The Green Line LRT running along the surface of Centre Street North will change how people move through the community and access businesses along the corridor. The Crescent Heights Mobility Study aims to understand:
- how Green Line will change pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular movement along and across Centre Street N.
- how Green Line affects the availability of short-term parking spaces, which are important to support local businesses
- what strategies can be implemented to address the changes to mobility and parking in the community
Through our studies we have been looking at efficient ways to continue to provide community access, pedestrian and cycling movement, discourage cut-through traffic and to continue to provide access, parking and loading for businesses along Centre Street N.
WALKING & WHEELING
Our planning for Centre Street North, has emphasized the importance of prioritizing pedestrian movement along (north-south) and across (east-west) the corridor and to the two LRT stations.
As part of Green Line LRT, the pedestrian network along Centre Street North will be enhanced by providing:
- Six pedestrian crossings controlled by traffic signals at 7 Avenue N., 9 Avenue N., 10 Avenue N., 12 Avenue N., 14 Avenue N., and 16 Avenue N.
- Safer and more comfortable crossings along the corridor given the reduced number of vehicle travel lanes to cross (one or two) at a time
- Unobstructed walk zones designed to allow pedestrians and mobility devices to comfortably pass each other in most areas along the corridor
- Direct and signalized pedestrian access to both the north and south ends of LRT stations. Access to 16 Avenue N. station will be via 14 and 16 Avenues N., and access to 9 Avenue N. station will be via 7 and 9 Avenues N.
There is currently an east-west bicycle route along 8 Avenue N. that connects the Crescent Heights community east to the Nose Creek Regional Pathway and communities of Renfrew and Mayland Heights. The new 9 Avenue N. Green Line station, which extends between 7 and 9 Avenues N., will disrupt the 8 Avenue N. bicycle crossing of Centre Street N. and require a re-alignment of the bicycle network.
We evaluated different options to re-route this bike route and we are recommending that new routes be provided on both 7 Avenue and 9 Avenue between 1 Street N.E. and 1 Street N.W. Both routes were recommended to best support the bicycle mobility in the community and provide direct connections to the 9 Avenue station. This will allow the 9 Avenue route to be extended to the new north-south bike route planned for 2 Street N.W. As part of the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan work, bike routes are also currently planned along 1 Street N.E. and 2 Street N.W.
New bike routes would include painted markings on roadway, with no removal of on-street parking. An example image is provided in the gallery below.
The gallery below also includes map that illustrate the new bike routes as part of Green Line in green, the existing routes in blue, the routes being removed in yellow and planned bike routes, as outlined in North Hill Plan, in dotted black.
A community traffic calming review was undertaken to evaluate if existing and currently proposed traffic calming measures in Crescent Heights will continue to discourage short-cutting and speeding through the community once Green Line LRT is operational.
Today, there are a series of traffic calming measures in place or newly proposed by The City’s transportation department to slow down traffic and improve the safety of pedestrians in the community. These measures include curb extensions, speed humps, traffic buttons and raised crosswalks.
In addition, traffic gates and diverters are in place to discourage traffic from arterial streets, such as 16 Avenue N., from short-cutting through the community and to separate local-business traffic from residential streets.
Our study evaluated existing and planned traffic calming measures against the new design for Centre Street North and concluded that no new traffic calming measures will be required given the significant current and proposed measures, lower anticipated traffic volumes along Centre Street N. and the reduced access points into the community.
Through our engagement process, the Crescent Height’s community expressed concern that short-cutting through the community will increase, despite the findings of our study.
We recommend that The City monitor community traffic once the changes to Centre Street N. are implemented. Should the monitoring identify any significant increases to community traffic, The City would work with community residents to plan any required new traffic calming measures.
A Business Access study was undertaken to determine how to best provide access to businesses by customer vehicles.
Access to businesses along the full east side of Centre Street N. and the west side of Centre Street N. south of 12 Avenue N. will generally be maintained, however some of the routes that customers take will need to change because left turns from Centre Street N. will only be permitted at certain intersections. This means some vehicles will need to travel on side streets or laneways to access a specific business.
The new roadway design for Centre Street N. will continue to provide southbound access to businesses located north of 12 Avenue N. and west of Centre Street N., however access from northbound lanes will be impacted. This is because northbound left turns can only occur at 7 Avenue N., 10 Avenue N. and 12 Avenue N. and these routes will not provide access to the northwest business area because of the traffic gates that separate local-business traffic from residential streets.
