Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ottawa: Going underground, part two

The four options for underground expansion of the citywide transit plan, paraphrased from the Ottawa Citizen, consist of:
  1. Build a tunnel, and run buses through it. Quickest, and the $3.16B initial cost estimate is the lowest of the four, but this option has the highest operating costs and most pollution.
  2. Build a tunnel for buses and trains to share. Convert O-Train into twin-track system from the U of O to Bowesville Road in the south end, with a stop at the airport. Estimated cost of $3.87B. Bus service in the 'burbs would be improved.
  3. Build a tunnel, use light-rail in the tunnel, and leave the O-Train as-is. East-west transitway is turned into rail service. Cost: $3.37B.
  4. Build a tunnel for light-rail, convert transitway to two-track electric-rail system from Blair to Booth. Make O-Train twin-track and extend it to Bowesville with that stop at the airport. Cost estimated to be $3.82B.
I can't seem to find the original plans, only the digest-version in the Citizen. Randall Denley, City columnist for the Citizen, seems to think that citizens haven't been given enough information about the long-term costs of any of the plans.
"[City staff's] presentation was remarkably lacking in the underlying facts that would allow the public to make a rational choice.


"This plan tells us nothing about the comparative operating costs of the four proposals, other than to assert that rail will be cheaper."
Perhaps the financial costs associated with the proposals need to be explored further. With the system so far behind the needs of the users, however, there is a sense of urgency in finding some solution to Ottawa's transit problems.

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