Baseline Road rapid transit corridor travelling towards opposition

on .

Marjorie Shaver-Jones is opposed to the City of Ottawa's plan to put bus stations on medians in the middle of Baseline Road as part of a plan for a new rapid transit corridor.

 Marjorie Shaver-Jones is opposed to the City of Ottawa's plan to put bus stations on medians in the middle of Baseline Road as part of a plan for a new rapid transit corridor. (Chloé Fedio/CBC)

13.8-kilometre transit corridor requires the partial expropriation of more than 200 properties

By Chloé Fedio, CBC News

The City of Ottawa's $160-million plans for a new rapid transit corridor between Billings Bridge and Bayshore Station could face hordes of opposition at an upcoming committee meeting over concerns of installing bus-only lanes in the middle of Baseline Road.

The proposed 13.8-kilometre Baseline Road Rapid Transit Corridor also requires the partial expropriation of more than 200 residential and commercial properties, as well as the complete acquisition of up to 15 properties, to maintain two lanes of traffic on each side of the road, and include segregated bike lanes for cyclists and sidewalks for pedestrians. 

Marjorie Shaver-Jones, the head of the Copeland Park Community Association, has helped collect feedback from hundreds of people in her three-building condo complex, including a petition with some 500 signatures opposing various elements of the city's plan.

A sticking point is the city's plan to place bus stops at medians instead of curbside pickup.

'We think that the dollars can be spent much more wisely to create a much more user-friendly bus system.' - Marjorie Shaver-Jones, Copeland Park Community Association

The condos at 1465, 1485 and 1505 Baseline Road have a total of 1,800 units.

"The current proposed project isn't the best the city can offer and we'd like something better," she said.

"We think that the dollars can be spent much more wisely to create a much more user-friendly bus system that is an improvement on Baseline Road."

Feedback so far has already yielded a key change to the proposal: a signal to allow eastbound vehicles to turn left through the transit corridor for access to the condo complex.

But Shaver-Jones is concerned the planning and environmental assessment study on the project will be rubber-stamped by the Transportation Committee at its February 1 meeting.

The federal government has already pegged $6 million for the design of the transit corridor.

"We're worried it's a done deal," Shaver-Jones said. 

Elgin & Hawthorne Functional Design Study Open House

on .

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 5 to 7:30 p.m. (presentation 5:30 p.m.)
City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Council Chambers and Jean Pigott Place

You are invited to attend a public open house for the Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Design Study. The presentation will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m., so please arrive at 5 p.m. to sign in.

Agenda

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Presentation
  • Brief question and answer period
  • Open house

By attending, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the project, review the draft design for the corridor and provide feedback. Your feedback will assist the City in finalizing the draft design, which will be presented to Transportation Committee and City Council in 2017. The detailed design process will begin following Council approval.

Highlights of the draft design for Elgin Street include:

  • Wider sidewalks on both sides of the street
  • Reduced number of travel lanes and enhanced street edge activity (pedestrians, parking, trees, bike racks, etc.) to help calm traffic
  • Flexibility to retain on-street parking and loading spaces on at least one side the street in most blocks
  • Flexibility to program parking / loading spaces for pedestrian use, outdoor patios or streetside spots
  • Improved bus stop waiting areas
  • General strategies to manage construction period disruption

The draft design for Hawthorne Avenue includes:

  • Wider sidewalks on both sides of the street
  • Introduction of a westbound cycling facility (works in tandem with existing eastbound bike lane on Graham Avenue)
  • Maintaining some on-street parking on the south side of the street

Space is limited, so please register by Friday, January 6.

For further information, visit ottawa.ca or contact:

Vanessa Black, P. Eng.
Transportation Engineer – Network Modification
Transportation Services Department
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (link sends e-mail)
Tel.: 613 580 2424, ext. 12559

Inside the recycling plant

on .

IMG 0625

Inside the recycled material recovery facility on Sheffield Rd., where City of Ottawa residents' blue box contents are sorted and processed. Photos by Jon Connor.

Ever wondered what happens to your blue box contents once they've been picked up?

The container plant operated by Cascades on Sheffield Rd. processes 83 tonnes of blue box recyclables every day from 42 collection vehicles. Here's how that happens along the way:IMG 0637

Main conveyor feed: Material is dumped onto a large conveyor belt. An optical sensor stops the belt when material piles up at the top.

Backscraping or metering drum: Controls the amount of material entering the system, spreads material out and tears bags open.

Pre-sorting: Bags are opened. Large garbage is pulled off. Scrap metal and bulky plastics are sorted for recycling.

Ballistic separator: Carries flat items like paper, cardboard and plastic bags up to a sorting station where fibre is separated from film. Missed containers are thrown back into the line. Three-dimensional items fall down the paddles onto a conveyor that takes them into the next sorting area. Glass is broken by the paddles and sent down.