Given the importance of maintaining access to area businesses, The City proposed relocating the traffic gate located at 13 Avenue to provide a new route for northbound traffic to access local business via 12 Avenue (shown on map with green arrows). We also proposed that additional community engagement be undertaken to determine a new location for the traffic gate and to identify traffic calming that may be required..
While some citizens and stakeholders supported the new access route, others expressed concern that it could introduce additional vehicle traffic and potentially increase the risk of speeding vehicles or impact pedestrian safety.
Given the mixed feedback, additional work is required to determine how to provide vehicle access from Centre Street N. to businesses northwest of 12 Avenue N. and identify additional traffic calming and roadway design features that might be required to provide a safe travel route.
The City will continue engaging with the Crescent Heights Communication Association and Crescent Heights Village Business Improvement Area to further explore access and traffic calming considerations.
A Parking study was undertaken to determine how to best provide ensure opportunities for short-term customer parking are provided.
In fall 2020, a study was completed to count the number and utilization of parking spaces within Crescent Heights. We reviewed both public and private on-street and off-street parking along Centre Street N. and within one block of the corridor.
The integration of Green Line LRT into the new Centre Street N. mobility network will reduce the number of on-street public parking spaces by 44 percent, from 261 to 147 spaces.
We understand that short-term parking is important to support local businesses and additional public parking supply will be required to support parking demand. The City proposed a solution in February 2021 that aimed to balance business parking and residential parking needs.
We proposed introducing a new ‘interface parking area’ one block east and west of Centre Street N., between 7 Avenue N and 13 Avenue N. Interface areas allow residents to continue parking using their residential parking permit, while also providing the ability for non-permit holders to pay for short-term parking so they can access areas businesses.
The City received mixed feedback on the proposed parking interface areas. Some supported the interface parking as a means of supporting local businesses and requested that the interface zone be expanded an additional block to the east and west.
Others expressed concern about mixing business and residential parking and the requirement for short-term visitors to pay for parking when visiting a residential home (longer-term out of town visitors would still be able to apply for a visitor pass for visits up to 2 weeks).
Given the mixed feedback received to date, additional work is required to understand the different perspectives and to explore potential solutions to mitigate the removal of short-term parking opportunities. The City will continue engaging with the Crescent Heights Communication Association, Crescent Heights Village Business Improvement Area, area businesses and residents before finalizing a recommendation.
LOADING & DELIVERIES
A Business Loading and Delivery study was undertaken to determine how to best provide access to businesses by delivery and protect space for loading/unloading .
Today, businesses located along Centre Street N. can receive deliveries from loading zones located across the corridor, in rear laneways and private parking lots. With the new single-lane roadway design. loading will not be permitted on Centre Street N. In the future, loading can continue to be supported via the rear laneways or private lots. In areas where these loading opportunities are not available, The City will look to designate loading zones on east-west avenues to support adjacent businesses.
The exact location of loading zones will be determined once the final design for Centre Street N. is complete and through engagement with the Business Improvement Area, commercial property owners and businesses.
Through the engagement process, requests were made to improve the rear laneways to support loading and customer access to businesses.
The City will further engage with the Crescent Heights Village Business Improvement Area, commercial property owners and businesses to identify potential locations for loading zones and prioritize the laneway improvements that are most required.
The design of a roadway, including lane widths and size of intersection, is influenced by the size of vehicles that are anticipated to use the street on a regular basis – this known as the design vehicle.
Given pedestrians and wider sidewalks are prioritized for the new Centre Street North design, it was important to select a design vehicle that reflects the most commonly used delivery vehicle along the corridor. This allows us to maximize space for pedestrians.
To establish the design vehicle for Centre Street, we undertook a study to determine what the most common delivery vehicles are. We observed that:
- Most businesses are serviced by smaller delivery trucks
- Some businesses are serviced by medium-sized tractor trailer or larger
- Waste and recycling trucks turn off the corridor to service residential customers
- School buses require access to both residential and commercial areas
Through the study, we concluded that the new design for Centre Street N will accommodate:
- Smaller delivery vehicles and school buses that can turn off Centre Street N. onto all side streets
- Medium sized tractor trailers that turn off Centre Street into the commercial area north and west of 12 Avenue N.
This design will likely require on-street parking restrictions on side streets during specific times of the day to ensure there is room for small and medium-sized delivery vehicles to access area businesses. In the future, some businesses along Centre Street N. may be required to change the size of their delivery vehicles.