Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Clashes over Parkway LRT

Some Ottawa residents have made their dislike of plans for rail on the Ottawa River Parkway well known, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen and Metro. The Save the Parkway coalition rallied some citizens outside of the Nepean Sportsplex to protest the current transit plans' inclusion of the Parkway as a light-rail corridor.

Not many of the protestors quoted were able to convey their reasons for protesting, only that they were staunchly against rail on the Parkway. Resident Patty Walker, as quoted in the Citizen article, said:

"We love the parkway. ... I think it is a matter of a quality of life and I don't think the cheapest way is the best way to make it happen."
Mayor Larry O'Brien, also quoted in the Citizen story, said that he's been happy with the directions the open houses have gone to date. He has discusses beginning rail to the south and the east, allowing more time to explore the Parkway and other westbound options.

"All in all, I think we are starting to reach a pretty good consensus that we have to start with the downtown core, solve the downtown problem first," the mayor said.

"Now, I am starting to get some pretty good feelings that we will be able to solve some of the problems for people in the east and we should be able to solve problems for people in the south.

"The west, they have got a pretty reasonable transportation system set up, (so) we are going to be able to work around that for a while."

I'm not going to editorialize on O'Brien's comments, but I think he may be leaving out what residents of the west communicated his way in the Glen Cairn open house.

Finally, Transit Committee Chair and Bay Ward Councillor Alex Cullen, quoted in the Metro, tried to ease some of the concerns of the Parkway rail opponents:
“There is a misconception that light rail along the parkway would bring fences and gravel roadbeds, but that’s the last thing the city wants. We want to retain as much of the greenery as possible, but you just can’t ignore the public investment at Scott Street and Lincoln Fields,” he said.

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