Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fifth transit option, with more to come

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson has suggested a fifth transit option, on top of the four previously offered by transit officials. As per the story in the Citizen, this fifth option is being dubbed 'the Wilkinson Option', and is as follows:

The Wilkinson option would see the existing north-south diesel O-Train kept in service and extended farther south to Leitrim, rather than entirely rebuilding the north-south rail corridor with an electrified light-rail system. Ms. Wilkinson said that at $40 million, such a project would be more cost effective and would get service to more southern commuters quicker, because the city would not have to do a costly environmental assessment study.

The plan preferred by the city's planners is option four, which would bring electric rail service farther south, to Bowesville Road, replacing the O-Train, and running east and west. Ms. Wilkinson argued against electric north-south rail service in the last election campaign and she said Monday that there won't be enough riders from the south to make the service cost-effective.

There is mixed reviews on the option. Although it is cost effective, that Citizen story cited Gloucester-South Nepean Councillor Steve Desroches wondered whether or not the O-Train has the capacity to properly serve the needs of the communities in the south of the city, and also questioned how cost-effective it will be to have three different technologies (light rail, diesel train, and bus) along the mass transit system.

Still, you've got to applaud Wilkinson for looking at ways to improve the transit plans to be most efficient and effective for their purposes.

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