Staff Report #4
October 31, 2018
To All Commissioners
Re: 2018 Road Construction Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
Significant construction projects continue throughout the City, which are having an impact on on-time reliability. LTC administration continues to work closely with civic administration as well as the specific contractors on each major construction project to ensure regular communication regarding the status of the projects in an effort to mitigate the impact of construction on service and ridership by allowing buses to operate in work zones where it is deemed safe to do so. LTC administration continues to attend weekly meetings with civic administration, specifically to discuss the impacts of ongoing and upcoming downtown construction projects.
A communications strategy has been developed and implemented with respect to service interruptions in an effort to ensure passengers and Operators are aware of the detours with as much advance notice as possible, including stop level notifications of upcoming closures, website and InfoWeb alerts, Twitter as well as internal Marlin postings and through Operator Mobile Data Terminals (MDT).
Buses off Dundas
Construction work continues on the Dundas Place project. As of October 17, 2018, the intersection of Richmond and Dundas has been closed. This closure is anticipated to last for approximately six weeks. All bus stops along Richmond south of Queens Ave and north of King St are closed as a result. The initial northbound detour was on King, Wellington, Queens with the southbound detour following Queens, Ridout, King. Due to considerable schedule adherence concerns and with the confirmation from the City that Talbot Street would remain open for the duration of the project the detour was modified to operate on Talbot southbound and Clarence northbound as set out in Figure I below.
Figure I- Richmond Street Detour
Wharncliffe and Western Construction
Through both external discussions with civic administration and internal discussions with Operations and Planning staff, it was determined that the best course of action with respect to providing transit service during the period of construction is to maintain routing of Routes 2 and 102 along Wharncliffe. While this approach has resulted in no stops in either direction on Wharncliffe Rd between Oxford St and south of Phillip Aziz Ave, the alternative options provide far less access for passengers. As set out in Figure II buses cannot stop to service bus stops within the construction zone due to safety concerns, as such four stops in each direction continue to not be serviced. This results in the closest accessible transit stops being approximately 1.38 kilometers apart at Wharncliffe and Oxford and Western Rd south of Phillip Aziz. The un-serviced stops have daily weekday ridership of 1,576 and 1,672 boardings and alightings respectively. Schedule adherence specifically in the peak periods has proven difficult to maintain in this corridor due to lane reductions, construction ‘flag men’ when needed and uneven surfaces in the area requiring traffic to move at a slower speed to remain safe.
Administration continues to monitor the construction area on a weekly basis to assess the impacts on schedule adherence and determine if it is safe to open any stops between Oxford and Phillip Aziz. At time of report writing, the construction progress in this area has been considerable and although some sections appear to be ready for transit, Construction Administration has requested that stops in this area remain closed as work continues to be finished on both sides of the road which would cause passenger confusion with stops being affected without notice.
Figure II- Bus Stop Closures on Western/Wharncliffe
Richmond Street Lane Channeling
Since the start of the fall school year, Richmond has seen multiple short-term construction projects in addition to the three year project in the southbound lanes north of Dufferin St that have required lane channeling. This lane channeling has added to the stress the system is experiencing regarding schedule adherence with the increased commuter traffic choosing Richmond over Western road due to the extensive project in that area. Administration will continue to consider alternative routing options while still providing an appropriate level of service in this corridor when lane channeling occurs.
Richmond Street Closure from Central to Pall Mall
On Monday October 15, 2018, London Transit was notified by Construction Administration that construction work is anticipated to commence on October 29, 2018, closing Richmond between Central and Pall Mall for approximately one week requiring all northbound and southbound routes on Richmond to detour. The detoured buses will operate the southbound routes on Pall Mall, Wellington, Central and northbound on Central, Wellington, Pall Mall. In addition to the lane channeling on Richmond and the closure at Richmond and Dundas, this detour is expected to cause further schedule adherence issues to all buses operating on this corridor. Administration will continue to monitor the performance of the routes in this area and will consider alternative detour options if the planned detour routings prove to be inefficient.
