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Moose Rail (National Capital Region)

kEiThZ

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Turning into a trail is the same thing as destroying it. If they were to tear it down, they would have the same chance of ever seeing it used for rail again as if they turn it into a trail. When has a rail trail ever been returned to rail use in Canada? The pushback would be crazy.

You should read up on VIA's High Frequency Rail/Dedicated Tracks project. It's just such a proposal. About to receive federal approval and funding.

I'm just glad I don't live in a city as looney as Ottawa.

Indeed. Better to live in the GTA where GO now enables 2 hr commutes. That's saner than letting a bridge that no rail operator is using or plans on using in the foreseeable future, be used as a bike path.
 
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kEiThZ

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With the way they are doing it, they would be better off building a new bridge than they would be trying to tell residents that their trail is becoming a rail line and that comes with cost.

The same could be said for an ancient single track rail bridge. It wouldn't actually be substantially practical for high frequency transit operations either. And the Gatineau side is exponentially worse than Ottawa because there is no actual passenger rail service on any of the tracks there. Heck, there's even a bridge where asphalt was laid between the tracks so that buses can use it most of the time with freight running at night.

You seem to have a disdain for commuter and regional rail.

I have a disdain for sprawl be it ransit or auto induced.

One of the nice things about it is that it allows people in the GTA with a great alternative to the freeways, and that it provides further reaching benefits than LRT in many circumstances.

This sounds great in theory. It's a nice fiction that 905ers all tell themselves.

In reality, GO has enabled low density suburban living because the communities serviced outside the 416 weren't interested in transit oriented development at all, and GO happily played along with gigantic parking lots. Ultimately, we still ended up building plenty of freeways because all those suburbanites drive everywhere, except to work. Imagine a world where GO didn't exist. Toronto would have ended up as dense as Montreal, with an equally dense subway network.

Regional rail works just fine when paired with appropriate zoning forcing TOD and density. But no municipalities in the GTA were really willing to do that until forced to do so by the province. And these municipalities hoping for regional rail in Ottawa are too small to even have such rules imposed on them.

Ultimately, this entire discussion can be summed up thusly. These communities are too small to support regional rail service. And will require both substantial subsidies and massive growth driven by cheap low density real estate to support such services. None of this benefits taxpayers in Ottawa. In fact, absent several hundred million dollars, Ottawa residents would actually see worse service if existing track capacity had to be shared with a commuter rail service. So MOOSE and its sycophants want Ottawa taxpayers to possibly accept worse transit service and subsidize ex-urban sprawl with their tax dollars.
 
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jayme2016

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The same could be said for an ancient single track rail bridge. It wouldn't actually be substantially practical for high frequency transit operations either. And the Gatineau side is exponentially worse than Ottawa because there is no actual passenger rail service on any of the tracks there. Heck, there's even a bridge where asphalt was laid between the tracks so that buses can use it most of the time with freight running at night.



I have a disdain for sprawl be it ransit or auto induced.



This sounds great in theory. It's a nice fiction that 905ers all tell themselves.

In reality, GO has enabled low density suburban living because the communities serviced outside the 416 weren't interested in transit oriented development at all, and GO happily played along with gigantic parking lots. Ultimately, we still ended up building plenty of freeways because all those suburbanites drive everywhere, except to work. Imagine a world where GO didn't exist. Toronto would have ended up as dense as Montreal, with an equally dense subway network.

Regional rail works just fine when paired with appropriate zoning forcing TOD and density. But no municipalities in the GTA were really willing to do that until forced to do so by the province. And these municipalities hoping for regional rail in Ottawa are too small to even have such rules imposed on them.

Ultimately, this entire discussion can be summed up thusly. These communities are too small to support regional rail service. And will require both substantial subsidies and massive growth driven by cheap low density real estate to support such services. None of this benefits taxpayers in Ottawa. In fact, absent several hundred million dollars, Ottawa residents would actually see worse service if existing track capacity had to be shared with a commuter rail service. So MOOSE and its sycophants want Ottawa taxpayers to possibly accept worse transit service and subsidize ex-urban sprawl with their tax dollars.

