Monday, July 28, 2008

Naqvi, part six: Rail on the Parkway

Although the recently-approved transit plan includes light-rail along the Ottawa River Parkway, that provision is far from concrete. There are concerns as to whether or not the National Capital Commission (NCC) will even allow the city to develop the land, and even if they do, some residents of the area aren't very happy about fast trains in some of the city's prime greenspace. Yasir Naqvi has heard a lot of these concerns from constituents in his riding, and his office is only minutes from the Parkway.
There are some serious concerns from the community on the use of the parkway along the Ottawa River. A lot of members of my community have raised concerns about using that greenspace for that purposes. And again, it's the decision which the NCC and the City of Ottawa will be making. The point I have raised to the constituents, and we actually had a town hall meeting which primarily was on this particular issue along with Christine Leadman, who is the city councillor for the Kitchissippi ward, and Paul Dewar, who is the member of parliament for Ottawa Centre, as to what are the alternatives.

And I sort of asked the members of the community, I said, “I think we all agree that we need a transit system,” everybody agrees, “We all agree that light rail is the way to go,” everybody agrees. There is some disagreement as to whether we use Parkway or not, if so, then what are the alternatives? And so, I think ideas are most welcome, there's sort of a sign on the door, and that's where I think it lies right now. I'm trying to solicit, I'm sure same as Christine and Paul are doing, if not Parkway, then where, and how best to have that east-west access from west-end coming into the downtown core, and what pathways.
So, although there is far from a consensus on the issue, Naqvi is awaiting other options before stating that he's completely against rail on the Parkway.

One option that has come up recently is relocating the leg of the rail line that is slotted along the Parkway along Carling Avenue, as a letter in the Ottawa Citizen recently explored:

Councillor Alex Cullen, chair of the council's transit committee, thinks that consideration of the Carling Avenue option is "too late." He said city politicians have already made up their minds to proceed with the Parkway option. He also doesn't think the idea is good enough to convince the necessary three-quarters of council to approve reconsidering the issue.

The public needs to speak out about the Carling Avenue option and tell city hall that we want this route to be given a more thorough examination.

The benefits of Carling are not to be dismissed. Firstly, and obviously, it preserves the greenspace along the Parkway and avoids a negotiation with the NCC. Secondly, it moves a rail through a much more populous development; population density along Carling is, obviously, higher than that along the Parkway. With that, however, come some drawbacks. Below is a Google Maps map of the Parkway option (red), and what would likely be close to what a Carling option (blue) would look like:

The main benefit of the Carling option--that it would be closer to more residences--is also a deterrent, in that it would likely mean significantly more urban and commercial disturbances, and would severely limit traffic on an already-congested Carling Avenue (unless the plan was to go underground). It would likely have to stay along Carling until the Carling O-Train Station, as well, meaning that it would then likely climb Parkdale (more urban disturbance and road closures) to get to the downtown core.

As Naqvi mentioned, there is certainly a lot of factors that will have to be considered. More research can certainly be done into the Parkway option and any alternatives before making a hard-and-fast decision on which one we're going with.

Part six of Yasir Naqvi on Public Transit in Ottawa, a exclusive:

Part One: Introduction
Part Two: Effective Public Transit
Part Three: Provincial Funding
Part Four: The Cancelled North-South Line
Part Five: Subway is "a good idea"
Part Six: Rail on the Ottawa River Parkway
Part Seven: Bi-Provincial Partnerships

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Burrying the o-train under the parkway seems like the best option but I guess that would get expensive. The Carling option also looks like it would be expensive and as mentioned the fact that it would probably slow down the o-train's commute is also important to recognize as it may deter potential riders from taking the train.

Is it not possible to just dig a ditch between the east and west directions of the ottawa river parkway, kind of like the transit way from dominion to bayview. Shrubs, hedges and and other greenery could be added to hide/disguise the ditch so that it doesn't disrupt the natural beauty of the parkway. Just a thought...