Friday, March 7, 2008

Barrhaven consultation not so good

The Ottawa Citizen wrote a story about the four transit plans today, which suggested that the fourth public consultation on the plans wasn't as positive as the first three. Citizens in Barrhaven were disappointed that they didn't have rail service in any of the plans, and who can blame them after the light-rail plans that were originally in place had tracks right from their suburb?
"I don't see anything in this for Barrhaven, and this is where the people are," said Scott Robinson, 43, who lives in Barrhaven. "I take the bus, and it already doesn't have the capacity to deal with the demand even now.


People at a downtown public consultation felt the plan was good, mainly because the tunnel and light rail would take transit off congested downtown streets. People in Kanata and Orléans felt the city was finally moving in the right direction, but it should look at extending rail lines into the suburbs quickly.

Barrhaven resident Greg Frankson, 33, said it was "asinine" to think his area could be served with buses for the next 20 years. He said it's time for the city to switch completely to rail because it will be cheaper in the long run and will be able to accommodate more people.

I would agree with Frankson, that the suburbs will need to move beyond bus service quickly, but changing the transit infrastructure completely from buses to rail requires intermediate steps. There's no point in bringing people to the centre of the city via rail if they'll have to transfer to buses when they arrive; there has to be a system downtown first. It's extremely unpleasant for those of us in the suburbs, but it's true.


Anonymous said...

As someone who lives in the west end, but neither in Kanata nor Barrhaven, I feel I can make an unbiased comment about the state of transit in both areas. I've had to use the Park and Rides in both areas and can say, without a doubt, Kanata is the area that requires the most help with respect to transit.
Not only are the (more numerous) Park and Ride parking lots in Kanata seemingly always full, the bus ride itself seems to take a lot longer. Taking the bus from Bayview to Fallowfield Park and Ride usually takes roughly half an hour. From Bayview to Eagleson takes at least 45 minutes.
I also expect that Kanata and areas beyond (Stittsville, in particular) are going to continue to grow much faster than Barrhaven and its outlying areas, which will increase the need for a proper transit system.
People in Barrhaven should try to look at this situation in an unbiased manner and realize that the need is much greater in other areas. Eventually, the rail system will obviously be extended out to Barrhaven, but the need just isn't there yet. An East-West rail line from Kanata to Orleans would relieve a lot of the congestion coming from those two continually growing areas of the city.

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