Call it Transit Option Four, Part Two: Bigger, Longer … Better?
A marathon joint meeting of Ottawa’s transportation and transit committees last night approved a transit plan based on the fourth option put forward by city staff: One that includes light rail lines running as far west as Kanata North and Stittsville, as far east as Trim Road, and into the community of Riverside South — but with conditions on that suburban expansion.
“What we heard from the consultations is people wanted more rail, more transit, sooner,” said Mayor Larry O’Brien. “We approved a plan that extended rail east and west and south, tunnel-based, and we will now task staff to come up with an implementation plan based on Option Four to get this done.”
The priority will be to complete transit corridors inside the Greenbelt first, before looking to expand rail lines, based on ridership and cost estimates, outside those areas. Any expansion would also be subject to the city having sufficient funding.
Coun. Marianne Wilkinson said completing the transit system inside the Greenbelt is strictly a matter of securing funding. With enough money, she said, it could be mostly done within 10 years, with “a good chance” suburban rail lines will be built before 2031.
“The growth is going there,” she said. “We’ve already got 43,000 jobs in Kanata. There’s a lot of traffic going in both directions. These are areas that need service.”
Staff will also study developing a secondary transit corridor, with street cars running along Carling Avenue, Rideau Street and Montreal Road.
Staff will examine moving the south terminus of the north-south rail line to a more central location in the Riverside South community. Lyon Sachs, president of Urbandale Corp, the developers of the area, was pleased to see that considered.
“We can’t do this without Option Four, so we’ve got to finish it off.”
Council will vote on the plan May 28.
The committee rejected developing a backup plan suggested by Coun. Clive Doucet.
“If you put all your eggs in one basket, you are risking everything on one throw, when you don’t have to and I don’t understand that.”
David Jeanes of Transport 2000 said Ottawa can’t afford to shut down the existing O-Train for three years while it is rebuilt.
“We would never have designed a network like the one … today because it has no resiliency for bottlenecks or failures whatsoever.”