Williamsville Transportation Study Alternative Design Memo

Introduction

The following technical memo provides the rationale for examining a third alternative design for Princess Street in more detail. It also explores the details of this new alternative, including design elements, design challenges and opportunities, and anticipated operational changes relative to the previously considered design alternatives.

Rationale for introducing a new alternative

There is an increasing need to reduce private automobile dependence within Williamsville as traffic congestion associated with redevelopment intensifies within the area. Reducing auto dependence will require reconfiguration of the limited Princess Street right-of-way to prioritize sustainable modes. This need to revise the Princess Street cross-section is the focus of the Williamsville Transportation Study.

The initial shortlisted designs presented in February 2024 aimed to optimize pedestrian and transit operations. Transit was prioritized due to its high carrying capacity; each standard transit vehicle can theoretically remove up to 50 private autos from the road when at capacity. This could theoretically result in up to 1,200 vehicles being removed from the network per hour when the City moves towards planned 5-minute headways on Express Routes (Number is based on 12 vehicles per hour per direction, each carrying 50 passengers. Headway refers to the anticipated time lapse between buses arriving at a particular stop.).

In February 2024, one of the initially short-listed design alternatives for Princess Street included both vehicular lane improvements to optimize transit operations and on-street cycling lanes. The feasibility of this alternative was dependent on the City’s ability to acquire additional property at intersections along the corridor. Additional property is required to both provide transit priority and adequate space for cycling facilities. Adequate property at intersections is unlikely to be acquired and there are continuing concerns that the on-road, unbuffered cycling lanes may create safety issues with parked/stopped vehicles. Given these concerns, it was determined that the alternative that both prioritizes transit and provides space for cycling was deemed infeasible.

Feedback from two open house events has made it clear that there is substantial public demand to provide cycling facilities on Princess Street. As a result, the decision was made to investigate a new alternative that prioritizes cycling and pedestrians as much as possible while maintaining reasonable transit operations. Providing cycle facilities within the available right-of-way will necessitate the removal of some left-turn lanes, which is anticipated to result in longer transit delays than predicted under the two initial design alternatives where all existing left-turn lanes were maintained. Increased transit delay may impact ridership potential and the City’s ability to increase service to a 5-minute headway in the future.

A strategy that maximizes cycling uptake will be essential to achieve modal shift targets in a scenario where transit is deprioritized to a certain extent. This strategy should include the installation of “All Ages and Abilities” (AAA) cycle track on Princess Street paired with the previously identified cycling and green streets improvements within Williamsville. Strong cycling connections to the east and west of the study area will also be required to reduce the number of personal vehicles travelling along Princess Street.

The following technical memo:

  • Presents the proposed “cycling forward” design (Alternative 2 from the 2023 Princess Street Cross-Section Study),
  • Explores the design and operational opportunities and challenges of this new alternative, and
  • Identifies additional considerations to be explored as portions of Princess Street proceed toward implementation.

Overview of design alternative 2b: cycle tracks with fewer turn lanes

Alternative 2b prioritizes pedestrian and cycling facilities. It includes 1.8 m wide cycle tracks on both sides of Princess Street accompanied by sidewalks and curb ramps that are compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Additional details on the proposed cross-section design are provided in Section 3.1. Functional design drawings are included in Appendix A.

Alternative 2b differs from the cycle track alternative that was considered earlier in the Williamsville Transportation Study in that it removes a few of the existing left turn lanes to make space for the desired All-Ages-and-Abilities (AAA) cycling facilities. Left turn lanes were maintained where they have the most significant impact on transit travel times. These include the intersections of Bath Road, MacDonnell Street, Alfred Street, University Avenue, and Division Street. A single westbound queue jump lane has been recommended at the intersection of Albert Street. Signalization and addition of a westbound queue jump lane at Drayton Street, which was recommended in the Princess Street Cross-Section Study, has been removed due to a lack of available property and significant constraints for traffic light placement.

Property acquisition and/or easement agreements will be required at locations where left turn lanes and queue jumps are recommended to accommodate the desired infrastructure. We have assumed that the required property acquisition and/or easements can be successfully negotiated for the purposes of this memo. If the City is unable to negotiate additional property then additional left turn lanes will need to be removed from the design. This will further degrade transit travel times.

