for tomorrow (at Rideau & Chapel 8am Friday 20 Dec) and SHS hopes to share further information and establish if the Cllr office plans to explore alternate approaches and/or modifications to the proposed solution before a decision is made. Hopefully the Councillor will provide a proactive plan including a contact name, timeline for discussions and deadline for decision making.

7 responses to “Chapel St Opened to Cut-through Traffic without Consulting Sandy Hillers

  1. Peter McAvoy, Diane Pitfield-McAvoy

    There needs to be a sense of what Sandy Hill means tio the city…a mix of old houses, embassies, students..a heart close to the University and downtown…Having lived here for 40 years, we would hope that new familys could settle here and continue a neigfhbourhood, and not have it exploited by developers and others with no real interest in a community…

  2. Thanks for this awesome article which outlines the huge problems that our neighbourhood is facing!

  3. Run-through traffic on Chapel is a very bad idea, King Edward is sufficient. The present bus route makes my house shake and is already a sizable deterioration of our quality of life.

  4. Thank you for your comments. This is definitely a conversation the community needs to continue with our councillor if we want to ensure measured and positive changes benefiting the whole community. I’m not clear that the best possible solution is being proposed in this case and not sure why. I’m going to provide an update to this post however I’m genuinely confused by some of the information that I’ve understood and am trying to get some clarity from the council. It appears the much needed safety measure of stop signs could be instituted w/out opening Chapel to cars – bike only intersections also merit stop signs – trying to understand what is motivating our council to reject this cost-efficient, legal, environment friendly, neighbourhood considerate option.

  5. I’m torn on this issue but I’ve been really frustrated since this news broke that there was no discussion with the ASH or the community in general despite active discussions going back to the early fall. Proponents of opening including some parents, the schools and Mr Fleury are convinced that a full intersection is the only way to get a controlled crossing on Beausoleil with the goal being a safe crossing for students.

    The heart of the issue is that the provincial Highway Traffic Act (HTA) is outdated and is utterly focused on maximizing traffic volumes with no consideration for the safety and liveability of our neighbourhoods. To that end, any discussion about this opening either for or against should include putting pressure on Madeleine Meilleur (who I find to be invisible in her own riding), the minister of transportation Glen Murray and the Premiere Kathleen Wynne. In the long run its up to the province to modernize the HTA allowing safe mid-block crossings, contraflow lanes, pedestrian space, and other refinements that value residents, pedestrians and cyclists over cars.

  6. Thank you, Sandy Hill Seen, for making me aware of this important issue which concerns me deeply as a resident living on Chapel Street with young children.

    Your blog appears to be the best source of information for this and other neighbourhood issues, so your work is much appreciated.

    I don’t see why there can’t be more transparency and communications about such things through Councillor Fleury’s Website, as this should be where residents should go to for the latest updates regarding such matters. Although I am a fan of Twitter, I recognize it is not yet mainstream and in any case, it should not be used as the primary communications vehicle for community news and discussions. As it stands now, it seems residents need to try to piece together the Councillor’s latest Tweets to find out what’s going on.

    Upon hearing about this issue, I did email the Councillor’s office for more information. The same day, I received a template response clarifying some of my questions. I do appreciate this, but residents should have access to this type of information without having to ask for it. If I didn’t know about the issue, I would not have knows to ask about it. It would also be a better use of the Councillor’s office resources to address commonly asked question in a public space rather than one by one.

    There seems to be a piece of the puzzle missing regarding the motivation for opening up Chapel permanently at Beausoleil. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it and find the most sensible solution to all stakeholders. Surely, creating the conditions which will encourage more car traffic on Chapel and Beausoleil cannot possibly create a safer crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. Moreover, this move makes Chapel less safe by converting it from a neighbourhood street to an informal main artery. There is already a lot of fast moving traffic on Chapel.

    First order of business, though: better communication from the Councillor to all stakeholders so we can all understand the situation based on facts.

  7. Pingback: Chapel St Re-Opening & Meeting Raises more Questions | Sandy Hill Seen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s