News   Jun 21, 2024
 4.4K     6 
News   Jun 21, 2024
 1.7K     3 
News   Jun 21, 2024
 1.9K     1 

Ottawa Transit Developments

While the LRT is overdue, Ottawa does (or at least did) busses really well. Until I moved to Toronto, I had literally never heard of the term "short turn". I was shocked that the subways stopped running overnight as the transitway ran 24/7. Express bus routes were really well used to great effect. On the transitway routes, buses even have bike racks, easing a mixed transit/cycling commute.
 
[...] Sometimes even computer printouts (dot matrix back then) in the 1980s of timetables on small slightly-below-eye-level affixments to unsheltered bus stop poles! [...]

I remember these.

In Hamilton, we've got tiny metal plates affixed to signs -- lost in clutter -- instead of Ottawa's generous 0.25 square meter "metal flags". Often without a route number. And many bus shelters are missing the HSR network map. And good luck in finding timetables at unsheltered stops.

The 10-year HSR Rapid Ready plan, along with the LRT, should help, but we still need to up public transit to more of a first-class citizen like Ottawa did.
 
OC Transpo ridership by year:

2008: 93.9 million

2009: 83.2 million

2010: 99.3 million

2011:103.5 million

2012: 100.8 million

2013: 97.8 million

2014: 97.1 million

2015: 96.5 million

2016: 96.5 million

Looks to me a lot like they have largely suffered and plateau'd because of construction the last 5 years, and the strike in 2008/2009.

Will be interesting to see how the forced transfer at Tunney's/Bayview and construction in the East and West impacts ridership.
 
I also left in 2012. I might be wrong, but if there was a gap, it was between a last bus around 2:30 am and a first but around 4:30 am. I frequently was on that first bus, so am sure of that.

And voting O'Brien is bad enough without having done it for the worst possible reason. Cancelling the previous Chiarelli plan was one of the worst decisions ever made in Ottawa.

The previous plan would have been great as a first step, and the second stage would have been exactly what is happening now anyway. Talk about self-defeating - $100 million was already spent and thrown away when the north-south plan was dropped. It was politically decried for not having a tunnel, but a tunnel was always going to come later for the east-west portion. There would have been redundancy downtown with two lines (one above ground, the other underground) and no forced transfer at Bayview for the north-south passengers. If I recall correctly, the north-south light rail would have been complete in 2009, nearly a decade ahead of the current Phase I.
 
I also left in 2012. I might be wrong, but if there was a gap, it was between a last bus around 2:30 am and a first but around 4:30 am. I frequently was on that first bus, so am sure of that.

And voting O'Brien is bad enough without having done it for the worst possible reason. Cancelling the previous Chiarelli plan was one of the worst decisions ever made in Ottawa.

The previous plan would have been great as a first step, and the second stage would have been exactly what is happening now anyway. Talk about self-defeating - $100 million was already spent and thrown away when the north-south plan was dropped. It was politically decried for not having a tunnel, but a tunnel was always going to come later for the east-west portion. There would have been redundancy downtown with two lines (one above ground, the other underground) and no forced transfer at Bayview for the north-south passengers. If I recall correctly, the north-south light rail would have been complete in 2009, nearly a decade ahead of the current Phase I.

I am very happy with what O'Brien did. I don't think the current LRT did was inevitably going to follow. Better to do it right the first time. You do have a good point about a second line being better than a transfer, though. The current setup will eventually demand a second downtown route which will be a major political fight one day.
 
Cancelling the previous Chiarelli plan was one of the worst decisions ever made in Ottawa.

Vehemently disagree. Cancelling that plan was one of the best things they ever did. That plan would have destroyed the reputation of transit in Ottawa for a generation. After spending several hundred million dollars, they would build a line which didn't serve the majority of commuters or relieve bus congestion in the core. I won't even get into the developer fingerprints all over that plan.

The previous plan would have been great as a first step, and the second stage would have been exactly what is happening now anyway.

No. With not tunnel through the downtown core, this follow on plan would have some serious throughput limitations and critical vulnerabilities. It could be shut down by a stalled vehicle or accident on the tracks. Not a big deal in Toronto on Eglinton. A huge deal in Ottawa if that's the backbone of the entire city's transit network.

Talk about self-defeating - $100 million was already spent and thrown away when the north-south plan was dropped.

I think it was $70 million. In any event, better to spend $100 million in cancellation fees than spend $800 million building a line with low ridership that completely destroys your credibility for future transit projects.

Measure twice. Cut once. If you notice your measurements are screwed up after you start cutting, you don't keep sawing through anyway.