The width of the cycle track and sidewalks were reduced in some cases to accommodate left turn or queue jump lanes. In these areas cycle tracks and/or sidewalks were reduced to 1.5m widths following minimums set out by the AODA and OTM Book 18. Any space left over in the right-of-way was used as boulevard space to fit streetscaping elements such as planters, benches, or street trees. Additionally, the current functional design drawings do not assume locations for electrical elements such as traffic lights or street lighting which may further reduce the width of available pedestrian and cycling elements in some locations.

Typical cross-section

Figure 1 illustrates the proposed typical cross-section for Princess Street between Bath Road and Division Street, which will include:

  • 3.3 m vehicular lanes, one in each direction;
  • 1.8 m (1.5 m in constrained sections) partially elevated unidirectional cycle tracks on both sides;
  • 0.5 m minimum furnishing zone behind the curb to accommodate signs and streetlights;
  • 1.8 – 2.0 m (1.5 m in constrained sections) sidewalks on both sides; and
  • 0.5 m frontage zone, where feasible, along the property line to enable adjacent doorways to swing open without impacting pedestrian flow on the sidewalk.

It should be noted that this alternative includes very limited space for installation of street furnishings (including street trees, benches, and bike parking) west of Alfred Street.

Cross-section rendering with 1.8m raised cycling tracks painted green and 1.8m sidewalks.Figure 1: Proposed Typical Cross-Section for Princess Street

The design currently considers that the cycle track will be constructed a minimum of 0.15 m higher than the adjacent vehicular lanes and 0.15 m lower than the adjacent sidewalk. The cycle tracks will be physically separated from the vehicle lanes by a 0.6 m wide mountable curb and gutter except at intersections.

Installing the cycle track behind a mountable curb, rather than a full-height barrier curb, will deter vehicles from entering the cycling lane yet provide space for vehicles to pull over and allow emergency vehicles to pass. A barrier curb will be constructed between the sidewalk and cycle track to maintain physical separation between pedestrians and cyclists. The cycle track will be raised to sidewalk level at transit stops for pedestrian accessibility and improved cyclist safety. Figure 2 illustrates similar treatments. The relative heights of the cycle track and sidewalk can be revisited during detailed design.


Three images are shown in a row, from left, an example of a cycle track raised to sidewalk height at transit stop from Toronto, Ontario, the next picture is an example of a cycle track separated by mountable curb from East Gwillimbury, Ontario, and the third is an example of a raised cycle track on Bloor Street West at Kipling Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. Figure 2: Cycle track treatments, from left, cycle track raised to sidewalk height at transit stop, Toronto, Ontario (Source: Google Maps), cycle track separated by mountable curb, East Gwillimbury, Ontario (Source: OTM Book 18 Cycling Facilities), and raised cycle track on Bloor Street West at Kipling Avenue, Toronto, Ontario (Source: Google Map).

Intersection treatments

The segment of Princess Street between Bath Road and Division Street currently includes seven signalized intersections, all of which have dedicated left turn lanes. The following intersections are expected to retain left turn lanes: Bath Road, MacDonnell Street, Alfred Street, University Avenue, and Division Street. Dedicated left turn lanes will be removed from Victoria Street and Albert Street. A westbound queue jump lane will be installed at Albert Street in lieu of the existing left turn lane. Traffic control signals will neither be added nor removed in this alternative.

Widths of both the sidewalks and cycle tracks will be reduced to 1.5 m at each signalized intersection due to significant property constraints. These widths meet AODA requirements and Ontario Traffic Manual Book 1­­­­8 Cycling Facilities (June 2021) recommendations. Several intersections currently have pedestrian facilities constructed on private property to provide both AODA-compliant curb ramps and sidewalks. It has been assumed that this will continue to be the case at several locations along the corridor. These locations are noted in the functional design drawings included in Appendix A.

Cycle tracks will be dropped to the same level as vehicle lanes through intersections. Bold green pavement markings will be used to identify the presence of cycle lanes through intersections and across driveways. Right-of-way space constraints will preclude the provision of protected intersections; however in-lane two-stage bike turning boxes (illustrated in Figure 3) will be installed where space permits. It is not anticipated that bike turning boxes can be feasibly installed at University Avenue and Albert Street due to property and visibility constraints. These intersections should include bike boxes on Princess Street to allow left-turning cyclists to be prioritized at intersections.

Example of a typical green bike turn box at an intersection.Figure 3: In-Lane Two-Stage Bike Turn Box (Source: oaksandspokes.com).

Assessment of design-related opportunities and impacts

Alternative 2b presents some unique design opportunities and challenges relative to the two alternatives that were previously investigated as part of the Williamsville Study. This section provides a high-level comparison of the three shortlisted alternatives which is summarized in Table 1. Note that operational differences are not identified, They are highlighted in Section 5.0.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - property impacts

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Minor property required at select intersections.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Property required at five intersections where a third lane is added to the cross-section to provide accessible crossings.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Property required at seven signalized intersections to provide accessible crossings.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - accommodation of pedestrians

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Wide pedestrian spaces with significant space for street furniture. AODA-compliant crossings can be accommodated within the existing ROW at most intersections.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • AODA-compliant sidewalks can be provided mid-block within the existing right-of-way in all locations. Intersections with additional lanes will require property acquisition and/or easements to provide accessible crossings.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • AODA-compliant sidewalks can be provided mid-block within the existing right-of-way in all locations. Intersections with additional lanes will require property acquisition and/or easements to provide accessible crossings.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - accommodation of cyclists

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Cyclists accommodated in lanes shared with vehicles.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Cyclists accommodated in dedicated space with physical separation from vehicles and pedestrians.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Cyclists accommodated in dedicated space. No physical separation from vehicles.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - accommodation of transit system

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Westbound queue jump lane provided at Albert Street. All signalized intersections include left turn lanes, reducing transit vehicle delay.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Westbound queue jump lane provided at Albert Street. Two left turn lanes removed from signalized intersections, will result in increased transit delay relative to alternatives 1 and 5.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Westbound queue jump lane provided at Albert Street. All signalized intersections include left turn lanes, reducing transit vehicle delay.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - accommodation of private automobiles

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • All signalized intersections, with exception of Albert Street, will include left turn lanes, reducing travel delay.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Left turn lanes removed from two signalized intersections. Will impact travel times.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • All signalized intersections, with exception of Albert Street, will include left turn lanes, reducing travel delay.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - accommodation of sub-surface utilities

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Installation of trees within the boulevard would reduce portions of the right-of-way where utilities can be accommodated. Where trees are not planted, this option provides width where utilities can be installed and maintained without impacting pedestrians, cyclists, or vehicles.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Majority of right-of-way is used to provide pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle facilities. Utilities will need to be installed underneath. Maintenance operations, though infrequent, will necessitate the closure of one or more sidewalk, cycle track and/or vehicle lane.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Majority of right-of-way is used to provide pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle facilities. Utilities will need to be installed underneath. Maintenance operations, though infrequent, will necessitate the closure of one or more sidewalk, cycle track and/or vehicle lane.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - ability to include street furnishings

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Street furnishings can be provided throughout the corridor.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Limited west of Alfred Street.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Limited west of Alfred Street.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - emergency vehicle access

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Limited curb-to-curb width would negatively impact emergency vehicle ability to navigate between vehicles, particularly during high traffic periods.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Vehicles could pull onto the cycle track to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Vehicles could pull into the cycle lane to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Design/maintenance aspect being assessed - winter maintenance

Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority:

  • Simplified winter maintenance relative to the other alternatives. Single passes for each of road and sidewalk. Adequate boulevard space for snow storage.

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track:

  • Separate passes would be required for each of the roadway, sidewalk, and cycle track. Snow would need to be collected from the right-of-way west of Alfred Street due to lack of boulevards space.

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority:

  • Separate passes would be required for each of the roadway, sidewalk, and cycle lane. Snow would need to be collected from the right-of-way west of Alfred Street due to lack of boulevards space.

Table 1: Comparison of Design Alternatives

Design/Maintenance Aspect Being Assessed

1 - Widest Pedestrian Realm, Transit Priority

2b - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks and Cycle Track

5 - AODA-Compliant Sidewalks, Cycle Lanes, Transit Priority

Property Impacts

Minor property required at select intersections.

Property required at five intersections where a third lane is added to the cross-section to provide accessible crossings.

Property required at seven signalized intersections to provide accessible crossings.

Accommodation of pedestrians

Wide pedestrian spaces with significant space for street furniture. AODA-compliant crossings can be accommodated within the existing ROW at most intersections.

AODA-compliant sidewalks can be provided mid-block within the existing right-of-way in all locations. Intersections with additional lanes will require property acquisition and/or easements to provide accessible crossings.

AODA-compliant sidewalks can be provided mid-block within the existing right-of-way in all locations. Intersections with additional lanes will require property acquisition and/or easements to provide accessible crossings.

Accommodation of cyclists

Cyclists accommodated in lanes shared with vehicles.

Cyclists accommodated in dedicated space with physical separation from vehicles and pedestrians.

Cyclists accommodated in dedicated space. No physical separation from vehicles.

Accommodation of transit vehicles

Westbound queue jump lane provided at Albert Street. All signalized intersections include left turn lanes, reducing transit vehicle delay.

Westbound queue jump lane provided at Albert Street. Two left turn lanes removed from signalized intersections, will result in increased transit delay relative to alternatives 1 and 5.

Westbound queue jump lane provided at Albert Street. All signalized intersections include left turn lanes, reducing transit vehicle delay.

Accommodation of private automobiles

All signalized intersections, with exception of Albert Street, will include left turn lanes, reducing travel delay.

Left turn lanes removed from two signalized intersections. Will impact travel times.

All signalized intersections, with exception of Albert Street, will include left turn lanes, reducing travel delay.

Design and maintenance of sub-surface utilities

Installation of trees within the boulevard would reduce portions of the right-of-way where utilities can be accommodated. Where trees are not planted, this option provides width where utilities can be installed and maintained without impacting pedestrians, cyclists, or vehicles.

Majority of right-of-way is used to provide pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle facilities. Utilities will need to be installed underneath. Maintenance operations, though infrequent, will necessitate the closure of one or more sidewalk, cycle track and/or vehicle lane.

Majority of right-of-way is used to provide pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle facilities. Utilities will need to be installed underneath. Maintenance operations, though infrequent, will necessitate the closure of one or more sidewalk, cycle track and/or vehicle lane.


Ability to Include Street Furnishings

Street furnishings can be provided throughout the corridor.

Limited west of Alfred Street.

Limited west of Alfred Street.

Emergency Vehicle Access

Limited curb-to-curb width would negatively impact emergency vehicle ability to navigate between vehicles, particularly during high traffic periods.

Vehicles could pull onto the cycle track to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Vehicles could pull into the cycle lane to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Winter Maintenance

Simplified winter maintenance relative to the other alternatives. Single passes for each of road and sidewalk. Adequate boulevard space for snow storage.

Separate passes would be required for each of the roadway, sidewalk, and cycle track. Snow would need to be collected from the right-of-way west of Alfred Street due to lack of boulevards space.

Separate passes would be required for each of the roadway, sidewalk, and cycle lane. Snow would need to be collected from the right-of-way west of Alfred Street due to lack of boulevards space.

Overview of operations associated with Design Alternative 2b

Alternative operational scenarios

As discussed in Section 2.0, the previously shortlisted alternatives were selected assuming availability of additional property at intersections and the preference of prioritizing transit and pedestrian mobility. By maintaining the existing intersection configurations, it was believed that those alternatives would have the fewest impacts on traffic operations and transit and vehicle travel times. Left turn lanes also allow left-turning vehicles to turn without backing up vehicle traffic or being stopped by transit vehicles.

As noted previously, based on public input, design of the right-of-way was re-evaluated to prioritize cycling infrastructure. As a result, previously proposed transit improvements such as transit queue jump lanes were reconsidered and only maintained if cycling lanes could also be accommodated. Left turn lanes were handled similarly where they were only maintained and considered in locations where cycling infrastructure could also be provided. Alternative 2b includes fewer left turn lanes throughout the corridor and one potential location for a queue jump lane.

To quantify the potential impacts to the corridor, a total of 7 scenarios were modelled for an alternative which includes cycle track using traffic microsimulation software:

  1. Existing (Base) Conditions modelled using existing 2024 conditions,
  2. All previously recommended Queue Jump Lanes and Left Turn Lanes,
  3. No Left Turn Lanes and No Queue Jump Lanes,
  4. Queue Jump Lane at Albert Street,
  5. Queue Jump Lane at Albert Street & Left Turn Lane at MacDonnell Street,
  6. Queue Jump Lane at Albert Street & Left Turn Lane at University Avenue, and
  7. Queue Jump Lane at Albert Street & Left Turn Lanes at MacDonnell Street, University Avenue and Alfred Street.

