City Moves On Fallowfield Rail Crossing

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This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Mayor, City Councillors and Citizen Transit Commissioners,

The purpose of this e-mail is to provide the results of the detailed operational and human factors study of the Fallowfield Road at-grade rail crossing outlined in my November 21, 2014, Memo to Council (attached for reference).

Staff received the study dated March 31, 2015, from the expert agency Human Factors North Inc., and undertook its due diligence with respect to the report’s recommendations, and is taking steps to implement the recommendations.

While the full study is attached, the main recommendation identified in the report involves changing the location of stop bars on the roadway at the Fallowfield Road/Via Rail level crossing.

The study confirms that the stop bar in question meets all applicable regulations in its current location; however, the study recommends that it be moved to enhance safety.  Specifically, City staff will increase the distance of the stop bar on the Fallowfield Road eastbound approach by 5 metres. This work will be undertaken weather permitting, with staff anticipating completion in two to three weeks.  

Human Factors North also observed that VIA Rail Canada’s gate crossing hinges, currently gray in colour, would stand out more if they were painted a fluorescent colour.  The City is relaying this observation to VIA Rail Canada.

The Human Factors North Review of the Fallowfield At-Grade Rail Crossing Report was provided to Transport Canada on May 12, 2015, and a supplementary update from the General Manager of Transit Services was provided today, May 13, 2015.

Attached to this memo is my response to Transport Canada dated May 12, 2015, setting out an update on the progress of the human factors work and attaching a copy of the March 31st study, from Human Factors North, as well as the supplementary update dated May 13, 2015, from the General Manager of Transit Services to Transport Canada providing additional details of initiatives undertaken within Transit Services relating to crossing operations. Please note that in addition, OC Transpo has initiated a review of all railway crossings where OC Transpo buses travel, with the assistance of MMM Group, in association with Human Factors North Inc. This review will incorporate both road safety and human factors analysis of each crossing.

I have also attached Transport Canada’s Notice of November 7, 2014, and, as indicated earlier, my response to Transport Canada dated November 21, 2014.

The actions being taken in response to this latest study are consistent with the proactive measures the City of Ottawa has previously undertaken to address concerns expressed from Transport Canada.   Staff is continuing to communicate and cooperate with Transport Canada and other applicable regulatory agencies with respect to recommended enhancements to safety at Fallowfield and other railway crossings and/or other infrastructure as required.  Every recommendation that is communicated by those agencies or received by external independent contractors is immediately considered and reviewed, and the City will continue to respond with direct action. Council and the Transit Commission will be updated as recommendations are received and actions are taken.  

Please note that Kevin Wylie, General Manager of Public Works, is available to answer questions on the human factors study on the Fallowfield rail crossing and related works that will be undertaken shortly in response to that study. In addition, John Manconi, General Manager of Transit Services, is available to answer questions regarding efforts undertaken within Transit Services regarding operations and safety at railway crossings and related issues.    

Susan Jones on behalf of Kent Kirkpatrick

Kent Kirkpatrick

City Manager/Directeur municipal

City of Ottawa/Ville d’Ottawa


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