Drum magnet and cyclone: The conveyor carries material up and drops it over a spinning magnet, which captured steel items and sends them to a separate conveyor. The rest of the material falls on a fine screen, where small items, mostly glass, fall through and are conveyed to a cyclone that vacuums lightweight material away from the glass.

Optical sorters: The remaining material is spread out over speed belts and sent to two optical sorters. These sorters use infrared light to read material types, and air jets to blow the targeted objects to the desired place.

Optical sorter 1 directs polycoats down the first chute, and #1 plastics upward to the third chute. The remaining material falls through the middle chute to continue to optical sorter 2.

Optical sorter 2 directs #2 plastics down the first chute, and #3-7 plastics upward to the third chute. The remaining material falls through the middle chute to continue to manual sort line.

Manual sort line: Here, people pull off items that were missed by the mechanical sorting systems and throw them into the proper bunkers.

Eddy current separator: Uses a magnetic rotor to create eddy currents in the aluminum cans. The aluminum is propelled forward while gravity lets the remaining material drop onto the residual belt.

Waste-recoveryResidual belt: Leads to optical sorter 3, which redirects missed materials back into the system, while residual material drops into the residual bunker.

Baler: When the bunker for any targeted material fills up, it is transported to a baler and compacted into bales for shipping. The bales weigh between 500 and 1,000 kg, depending on the material.

Quality control: A quality control person at the end of each sort pulls out unwanted material and sends it back into the system.


Top "bin sins"

The worst contaminants found in City of Ottawa residents' blue boxes are:

  1. Household hazardous waste (oil, gas, pesticides, herbicides) in full or partly full containers or aerosol cans
  2. Propane and helium cylinders
  3. Batteries
  4. Plastic bags and films (grocery bags, milk and chip bags, cling wrap, cellophane wrapping). Please don't place your recyclables in bags.
  5. Garden items (tools, hoses, garden edging, lawn furniture, pool liners)
  6. Small appliances (toasters, broilers, microwaves) and power tools (drills, saws)
  7. Kitchenware (plates, cups and other ceramics, pots, pans)
  8. Random metal and plastic (car parts, children’s toys)
  9. Paper and cardboard, which belongs in the black box. However, some cardboard-like food and beverage containers, such as milk and ice cream cartons, as well as frozen juice cans, do belong in the blue bin.
  10. Organic materials (food, plants), which belong in the green bin

The worst contaminants in black boxes are:

  1. Plastic bags and plastic film (grocery bags, milk and chip bags, cling wrap, cellophane wrapping). Please don't place your recyclables in bags.
  2. Blue bin materials, especially gable-top containers (milk and juice cartons), aseptic containers (Tetra Paks), cans and beverage containers, which all belong in the blue box
  3. Metal automotive parts (rotors, calipers, pads)
  4. General waste
  5. Batteries

Ottawa's blue box stream has a contamination rate of about 20 percent, compared to only about 4 percent for black boxes.

If you're not sure whether an item belongs in your blue box, black box, green bin or the garbage, you can look it up in the City of Ottawa's Waste Explorer.

Ottawa Children's Garden soil contamination

on .

The City’s Environmental Remediation Unit recently found shallow soil contamination at Robert F. Legget Park and the Ottawa Children’s Garden at 321 Main St. in Old Ottawa East. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds were detected at concentrations exceeding provincial standards.

Although these contaminants pose a risk to human health, that possibility is based on conservative lifetime exposure limits. Health effects from exposure to PAHs usually arise only in cases of prolonged exposure.

Over the winter, the City will undertake a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to determine the full extent of the contamination, then develop a plan to implement appropriate risk management measures and/or remediation of the site.

The City and Ottawa Public Health do not consider the current risk to be acute or immediate, and the contaminated soil is unlikely to have a health impact on anyone unless the soil itself was ingested.


Key facts

  • Ottawa Public Health has confirmed that the soil at 321 Main St. poses no immediate risk to residents.
  • Eating fruits or vegetables from the garden over a short period of time should not cause any negative health effects.
  • When the Ottawa Children’s Garden was established in 2009, the soil underwent testing and was within the acceptable provincial levels. These provincial standards were updated in 2011, and allowed levels for most PAH compounds were decreased.
  • Soil samples taken in October 2016 revealed PAH levels exceeding the newer provincial standards.
  • The Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) will collect further information about the soil and determine the full extent of the contamination.
  • Based on the results of the Phase II ESA, the City will develop a plan to implement appropriate risk management measures and/or remediation at the property in 2017.

Questions and answers

What are Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons?
PAHs are a group of more than 100 chemicals generated from the incomplete combustion of fuels, waste or other organic substances. The dominant sources of PAHs in the environment are associated with human activity and  are commonly found in older urban areas, particularly those used for industrial purposes or manufacturing. PAHs are contained in asphalt, crude oil, coal, ash, coal tar pitch, creosote and vehicle exhaust. They can occur throughout the environment in the air, attached to dust particles, or as solids in soil or sediment.