Early FAQs

    Why is Longfellow Drive being reconstructed now?

    Longfellow Drive is located in a neighbourhood that was constructed in the early 60’s, and many of the streets in this area are in need of reconstruction. Most of the streets have not received any significant road rehabilitation for over 50 years. City records indicate that Longfellow Drive had major rehab work over 57 years ago, which means the underground infrastructure has reached the end of its service life. 

    This street has had numerous watermain breaks in the last 20 years. Storm sewers are very old and undersized for today’s standards. Sanitary sewers are old clay sewers and are in need of replacement. The storm and sanitary drainage for the east side of this neighbourhood outlets to Westmount Road, and it is good practice to rebuild the sewer system from the outlet and work upstream when possible to minimize any potential surcharging.

    In addition to the underground city infrastructure reaching the end of its service life, the region is planning construction work on Westmount Road in the near future. This makes the timing appropriate to coordinate the connection of the outlets for storm and sanitary sewers.

    Why does this project have to include a sidewalk?

    We understand that changes in a mature neighbourhood can be a sensitive issue. Our design and construction process is guided by the city's council-approved sidewalk policy, provincial regulations (the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) the city's Transportation Master Plan and other guiding documents. Every project’s design is considered on a case by case basis. Based on local traffic count data and the city’s sidewalk policy, sidewalks are a mandatory part of the design for this street. All proposed designs will include the minimum mandatory features, but will allow for consultation and feedback on the optional details, wherever choice is possible. Council has supported this requirement of our Complete Streets approach in other, similar recent projects. You are always welcome to address your concern regarding any policy and/or this project with council.

    What will happen to our mature trees?

    Reconstruction projects in a mature neighbourhood are a sensitive issue. The city values our urban tree canopy, and as part of the design process currently underway, the proposed designs are reviewed with the city arborist to identify any potential impacts to existing trees. We will take great care to save, wherever possible, healthy trees as part of our design and construction process. Any anticipated potential tree loss will be identified in the design options presented this fall. Based on experience with similar reconstruction projects in similar neighbourhoods, there are measures that can be implemented as part of the design and during construction, to minimize tree loss and damage. If a tree must be removed, the city will replace two new trees in its place.

    Will retaining walls be required?

    The road design options are still in development, and we don’t know yet if one will be required. The streetscape design options presented at in the fall will included any anticipated retaining walls, including the general location(s), height and extents. The city avoids retaining walls within the right-of-way wherever possible.

    What will happen to the end of my driveway?

    Typically the end of the driveway will be impacted as part of the road reconstruction works. How much impact will vary at each driveway, depending on the existing grading. In general, the impacted area is within the city’s road right-of-way limits. Where a sidewalk is present, a concrete driveway apron will be provided between the sidewalk and the curb. Where there is no sidewalk, or beyond the sidewalk, the city will typically match the existing driveway treatment as much as possible. For example, within the area impacted to match exiting grades, asphalt will be replaced with asphalt, concrete with concrete and interlock brick will be removed, salvaged and reinstated. If residents are concerned regarding a specific driveway type or finish, they should contact the project manager to coordinate restoration details.

    What about my front lawn landscaping?

    The city appreciates the landscaping work of property owners to maintain their property. Unfortunately, where landscaping extends onto municipal land, the city must exercise its right of access to complete our construction activity. This includes excavating grass or plants, topsoil, subsoils, hardscape features, sprinkler systems, retaining walls or other material within the municipally-owned land that is necessary to reconstruct the public infrastructure.

    In general, private alterations to the city’s boulevard are prohibited, with the exception of certain landscaping that complies with section 5.5 of By-law 2014-054, a By-Law to Regulate Work on Highways and Boulevards. For reference, the city-owned land on Longfellow Drive extends approximately 4 to 6 metres beyond the existing back of curb towards private residences. The amount of city land beyond the existing curb that will be impacted will vary depending on the design and grading requirements. Please note, there will be some areas that will require more area to match into existing grades, but detailed grading will be completed to ensure mature trees or significant land features are avoided as much as possible. This information will be included in the design options presented.

    During a road reconstruction project, the city will address private landscaping in the city’s boulevard in the following manner:

    • We will contact you in advance of the construction to provide an opportunity for you to remove and/or salvage any landscaping you wish to reinstate after construction (so long as the landscaping complies with the requirements of Section 5.5, such as herbaceous plants less than 45 cm in height or inorganic ground cover less than 19 mm in diameter).
    • Any landscaping not removed prior to the start of construction may be damaged and/or removed, if necessary, by the city’s contractor. As part of the reconstruction the city will reinstate boulevards with topsoil and sod but will not replace, or reimburse costs for, any private landscaping removed prior to or damaged during construction. Any owner who subsequently places landscaping in the city-owned boulevard does so entirely at his or her own risk. 
    • If your existing landscaping consists of hardscape features, such as concrete, masonry, or wooden edging around planting beds, low-height retaining walls, decorative light stands, fences, sprinkler systems, etc., please contact the city’s project manager as soon as possible to discuss in further detail. The city will not replace, or reimburse costs for, any private landscaping in the city-owned boulevard that is left in place and damaged during construction. However, depending on the specific items/locations and anticipated construction impacts, the city may be able to assist in removing or relocating (to private property) these features as part of the road reconstruction work.

