Eye Spy: Inclusive Solution for Chapel/Beausoleil Intersection

bicycles_and_pedestrians_only-svgDavid Reevely has since covered this story in the Ottawa Citizen 

After a difficult and at times emotional debate surrounding the opening of the intersection at Beausoleil Dr & Chapel St an inclusive solution reflecting local community concerns about increased car traffic will be implemented.

“staff will convert the opening of Chapel Street at Beausoleil Drive into a “cyclist access only” intersection, as proposed by community members” Letter from Cllr Fleury’s office

This rewarding outcome heralds the importance of speaking-up, the importance of City reps that listen and the power of social-media (two blog-posts & much discussion/support from online communities outside Ward borders).  The positive result highlights that  through discussion and lively debate Councillor and Resident together shape the best possible outcome for a local community.

Special thanks to the Lowertown Community Association & Vanier (AC Vanier, VanierCycles and Vanier Now), local residents and to the very vocal Twitterati for adding their voices to the discussion.

The following is the full email received today from the Councillor’s office:

Dear Resident,

Thank you for your involvement in the discussions on the installation of stop signs on Beausoleil Drive at Chapel Street. As a point of departure, it is important to clarify three prevailing pieces of information currently circulating in the community:

1. Opening of Chapel Street: Our office did not ask for Chapel Street to be opened. Chapel Street has been open at Beausoleil Drive since summer 2013 to ease the construction work for Rideau Street Renewal. This was likely unnoticeable to the community, because Chapel Street at Rideau Street was closed for the majority of last year. Our office asked staff to delay  the closure of Chapel Street at Beausoleil Drive to allow staff to analyze if we could use this opportunity to create a safe intersection for pedestrians crossing Beausoleil Drive.

2. Permanence of this opening: The reopening of Chapel Street is a temporary measure until there are changes to the Highway Traffic Act, that will give priority to pedestrians by allowing mid-block crossings to be installed. As you are already probably aware, we are currently not able to install mid-block stop signs at non-intersections because of the Highway Traffic Act legislationThe opened Chapel Street and Beausoleil Drive is now a legal intersection, allowing the City to install stop signs.

3. Involvement and Feedback: Our office was approached by the school board and parent associations of York Street, St. Anne, and De La Salle schools, Lowertown Our Home, WalkOttawa and most importantly numerous parents of children that have been involved in near and actual accidents at this intersection, asking for a safe and controlled crossing across Beausoleil Drive at Chapel Street. Throughout our correspondences with the community we always stated that we intended to install stop signs. Our priority has always been to provide a safe and controlled crossing for pedestrians across Beausoleil Drive at Chapel Street.  We recognize the importance of finding a solution to cut through traffic impacts and we asked staff to return with a mitigation plan and resolution to these concerns. 

As committed at the meeting on December 20th, 2013, we asked staff to propose a solution to solve the issue of cut through traffic.As a result of their analysis, staff will convert the opening of Chapel Street at Beausoleil Drive into a “cyclist access only” intersection, as proposed by community members.  The intersection will be physically narrowed to make sure that cars cannot enter, while still ensuring that the intersection is legal by current HTA requirements. This will provide a solution to the concern of cut through traffic raised by residents, while allow us to keep the stop signs and crossing on Beausoleil Drive. Traffic and legal staff are favourable to this solution and we are now working through the implementation process with operations staff. We will follow up with the timeline for implementation.

We believe that this temporary solution, a controlled crossing at this intersection and a narrowed cyclist only opening, will have a positive impact on the community. The stop signs will reduce traffic speed on Beausoleil Drive and will provide a protected crossing for pedestrians. The intersection narrowing and cyclist only access will resolve the issue of cut through traffic.  

We are happy to facilitate a meeting at the request of the community.

Regards,

Alanna Dale Hill

Councillor’s Assistant | Adjointe au conseiller

Office of Councillor| Bureau du conseiller Mathieu Fleury

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