It was politically decried for not having a tunnel, but a tunnel was always going to come later for the east-west portion. There would have been redundancy downtown with two lines (one above ground, the other underground) and no forced transfer at Bayview for the north-south passengers. If I recall correctly, the north-south light rail would have been complete in 2009, nearly a decade ahead of the current Phase I.

This was some truly unwarranted optimism. What do you think would have happened to transit in Ottawa when the majority of the city didn't benefit from LRT. And how willing do you think the province and feds would have been to keep funding more LRT after seeing the crap ridership numbers for that LRT plan?

As it stands, the Confederation Line will be the busiest LRT line in North America on day one. That makes for one hell of a talking point when asking for more money from higher levels of government.
 
The current setup will eventually demand a second downtown route which will be a major political fight one day.

Why?

The Confederation Line has enough capacity built in to last a lifetime. I think approaching 25-30 000 pphpd. I can't see why they would need another line through the core. An argument can be made for a north-south line into the core (Bank St. subway?). But I don't think there's any ridership numbers to justify that.
 
Last edited:
Bank Street Subway with detour to connect Carleton University? I would assume Carleton students would contribute significantly to ridership numbers.
 
Does Bank Street have ridership to justify any of this? It doesn't even come close to say St. Clair in Toronto. What justifies a multi-billion dollar subway? I'm not even sure a Bank Street subway would have the ridership of the one--stop Scarborough subway. A beefed up Trillium Line is a lot cheaper.

It would strictly be network development if a Bank Street subway was done in the next 20 years.
 
Does Bank Street have ridership to justify any of this? It doesn't even come close to say St. Clair in Toronto. What justifies a multi-billion dollar subway? I'm not even sure a Bank Street subway would have the ridership of the one--stop Scarborough subway. A beefed up Trillium Line is a lot cheaper.

It would strictly be network development if a Bank Street subway was done in the next 20 years.
Well, like @mdrejhon said, maybe in around 2035.

A beefed up Trillium Line still won't go close enough to downtown and might quickly overflow with Carleton students and hospital workers (assuming the new campus is built on Carling).
 
Well, like @mdrejhon said, maybe in around 2035.

A beefed up Trillium Line still won't go close enough to downtown and might quickly overflow with Carleton students and hospital workers (assuming the new campus is built on Carling).

Overflow? A fully segregated exclusive ROW, grade separated heavy rail corridor is not anywhere near at risk of overflowing. There's not even enough riders to justify twin tracks or sub 8 min frequency on the single track today. We're talking > 30 000 pphpd with twin tracks. What's the risk of a city of a million will overwhelm that when it's not even the major corridor?

I get the desire for a Bank St. subway to get downtown. I get that a transfer at Bayview sucks for those coming from the South. But it's 9km from Queen to Hunt Club. 11-12 km to the airport. At $270-300M/km. We're talking $2.4-3.5 billion. Comparatively for less than a billion, the Trillium Line can be brought up to Confederation Line standards, with probably enough capacity to meet demand for a century or two.

What Bank Street needs is the removal of street parking, possibly even bike lanes (in the core), and a St.Clair/Spadina style ROW. Can be done for $80M/km, with more stops. And won't conflict with Trillium Line service.

A subway means stops about 800m to 1.2km apart. Take a look at Bank and the landmarks and neighbourhoods along it. How many of you would want that over a streetcar? For context, a subway starting at Queen would have only two stops in the core: Somerset and the Queensway.
 
Last edited:
I was directly affected by the cancellation of the 2006 plan. I live in the part of town that would have benefited from the Chiarelli Plan. What has happened is a disaster four our part of the city. The replacement plan has required repeated shutdowns, each that delivered very little. The next phase will require another lengthy shutdown. There will be no service improvement and the Trillium Line will never go downtown. So the train is mostly useless to me. We wasted $100M when we cancelled the plan on a $900M project that would have built a 30 km rail system. Yes, we are ending up with a downtown tunnel, which we needed but I am firm that this could have happened anyways. Ottawa is now creating its own Bloor-Yonge transfer problem at Bayview, which will get worse when Gatineau potentially connects to the same Bayview station. Nobody believes me on this, but wait and see once the new hospital and the megatowers are completed on the Trillium Line. We will still have a one track trunk line (because of the 2006 cancellation) that will always limit frequency and reliability of trains. People briefly loved Larry O'Brien as mayor and he did get the tunnel project going but a good politician would have done this without blowing away the previous plan and wasting all that money. Larry O'Brien was a terrible mayor.
 

Back
Top