City should up its road-painting game, report finds
Report recommends Ottawa double its road-painting fleet — from 1 to 2
- On June 5, 2019, the transportation committee approved the plan to make road markings more durable.
It's time for the city to spend millions of dollars to upgrade the equipment it uses to paint lines and other markers on roads, according to a staff report.
The report outlines the need for new equipment to use a more permanent thermoplastic paint, to dry road surfaces to allow for work on rainy days, and scour off outdated markings.
The city currently has one truck to paint 5,500 kilometres of road and 6,500 intersections every year, the report adds.
Coun. Jeff Leiper, vice-chair of the transportation committee, said he was surprised the city only has one vehicle to paint lines.
"We are one of the world's biggest municipalities and I don't think anybody can begrudge the city if it needs to have two trucks working instead of just one," Leiper said.
The city has been using an environmentally friendly, low-volatile organic compound paint since the federal government passed regulations in 2012. That paint doesn't last a full year on Ottawa's roads.
The report recommends using more durable paint on major arterial and collector roads for centre lines and lane markings. Other markings and minor streets would not get the more permanent paint.
The upgrades would add $3.3 million to the operating budget and require the purchase of a $1.1-million truck to apply the paint, as well as $45,000 pick-up truck, according to the report. There would be approximately five employees assigned to the equipment.
25 work shifts lost to wet streets
Leiper said residents have contacted him with safety concerns about faded bicycle markings on Wellington Street and unclear markings for bus lanes along Scott Street taking too long to be fixed.
"We have such a short period of time in this city because of the weather, because of the snow, in which to make sure that our line markings are properly in place," he said.
"When it takes until September, October or even November before the line markings go back in, I think most residents find that unacceptable."
The report also suggested the city purchase an $80,000 pavement marking dryer to allow road painting to continue in wet weather. In 2017, city road crews lost 25 of 70 work shifts due to rain events, the report noted.
Costs of specialized markings
The report attributes a significant increase in road markings to more bicycle-related markings, traffic-calming measures, roundabouts and the overall increase in the size of the road network.
It outlines about $700,000 in increased operating costs, $245,000 in capital costs and about three staff to address the increased demand for stencils and other road markings.
Part of that sum is a pavement marking "eradicator," which the report said would be primarily for removing old markers so new markers can be put down.
The transportation committee will receive the report at its meeting May 1.
What parts of Ottawa most desperately need a paint job?
The E/B 417 at the split right up to Innes, there are no lines whatsoever—@Marc_A_Noiseux
Southbound Woodruffe turning left onto Eastbound Baseline - super dangerous! Always worried I’m gonna get sideswiped 😒—@rmwilcox104
Richmond Road westbound at Pinecrest.—@cbcotttraffic
The majority of Innes Road.—@TsarinaAJ