Monday, September 30, 2013

What's to come with the Richmond Underground: Cleary Station

It's at least a decade away, but the City of Ottawa is planning to build on the light-rail line currently under construction to extend it from Tunney's Pasture westward towards Lincoln Fields before turning south and heading to Baseline Station (although I've heard rumours that there may be a movement afoot to change the Transportation Master Plan in the near future in order to connect Bayshore Station to the LRT line in this second phase of the project). This past summer, the city decided they'd be moving forward with what's called the Richmond Underground route, which combines a shallow trench along the Parkway with a tunnel underneath Richmond Road (-ish) into a redesigned Lincoln Fields station.


What interests me most about the Richmond Underground proposal are the two new stations that would be incorporated into it, Cleary Station in McKellar Park and New Orchard Station in the Woodroffe North. Neither of these communities are currently served by high-speed transit; the current Transitway has a massive service gap between Dominion Station and Lincoln Fields. Although residents of the McKellar Park and Woodroffe are connected to the main Transitway by the 2 and the 87, the fact that the Transitway passed right by them without stopping them is a pretty huge missed opportunity. Richmond Underground addresses that service gap with two new stations, each of which has a relatively strong catchment area of existing residential development.

The easternmost of these new stations is Cleary Station, which is--appropriately--at the intersection of Cleary Avenue and Richmond Road. There's a strip mall on one side of Cleary (it's unclear whether or not that strip mall will stay... ) as well as the Charlesfort Continental condominium building on the other side. To the south are some low-rise apartment buildings and then some single-family homes. Westbound trains will proceed through the shallow trench towards Cleary Station, at which point they'll head underground into the Richmond tunnel.

A little while back, I went by the place where the station's going to be located to check it out (and take some photos). Below is a conceptual image of the line when viewed from the Parkway towards the west; in it, you can see the Continental condo in the background. You'll also notice just the top of the train is visible because the vehicle is inside the trench.


And here's a photo of that general area, but slightly closer to where the station itself is going to be.


Up next is a photo taken from the western side of Cleary Avenue towards the east, roughly where the station itself will be (you can see the back corner of the strip mall at the right of the image). It's tough to imagine a transit station, but... this is roughly where it's going to be.


A couple more concept images of Cleary were made available by the city; if I had to, I'd guess this first one is taken from about the fourth floor of the Charlesfort condo looking east across Cleary Avenue and along the trench. The van that's randomly parked outside the station is in roughly the same spot as the fence in the above image.


Finally, a pretty typical concept image of the station from Cleary Avenue itself.


Although the city has made promises to restrict intensification around Cleary and New Orchard stations, the population density around them is already pretty strong; certainly enough to justify adding in these two new stops.

In the near future, I'll publish some photos of the area around where New Orchard Station will be later in the week.