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Keeping you informed

Maintaining open lines of communication

 

Minimizing impacts to homes and businesses is a priority with BRT. The project team will continue to consult with property owners and explore solutions that balance your needs with requirements for rapid transit.

It’s too early to confirm the exact extent of property impacts, because fine details can be tweaked during the upcoming “detailed design” phase of the project. And if your property is likely to be impacted at all, you should have heard from the project team already.

Did you know?

1. You can contact us with any questions

The team has already contacted anyone whose property may be impacted – by letter, in person or over the phone – and will continue to reach out. If you own property on a BRT corridor and haven’t heard from us, please contact us.

2. Construction isn’t happening tomorrow

BRT construction is expected to begin in 2020 in the downtown core, heading east. After that, the north, south and west corridors are expected to be constructed between 2022 and 2028. All property owners will be notified well before shovels are in the ground.

3. The finer details are still to come

There is still a lot of work to do in the “detailed design” phase. That’s when engineers will incorporate feedback from recent consultations into the plans and work out the finer details like exactly where sidewalks will run.

Living & working on the BRT line

What could happen to my neighbourhood?

With BRT, neighbourhoods along the corridors will be connected to the rest of the city by fast, comfortable, reliable public transit. In line with the City’s focus on building communities – as outlined in the London Plan – areas along BRT routes are envisioned as vibrant, mixed-use neighbourhoods that are more walkable than before. The plan includes revitalizing and beautifying sidewalks and streetscapes. Stops can be customized with elements of the unique character of each neighbourhood. Bike parking and accessible platforms will make stops safer and easier for commuting, complemented by public art, planters, trees and street furniture where appropriate.

How your neighbourhood looks now will influence how it evolves with BRT. Some areas will remain mostly residential with some small shops and businesses. If you live downtown or in one of the planned Transit Villages at the end of each BRT line, you will probably see more of the type of mixed-use development envisioned in the London Plan – including the greater density and height that’s going to help the City grow inward and upward. This type of development is already happening along the approved BRT routes, much as it has in other similar-sized cities that have implemented rapid transit.

Because it inspires city-building along its corridors, rapid transit is known to increase land value. Research shows changes are generally positive as land becomes more desirable in its existing form, or is redeveloped into higher density uses.

If London grows as expected – to the tune of 84,000 more people in the next 20 years – land value along the BRT corridors could rise by as much as $90 million in total. As outlined in the project Business Case, the average uplift in land value along the corridors is anticipated to range from 2 per cent to 10 per cent.

The realty process

If it looks like your home or business will be significantly impacted by BRT, the City’s goal is to come to a fair and equitable agreement, acceptable to everyone involved. This means respecting your rights as a property owner and offering fair market value compensation, while balancing the needs of the City.

Any time a project is constructed in phases, the City tries to buy properties that are needed first, but will negotiate for property in any phase if an owner wants to sell. Every effort will be made to negotiate a fair agreement with a property owner before resorting to expropriation.

Every property sale must be supported by a current market value appraisal, which is based on the “highest and best use” of the property, according to real estate industry standards and Appraisal Institute of Canada principles and professional standards. “Market value” is the amount that might be expected if the property were sold in the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer.

BRT and my business

By 2034, the City of London estimates that between 60 and 70 per cent of growth could occur within 800 metres of rapid transit. Estimates show 18,000 more people and 16,000 more jobs could be located within a few kilometres of the corridors by that time, and already, London has seen interest and investment along the planned BRT routes. In York Region, 100 per cent of all new office development since 2013 has happened along the recently constructed BRT lines.

In the London Plan, City Council laid out a vision for rejuvenating urban neighbourhoods, main streets and the downtown core. A big part of this goal depends on encouraging development inward and upward around key local hubs – which is the type of growth that is already being sparked by BRT plans.

With BRT, the corridors will provide easy access to downtown and the Transit Villages located at the end of each BRT line, and these areas will have sidewalks and streetscapes beautified by the project.

This type of city-building along rapid transit corridors is known to increase land value, as lands become more attractive or are redeveloped. If the City of London grows as expected, the total uplift in land value along the BRT corridors could total up to $90 million – with average increases anticipated to range from two per cent to 10 per cent, as outlined in the Business Case.

London’s BRT corridors are envisioned as lively communities that will attract investment in higher-density residential and commercial developments. In other cities with rapid transit, more people are clustered around BRT lines – living, working, shopping and dining.

By the numbers

  • 2-10%

    Potential land value increase along BRT corridors
  • $90 million

    Potential total land value increase along BRT corridors
  • 60-70%

    Of growth could occur within 800 metres of rapid transit by 2034

    (London population forecasts)

  • 16,000

    More jobs could be located within a few kilometres of BRT corridors by 2034

Is BRT coming to your neighbourhood?

See how it could look.

