Staff Report #4
September 26, 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.
LTC administration has developed and implemented a communications strategy 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, resulting in a single lane of traffic in each direction on Richmond St. All bus stops along Richmond south of Queens Ave and north of King St are closed as the buses cannot stop along the only travelled lane on a busy corridor. It is also causing delays for northbound and southbound traffic. It is anticipated that this reduction will continue until early October, at which time there will be a complete closure of Richmond between Queens and King for approximately six weeks. As Figure I indicates, during the complete closure northbound buses will be detoured to Wellington via King and southbound buses will be detoured to Ridout St via Queens. It should be noted that Talbot Street is currently closed at Dundas St and it is anticipated to be completed prior to the closure of Richmond to provide an alternative north/south corridor through the downtown for traffic other than LTC buses.
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, four stops in each direction will 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, there are significant drop offs adjacent to the road on the west side of Western/Wharncliffe and therefore stops cannot be reopened. Although construction is complete on the east side of the road, opening northbound stops would encourage passengers to walk across an active construction zone.
Figure II- Bus Stop Closures on Western/Wharncliffe
Richmond Street Lane Channeling
Since the start of the fall school year, Richmond has seen multiple shorter 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.
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. 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. In addition to staff being present in the core, LTC staff was available during student orientations to provide information and answer questions with respect to transit and how best to commute to and from the facilities in this difficult construction season.
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.
As indicated earlier in this report, ongoing schedule adherence issues are being experienced throughout the city, primarily due to the ongoing construction projects. These issues are resulting in increased passenger frustration, which is often being directed at LTC Operators. In an effort to curb this behavior, a renewed on-board communication campaign is being prepared to remind customers that LTC Operators are doing their best in a difficult situation.
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager