Friday, May 1, 2009

Will businesses reduce their support for a downtown tunnel?

When the idea of a tunnel was presented to Ottawans in its current incarnation, businesses largely supported the idea. But as an article in the Citizen yesterday pointed out, now that the route has been proposed by staff, some businesses aren't so gung-ho.

The city’s downtown train subway should run farther south than city planners have plotted, said Hume Rogers, of the Downtown Coalition. He said the city’s proposed route, gradually turning north beginning at Kent Street, takes the commuter rail line too far north downtown too early. Rogers says the Downtown Coalition property owners believe a better route is to continue under Albert Street for another three blocks, then turn north at Metcalfe Street.

Rogers said the problem with veering northward at Kent Street is that it will reduce the rail line’s future potential ridership because there will be new development on streets like Slater and Laurier Avenue, rather than farther north on Queen and Sparks. Rogers said that by staying farther south, the city would be able to include buildings such as the Bell Canada tower within reasonable walking distance of the subway.
Bay councillor Alex Cullen, the chair of the city's transit committee, told us in an email that he isn't shocked by the concerns raised by Rogers:
Downtown businesses are pleased to see progress on the downtown tunnel, but want to see it serve their properties (Here! No, here! No, over here!). No surprise here.
Whether or not businesses will accept whichever tunnel route is ultimately selected is, of course, unknown at this point. But we'll see how much council wants to appease the concerns as the public consultation unfolds.


Dean said...

Downtown business's need to realize people are quite will to walk several blocks if they have something they want to go to. Maybe it's time to advocate for small parks, pedestrian and bike friendly areas. Poster shops, connivence stores and parking garage's are not going to bring people to the core. Westboro, Glebe and Elgin are good examples of what would attract people.

It seems relying on government office's has had some negative effect's on how they plan.

WJM said...

People don't go to "small parks".

Downtowns should be full of buildings, not bloody "small parks".