With Clive Doucet having announced his retirement from
municipal politics (correction: from Capital Ward; Doucet is running for mayor), Ottawa's Capital Ward is going to have a new representative for the first time since 1997. Bob Brocklebank, Mano Hadavand, Ron Le Blanc, and Isabel Metcalfe have all submitted their candidacy papers, and today news has broken that David Chernushenko will be running in the ward, as well.
While Brocklebank doesn't seem to have laid out a platform beyond his opposition of Lansdowne Live, Hadavand hasn't revealed any plans, Le Blanc gave his opposition to the downtown tunnel a passing mention in his plan, and Metcalfe just has information about her public affairs counsel, Chernushenko has talked about transit in Ottawa on this very blog.
Back in 2008 when Ottawa was still deciding which plan to move forward with, Chernushenko suggested that the tunnel was "a waste of money":
"I think the subway alternative is a complete and utter waste of money. I think it’s the wrong approach, unless Ottawa is going to have a subway system—and I don’t believe we’re big enough to merit a subway system at the moment," he said.Of course, those comments were made two years ago, and before the elected council voted to support the plan. We'll surely find out how he feels about the plan as it stands today over the course of the election campaign.
Chernushenko added that although business support for the tunnel is currently high, the affected streets above ground are in for an overhaul that could affect revenue.
"It’s going to be one hell of a massive dig. It’s going to be a couple of years of major, major disruption. And I don’t think they thought through that," he said. "[Streets] are as blocked off above as they would be if it were entirely surface-length [rail] that was going in."
"I think the subway alternative is a complete and utter waste of money. I think it’s the wrong approach, unless Ottawa is going to have a subway system—and I don’t believe we’re big enough to merit a subway system at the moment," he said.
And therein lies the problem: not thinking about the long term and only focusing on the now. There may not be a need for a subway today (though I think there is), but there will be in just a few years. If we elect representatives with such short term views, we'll continue to stagnate.
I appreciate your interest in the long-term. I think you will find that I have spent more than 20 years pushing a long-term vision for the city and country: on transit, on biodiversity, on greener building, on health promotion and fitness, on bike lanes. I am just not convinced that putting rail transit underground is necessary. In fact, many of the cities I toured over the two years of making my film Powerful: Energy for Everyone had extremely effective and attractive LRT, but entirely above ground. I found it to be good for street life and good for business to have feet and eyes on the street. As for the tunnel, I am totally open to being convinced of the need for one. But knowing both the cost (that's everybody's tax bill I am talking about) and the disruption, I would want to be convinced that this is the best and necessary way to go. My door is open and my email and phone number is public. Better yet, I'd love to meet with any group who wishes to show me why a tunnel is a good solution.
excuse me but if were talking building greener whats better both short and long term, those 200 and some diesel sucking OC transpo busses clogging up downtown or and electic underground metro system? by the way i have used a fair number of metro systems in my day and one thing i have found thats great for brining tourists into your downtown core is a metro line form the airport, heh actually i believe thats a major complaint in both Toronto and Montreal at the moment actually. look yes it will cost money but Ottawa cant hide from the fact that it needs to get a start on this. if you build ONE line then in the future you can expand on it, which by the way makes less of a disruption for traffic above ground. c'mon its not that hard look at what other cities have done in the world then do what they did right. ie prioritize the areas you want to link up then build a link to join them up. i myself have a lovely 7 km track plan that would run form U of O through the downtown core and out to Carelton with options to expand to that airport and east west in the future. so when Ottawa wants to grow up, give me a call. by the way im only 25
oh im sorry i forgot about your point on street disruption, well first off start the tunnel in an area of low pop density such as just south of mooneys bay then tunnel underground, there and easy way to make a metro station take up minimal space its by making a street level staircase, then have the ticket sales underground, then another level lower to the rail platform, done. but hey lets wait for the pop to get higher, the density to become greater and disrupt MORE people later on, yeah real smart, I think not.
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