The Missing Link Regarding Stittsville Sidewalks and Road Upgrades

There has been some discussion on social media blogs regarding missing sidewalk links in Stittsville and looking further into it, below is the information which I have been able to put together from the City’s Transportation Services Department.

 

Ottawa Pedestrian Plan (OPP)

The construction of new sidewalks on existing streets with missing pedestrian links is provided through the following three different programs:

(1) The Pedestrian Facilities Program, as mandated in the Council-approved Ottawa Pedestrian Plan (OPP), which prioritizes missing sidewalks across the city;

(2) the Development Sidewalk Missing Links program, which is fully funded through the Development Charges By-Law and related to development initiatives; and

(3) Road renewal opportunities when a road is fully reconstructed.

 

At this time in Stittsville unfortunately a number of the missing links that have been raised by the community have not been identified among the priority sidewalk projects in the “Project Prioritization List” found in Annex E of the OPP. The list of priority sidewalk projects was developed based on:

  • A prioritization process that is explained in Annex F of the OPP, and
  • A financial affordability analysis considering annual capital funding forecasted up to the year 2031.

 

The development of the OPP included a GIS-based review of the entire city for missing sidewalk links.  A screening process (described in Annex F of the OPP) produced a list of top priority missing links. These links were then more closely examined and prioritized based on a set of decision criteria, available funding, and public consultation. The resulting list of priority sidewalk projects was organized into three phases and is included as Annex E of the OPP.

 

Therefore this means that since the road segments raised by the community are not identified in the list of OPP priority sidewalk projects, currently no new sidewalks are planned nor is funding available for them from the Pedestrian Facilities Program.

 

I was advised by staff that in the future it might be to have new sidewalks implemented as part of the Development Sidewalk Missing Links program or through road renewal reconstruction.  I will be further reviewing this with City staff to ensure where possible that we have missing sidewalk links completed in part of the Development Sidewalk Missing Link program.

 

Sidewalk Costs

When Stittsville was first developed the roads were considered rural cross-section meaning that they had ditches for stormwater instead of storm sewers and have no curbs or sidewalks.  Due to the fact that there are ditches on these roads there is not enough space to also have sidewalks.  For sidewalks to be provided on rural cross-section roads the roads would require a complete upgrade to urban standards which means the stormwater ditches would have to be converted to a storm sewer system and then sidewalks could be installed.

 

Unfortunately given the requirement to upgrade these roads to urban standards there would be significant costs associated with constructing sidewalks.   City staff advised that to change a one kilometer section of rural road to an urban cross-section with sidewalks on each side, in a typical 20 meter right of way (ROW) is in the order of $5 million (not including property acquisition if required). Sidewalks on one side would marginally reduce the cost (by some $300,000) but the bulk of the effort is in providing the platform, drainage and corridor necessarily to accommodate the pedestrian facility.

 

The rural cross-section residential streets in Stittsville are not planned to be upgraded to urban standards.  However, were possible I am working with the City to reviews areas in Stittsville that may be considered for an asphalt pathway instead of a concrete sidewalk as an asphalt pathway can be accommodated on rural cross-section roads and is a much more economical option as well.

 

There are mechanisms available under the Municipal Act, that allow a municipality to cost recover from property owners for works undertaken by the City.  Should there be a desire within the community to proceed with sidewalk extensions at their cost, Local Improvement regulations provide an option to do so. The Local Improvement Regulation permits a capital works project to be financed by not only those that front along the work but also those who are derive an immediate benefit from the work.

 

Planned Road Upgrades

The main upgrades we will see in Stittsville for roads planned for urban upgrades at some point in the future will be arterial and collector roads such as the rest of Stittsville Main Street, Carp Road, Huntmar Road, Maple Grove Road and Fernbank Road.  The Environmental Assessment Study for widening of Carp Road (Highway 417 to Hazeldean Road) has been completed and the next step is to complete the detail design phase of the project based on the recommended plan established by the EA study.  City’s Transportation Master Plan identifies widening of Carp Road as a Phase 2 project and is slated for implementation during 2020-2025.

 

For more information regarding future road and transit transportation projects in Stittsville please review previous information I shared with the community here – https://shadqadri.com/2015/03/17/future-planned-transportation-projects/

 

Sidewalks in New Developments

In more recent subdivisions the City now does require the Developers to construct sidewalks as part of their subdivision development at their cost.  This provides a safer pedestrian route for residents especially as in the newer developments the roads are narrower than in the older areas of Stittsville where there is more room for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists to share the road.

 

Developers can be required to provide sidewalks on roads within their own development but the City cannot force them to construct roads outside of their development property.  In Fairwinds there was an interesting mystery of a sidewalk that disappeared on the west side of Huntmar Drive north of Hazeldean Road along the undeveloped commercial lot.  Staff in the Planning Department did review this situation and advised that this stretch of sidewalk was completed by the developer in the area although they were not required to install it by the City as it did not abut their development property.  However, following the installation of the sidewalk it was then required to be removed in order to install utilities.   The Planning Department is still reviewing why the sidewalk was not re-installed however it is likely due to the fact that the developer was not required to install it in the first place and that there was an expectation that the commercial property along this section was anticipated to be developed shortly after the utilities were extended.  When this commercial development does go forward the City is planned to request the developer install the sidewalk.  If the developer does phase the development of the commercial property the sidewalk may also be completed in phases, but at this time the construction timeline of this site is unknown.

 

I hope that some of this information is helpful to residents to understand the process and the rational as to why some roads do not have sidewalks.  There are some missing links of sidewalks in the community that I do feel are significant concern and I am working with the City to provide a safer connection for pedestrians.   One of the areas with a safety concern that I am working on is the section of Hazeldean Road from Carp to West Ridge/Kittiwake as I see this as a major concern and there is potential working with the developer constructing the townhouse development north of Hazeldean Road off Kittiwake.