The issue is the valley and seaway towns and cities are booming big time now right now you could say a go train sysem may not be needed but 20 years from now it very well could be that point it might be to late.
 

jayme2016

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There's no need for a regional rail system to serve a bunch of hamlets and towns with a few thousand people each. Especially not if that takes up finite track capacity and impacts the services of Ottawa residents.

And if anybody was going to setup such a system, it most definitely shouldn't be the responsibility of the City of Ottawa. Let those communities petition Queen's Park to set up a GO system to serve them. I don't see why Ottawa taxpayers should subsidize their commutes.



You can disagree, but this is literally what the basis of MOOSE's proposal was. It was called "Property powered rail". The proposal specifically pitched outlying communities on the prospect of gaining substantial development based on offering commuter rail service.



Ottawa residents don't pay taxes to the City of Ottawa to have it spent on commuters from elsewhere. I'd go so far as to say that major metros like Ottawa should consider congestion charges that specifically target these out of town residents who are basically resorting to sprawl arbitrage on the backs of urban and suburban ratepayers. Let's see how many people would commute from Arnprior if they had to pay $5 every time they entered Ottawa.

Well since houses are $200,000 cheaper in Arnprior i think most would be fine with a $5 charge.
 

jayme2016

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The whole, "not just for Ottawa" thing sounds nice, don't you think?

Look, I'm not saying that Ottawa had to pay for the whole thing and I'm not sayint we had to go with Moose Rail, what I am saying is that the idea of having a regional rail system in the Ottawa area is something that should have been more seriously looked at.

An Ottawa area regional system could have been funded with help of the province and I totally disagree that it would have created transit-induced sprawl. In essence, what the whole laser focus on LRT did was let other rail infrastructure deteriorate, thus trapping residents who don't live in Ottawa in their cars unless they want to take a bus that gets stuck in traffic. But it would seem that in the whole concept of "density", it is forgotten that people in other town exist and should also have good mobility options that don't require rubber tires.

The nice thing about commuter/regional rail is that since it uses existing infrastructure, it isn't nearly as costly, and its benefits are more widely spread.

What is the worst thing about all of this is that this rail link is being permanently closed. There will likely never be another interprovincial (national) rail link to Gatineau after this which is very frustrating.

We have that sprawl as it is many people are using Via as a commuter train now from places like Smith Falls etc.
 

kEiThZ

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I would be willing to concede that Ottawa's further flung communities don't need commuter service RIGHT NOW, but you also have to consider the future.

How far in the future should this asset be held in escrow? The province says Ottawa will grow by 400k over the next 25 years. A single digit percentage of that would go to those towns. Not enough to justify commuter rail. Let alone a specific connection across the Ottawa River, which would be a subset of the already small set of ex-urban commuters. Is the bridge supposed to lie unused for a century or more because at some point in the future they might need a one-stop connection across the river?

As a major city, Ottawa has one of the lowest population densities in Canada. This was fueled through decades of suburban development and freeways.

A consequence of the Gerber plan as you point out. And instead of supporting measures to increase density, you are criticizing urban transit and suggesting that a prized rail corridor be used to facilitate travel from a bunch of villages and towns 50km further away. How exactly does this help improve density in the city of Ottawa? Break down the logic behind this for me.

expensive new LRT lines rather than using what they already have.

You get that the Trillium Line literally uses "what they already have"? It doesn't even use light rail rolling stock. It uses heavy rail rolling stock and has stop spacing that is between a metro and suburban rail system. The Alstom Coradia Lint and Stadler FLIRT fleets they are deploying after Stage 2 are used for intercity, regional and suburban service in Europe. There's nothing "light" about it but some colloquial local description. The line would be described as a metro or suburban rail line anywhere else.

