Concerned with the rapid transit plan’s “huge potential for failure” an Ottawa councillor is calling on council to develop a backup plan.
Coun. Clive Doucet said the city needs an alternative option that addresses downtown congestion differently and presents another east-west route.
“We need to give Ottawans a real alternative in terms of cost and service. Right now we have neither,” said Doucet. “We’ve got no environmental assessment. We don’t know what the costs are and we’re saying let’s go ahead, just blindly. I think no. You want to make sure you have an alternative.”
Doucet said council should hold separate votes on the technology and the routes. He said the technology is correct but the routes for Option Four are all wrong.
While he did not present an alternative, Doucet said he would like to see a western light rail line run along Carling Avenue to Kanata.
“It makes so much more sense. It’s direct. It serves 300,000 people. It’s a true work-play-live option,” he said. “The Transitway is in the middle of nowhere for most people. Maybe it’s good for Canada geese.”
Coun. Marianne Wilkinson agreed that routes for the plan should not be set in stone until an environmental assessment is completed, and that Carling Avenue should be considered for tracks out to the west.
Last week, Wilkinson proposed a new transit plan that extends the O-Train to Leitrim Road with buses serving the airport.
The plan would cost $50 million, compared to 10 times the amount it would cost to convert to twin-rail electric trains.
Wilkinson said there was not sufficient demand to justify a twin-track electric train running to the airport and Riverside South.