Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt speaks to a crowd of about 115 people about his idea to restrict left turns from Manotick Main onto Maple Ave.
Manotick’s biggest intersection could be facing a major turning point if Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt gets his way.
At a public meeting on March 7, Moffatt floated the idea of fixing congested northbound traffic through the intersection of Manotick Main Street and Bridge Street by restricting left-hand turns and creating a designated right-turn lane onto Bridge.
By a show of hands, the vast majority of about 115 residents who attended the meeting supported the change, which Moffatt said would be an inexpensive way to make the intersection safer and more efficient.
Currently, drivers going north on Manotick Main have two lanes to get through the intersection. The left lane can get backed up if someone wants to turn onto Maple Avenue, and the right lane gets backed up when someone going straight through is in front of a line of cars waiting to turn onto Bridge. More often than not, frustrated drivers cut through Clapp Lane to turn onto Bridge further east instead of waiting for the light to change.
Moffatt said those problems could be solved if left-hand turns are eliminated there entirely, and the two lanes are split evenly between through traffic on the left and right turns on the right.
He said restricting left turns shouldn’t impact very many residents; peak hour turns are about 10 cars an hour, he said, while during off-peak hours it’s more like two.
“If you’re turning left you’re turning to go back somewhere, because that’s what the road does,” he told the crowd. “You could turn on Eastman, Beaverwood – you have options before you get there.”
Moffatt said he has already discussed the feasibility of the changes with staff and now they need to decide how to proceed. They may take a phased approach.
“I know (staff) support restricting the left hand lane, and that may solve it all,” Moffatt said. “This is easy to do, so let’s do this and see how this works.”
The public meeting held at the Manotick arena was meant to be an update on several developments and ongoing projects in the village.
Moffatt reminded residents about plans to build the Van Vliet extension and intersection this April. At the same time, Dickinson Circle will be realigned with a signalized intersection.
Developer Joe Princiotta gave a brief update on the construction of Orchardview on the Rideau, a new retirement residence on Bridge Street. He said he hopes to have residents living there by Christmas.
Another developer also presented early plans to redevelop the plaza on the northeast corner of Manotick Main and Bridge, which would extend the property and add a new bank and plaza on the corner.
Some residents questioned whether this would be good for the village, but most people at the meeting agreed that the current plaza, which houses the Hard Stones Grill and the parking lot that goes with it, is too ugly for the village’s gateway intersection.
“This is a pretty village but the first thing you see is this ugly intersection,” one resident said. “These people are thinking in the right way.”
The other concern was parking. Currently the plaza has more parking than required, and it is often used as a public lot by people who aren’t shopping in the stores. The new development will meet the city’s parking requirements but only just – reducing the amount of spots available.
Some residents said the extra parking is necessary, especially since there are few accessible side streets nearby to park.
Property manager Scott Wilson said it’s not the landlord’s responsibility to provide public parking for the village.
One resident received a smattering of applause when she pointed out that Manotick has been trying to become more pedestrian and bike friendly, and that more parking is not the answer.
“If we don’t make it hard to park, then we’re not going to make it easier to walk,” she said.
The development has not been submitted to the city yet, but the architects in charge of the project have spent the last month meeting with community associations and the public to make sure their project is acceptable before entering negotiations with the city.
Moffatt also led an update about the ongoing request for expressions of interest to redevelop Dickinson Square.