top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureMatthieu Gagnon

Active Transportation in Orléans North : Getting to the LRT

Last time, I posted about what I saw as my top priority for active transportation in Orléans which is and remains creating routes for kids. However, based on some feedback on the first post, I decided to change my other objectives. I decided to split my third priority in two. Giving access to LRT stations should be its own priority and I think it should be higher than my previous number two priority. The reason this is a high priority is because the LRT will only be successful if we help people change their habits from using cars to get places to using public transportation. 


Here are my new and improved objectives, in order of priority, for active transportation infrastructure in Convent Glen Orléans Wood and by extension, a good portion of Orléans:

  1. Create routes for children and teenagers to get to school and other amenities

  2. Enable year-round multi-modal commutes downtown

  3. Make local amenities accessible to people on bike or on foot

  4. Enable year-round bike commutes downtown


The LRT Stage 2 has the potential to provide rapid transit service from Orléans to the urban core. There is and it currently takes 20 minutes for the LRT to get from Blair to Parliament station. Assuming a speed of 70km/h, and with 7km between the Jeanne D’Arc and Blair Station following the highway, it may be possible to make the trip downtown in less than 30 minutes (accounting for stops). This makes the LRT an attractive option for people who have to commute downtown especially if the trip can be more reliable than a car trip (LRT is probably already more reliable if you account for accidents and congestion).


A quick look at Google Maps, it seems like most residents of Convent Glen and Orléans Wood are within 2km of an LRT station which is a 20-30 minute walk or an 8 minute bike ride. This would mean that you could get to downtown in less than an hour which is reasonable enough that I think it would be fair to do our best to enable our neighbours keen on saving, according to Ratehub, $1300 a month on car ownership to do so. To help future riders, it would be great if they did not have to rely on circuitous and infrequent bus routes to get to the station.


For those of you who are not interested in swapping your car for a bus pass, remember that everyone who chooses to not take the car is not contributing to congestion. Good LRT uptake also allows the area to move towards more density with less impact on our roads. More density would also allow more funds to pay to improve our roads which are in a pretty sorry state while also providing us with more and better amenities. Good active public transportation makes life easier for drivers as outlined in Not Just Bike’s video on driving in the Netherlands, a country with good public transit and active transportation infrastructure. We also have an aging population who will not be able to drive forever and will need options if they want to maintain independence.


With the coming of the Stage 2 LRT, Convent Glen and Orléans Wood will have 3 LRT stations at Jeanne D’Arc, Orléans Boulevard and Place D’Orléans. All those stations are along the 174 which means that all modes (bus, train, cars, bikes and foot) will be converging on the small spaces on the overpass. Given that designs on Jeanne D’Arc are currently being implemented, I will not discuss them further even though I find the posted designs lacking due to the lack of effort made to make room for bikes and the numerous conflict points which will make it unpleasant and dangerous to use. The designs on Orléans Boulevard are not available but are part of a broader study for active transportation along the corridor. It is encouraging that we may get a comprehensive design for Orléans Boulevard instead of disconnected infrastructure. I don’t think additional work is planned near the Place D’Orléans station.


For a good description of the planned active transportation around future LRT stations, I recommend that you check out Hans on the Bike's blog. Unfortunately, the Stage 2 LRT website does not provide any information on station layouts or roadway layouts around the stations.


Place d’Orléans Station


Artist conceptual drawing of Place D'Orléans Station showing additional pedestrian bridges and active transportation infrastructure.
Artist conception of the Place D'Orléans Station (taken from Hans on the Bike's blog post)

I believe the Place d’Orléans station will be the best option for people living between Bilberry Creek and Tenth Line (someone from Châtelaine Village asked me to consider them so I am).


The south side of Jeanne D’Arc around Bilberry will have an access to the station through a multi-use pathway (MUP) along the sound barrier that is almost completed as part of Stage 2. The MUP is accessible through quiet residential streets and the other MUPs in the area (even though they could use some improvements and winter maintenance) so I would consider that area covered even though I don’t love MUPs (if they become busy, we will advocate for better options). The situation may be similar on the east side of Champlain but I am not sure what the MUP will look like.


Things are a bit more complicated when we go north of Jeanne D’Arc where Jeanne D’Arc is an uncomfortable place to bike in my experience. There are a lot of driveways and parked cars along the road which means that bikes need to take the lane to stay safe and visible which tends to anger drivers (I don’t care but we shouldn’t be designing things for me). Bilberry could be used to access the MUP from the west with only some improvements at the western intersection of Jeanne D’Arc and Bilberry. The best north-south connection from the neighbourhood would be good active transportation infrastructure along Champlain. Ideally, active infrastructure on Champlain should provide a comfortable way to get to Place D’Orléans for access to amenities but this is priority 3.


Getting to the Place d’Orléans Park and Ride is one thing but once you are there, you are thrown into a giant parking lot which is very uncomfortable to navigate. Work should be done to improve that experience.

Convent Glen Station (Orléans Boulevard)

I can see Convent Glen Station being the most important station for a wide area of Convent Glen and Orléans Woods. I expect people from the eastern part of the Grey Nuns area to favour Convent Glen Station along with people living along Fortune and Vorlage, Sugar Creek Way and those living between Voyageurs and Orléans Boulevard. Given the layout of Jeanne D’Arc Station, I would expect people to favour the less car-centric Orléans Boulevard if proper active transportation infrastructure is built along the corridor. The only way to make Convent Glen Station safe and comfortable for people outside of cars is to provide safe separated infrastructure along Orléans Boulevard regardless of which side of the highway you are located. Again, improvements to the MUP system especially on the south side of the highway would go a long way toward enhancing the experience.


Jeanne D’Arc Station

I expect Jeanne D’Arc to serve people who are relatively close to it. On the south side, there are some people close to Jeanne D’Arc who will take the discomfort and get to the station by foot or bike. There will also be people using the station to get to Bob MacQuarrie and to businesses along Youville. The Orléans Corridor Secondary Plan does have plans to build housing along Youville but this still seems very speculative to me and the current development consists mostly of parking lots so I don’t see a need for active transportation on Youville in the short and medium term.


To the north, I expect some people (including me) to use the proposed MUP to the station. A lot of work would be needed to make getting to the overpass comfortable. There are rumours that Jeanne D’Arc may start to get a road diet starting with the implementation of a roundabout at Fortune/Vineyard but there is nothing concrete. If the city decides to use the unneeded capacity for cars on Jeanne D’Arc to make it an active transportation corridor, there is a good chance that getting to Jeanne D’Arc Station by foot or bike may be an attractive option.


Updated priorities



Priority




Rank

Route

Kids

Access to transit

Status

Comment

1

Orléans Boulevard active transportation corridor

X

X

Planning


2

Park MUP network improvements including better connectivity and winter maintenance

X

X

Ongoing


3

Safe crossing of Jeanne D’Arc between Vineyard and Voyageurs

X


Planning


4

Place D'Orléans Park and Ride active transportation improvements


X

Unknown


5

Champlain Active Infrastructure


X

Unknown


6

St-Joseph active transportation infrastructure*

X


High level plan


6

Jeanne D'Arc northwest active transportation corridor


X

Unknown


7

Jeanne D’Arc Overpass safe crossing*

X


Under construction

Design not suitable for kids

8

Youville active transportation corridor



Unknown

Not useful in the short term


343 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page