The purpose of July 4th’s working group was primarily to discuss bus stops and landscaping.
To start us off Mario (the project manager) gave his update. The borehole work (drilling to investigate soil conditions) has taken place, and the constructability reviews have started. The City is in the process of purchasing the new real estate necessary for some of the improvements.
Kelly Lalonde (from the consultant team) then gave her update on bus stops. Bus stop locations were reviewed during the functional design phase. There was also a transit survey completed at that time. Some bus stop consolidations were thus recommended.
Eastbound there are currently 12 bus stops (between North River Road and just beyond St Laurent) and staff are proposing to have 8. Westbound there are 11 and staff are proposing 9. The goal in consolidating the bus stops is to improve the reliability of the Route 12. Fewer stops means a quicker trip down Montreal Rd and busses will be more likely able to stay on schedule.
During our consultations many people expressed their desire for an increased number of bus shelters. The Healthy Transportation Coalition brought this issue further to the forefront with their pop-up shelter display earlier this year. Staff have proposed 13 shelters, which is a huge improvement over the current 7. Four of the proposed shelters would require private property easement agreements.
Some working group members had concerns with accessibility and specific shelter placements so it was decided to have a separate meeting to discuss transit issues with OC Transpo in the near future. Group members also expressed the need for more benches and garbage cans at bus stops.
Martha Lush (landscaper from CSW) then spoke about landscaping. We spoke of picking a consistent theme for the corridor and possible public spaces. Place Dupuis would be a good location for public space improvements.
Then we discussed bench design. The city now has four standard bench designs that can be painted different colours. Some group members felt that there should be more options made available for Montreal Rd. Martha agreed to search for more options. Bike racks will likely be the ring and post style because they last much better, but we can pick the colour.
There was some debate over concrete slabs versus pre-cast pavers for our sidewalks. Concrete slabs can easily be repaired or widened however, pavers can give an area a distinct feel. We could also use pavers more sparingly as borders for the sidewalks.
We briefly discussed the importance of street lights. Since Montreal Rd is a main street, we will be getting both regular street lights and pedestrian street lights. Group members requested to see a draft infrastructure plan for a better visualization of everything.
Finally, we discussed accessibility and the possibility of mini-ramps for entrances. The ramps would take up some of the limited sidewalk space so another potential option would be bringing the sidewalk up to be level with some store entrances.