Yesterday Nov 21 in Committee of the Whole we heard a short update from the transportation department on some ongoing plans for the city. I’m sharing the notes I took on the update here for your interest.
NB: Councillor Hanlon is the Council lead on Transportation.
Transportation Master Plan updates:
● approvals to purchase counters to start collecting data on City-wide vehicle volumes over the long term
● We are doing a survey in cooperation with the province that will give us information about how people move around the city.
● The vision of the plan is to not just look at the city-wide trends as to how we move around now but how we will move around as the city grows and ages; historically this type of plan has been very much an exercise of “we have this many vehicles and will grow at X% per year and we need this many roads to accommodate those numbers”. Now, we are looking at how we want to move around the city and taking a new approach to transportation planning. Hopefully the plan will help answer our infrastructure questions and policies about how we want to prioritize things in transportation moving forward.
Road safety updates:
● In the new year we want to continue to take a proactive approach to road safety and dive into a proper analysis of where are our hotspots when it comes to traffic and what can we do to fix them
● We will continue to have a philosophical debate about how we approach road safety in general. Broadly, is our traffic calming policy as it’s currently written working or not working or could be better? Lots of questions floating around about how we address road safety concerns. What should we do?
Development issues as it relates to transportation:
● All over the city we are always looking at minor parking and driveway issues
● On the list of bigger items happening right now is the extension of Southlands Blvd to connect to Galway, as well as items in preparation for Costco to move to Galway.
● Largely working on cycling and accessibility items at the moment.
● Bike St. John’s Advisory Committee is busy. One of our engineers is currently working with the cycling team on the master plan with all the feedback we got on the first round of consultations that will come back to Council soon
● Bike rack design competition—will move over to the St. John’s Community Market for Saturday. Vote here or visit the market this weekend! http://www.bikestjohns.ca/survey/index.html#navigation
● Accessibility: working on better standards for construction; incorporating feedback from the inclusion committee into newly constructed areas. Many changes to be made to the standards from which we are working to improve accessibility around new intersections and other road work
● RFP for new meter equipment that will cover regular parking meters and pay stations; both are planned to go in as cashless equipment initially then after 1 year do an evaluation to see if it’s working for us or not. Our biggest concern are those who use cash now and don’t have access to PBP (pay by phone) or credit card; we think parking cards will work with the Metrobus card with some further integration
● Working to make sure PBP works with the privacy commissioner before we roll it out in the rest of the city which should roll out in conjunction with the new parking equipment (in the new year)
If you haven’t already, please read the paid parking management strategy: http://www.stjohns.ca/publications/paid-parking-management-strategy
Some questions I asked:
Q: is how we go about doing regular road work different now? What kinds of differences are there in how we approach routine maintenance that we weren’t doing 5 years ago?
A: Is different but not at the end of the change that we envision yet. We are working to consider more improvements for pedestrian access as opposed to what we saw years ago. We’re often going beyond the minimum of what our requirements, realizing that we can often achieve better results by having a conversation with a developer. There’s a lot happening and we are working to codify that.
Q: What is our plan for pedestrian buttons at signalized intersections?
A: We are working to have new intersections functioning with accessible pedestrian signals, for example the Water Street intersection (at Adelaide St). The buttons have soft beeping tones near the button so they can orient themselves near the button. If you hold it for 3 seconds the audible signal will come on when the walk light comes on.
Thanks for reading!
Also! The details for the timed free parking zones that the City has been working on are below:
Timed Free Parking Zones to be Installed
To encourage parking turnover in areas where there are missing or broken parking meters the City is introducing a temporary solution of ‘Timed Free Parking Zones’.
The temporary zones will be marked with signs to indicate the free parking time limit to motorists in certain sections. The time limit in each section will vary from 2 hours to 4 hours and decisions on the location of each zone have been made in consultation with the local business community.
The impacted areas are outlined below in order of priority. A Public Service Announcement will be posted on the City website in the coming weeks, prior to enforcement in these areas.
Proposed areas for 2-hour free parking zones:
* Duckworth Street (Cochrane Street to Cavendish Square)
* Freshwater Road (near Leo’s and Ches’s restaurants – currently 4 hour)
* Harvey Road (across from Tim Horton’s / Paramount Building – currently 4 hour)
* Rawlins Cross lot (currently 4 hour)
* Water Street (Prescott Street to Gill’s Cove – currently 4 hour)
Proposed areas for 4-hour free parking zones:
* George Street (Springdale Street to Waldegrave Street)
* Lemarchant Road (Pleasant Street to Lime Street)
* Cavendish Square
* Cathedral Street
* Church Hill
* Duckworth Street (East of Cavendish Square)
* New Gower Street (west of Springdale Street)
The city has a five-year plan for a Paid Parking Management strategy, which will see a combination of new parking meters, pay-by-phone via app or toll-free number, and pay stations. New meters hardware and pay stations are scheduled to be phased in starting in early 2019.
The Timed Free Parking Zones are a temporary measure to encourage regular turnover for on-street parking spaces in the downtown core.