Wilton Grove Road
On Tuesday October 2, 2018, London Transit was notified by the Engineering Firm that construction work would be starting on Wilton Grove Road between Hubrey and Commerce on October 9, 2018. The work would be completed in two phases and is anticipated to last up until June 2019. Administration has met with the City of London and Parsons to discuss possible detour options for the buses during each phase of the construction and unfortunately due to the work and the limited surrounding roadways, there are no viable detour options.
For Phase 1 the signed detour for vehicle traffic is to travel south on Hubrey, east on Green Valley to north on Highbury Ave. This is not an option for transit vehicles as the turn at Green Valley and Highbury is an un-signalized intersection onto a high speed and high volume roadway. Additionally, all traffic through the area will be detoured along these roads potentially causing significant delays.
For Phase 2 the signed detour for vehicle traffic is to travel east on Wilton Grove to Highbury to Bradley to Old Victoria. This option would add approximately 26 minutes to the running time for this route, and therefore would require an extra vehicle to be added to maintain frequency and schedule adherence. The cost of the additional vehicle for the eight month project (approximately 165 days) would be approximately 1,700 hours. Additionally, an extra vehicle and Operator would be required for 10.5 hours per day. Based on the current budget and resource availability, this is not a viable option.
Phase 1 of the work was delayed with construction starting on October 22, 2018. LTC administration has been in continuous contact with the City of London and the contractor to develop a plan to allow transit access while it is safe to do so through the area of construction.
At an onsite meeting on October 24, 2018 LTC administration was informed that due to the progress at the site, LTC buses would not be able to pass safely once excavation has begun noting same is anticipated to begin the week of October 29, 2018. Due to the uncertainty of when the closure would commence and in an effort to provide riders with as much advance notice as possible, communication went out on October 24, 2018 indicating that starting on October 29, 2018, Route 30 will no longer provide service to the Cheese Factory area and the route would be short turned at Hubrey and Wilton Grove to return back to White Oaks Mall for the duration of the construction period (see Figure III). Given the rather short notice of the detour, in addition to the Twitter and website communication, and in an effort to ensure all affected transit riders are made aware of the detour, London Transit staff were also onboard Route 30 on October 25, 2018 to speak directly with passengers about the upcoming detour and answer any questions regarding same.
Further assessments will be required as the project progresses due to the uncertain nature when excavating for the deep sewer work and alternative detour routings will continue to be considered as the project progresses.
Figure III – Route 30 Detour
Western Bridge Closure
On Wednesday October 10, 2018, London Transit was notified by Western University that due to an engineering assessment, the bridge on University Drive would be closed to vehicular traffic starting sometime during the week of October 15, 2018. Due to the uncertainty of when the closure would commence and in an effort to provide riders with as much advance notice as possible, communication went out starting on October 10, 2018 that Routes 6, 13 and 106 would be detoured effective Monday October 15, 2018. Routes 6 and 106 are detoured via Richmond, Windermere, Perth Drive to access Natural Science. Both routes resume regular routing southbound at Natural Science. The University Hospital access road is currently utilized as a turn-around for Route 13 as the alternative detour to serve Natural Science would add significant round trip time, impacting the schedule adherence on the entire route. The detour for Route 13 results in the stops at Delaware Hall not being serviced during this time. This bridge closure has added further stress to the system with regards to schedule adherence, noting increased traffic on Windermere and Western/Wharncliffe in addition to the current construction pressures. Administration will continue to monitor the performance of the routes in this area and will consider alternative detour options if the planned detour routings prove to be inefficient.
The underlying goals with respect to communications regarding detours are to provide passengers and Operators with as much information as far in advance as possible, noting that dates and impacts can change without notice. Accomplishing both of these goals requires a balanced approach.
LTC administration continues to communicate with representatives from Western and Fanshawe regarding construction projects with specific impacts to commuting to and from the facilities.
Information regarding all impacts to service is posted on the London Transit website and Twitter account as well as on InfoWeb, to provide as much advance notice as possible.
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager