A sampling of the consultant's findings and recommendations related to proposed infrastructure improvements at the southern end of the City of North Bay shows a focus on traffic mitigation, active transportation, and safety, with an attempt to limit disruptions to property.
Various configurations have been proposed, studied, and discarded but preferred solutions involving widening Lakeshore Drive from Ferris Drive to the Pinewood Park intersection to four lanes; and Pinewood Park to Decaire Road to five lanes with a continuous centre left-turn lane have gained favour with the consultant, Tatham Engineering Limited.
Additionally, two new roundabouts are included as the preferred options for reconstructed intersections.
"The influences of development growth along the Lakeshore Drive and Pinewood Park Drive arterial road corridors have resulted in higher traffic volumes and traffic congestion, a trend which will continue," according to a video posted by the City of North Bay about the project.
The intersection of Lakeshore Drive, Pinewood Park Drive, the ramps to and from Highway 11, and Lamorie Street is addressed with two options for improvements. One involves dual left-turn lanes on the approach from Highway 11 — an area identified as troublesome due to vehicles backing up from the lights and down the ramp. The other three approaches would have a single left-turn lane.
The second — and preferred option — is a roundabout with left/thru and right/thru east and north approaches and left/thru and channelized right from west and south approach. It is seen as an opportunity for collaboration between the MTO and the City when it comes to funding and a solution for the backed-up vehicles. The eventual completion of the casino project will also impact traffic in this area. At this stage, it is proposed the ramp connecting Lakeshore Drive to Pinewood Park Drive will be turned into an access road off of Pinewood Park which would terminate into a cul-de-sac for the properties that currently only have access off the ramp.
See the video below for more on the full assessment of alternatives related to the widening of Lakeshore Drive (at the 8:07 mark) and Pinewood Park (at 9:28) and intersection improvements with roundabouts at Booth Road (11:56) and Pinewood Park (12:54).
The study finds intersection improvements will also be needed at Lakeshore Drive and Booth Road. Two options, both including a reconfiguration of the Booth Road and the sports complex access points to Lakeshore are presented with safe crossings for pedestrians and multi-use path users included.
The first includes left and right turn lanes on both Lakeshore approaches to Booth, which is also an access point to the Steve Omischl Sports Complex. The proposed Community and Recreation Centre has been included in the drawing.
The second choice for the Booth Road intersection involves a roundabout and it is the recommended option. The consultant favours the roundabout because it "ensures a high level of service for the intersection through a 20-year horizon," and has a low impact on the surrounding property, predominantly owned by the City.
Future needs identified for the 3.7-kilometre stretch of Lakeshore Drive from Ferris Drive along Pinewood Park south of Decaire Road to North Bay's southern boundary include improving the roads to current City standards; ensuring appropriate traffic operations for future traffic volumes; and, ensuring multi-modal transportation (bike lanes, multi-use paths, sidewalks, transit) are integrated.
The project area is mainly comprised of rural residential and commercial properties, with some institutional uses, including the Steve Omischl Sports Complex and Sunset Park Public School. A study of the area finds the road-widening project is "clear of any archaeological or heritage impact concerns."
There are eight water crossings in the study area and two major watercourses — the La Vase River and Cooks Creek. The environmental assessment finds there are no provincially-significant wetlands within the study area. According to the study, the main impact the project would have on the natural environment is the need to replace or extend culverts for water crossings, and the overall environmental impact is categorized as "minimal," although some "typical" minor loss of vegetation and habitat due to the widening of the road is expected.
Questions and comments should be addressed to the consultant and will be accepted until April 9. Preliminary study materials related to proposed improvements to Lakeshore Drive and Pinewood Park Drive, from Ferris Drive to south of Decaire Road, are available for public review and contact information for the consultant can be found here.
All stakeholder comments will be reviewed and addressed. The consultant will incorporate the comments from the public to identify optimal solutions for road widening and intersections. A second public information centre will be held before the final report is prepared for public review.