The Transportation Study is available on the City’s planning website. The study has been updated numerous times, most recently to account for the revised application. The final report will be the same as the draft report (March 2020) currently posted.
The study collected traffic data in December 2018 during the morning and afternoon peak periods. The study also cited past traffic counts collected in the area. Traffic volumes on the alley were found to be relatively low, while local roadways in the area have higher volumes. The higher local roadway volumes in this area of Garneau are in part a reflection of the nearby higher density residential and major institutional and employment areas.
The study did not find any operational concerns in the immediate area, including the alley. Both the alley and the local, predominantly one-way roadways are able to accommodate the additional traffic. While the traffic volumes for local roadways exceed Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) thresholds, these are more representative of a traditional suburban and smaller city context, and are accordingly used as a starting point. The volumes are in line with thresholds used by other jurisdictions such as Calgary and Toronto, and existing volumes on other local roadways in Edmonton. Edmonton does not currently have its own thresholds and uses TAC and other jurisdictions for guidance.
The study used census data to assist in mode split projections - that is, which mode of transportation people use to get to and from the site - which is a standard approach for these types of studies. Garneau has among the highest mode splits in the City, with approximately 60 percent of trips to work by an alternative mode (not driving a vehicle). To account for this, the projected vehicle trips for the development, which are based on City data derived from primarily suburban areas, required a relatively significant reduction. Note that the City does not consider tenancy (renting vs. ownership) in its review of applications.
Neighbourhood renewal planning for Garneau is ongoing, with construction planned to commence in 2021. The plans include measures to significantly improve the pedestrian and bicycling experience in Garneau, manage traffic volumes and speed, and connect to open spaces. While the proposed development will add vehicular traffic to the neighbourhood, it is also well positioned to take advantage of the multi-modal infrastructure existing or planned for the neighbourhood. Initiatives such as the recently approved reduction to residential speed limits are also anticipated to improve the livability of the neighbourhood.
City Council recently approved Open Option Parking, which provides developers’ flexibility to choose the amount of parking that they feel is appropriate for their projects. The parking supply for this project will accordingly be determined at the development permit stage. Parking maximums remain in place to avoid an oversupply of parking. Under current regulations, the proposed development would not qualify for parking permits due to its heights being over three storeys.