Memo from the General Manager Public Works – April 12, 2022
Roads and Parking Services
Roads and Parking Services operational crews are working to improve spring road and sidewalk conditions. Teams were dispatched as soon as the snow began melting to fill potholes on the roadway. We use a warm asphalt mix to temporarily patch over the hole, creating a smoother and safer driving surface, along with up to four Python units that are planned to be used from Tuesday, April 12 to Friday, May 13 (weather dependent). When asphalt plants open in May, we will have access to materials that will improve the longevity of the pothole repairs. Potholes may be reported online and they will be triaged and addressed as operations allow. Sidewalk maintenance is ongoing. Staff will be surveying sidewalks and ironworks, then planning for necessary repairs to be undertaken throughout the summer. Report a problem with a road, sidewalk, or pathway.
Staff perform spring and summer maintenance operations including road and sidewalk sweeping, asphalt, concrete and ironworks repairs and grass cutting along rural roadsides.
Street sweeping operations are already underway. The City completes concentrated street sweeping operations in neighbourhoods with year-round on-street parking. This year’s concentrated street sweeping operations began on Monday, April 4 and are scheduled to be completed on Tuesday, April 12, with more than 350 km of roadway cleaned. Sweeping operations across the City should be completed by Tuesday, May 31, however weather conditions could cause delayed completion.
Spring and summer maintenance activities commence in early spring with lawn reinstatement, repairing areas that were confirmed as being damaged by winter operations equipment. Lawns are repaired using topsoil and seed – not sod. Residents aware of locations requiring repair should report them online as soon as possible to be added to the Spring Maintenance List. When a property is repaired, staff will leave maintenance instructions in the form of a door knocker.
The City of Ottawa is committed to doing our part to protect species at risk. The time at which we can conduct certain operations in our communities, especially in our rural areas, may be impacted by species at risk found in the area.
The City of Ottawa offers several options for parking bicycles, including ring-and-post racks at various locations throughout the city, and seasonal on-street bike corrals. The Council-approved Public Bike Parking Strategy is being implemented and staff are currently working towards expanding the bike corral program and introducing secure bike parking in central locations.
Traffic Services and Traffic Calming
Traffic Services is responsible for safe and efficient operation of the City of Ottawa’s transportation network for all road users.
Each spring, our pavement marking program begins following completion of the road sweeping program. All existing pavement markings are refreshed annually, including for intersections, longitudinal roadway lines, cycling facilities, traffic calming measures and more. Various locations with irregularities and safety concerns are prioritized for completion as early as the season permits, along with cycling lanes and pedestrian crossovers, followed by high-volume roads and intersections, and then lower-volume streets.
Two main painting trucks are used, with additional equipment for specialty markings. The first truck operates from May to November, using acetone-based paint in cooler months, and water-based paint during warmer months (June to September). The second paint uses methylmethacrylate (MMA), which requires warmer temperatures. This is the second year applying MMA paint, which is highly durable and stays visible for longer than acetone-based paint.
The installation of traffic calming flex stakes typically begins by mid-April and the installation of bicycle bollards by mid-May once bike lane pavement markings have been refreshed. Damaged or missing flex bollards can be reported online or via 3-1-1.
As temperatures climb, the number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle users on our urban and rural roads also rises. We continue to implement strategies to reduce fatal and serious injuries due to collisions on our roads through education, enforcement and engineering practices, as part of the Road Safety Action Plan. Some initiatives in 2022 include:
- Pop-up events and digital ‘Think Safety, Act Safely’ awareness campaigns promoting safety of vulnerable road users, particularly on rural roads and at intersections, and reducing high-risk behaviours
- Piloting cyclist detection bollards at signalized intersections and crossings
- Facilitating free motorcycle training and developing a comprehensive motorcycle safety strategy with stakeholders
The traffic counting program ramps up in spring, collecting vehicle classification, speed and volume data. Traffic and pedestrian studies occur in May and early June at locations where requests have been made for adult crossing guards, pedestrian crossovers and traffic signals.
Additionally, our seasonal re-lamping program occurs from April to October. Traffic signals at over 1,200 intersections, flashing beacons, and school zone flashers across the city are inspected and cleaned/repaired as required to maintain reliability.
Parks Maintenance and Forestry Services
Many spring park maintenance activities are underway and will continue over the coming month, including the removal of rink boards and temporary lights, the deployment of seasonal waste receptacles, litter clean-up in parks and the activation of water services for garden plots, fountains, spray pads, wading pools and irrigation systems.
Our seasonal transition activities also include the preparation of ball diamonds, the installation of tennis nets and seasonal docks and the activation of sports field lighting controls to support outdoor recreation amenities, such as skate parks, tennis and basketball courts, and BMX tracks.
Our ongoing park maintenance services that typically start after spring / summer preparations will continue throughout the summer season. These works include parks inspections, grass cutting, the completion of integrated turf maintenance practices on sports fields, play structure maintenance/inspection and sand tilling, grooming of public beaches, baseball diamond maintenance, graffiti removal, tree pruning and repairs of broken or hazardous items noted through inspections and service requests.
The collection of waste receptacles in parks, other than in destination parks, will be completed by our Solid Waste Services partners as of spring transition on Tuesday, April 19. Parks maintenance staff will continue many litter-related duties not associated with waste receptacles in parks, such as collecting litter prior to grass cutting or beach grooming.
Spring Tree Planting
Spring tree planting begins the first week of May and runs until late June, weather permitting. Forestry Services waters over 7,500 newly planted trees weekly between May and September. Spring and summer tree maintenance activities are ongoing and include lifecycle and reactive tree pruning and the removal of dead or hazardous trees. Tree stumping operations will begin in early May and continue through the fall. Forestry inspection staff continue to respond to service requests for City trees that include assessing storm damage, monitoring tree and forest health, and enforcing tree protection and permitting under the Tree Protection By-law.
Ottawa is currently experiencing an outbreak of Spongy moth, an invasive forest defoliating insect. Some areas of Ottawa will experience heavy to severe infestation this summer. The City has developed a comprehensive response plan with information for residents and frequently asked questions.
Solid Waste Services
Solid Waste Services is responsible for managing the collection of curbside and multi-residential collection of garbage, recycling, organics and leaf and yard waste across the city. Solid Waste Services is also responsible for collection at City facilities and managing the Yellow Bag Program for small street-front businesses.
The 2021 Recycling in Parks Pilot Program will continue in 2022 with the same 33 parks throughout the city that were part of the pilot last year.
New this season is the City-Space Waste Operations unit to coordinate the removal of graffiti and collection of waste in City parks. The Graffiti Management Strategy aims to keep Ottawa graffiti-free through a collaborative approach including education, community empowerment, eradication and enforcement. Waste collection in City parks, previously the responsibility of Parks Maintenance and Forestry Services, will officially transition over to Solid Waste Services on Tuesday, April 19.
The City is planning to host a number of Household Hazardous Waste events, which provide a way for residents to dispose of corrosive, flammable or poisonous materials for free. In 2021, residents helped divert more than 548 tonnes of hazardous materials from the landfill.
Until Sunday, May 8, the City is consulting on the Solid Waste Master Plan. This round of engagement includes a public survey available in ten languages, several public discussion and information sessions, and dialogue sessions for equity-seeking groups to better understand how the Waste Plan options impact their communities. Residents can register for these sessions and complete the survey at ottawa.ca/wasteplan.
The online garbage and recycling collection calendar provides residents with a reminder of their collection day and the type of material scheduled for collection. A mobile app is also available through Apple and Android stores. To date, it has been downloaded approximately 150,000 times.
Potting soil is available for purchase at the Trail Road Waste Facility while quantities last. Please visit ottawa.ca for updates on availability.
Wild Parsnip Management Strategy
The Wild Parsnip Management Strategy includes mapping Wild Parsnip infestation levels, raising public awareness, and applying herbicides at select locations. A memo providing an update on the strategy and a map of the spray areas will be circulated to members of Council in the coming weeks.