The traffic microsimulation models were used to determine where left turn lanes would yield the greatest benefit to transit and vehicle travel times based on where left turn lanes can be physically accommodated. It is expected that some left turn lanes will be removed as a result of prioritizing cycling infrastructure. The models were analyzed to determine the capacity of the corridor in each scenario which dictates how many vehicles are expected to be processed by Princess Street in the peak periods. The scenarios were evaluated on a combination of the travel time results and the capacity of the corridor.

Private and emergency vehicle operations may also be impacted due to the narrower overall width of the roadway and less turning maneuver space. Curb radii were maintained where possible to mitigate the impact to heavy vehicles such as snowplows, maintenance vehicles, and emergency vehicles.

Traffic operational impacts

Traffic operations were assessed using the PTV Vissim microsimulation software, which is the industry-leading transportation microsimulation platform. Microsimulation was used to model vehicles, buses, pedestrians, and cyclists in a mixed environment.

The model was calibrated to match observed traffic volumes and travel times, and then updated to reflect the anticipated 2036 horizon future traffic demands, bus headways, bus dwell times, and lane geometry and traffic control for each scenario. The updates to traffic demands included forecasting future traffic demands due to new development in Williamsville as well as general growth throughout Kingston, in consideration of the anticipated reduction to the City-wide auto mode share. Bus headways through the study area were also updated to reflect planned 5-minute express route headways, as opposed to the existing 10-minute headways.

Travel times and the number of vehicles processed were compared for each scenario. Travel time measurements were collected for both eastbound and westbound directions between Bath Road/Concession Street and Division Street. The analysis focused on the weekday PM peak hour since this is typically the critical time period due to the combination of commuter and commercial activity.

Impact to auto drivers

Table 2 below shows the number of vehicles processed through the study area, the number of vehicles actively being processed through the study area, and number of vehicles unable to enter the study area.

The results were as expected: maintaining as many left turn lanes and queue jump lanes as possible was shown to positively impact the capacity of the corridor. Scenario 1, which was previously recommended, had the second highest capacity and the second highest number of processed vehicles.

Scenario 2, which has no left turn lanes and no queue jump lanes, performed poorly with over 1,000 vehicles unable to enter the study area, and over 3,000 vehicles left in the study area when the model run terminates (higher than other scenarios).

Scenario 6 operated well and processed the majority of vehicles through the study area. Approximately 190 vehicles were not processed through the study area and would likely choose to travel a different route or travel slightly earlier or later during the peak period. The vehicles not processed by this scenario amounts to 3 vehicles per minute, which can likely be accommodated by other routes without significant impacts.

The following notes are made regarding the headings for the table:

  • ‘Vehicles processed through the study area’ refers to vehicles that have entered and then exited the microsimulation model, which was a section of Princess Street between Division Street and Concession Street, including side streets.
  • ‘Vehicles actively progressing through the study area’ refers to the number of vehicles on the road network within the study area at the end of the microsimulation model run, i.e. precisely at 5:30 PM. Lower numbers indicate that more vehicles have successfully entered and existed the study area during the modelled time period; and,
  • ‘Vehicles unable to enter the study area’ refers to the number of vehicles not able to enter the microsimulation model. Vehicles unable to enter the study area would be queued on roads outside of the study area.
  • Modelled Auto Travel Time EB (WB) provides the predicted average time for vehicles travelling between Bath Road and Division Street. EB refers to eastbound trips, while WB refers to westbound trips. Time is identified in seconds.
  • Auto Travel Time Standard Deviation EB (WB) is used to identify the level of certainty associated with the predicted average travel time. A lower number indicates less variability in travel time, which is particularly important for transit operations. EB refers to eastbound trips, while WB refers to westbound trips. Time is identified in seconds.

