Montreal Road revitalization: OC Transpo detours

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Consultation has concluded

The City of Ottawa is undertaking construction for the Montreal Road Revitalization project from North River Road to St. Laurent Boulevard. The project also includes the reconstruction of North River Road from Selkirk Street to the North River Road cul-de-sac.

The purpose of this page is to solicit your questions on the proposed detours included in OC Transpo’s presentation on this page. The project started in mid-June 2019 with utility relocation work. Major construction works began in 2020, with anticipated project completion in late 2022. As communicated early in the project, Montreal Road will be reduced to one westbound lane between the Vanier Parkway and St. Laurent Boulevard in 2021 and 2022 requiring detours via McArthur Avenue.

During the construction work, pedestrian access to businesses will remain open at all times and residents and visitors are encouraged to continue to support Montreal Road businesses.


The City of Ottawa is undertaking construction for the Montreal Road Revitalization project from North River Road to St. Laurent Boulevard. The project also includes the reconstruction of North River Road from Selkirk Street to the North River Road cul-de-sac.

The purpose of this page is to solicit your questions on the proposed detours included in OC Transpo’s presentation on this page. The project started in mid-June 2019 with utility relocation work. Major construction works began in 2020, with anticipated project completion in late 2022. As communicated early in the project, Montreal Road will be reduced to one westbound lane between the Vanier Parkway and St. Laurent Boulevard in 2021 and 2022 requiring detours via McArthur Avenue.

During the construction work, pedestrian access to businesses will remain open at all times and residents and visitors are encouraged to continue to support Montreal Road businesses.


CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Do you have a question about the detours? Ask them here.

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    WIll there be transit signal priority installed on the stretch on Montreal road that is being updated? if not then what is being done to improve the flow of buses on the corridor? Will the installed bike paths be completely separated from the road allowing for safer biking conditions? if not what actions are being taken for the safety of cyclists and the expansion of a city-wide biking network?

    NoahRogers asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing these concerns with us.

    The peak period transit priority lane will be maintained in in the westbound direction in the ultimate conditions. In addition, some bus stops have been adjusted and/or consolidated to improve travel times and the flow of buses to downtown. The addition of cycle tracks in both the east and west direction on Montreal Road limits our ability to provide transit priority lanes in both directions. Therefore, we worked with the project team to maintain the critical direction, toward downtown. 

    As mentioned above, cycle tracks, with raised segregated facilities, are being added in both directions. This arrangement will provide a safe environment for pedestrians and motorists. Some renderings and landscape drawings are available for viewing on the project website.

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    I attended the presentation on November 18th. My concern is that high school students from Vanier will have to take two buses to get to Gloucester or Pearson HS. Please extend the #15 to Jasmine Crescent. HS students are transit dependent and need better access.

    Kari Glynes Elliott asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing these concerns with us.

    Due to the changes being implemented, trips on Route 15 will not service the Gloucester or Pearson high schools on Jasmine Crescent. However, we are working with our scheduling team to plan some direct trips for these students during school start and end times to eliminate the need to transfer at Blair Station. Further details will be posted on the OC Transpo website and the project website when we have developed our schedule. 

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    My understanding is that route 12 is being cut, and will go no further than St. Laurent Shopping Centre. I was told route 15 will be making those trips down Montreal Road. Will the total number of trips down Montreal Road to downtown be equal to the current combined number of trips of the 12 and 15, or is service being reduced?

    mcgarryr asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing these concerns with us.

    Yes, our plan is to match regular service to downtown on Route 15. Route 15 will be modified to operate as a frequent service for the duration of the closure. Service will be modified from a peak period route to full day service, 7 days a week, operating at least every 15 minutes at most times of the day. Service start and end times on Route 15 will be extended in the early morning and late evening to match the existing Route 12. 

    Both Routes 12 and 15 operate on 15-minute headways during the peak period and are strategically offset so buses to downtown are scheduled on Montreal Road approximately every 7 minutes. During construction, the total number of buses will be maintained to support the demand and capacity needs during weekday peak periods. However, the increased travel times to downtown will delay passengers, but schedules will reflect that anticipated travel time to the best of our ability. Further, we will continually monitor the number of trips, passenger loads, and stop activity to ensure we are providing the highest level of service possible throughout the project.

    Trips to Gatineau will continue as planned, however, new trips added as part of the detour will end at either Parliament or Lyon Station (TBD) and may start or end around St. Laurent Boulevard rather than Blair Station. 

