Background

Discover Wonderland

Environmental Assessment Study For Wonderland Road.

Wonderland Road is a critical north-south corridor in the City, with a variety of neighbourhoods, businesses and other uses along the road. The study known as "Discover Wonderland" will consider if Wonderland Road, from Sarnia Road to Southdale Road should be widened to six lanes, as well as how pedestrian, cyclist, transit and other users should be accommodated.


map of wonderland road

The map above shows the Wonderland Road corridor.

What Is An Environmental Assessment (EA)?

The EA process is a decision making tool used to assess how a proposed infrastructure project will affect the environment. The “environment” includes the natural and man-made environment, as well as economic and cultural conditions. The Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (EA Act) requires a municipality complete an EA when undertaking capital projects, including road works.

How Does The EA Process Work?

The EA process is used to assess potential negative impacts of a project on the environment and identify opportunities to make changes to the design to reduce negative affects to avoid expensive mitigation measures or controversial actions that might be associated with the project.

It is a long-term planning study for the corridor and will build on the recommendations of the London Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Cycling Master Plan and other relevant studies. The EA process requires public involvement throughout, and requires feedback received be considered in the decision making process.

The Wonderland Road Improvements Class Environmental Assessment Study will follow requirements of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (2000, as amended in 2007, 2011, 2015), which is an approved process under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

There are five phases in the EA process:

• Phase 1 – What is the problem or opportunity being studied?

• Phase 2 – What is the best strategy to address the problem/opportunity?

• Phase 3 – What is the optimal design to implement the strategy identified in Phase 2?

• Phase 4 – Prepare a report to documents the study for public review and input.

• Phase 5 – Confirm design details and proceed to construction.


What We've Heard

Three Events, More Than 200 Participants

And We’re Just Getting Started.

The Wonderland Road project team wishes to thank everyone who has provided comments and/or attended a public pop-up event to date. We are continuing to collect and assess existing conditions information, along with the feedback provided by the public. Below is a summary of comments received so far, with some additional information about each suggestion.

"Synchronize the traffic lights along Wonderland Road to help keep traffic moving."

Traffic Lights: The Challenges

Improving a problem at one intersection could create a problem elsewhere. Think about it like a city-wide air mattress, pushing down the air in one spot doesn’t make it go away, it just puts more pressure on other areas.

“Picture the city as a simple grid; changes made at any one point or along any one line in that grid will create waves that ripple through all of the other points and lines.”

Traffic Lights: The Facts

As you can imagine, timing traffic signals along a busy, high volume roadway, such as Wonderland Road is very complex. The timing of traffic signals is all about balance; a typical urban intersection has to balance:

  • Different needs, behaviours, and abilities of all users – pedestrians, cyclists, transit vehicles, trucks and cars
  • Competing flows of vehicles moving through the intersection as well as turning
  • A minimum amount of time to allow pedestrians to safely cross the intersection (this time increases as the size of the intersection increases)
  • Nearby signals which are all dependent on each other, but also have competing needs
  • Changing priorities for movement – increasing the space and time dedicated to transit, bikes, and pedestrians as the city evolves
  • Allow time for the signal to change directions, where nobody moves

Balancing these factors for all of the intersections in a busy city is a complicated task, as improving something for one intersection could quite easily make things worse for another.

In Summary…

In recent years, increasing congestion has caused a decline in the quality of mobility for all road users. To respond to this challenge, federal, provincial and municipal agencies in Canada have developed and have been implementing programs to directly address road safety.

"If the signals along Wonderland Road are lined up to work together well, what happens at Sarnia Road, Oxford Street, Southdale Road and Riverside Drive?”

Signal Timing: The Challenges

Signal timing is particularly difficult where two major roads cross each other – both roads are important for movement across the grid, so what is the right balance?

Transportation engineers use a range of measures to evaluate the performance of the grid of signals throughout the city. They use these measures to help move as many people as safely and as efficiently as possible from where they are to where they need to go. The needs of Wonderland Road and other major people-moving corridors must be considered together within the constraints of this interconnected grid to make sure that the city as a whole can still operate and people can get to where they need to go.

