Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On to Baseline: Western Light Rail consultation begins

The City of Ottawa has begun the Western LRT Corridor Planning and Environmental Assessment project. This project is going to determine the route that light rail will take as it leaves Downtown (at Bayview station) and heads to Baseline Station. While the current Transit Master Plan (TMP) chose the Ottawa River Parkway, this study is going to "wipe the slate clean" and look at all the route options. Anything from the Parkway, Byron Avenue, O-Train cut, Carling Avenue, Churchill, and just about anything else conceivable is on the table for review and investigation.

The NCC has not said one way or another that they will permit light rail on the Parkway. But the NCC was a key contributor in designing the assessment, and has suggested a willingness to discuss options if the Parkway is indeed recommended under the Environmental Assessment. The feeling at city hall is that the NCC wants to make sure the City has really investigated alternate routes and is not choosing the Parkway simply because it's there and is the easy "status-quo" choice.

The City is engaging stakeholders by forming three different input groups: agency, business, and public. The "agency" group is composed of government ministries and agencies that are involved because they are a major employer, landholder or provide oversight to the Environment Assessment process. The "business" group is made up of the school boards, hospitals and BIAs in the area. Finally, the "public" group comprises Community Associations, advocacy groups, and members from the city's Advisory Committees.

Monday, June 21, 2010 was the first day of meetings between the City and the consultation groups. The agenda was to get the groups up to speed on how the process will work and to invite the groups to offer feedback on the process itself.

The next meeting in September is where everyone will get into the details of choosing an alternate route. Management consultant group Delcan will be preparing a number of options to be reviewed at that point. Both the City and Delcan have been very up front about the fact that all options are on the table. The process will initially "fan out" to explore the different routes (Parkway, Carling, O-Train, Byron, and so on) and designs (underground, below grade, overhead, etc) then whittle the options down until just one route is selected as the recommended alignment.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I there any possibility of a tunnel from Westboro to Lincoln Fields? The NCC doesn't want trains on the Parkway.

Trains on the parkway is definitely not ideal. Either are buses. A tunnel would solve these problems but would cost another billion dollars. I think it would be worth it for a city with weather like ours though and would free up the parkway for its real use.

Lincoln Fields would also serve as a hub for people coming/going from the West end where they could transfer to buses. A revamped station would be necessary with lots of indoor seating. Lincoln Fields as it is is looking pretty shabby.