    Delays should be expected as roadway capacity will be reduced. Also, certain unforeseen circumstances such as the pandemic may cause adjustments to trips and service levels. 

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    You point to the Elgin bus detours as a success story. As someone who regularly rode the detoured Elgin bus routes, let me correct the record: from the point of view of the transit user, they were not a success story: OC Transpo's temporary bus stops were poorly located, and information provided about the detours was not well communicated to the public or to bus operators. Your travel planner and other tools were also not very well updated with accurate information to ensure ease of use by the rider. Have you learned lessons from the Elgin detour problems, and can you guarantee that they will be prevented during the Montreal Road detour?

    WM asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing these concerns with us.

    Our objective is to provide the highest level of service possible based on the conditions provided. Bus stops are strategically located based on spacing, demand, landmarks, and site-specific limitations. Certain locations may work better, but installing a stop is not always feasible (please see our previous response regarding bus stop shelters). 

    Our plans have been shared and presented online. We have also purchased an advertisement in Perspectives Vanier to reach a broader audience. Our intention is to always have reliable schedules and functional online tools to accommodate users during these times. Day-to-day issues arise from an operational perspective and with construction, but we have staff and contingency plans to assist as needed. 

    The reference to Elgin Street is to remind residents that these large infrastructure projects occur in different parts of the city. We recognize that they are challenging to deal with. The takeaway is that the conditions are temporary and achieving the ultimate state together will be a success. 

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    The Montreal Road detour is going to last the better part of two years. Given the extreme lack of reliable schedule adherence on the Vanier routes at the best of times, let alone during this highly disruptive detour, why do none of the proposed temporary bus stops off Montreal Road have bus shelters planned?

    WM asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing these concerns with us.

    Unfortunately, we were unable to meet all accessibility requirements as outlined in the City of Ottawa Accessibility Design Guidelines regarding the placement of bus shelters, nor the requirements laid out in OC Transpo’s bus stop guidelines. The lack of space along Lafontaine and Deschamps makes installing bus shelters challenging. These challenges or constraints can be any of the following:

    • Physical Environment: Mature trees, space between trees, sightlines, driveways, and buildings are some of the physical constraints that deter us from installing shelters. These limitations make adding shelters difficult without significant changes to the surrounding area, and in most cases are just not feasible. 
    • Property requirements: During temporary conditions it is our preference to avoid easements or land acquisition; and provide service within City Right-of-Way. Streets and sidewalks are relatively narrow through this area. There is no boulevard or extra width within our limits to add shelter pads. 
    • Utilities and Infrastructure: Existing hydro poles, underground utilities and catch basins also limit the position of bus shelters. These are often referred to as hard barriers, as moving them can be expensive and time consuming.

    Based on the feedback received from previous open houses, we have added several new shelters along the corridor. While we are not currently able to provide any temporary shelters during the detour, we are pleased to be able to provide these new shelters in the final configuration for the corridor.

    The safety of passengers boarding and alighting buses is our priority. We are working with the project team to review and ensure all stops are safe and accessible.

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    What is the rationale for not continuing to run route 12 downtown on a similar routing as shown for route 15, or westbound on Montreal Rd to Cantin, similar to the route 20 detour? The detour routing for route 12 should try to resemble as much as possible the regular routing. The presentation does not clearly present a case for why such a drastic change to route 12 is necessary.

    BradNixon asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your concerns with us.

    Due to the reduced vehicle capacity on Montreal Road westbound, we expect that Route 12 users who board east of St-Laurent Boulevard destined for downtown will have a reduced travel time by connecting to Line 1. 

    Due to restrictive geometry, turn radius and utility poles, buses to downtown have limited options, which dictate much of the routing. Although Route 12 is being shortened, Route 15 service will be upgraded to meet the needs of the area and will replace the functionality of Route 12. The Route 15 numbering was selected given that this route connects to Gatineau.

    We are losing all eastbound bus movements on Montreal Road. Therefore, by using Deschamps and Lafontaine we are optimizing our service coverage and continuing to service Vanier North. Walking distance would increase significantly for many users if OC Transpo followed the planned general traffic detour route. Further, it is our preference to use the same streets in both directions. It may not always be achievable, but this is for ease of navigation between stop pairs and allows pick-up and drop-offs to occur in the same vicinity.

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    When specifically will all this be completed? (Month and Year if possible)

    K1K asked 7 months ago

    The Montreal Road Detour is scheduled to end in the Fall of 2022, which  coincides with the completion of the Montreal Road project. An exact date will be provided closer to the time of project completion.