Check out the designs

Frequently asked questions

Q: How will I know if my property could be impacted?

If your property may be impacted, you will have already heard from us – by letter, in person and/or over the phone – and the lines of communication will remain open throughout the project.

It’s still too early to confirm the exact extent to which each and every property will be impacted, because fine details can still be tweaked and adjusted during the “detailed design” phase of the project that starts this winter. However, if it looks like your property will be impacted in any way, you should have heard from us already regarding the potential impacts, the timing of the project and the process for negotiating land purchases.

If you own property on a BRT corridor and have not heard from us, please contact us at 519-930-3518 so we can help you understand what BRT means for you.

Q: How many properties will be impacted?

At this point, estimates show approximately 400 properties could be partially impacted by the BRT project – which could mean, for example, a small slice of a parking lot, or a portion of a lawn. It’s anticipated that 82 properties could be fully impacted.

It’s still a bit too early to confirm the exact extent to which each and every property will be impacted, because fine details can still be tweaked and adjusted during the “detailed design” phase of the project that starts this winter.

Q: What will happen to trees along the BRT corridors?

Trees and the natural landscape are extremely important to the City, and we know they are important to residents as well. The difficult reality is that sometimes with large projects, there are impacts on trees. This happens, for example, when changes are made to sewers or sidewalks or roads are widened.

Whenever trees will be impacted, the City’s goal is to leave the streetscape in better shape than before. Three trees are planted for every tree that is impacted, and in a way that best fits the local natural environment.

It’s still too early to know exactly which trees might be impacted by BRT, but those details will become clear during the “detailed design” phase of the project in 2019.

Q: What happens to local bus routes in my area while BRT is being constructed?

During construction, local routes may be temporarily diverted, but any changes will be communicated well in advance. LTC will review and adjust local service leading up to the start of BRT operations, and on an annual basis during BRT operations.

Q: Who do I talk to if I have questions about my property impacts?

Please feel free to call the project team at 519-930-3518.

Q: When are the BRT plans going to be finalized?

The Environmental Assessment for the BRT project is scheduled to wrap up in 2019, at which point engineers will be evaluating every inch of the 24-kilometre route to finalize the designs.

While some things are already decided – like the routes, dedicated bus lanes and where buses will travel in centre- or curb-running lanes – final details can still be tweaked and modified during the upcoming detailed design phase of the project.

Q: When is construction happening in my area?

Construction is expected to begin downtown in 2020, followed by the east leg of the BRT network. Between 2022 and 2028, construction is expected to continue through the north, south and west corridors.

Construction of the BRT network will not happen all at once. Just like any other City road project, construction will happen in phases, with lots of advance communication and notice to residents and businesses in the area. Individual road work phases are typically planned to start and finish in one construction season.

Q: How did the City decide which properties would be impacted by BRT?

On any transit project of this magnitude, a key priority is trying to balance the needs of home and business owners with the goal of improving transportation in the city. Over many years, a great deal of effort has gone into consulting with property owners and exploring solutions that prioritize their needs alongside the need for a transit solution that will carry London into the future.

At every stage of the project, members of the public, business owners and homeowners have been consulted and invited to provide input to help shape the BRT plans, and in the past year alone, the BRT team has held hundreds of hours of consultation through stakeholder sessions and public workshops. In some cases, extra public meetings were specifically added to give people ample time to provide feedback before bringing the designs to Council. For the most part, the BRT designs approved by Council were the designs that had the least property impacts.

To learn more about how the BRT plans were developed, check out our Road to BRT section.

Q: Will I be compensated for lost business revenue during construction?

While the City will continue to work closely with business owners along the corridors to implement BRT in a way that respects your concerns and minimizes impacts, the City cannot provide monetary compensation.

Q: How might BRT impact my business?

Just like any other City road project, BRT construction will improve short stretches of road at a time, with lots of advance communication to ensure customers know you are open and how to get to your location. Individual road work phases are typically planned to start and finish in one construction season.

The City’s recent work converting Dundas Place into a flex street is an example of the high level of communication and coordination that will be put into place to minimize and mitigate potential impacts to local businesses during the construction phase. The City will be working closely with local business owners and Business Improvement Associations well before shovels are in the ground to minimize potential impacts during the construction phase.

In the long run, BRT is envisioned to stimulate economic development and growth by connecting people to jobs and establishing clusters of industry near stops and transit hubs.

Already, London is experiencing investment along the BRT corridors, and by 2034, the City estimates that between 60 and 70 per cent of growth could occur within 800 meters of rapid transit. Conservative estimates show 18,000 more people and 16,000 more jobs will be located within a few kilometres of the corridors by that time, which means more people clustered around BRT lines – living, working, shopping, dining and supporting local businesses.

Q: How will the City ensure my business doesn’t suffer?

