People should expect light rail to meet actual and future needs, serve as many areas as possible, increase ridership, and generally improve our current transportation system.
The good news is much of Ottawa's rapid transit system is already built. It's called the Transitway, and its original builders made preparations for a future conversion to light-rail.
Real rapid transit requires giving buses or trains the exclusive right to travel within a dedicated corridor. It's the only way to eliminate conflicts with other vehicles and maintain a reasonable speed between stops. You can see that downtown is where the Transitway slows to a crawl. Let's fix that problem with a tunnel - from around Lees transit station to Bayview.
Today's residents of cities such as Montreal, Toronto, New York, Paris and London owe a debt of gratitude to their ancestors for having had the foresight, decades ago, to invest in underground rapid transit. In Ottawa, a downtown tunnel would enhance our city's wonderful yet unfinished cathedral called the Transitway.
Of the various options to consider in the coming weeks, the best possible plan will nclude east-west light-rail from Blair to Baseline stations through a downtown tunnel. Further light-rail conversion and extension of the Transitway going east, west and south must follow, perhaps preceded by new bus rapid transit corridors.
With an upgraded rapid transit network, the stage will be set for more efficient and reliable public transit in Ottawa. The future of transit is shorter and more frequent local bus routes carrying people from their neighbourhood to the nearest Transitway station, for a fast and comfortable ride to their ultimate destination.
With its fair share of funding from provincial and federal governments, a 20-year, three- to four-billion-dollar rapid transit action plan for Canada's capital is both feasible and overdue.
It's time for a transit Renaissance in Ottawa.
The column was intelligent an well-written, and I recommend those interested follow the link above to read it in its entirety.