Table 2: Auto Vehicles Processed and Travel Time Per Scenario

Scenario

Vehicles Processed Through the Study Area

Vehicles Actively Progressing Through the Study Area

Vehicles Unable to Enter the Study Area

Modelled Auto Travel Time

EB (WB)

[in seconds]

Auto Travel Time Standard Deviation

EB (WB)

[in seconds]

1 Base

14,500

2,057

85

373 (529)

63 (133)

2 (Previously Recommended Queue Jump Lanes and Left Turn Lanes)

14,477

2,274

105

497 (477)

117 (154)

3 (No Left Turn Lanes and No Queue Jump Lanes)

13,547

3,067

1,320

638 (642)

139 (180)

4 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert)

14,118

2,742

645

646 (781)

137 (221)

5 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert & Left Turn Lane at MacDonnell)

14,399

2,459

164

547 (590)

136 (141)

6 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert & Left Turn Lane at University)

13,815

2,914

845

611 (708)

143 (194)

7 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert & Left Turn Lanes at MacDonnell, University, and Alfred)

14,357

2,464

188

481 (598)

128 (119)

As discussed in Section 5.2, the PM peak period was selected as the worst-case scenario to compare travel times between scenarios for both private vehicles and public transit. Figure 4 illustrates the average corridor travel time between Bath Street and Division Street for base conditions and the six scenarios. This shows that Scenario 6 had the third lowest travel times, showing travel time increases of approximately 100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds) in both directions compared to the base scenario. This increase is only slightly more than the travel time expected in Scenario 1 which reflects the outcomes associated with the modelling of design Alternative 1 (Wide Pedestrian Realm, No Cycling Lanes).


Histogram comparing the average travel time for vehicles modelled for the 7 scenariosFigure 4: Average Corridor Travel Time – Auto

The queue lengths at each intersection were also monitored between the various scenarios. In every scenario it is expected that queues will extend to adjacent intersections in the weekday PM peak period with queues expected to extend onto Bath Road in some cases. The queue results are not discussed in detail since the impact of the queues is accounted for by the reporting of travel times.

Impact to transit operations

The removal of left turn lanes is expected to negatively impact transit vehicles as they may be stuck behind vehicles waiting to turn left. Transit queue jump lanes were previously proposed to improve the overall speed of transit in the corridor and support the future improvements to transit in the corridor.

Transit travel times are expected to increase by approximately 90 seconds in Scenario 6 (1 minute 30 seconds) in each direction compared to the base condition. Although transit vehicles were shown to get stuck behind left-turning vehicles, transit vehicles also created gaps in front of them after servicing a bus stop, which often allowed them to ‘make up’ for lost time.

Table 3 summarizes the modelled transit travel time and standard deviation of those travel times. This shows that Scenario 7 has the third lowest travel time and standard deviation (Scenario 1 “Base” and 2 “Previously recommended”) have lower travel times and less deviation.

Table 3: Transit Vehicles Travel Time Per Scenario

Scenario

Modelled Transit Travel Time

EB (WB) (seconds)

Modelled Transit Travel Time Standard Deviation

EB (WB) (seconds)

1 Base

538 (621)

69 (131)

2 (Previously Recommended Queue Jump Lanes and Left Turn Lanes)

654 (590)

113 (145)

3 (No Left Turn Lanes and No Queue Jump Lanes)

776 (737)

125 (159)

4 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert)

757 (831)

126 (196)

5 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert & Left Turn Lane at MacDonnell)

695 (707)

136 (136)

6 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert & Left Turn Lane at University)

767 (827)

140 (182)

7 (Queue Jump Lane at Albert & Left Turn Lanes at MacDonnell, University, and Alfred)

628 (695)

114 (114)

Figure 5 illustrates the transit travel times for each scenario. As shown below, transit travel times were negatively impacted and it is recommended that the queue jump lane at Albert Street be implemented to help mitigate impacts to westbound transit travel times.


Histogram comparing the average travel time for transit modelled for the 7 scenariosFigure 5: Average Corridor Travel Time – Transit

Summary of outcomes

It is recommended that left turn lanes be maintained at Bath Road, University Street, MacDonnell Street, Alfred Street, and Division Street. Left turn lanes can be removed at Victoria Street and Albert Street without significantly impacting the capacity or travel time through the study area. It is also recommended that a westbound queue jump lane be provided at Albert Street to improve corridor traffic and transit operations.