In terms of the construction phase of the project, the recent conversion of downtown London’s Dundas Place into a flex street is an example of how strong communication and coordination by the City – before and during construction – can minimize potential impacts to local businesses.

From making sure customers can reach your business (media coverage, signs and lots of advance notice for detours) to supporting your endeavours in other ways (think social media, on-the-street liaisons and real-time construction updates), the City will continue to work closely with business owners and associations to develop plans that support local industry.

Q: Can the City force me out of my home or business?

If it looks like your home or business will be significantly impacted by BRT, the City’s goal is to find a fair and equitable agreement that is acceptable to everyone involved. Every effort will be made to negotiate a fair agreement with a property owner before resorting to expropriation.

Q: How will this impact noise in my area?

Depending on how close your property is to the planned BRT line, some home and business owners may experience temporary noise disruption from the construction. However, construction best practices will be followed to minimize noise and vibration.

Along some small stretches of the BRT line, permanent sound barrier walls are being considered in order to minimize sound once BRT is up and running, but those details will be confirmed during the “detailed design” phase of the project that starts this winter.

The project team is also exploring the feasibility of electric buses, which are known to be quieter than traditional buses.

Q: What impact will construction have on the natural environment in my area?

Natural environment is a matter of a provincial importance and the project team must demonstrate the highest regard for it by minimizing any potential negative impacts. This could include:

  • Scheduling construction around key wildlife activities
  • Adjusting construction timing using best practices for erosion and sediment
  • Replanting trees at a 3 to 1 ratio
  • Taking the opportunity, while implementing BRT, to address invasive species and create habitats
  • Maintaining water balance, particularly for sensitive areas like Westminster Ponds

Fortunately, most of the infrastructure needed for this project is within the existing municipal road allowance and in urban areas.

For more detailed information on mitigation efforts related to the natural environment, check out the Draft Environmental Report, Appendix G: Environmental Impact Study Report.

Q: Will BRT make traffic worse in my area?

As London grows, BRT will carry thousands of riders in dedicated bus lanes, avoiding traffic congestion on our roads – not adding to it. Smart traffic signals installed with BRT will spot traffic patterns and alter signals to improve traffic flow for everyone. And most BRT corridors are not reducing or taking general traffic lanes away. In cases where traffic capacity is expected to be reduced – for example, on Richmond Street North – improvements are planned on nearby parallel roads to help keep traffic moving.

The team has done extensive computer modelling to predict how people will travel throughout the city in the future, based on forecasts about population and employment. Detailed traffic modelling was done at every signalized intersection along the BRT corridors (in total, 86 signalized intersections), and traffic flow was analyzed around 1,000 side streets and driveways across the city.

A detailed traffic simulation was also completed for the Richmond Street North corridor, looking at how traffic moves now on Richmond compared to how it could flow with BRT in place. The simulation showed:

  • Traffic levels are expected to stay the same for the most part. During peak hours (rush hour), there could be a 30-90 second increase in travel time.
  • Local streets are not expected to experience increases in “cut-through” traffic
  • There will be less capacity on Richmond, but also less traffic with other surrounding road improvements designed to divert drivers away from Richmond – for example, widening Western Road at the rail crossing, closing University Drive Bridge and a planned railroad underpass on Adelaide.
  • New dedicated left and right turn lanes at signalized intersections along Richmond will mean traffic can flow more smoothly in the general traffic lanes compared to today, where traffic on Richmond currently backs up behind turning cars and buses without dedicated turn lanes.

Overall, BRT is expected to lessen potential future traffic congestion, although intersections which experience congestion today are likely to continue to experience congestion with BRT.

For more information on the traffic studies that have been done as part of the BRT plan, check out the Draft Environmental Report’s Traffic studies here.

Q: What’s going to happen to my parking, deliveries and loading?

The City recognizes that parking, deliveries and loading are critical to successful business operations, and has been working closely with business owners throughout the planning process to understand your specific challenges and accommodate your needs into the plans.

For example, loading areas were added at Citi Plaza and along King Street and street parking was maintained where possible, including Clarence Street and Angel Street and Richmond Row.

It’s too early to confirm the exact extent to which each property’s parking, deliveries and loading will be impacted, because fine details can still be tweaked and adjusted during the “detailed design” phase of the project in 2019. But the City will continue to engage with impacted business owners to find solutions to manage these critical functions.

For example, in other cities with BRT, deliveries are usually managed in BRT lanes during off-peak hours, with some designated short-term loading zones throughout the downtown corridors to accommodate daytime deliveries.

In terms of parking, of the 711 on-street parking spaces downtown, BRT will remove 82 spaces. There are around 10,000 parking spaces in the downtown in total.

All businesses that may be impacted by BRT should have heard from us by now, so if you are on the BRT route and have not been contacted, please call 519-930-3518.