Ditto for the Confederation Line too, where the only thing "light" is the rolling stock and everything else from the stop spacing to complete grade separation is closer to a metro system. Compare what is being built on Eglinton, Finch, Hurontario or was built in Waterloo to the Confederation Line and then tell me which one is "light rail". This would be like calling the Scarborough RT or Vancouver SkyTrain "light rail".

At this point, you seem somewhat ignorant to what is actually being built in Ottawa and prone to whining because are they putting railfan priorities ahead of the interests of their residents and taxpayers.
 
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kEiThZ

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Also, to say GO was a bad thing is because of sprawl is mental gymnastics.

GO wasn't a bad thing. Building GO with absolutely zero control on sprawl and specifically designing the entire rail network to be driven to with very little local transit integration, for decades, was a terrible idea. And has undoubtedly contributed to the GTA becoming the sprawling mess it is. Why you would wish the same on another metro is beyond me.

GO helped to manage the sprawl in a more sustainable way.

Not even close. It opened up cheap low density real estate.

No GO means you trap millions in their cars which creates huge congestion problems for Toronto.

No GO means people accept smaller homes closer to the urban centre.

And honestly, if some sprawl means that we have a frequent service that allows people to travel around the GTA without needing a car, that was a worthy sacrifice.

Except you can't practically get around the GTA without a car. The entire GO network is centered around getting commuters downtown. How easy is it to get from Markham to Mississauga in a reasonable amount of time on GO?

It is really nice to be able to go to a Blue Jays game or concert and not worry about parking.

Thanks for providing a great example of what I'm talking about.
 
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lrt's friend

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As Ottawa real estate price increases exceed what people can afford, there will be increasing pressure to build in towns outside the city boundary. Without alternatives, these will be 100% car commuters. The prime beneficiaries will be Casselman, Embrun, Kemptville, Carleton Place, Almonte and Arnprior, all on or close to major highways that we continue to expand. It is highways not rail that facilitates long distance commuters the most.
 

jayme2016

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Most of the current burbs are well beyond booming with that said we can't step it but there are some that want new burbs created one is proposed in the east end and would have 35,000 people .
 

kEiThZ

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Let's clarify what I mean by commuter rail. By commuter rail, I mean a DMU style service with trains similar to that of the Trillium line, just with lower frequency and to further flung destinations. Not 12 car bi-level trains. Low cost to implement on existing infrastructure.
I'm not saying this plan is improving the density of Ottawa, what I am saying is that Ottawa has a lot of suburbs, and those suburbs are not going to go away. Unless you accomodate them with well connected transit, they are going to be a major source of congestion for you. And you can still build light rail for dense areas since the cost of building a Trillium Line style commuter service to some of the suburbs and yes, Gatineau, would be fractional to existing LRT plans. Regional rail would even help boost the usage of light rail in Ottawa if connected well. The problem is, total lack of coordination between all levels of government makes this difficult to achieve, but taking infrastructure that could be used for such a service and decommisioning it takes the difficult and makes it impossible.

Have you lived in Ottawa because a lot of this seems pretty ignorant to history and reality.

To start with the Trillium Line literally uses DMUs to serve suburban areas and is being further extended to serve more suburban areas. Exactly as you are whining about. The only difference is that they ended the extension inside Ottawa's city limits.

Next, a regional rail system would be useless since the existing rail infrastructure doesn't reach the downtown core. Making it useless for most commuters. Heck, there's entire suburbs with no rail lines running through them.

Lastly on cost, Ottawa basically built a metro network cheaply by mostly converting existing BRT corridors (the Transitway). Building any of this from scratch would be extraordinarily expensive. The entire Ottawa O-Train network (both Stage 1 and Stage 2) only cost 15-20% more than the Eglinton Crosstown and unlike the ECLRT is fully grade separated and segregated, has larger stations and longer platforms, and most importantly 3x the length of the ECLRT (64 km vs. 19 km). Post Stage 2, Ottawa will have 77% of ALL residents (urban, suburban and rural) within 5 km of a rail station. This is better than anything the GTA will have for at least a decade, if not more.