Following these recommendations, the Princess Street corridor is anticipated to maintain most of its capacity although travel times are likely to increase by approximately 100 seconds for passenger vehicles and 90 seconds for buses, for both directions, during the weekday PM peak hour. There are also nearly 190 vehicles, or 3 vehicles per minute, which would likely choose to travel a different route or travel slightly earlier or later during the peak period. Potential mitigation measures are discussed in the next section, although these were not assessed as part of this analysis.

Potential traffic operations mitigation measures

This section discusses potential mitigation measures to address concerns about vehicular capacity and travel times. These mitigation measures have not been assessed and are for discussion only.

1. Prohibit problematic left turn movements during the weekday PM peak hour. The turn prohibitions would result in a relatively small amount of traffic diverting to other routes during the peak hours.

2. Improve Traffic Operations on Alternate Corridors such as Division Street, Concession Road, Brock Street, and Johnson Street, to provide alternate routes for vehicle traffic. If this is considered, it is important to the minimize the impact of additional traffic on these other routes.

3. Review/Optimize transit stop locations to reduce the impact of transit boarding/alighting activity on the corridor vehicle capacity. This could include the introduction of transit signal priority such as ‘green extensions’ or ‘red truncations’ which may result in more efficient flow for passenger vehicle and transit.

4. Maintain the existing bus headways at approximately 10 minutes as opposed to reducing headways to 5 minutes as is planned by the 2036 horizon. This is undesirable since it would reduce the transit frequency; however, this would reduce the impact of bus boarding and alighting on corridor vehicle capacity.

Consideration for future work

The following sections provide a preliminary list of considerations for future phases of design of the Princess Street corridor. Most recommendations apply regardless of which Alternative is carried forward.

Recommended technical studies

The following additional technical studies should be completed prior to proceeding to later phases of the design process. It should be noted that the assessments provided as part of the Williamsville Transportation Study were completed in absence of this information. This may impact future decisions.

  • Complete a detailed topographical survey of the study corridor, including completion of a Legal Survey to confirm property boundaries;
  • Complete a Subsurface Utility Engineering investigation with Quality Level B reporting (use of geophysical methods to determine existence and approximate horizontal position of subsurface utilities;
  • Undertake basement surveys of older adjacent properties to confirm that basements, coal chutes, etc. due not extend into the public right-of-way;
  • Complete a geotechnical investigation of the corridor, including chemical testing to determine the presence of materials which may necessitate specialized off-site disposal;
  • Using information collected through the above tasks, complete at least a preliminary (30%) design of the corridor to confirm the recommended future locations of property lines, easements, and utilities ahead of redevelopment of additional adjacent properties.

Connection to adjacent cycling network

Building cycling ridership along the Princess Street corridor will require strong cycling connections to the east and west of the study limits, as well as the adjacent neighborhoods.

Consideration should be given to reducing the number of lanes on Princess Street at Bath Road/Concession Street to create space for physically separated cycling facilities through the intersection. West of the intersection, the existing north sidewalk could be converted to a multi-use pathway. Access to amenities on the south side of Princess Street could be provided via the various signalized intersections.

Consideration should also be given to continuing the cycle tracks east of Division Street to at least Barrie Street. This will avoid forcing cyclists to transition to shared lanes within the complex Division Street intersection. The width and proximity of Queen Street to the eastern portion of Princess Street may provide a suitable parallel route for riders traveling between Barrie Street and Ontario Street. Installation of cycle tracks should be considered for Queen Street if it is pursued as an alternative cycling route to Lower Princess Street.

Implementation of green street concepts and neighborhood bikeways within Williamsville will also be critical to the success of the of the Princess Street cycle track. Implementation of the Alfred Street advisory bike lanes should be prioritized given the initial portion of cycle track would be constructed between Alfred Street and Division Street.

Monitoring program

Traffic and collision volumes and patterns should be monitored along Princess Street and adjacent roadways as infrastructure and operational changes are made. The City should be prepared to modify signal timing, reprioritize projects, and adjust transit headways based on observed patterns. Predictive traffic modelling work has indicated that most vehicular traffic should remain on Princess Street following the proposed modifications. Modelling tools, however, are never completely accurate. City staff should also collect cycle track use data as the facility extends from east to west. This information can be used to inform decisions regarding the implementation of cycle tracks in other parts of the City.

Appendix A

View the detailed designs for option 2b.

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Consultation has concluded and the engagement reports are available to read

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