Signal Timing: The Facts

  • One full traffic signal cycle is the start of green to the end of red - cycles are adjusted for intersections based on the time of day traffic volumes
  • Traffic signal synchronization is like a web: if you change the timing in one direction, it will affect all the intersections surrounding it, causing a ripple effect. Similar to the air-mattress example provided above
  • If signal times are increased in one direction, delays will increase in the opposite direction because vehicles will be sitting at lights longer and more back up will occur
  • Signal timings are balanced between both directions, with priority given to the direction with the highest volume
  • Major corridors are designed for flow along them as best as possible, with minor delays where they intersect other major corridors

In Summary…

In recent years, increasing congestion has caused a decline in the quality of mobility for all road users. To respond to this challenge, federal, provincial and municipal agencies in Canada have developed and have been implementing programs to directly address road safety.

"The City of London should incorporate a roundabout on Wonderland Road.”

What is a Roundabout?

A roundabout is a circular intersection where two or more roads meet. Traffic circulates through them counter-clockwise to the right of a centre island. All entering vehicles must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.

Roundabouts: The Challenges

Roundabouts can be large and can only be implemented in areas of the city which allow for them. In the case of Wonderland Road, the overall corridor is constrained in many areas by adjacent building fronts or tight road allowances. Several above ground utilities are also heavily present along the corridor which require space within the road allowance and further restrict potential opportunities for roundabout installation.

Though roundabouts are generally safer for pedestrians than traditional intersections, those who are visually impaired can find them more difficult to use as there is no traffic signal to control the traffic, making it hard to spot gaps to be able to cross safely.

The Benefits

Roundabouts have a number of benefits over traditional intersections including:

  • Safety: lower speeds and fewer points of conflict between vehicles reduces the potential for and severity of crashes
  • Higher capacity: a high volume of vehicles turning left is handled better by a roundabout than by a left-turn signal at a traditional intersection
  • Fewer stops and shorter delays: yielding at the entry of a roundabout takes less time than waiting for a green light at an intersection or for a gap in traffic at a stop sign
  • Less idling and air pollution: fewer delays reduces fuel consumption and improves air quality by reducing emissions
  • Lower maintenance costs: roundabouts eliminate maintenance and electricity costs associated with traffic signals
  • Aesthetically pleasing: there is an opportunity for landscaping within the central island of a roundabout

Learn more about roundabouts on the Ministry of Transportation's website.

Roundabout Road User Expectations

Tips to drive, walk and cycle safely in roundabouts below.

Drivers

  • Slow down
  • Keep to the right of the splitter island
  • Use the correct lane for your intended destination
  • Pay special attention to pedestrians who may be crossing the roadway
  • Yield to cyclists and any traffic already driving through the roundabout

Pedestrians

  • Cross the roads that lead into the roundabout one at a time. Never cross a roundabout by walking over the central island.
  • Wait for a gap in traffic. Cross only when it is safe.

Cyclists

  • Merge into the centre of the vehicle lane before the bike lane or shoulder ends
  • Stay in the middle of the lane to avoid collisions with other vehicles exiting to the right

In summary…

Multi-lane roundabouts on heavily travelled arterial roadways, such as Wonderland Road, may provide benefits including increased safety, reduced vehicle speeds, typically higher capacity compared to traffic signals, fewer/shorter stops, less idling, and lower maintenance costs. However, the Wonderland Road corridor has many constraints including utilities and property. Opportunities for roundabouts on Wonderland Road are possible, especially at the Riverside Drive intersection, but unlikely to be a key feature of the future corridor design due to the existing constraints.

Share Your Ideas

What is Your Vision for Wonderland Road?

We want to hear from you!

As we begin this study on Wonderland Road, we invite you to share your ideas with the project team by filling out the form below.

How do you typically use Wonderland Road?
What components of Wonderland Road do you want to see improvements on? Please select all that apply:
What components of Wonderland Road transit (LTC & buses) do you want to see improvements on? Please select all that apply:


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Contact Us

Talk To The Project Team

Ask a question or request information, anytime.

Want to learn more about the upcoming Wonderland Road improvements project? Get in touch with the Wonderland Road project team today!


Ted Koza, P.Eng.
Transportation Design Engineer
Transportation Planning & Design
City of London
Tel: 519.661.CITY (2489) x5806

tkoza@london.ca


Josh Ackworth, C.E.T.
Technologist II
Transportation Planning & Design
City of London
Tel: 519.661.CITY (2489) x7348

jackwort@london.ca


Jason Johnson, P.Eng.
Project Manager
Dillon Consulting Limited
Tel: 519.438.1288 x1222

WonderlandRoad@dillon.ca


Sabrina Stanlake-Wong, RPP
Project Planner
Dillon Consulting Limited
Tel: 519.438.1288 x1235

WonderlandRoad@dillon.ca