    How does the amount of sun exposure or shadowing affect ice formation on a sidewalk?

    Each site is unique; other factors such as the surrounding grading and extent of snow bank build-up can also play a role. However, experience around the City has shown that a high degree of sun exposure can sometimes be more challenging than shadowed settings, due to the continual melting and re-freezing that may occur. In both shadowed and exposed settings, clearing/winter maintenance will be required from time to time, as needed and after storm events.

    How much of the right-of-way would be disturbed by the road reconstruction if sidewalk were not installed, compared to each of the four options?

    For most options, there will only be a modest increase in the width of the right-way impacted by the reconstruction, as compared to reconstructing the road in a like-for-like manner (i.e. as it currently exists, without sidewalks, and with the same asphalt width). Reducing the asphalt width from approximately 9.0m to 7.0m or 8.0m (depending on the option) minimizes the additional area impacted by the sidewalk installation. The table below compares the approximate width of the work area for each of the four options as well as with the like-for-like scenario. 

    Approximate width of road construction impact
    Like-for-like (no sidewalk)~13.5 metres
    Option 1~17.5 metres
    Option 2~14.5 metres
    Option 3~14 metres
    Option 4~15 metres

    Please note that:

    1) The widths shown represent the extent of the area that would be disturbed along Longfellow Drive for road and surface works (i.e. asphalt pavement and granular base, curbs, boulevard and sidewalk) but not the trenches for installing new water and sanitary sewer services. In all cases (i.e. with or without sidewalk), these trenches will need to extend to the property line in a specific location for each property. 

    2) The drawings provided as part of the PIC package are based on 30 percent engineering design. The figures in the table are estimates and minor adjustments may be required as the design progresses in more detail.

    What does it mean for a tree to be “Impacted” as noted on the drawings? How likely is it that an impacted tree will need to be removed?

    Trees are noted as “impacted” where they are anticipated to be close enough to the excavation works that their roots will likely be exposed to some degree during construction. These roots may need to be trimmed to allow for road and/or sidewalk granular base to be placed, or to allow for service trenches to be dug. Until the roots are exposed, we will not know whether or not trimming the roots will have an impact on the health of the tree or its structural viability. The City’s arborist will be visiting the site at the appropriate times during construction to review these situations and advise accordingly. In addition to minimizing impacts to trees through the design process, we will also make adjustments during construction where possible, based on the arborist’s review. For example, we may be able to minimize the impact to trees by revising the location of curb stops on the water services, reducing the depth of excavation adjacent to the tree, or slightly altering the sidewalk alignment past the tree.

    Based on experience with previous road reconstruction projects, it is likely that many of the “impacted” trees will not need to be removed. Typically, most will be able to withstand some impact to the root systems. Every effort will be made to save as many trees as possible during both the design and construction phases of the project. 

    What impact will there be to the overall tree canopy?

    Prior to the commencement of construction, City forestry staff will selectively trim branches that overhang onto the road and at service lateral locations in the boulevard area to avoid conflict with construction equipment that will be replacing City infrastructure. The trimming of the branches is less impactful to the trees than damage that could occur to the trees, equipment, workers or residents if the trees are not trimmed prior to construction. Tree branches will typically be trimmed to a height of approximately 6 to 7.5m (20 to 25 feet) above the road. The trimming of the branches does not destroy the tree and the overall canopy should not be significantly reduced. There is no correlation between the trees identified as being impacted and those that may need to be trimmed. Trees are only identified as impacted where they are anticipated to be close to excavation or grading works.

    How many trees would be removed and how many trees would be impacted if sidewalk were not installed, compared to each of the four options?

    The majority of the trees classified as “impacted” would be identified as such in any scenario, due to the nature of the work required to replace the below ground and above ground infrastructure. The table below lists the approximate number of trees that would be removed or impacted for each option, as compared to reconstructing the road in a like-for-like manner (i.e. as it currently exists, without sidewalks, and with the same asphalt width).

    Number of trees removedNumber of trees impacted
    Option 11816
    Option 2414
    Option 3221
    Option 4223

    Please note that:

    1. Only one of the four options will be selected; the impact is not cumulative. For example, if Option 3 is selected, only 2 trees will be planned for removal, and 21 others will be impacted. For a more detailed description of the meaning of “impacted,” please refer to the FAQ list. 
    2. No trees on Longfellow Drive have been flagged on-site by the City of Waterloo to date. Any flags that have been placed on trees were placed by others.
    3. The City arborist has advised that the tree in the City right-of-way in front of 332 Longfellow is dead or dying. This tree is shown as removed in Option 1 and Option 2 and as impacted in Option 3 and Option 4.

    How will on-street parking be affected for each of the options?

    On-street parking is currently not allowed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on either side of Longfellow Drive. 

    For Option 1, Option 2, and Option 3, where the pavement width would be reduced to 7 metres, on-street parking will be recommended to change to “No Parking” on one side of the street, while the other side will continue to have the same parking restrictions. For Option 4, where the pavement width would be 8 metres, the status quo would be maintained (i.e. no change recommended).