Staff Report #4
May 29, 2019
To All Commissioners
Re: 2019 Road Construction Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
LTC administration has been working 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 attends 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 and internal Marlin postings.
Wilton Grove Road
Phase II construction on Wilton Grove between Highbury and Commerce Drive continues with the original detour still in place as a result of Phase I remaining closed to traffic. This results in no service to the east end of the route along Commerce, Max Brose and Cheese Factory Road. At the April 27, 2019 meeting (Staff Report #5) it was anticipated that construction would be completed by the end of May however, at time of writing it is now scheduled that Wilton Grove west of Highbury will be reopened at the end of May; however, the construction east of Highbury will be concluded by the end of June. Currently there are no suitable stop locations west of Highbury to allow service closer to the Cheese Factory, Commerce and Max Brose area. London Transit will continue to work with the City of London and the Contractors to determine if a safe stop location can be established to allow for closer access to the businesses east of Highbury. London Transit has also recently been notified that an additional construction project will be starting east of Highbury to Commerce Road after the current work is completed. At this time details on the impacts to transit are not known.
In addition, road work is scheduled on Pond Mills Road between Buchanan and Enterprise during the 2019 construction season in six month intervals for approximately three years. London Transit administration has been working with civic administration to ensure this work is coordinated to start after Wilton Grove is reopened as another significant detour will be required on Route 30.
King Street Cycle Track
Construction on the King Street Cycle Track is anticipated to be completed by May 31, 2019 with a Grand Opening event scheduled for June 13, 2019. The construction work has had impacts on transit operations with respect to schedule adherence, especially with the volume of vehicle traffic along King Street given other projects throughout the downtown (see below) forcing cars on to King Street.
In addition to the service impacts related to the construction, the ‘Transit Islands’ along King Street have presented ongoing operational issues including cars blocking the Islands. This has resulted in only one bus being able to service the Islands at a time, further impacting schedule adherence as often the second bus has to wait an additional light cycle before being able to access the stop. In addition to cars blocking the access to the stop, delivery vehicles have also become a problem, most often at the layover location at King and Clarence.
Safety concerns have also been raised by Operators as some of the ‘Islands’ are very close to the intersection resulting in the back of the bus blocking the intersection when it is serving the stop. This is most problematic at King and Richmond with southbound buses on Richmond turning left onto King without the ability to clear the intersection if another bus is already at the ‘Island’. In order to ensure the bus is not blocking the intersection, Operators have to pull forward resulting in accessibility issue as the front door is no longer on the raised platform.
London Transit continues to work with civic administration to resolve these issues. Additionally, administration will continue to monitor the schedule adherence concerns and assess through the planning process if additional running time is required to maintain service reliability.
While construction throughout the downtown, including York Street, Dundas Place and Talbot Street, do not have a direct impact with respect to detouring off regular transit routes, increased traffic along King, Queens and Richmond has had a significant impact on schedule adherence for all routes travelling along these corridors. As with many of the other ongoing construction projects, detouring routes is not an option as there are no viable alternatives to maintain service within the downtown. Adding tripper buses only adds to the congestion and has little impact on improving schedule adherence. Administration will continue to monitor the impacts on schedule adherence and provide service updates through the corporate Twitter account as appropriate.
Road resurfacing at the Argyle Mall transit terminal, which was originally anticipated to take place from May 13 to May 27, 2019 however the start date for the construction was delayed until May 21, 2019, has resulted in Routes 2, 3, 7, 17, 35 and 37 being detoured off property. This has caused interruptions to transfer connections at the terminal as recovery point locations had to be relocated to areas around the mall. Extensive communication has been provided to passengers to mitigate the impacts. Administration will closely monitor the construction and provide updates to passengers as required.
Construction on Wharncliffe Road between Springbank and Elmwood commenced in mid-April. While no detours are required for the duration of the project, slow-downs resulting in schedule adherence delays have occurred on Routes 11, 12 and 26. The project is currently scheduled to be completed by late June and London Transit will continue to monitor impacts on the affected routes.
Oxford Street – Wonderland to Platts Lane
Construction work is ongoing along Oxford Street and is on track to be completed as scheduled on June 18, 2019. To date, the anticipated delays have not been realized with limited impacts on schedule adherence
Oxford and Talbot Intersection
Work continues on the traffic signals at the intersection of Oxford and Talbot which has resulted in significant delays for routes along Oxford including Routes 17, 20 and 91. During peak travel times traffic has been backed up past Woodward Ave resulting in delays over 45 minutes along this corridor. There are no other viable east/west routes to detour onto in the area and adding tripper buses only increases the congestion and delays in the area.
Construction on Cathcart started on April 8, 2019 and is scheduled to be completed on September 27, 2019. The road work requires Route 15 to detour onto Edward. The impacts have been minimal to date and have not resulted in any additional schedule adherence delays.
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager