LRT in Connaught Park: Updated landscape plan, opportunity for feedback

Landscape plan for Connaught park showing walls around the train and small berms

re: Noise and Visual Mitigation in Landscape Plans for Connaught Park

QTNca has continued its advocacy for improvements in the LRT plans through Connaught Park, including paths and measures to reduce noise and visual impacts. Residents have an opportunity to provide feedback on a revised landscape plan now and a revised plan for connectivity is coming later this year.

In spring 2020, the QTN community was engaged in the consideration of berms proposed by KEV as a way to reduce noise and visual impacts for QTN residents (Letter to KEV regarding berms). Then OC Transpo announced that a noise study would be done; later we learned that it would include the whole LRT Phase II project, which took more than a year to complete. For Connaught Park, Councillor Kavanaugh and OC Transpo, in cooperation with QTNca, formed a public advisory committee (PAC) to facilitate community discussion about the plans to mitigate noise and visual impacts for this section of the LRT line.

The PAC met for the first time on September 21st and OC Transpo presented the following key points (click to view presentation, PDF):

  • The noise study showed a need for additional noise mitigation in Connaught Park.
  • Large berms will not be pursued for noise mitigation. Reasons given include: NCC paths require openings that reduce effectiveness for noise mitigation; insufficient space for large berms; and conflicts with underground utilities.
  • For noise mitigation, OC Transpo proposes three engineering elements: Absorptive wall panels, a noise barrier wall, and rail dampers (slide 6):
  • Design and colour of materials for the noise wall can be chosen to blend with a park setting and OC Transpo invites community suggestions on that.
  • Tree planting and vines will be used to “green” the noise wall; community input is welcome.

Members of the PAC raised several important questions:

  • Access to the noise study to read the analysis of noise impacts, the rationale for the decisions made, and the effectiveness of the proposed solutions. The presentation at the meeting did not include any quantitative or detailed analysis
  • Noise impacts and mitigation for other areas such as the fly-over bridge and the curves on the southbound train to Baseline. Current plans include noise dampers on the track over the fly-over but not a noise wall. Concerns about the noise around the curves include impacts for Woodroofe High School and Whitehaven as well as QTN.
  • More information from the perspective of residents, such as cross-sectional views and data from various locations along the route, e.g., north of Elmhurst.
  • Visual mitigation requires more attention. The study only considered noise mitigation, while both have always been raised by residents as important matters to be addressed.

Next Steps:

  1. We will share additional information as soon as we receive it
    • Based on a follow-up enquiry, the noise study will be available by the end of October.
    • Detailed analysis of noise impacts around the curves will be sent separately.
    • Additional drawings to show noise and visual mitigation from the perspective of residents.
  1. Feedback from QTN residents
    • OC Transpo is requesting feedback and suggestions on the appearance and colour of the noise walls, desire for vines, tree species (e.g., conifers, deciduous, fruit bearing), and overall landscape plan (see Slides 7 to 21). PAC members will compile community feedback and submit it to OC Transpo so it can be considered in development of final plans. Please submit your feedback to qtncommunity@gmail.com.
    • QTN residents may wish to provide other feedback and questions through the committee.  The committee will try to obtain answers to your questions. Questions/comments can be submitted to the QTN community e-mail at qtncommunity@gmail.com.
  1. A public Zoom meeting will be held later in the process.

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