I can't wish for something that already exists. I can only wish for something that can help manage the consequences of decades of development

Actually you seem so enamoured with the shitburbs that is Mississauga and Oshawa the you think turning Perth and Almonte into them is a good idea.

The highways were vastly more responsible for this than GO.

More responsible. But not entirely responsible. GO has played a massive role by making it easy to live far away and commute. Only in GTA logic, does it make sense to commute from Barrie, Kitchener and Hamilton to a job in downtown Toronto.

No GO means people still move to Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville and others, but just drive.

Until the highways fill up. Traffic completely changes the calculus of where people live. And you bring Mississauga and Oakville, but don't want to talk about Oshawa, Milton, Kitchener, Barrie and Stouffville. What transit oriented development is going on there?

We can't all live in downtown Toronto

Who said anything about living downtown?

If GO didn't exist, Mississauga, Oakville and Brampton would still exist. But the traffic would be bad enough that they would have to actually consider densifying and developing local transit. The 416 would have been forced to densify substantially a lot sooner too. In short, the entire region would have developed substantial differently. More akin to Montreal.

The GTA is increasingly a lost cause. Ottawa is only at a million. They don't need to make the same mistakes as they grow. They've adopted a 15 minute neighborhood development policy.
 
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lrt's friend

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The idea of inducing people to live in the inner city is not realistic nor is it democratic. If we adopted policies of that nature, costs would increase exponentially and the quality of housing for the price paid would decline dramatically. This would occur as a result of competition for land. Lack of supply, means that prices increase. So, that $1M home might become $2M. This would necessarily make Toronto (or any other city) unaffordable. So, this just pushes people back into the hell-whole suburbs that we have created because there is no transit access.

As population grows, sprawl is inevitable. Not everybody wants to live in a high-rise condo. So, there are only two choices. Build more highways or build more transit or a combination of the two. I believe that a better outcome, which will in the long run produce more compact suburbs is to provide better transit connections.

I believe that Ottawa's mistake will be not to provide good quality transit throughout and it will be the province's responsibility to provide transit beyond the city limits. For the latter, it has been provincial policy to date to simply expand roads, which in the long run will negatively impact the urban area through wider roads and increasingly unlivable congestion. This impacts everybody including those who choose to live in the most urban neighbourhoods.
 

lrt's friend

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Also, the fact that they are so hellbent on removing rails over the structure is so illogical. They are going out of their way to prevent rail use and it makes no sense. Rails WITH trails is a thing, and any added cost in doing so would surely be worth it, especially for a city with the resources of Ottawa.
Frankly, the Prince of Wales Bridge is a low priority transit corridor. It will not be used by Gatineau's STO as it is too far west of downtown and it would be a horrendous error to transfer all STO passengers at Bayview. Turning the POW bridge into a multi-use pathway at least preserves the bridge and turns what is becoming an eyesore and public hazard into a public asset. It does not preclude returning the bridge to rail use but I don't see that becoming a priority for decades. A future pathway can be built off the side of the bridge if rail is returned.
 

jayme2016

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It doesn't make sense to build a pathway off the side in the future if it can be done now. Converting the bridge into a pathway without explicit accommodations for future rail is a very short-sighted move. The city bought the bridge in 2005 for transit, and it should be held to that. It is very easy to build pedestrian crossings or modify existing structures to accommodate pedestrians. It is much more of an ordeal to try to build a new rail structure.

People don't want a simple bike path on the bridge they want it to be world class.
 

jayme2016

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Also, the fact that they are so hellbent on removing rails over the structure is so illogical. They are going out of their way to prevent rail use and it makes no sense. Rails WITH trails is a thing, and any added cost in doing so would surely be worth it, especially for a city with the resources of Ottawa.

Back in 2019 the projected cost of turning the bridge into non rail just bikes etc was at least 10 million.
 

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