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Ottawa Transit Developments

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.

First of all, Bank Street cannot have a St. Clair/Spadina style ROW. Bank Street is only 4 lanes wide. Second, we have pretty well eliminated Trillium Line access to the downtown tunnel. We are now buying new trains that will certainly be incompatible. Full double tracking of the Trillium Line will require yet another lengthy shutdown of service, which will affect the entire current route. If you want the Trillium Line to be a trunk transit route, service frequency has to be better than 12 minutes, which is the current limit and will continue to be the limit without full double tracking. 12 minute frequency is incompatible with local bus 30 minute bus frequencies in off peak hours, making transfers unreliable.

On the subject of a Bank Street subway, you are incorrect to suggest that the train needs to run underground for the entire route. An existing right of way would allow the train to run on the surface south of Billings Bridge.

The current plan for rail to the airport is a white elephant. Thankfully, Ottawa taxpayers will not be paying for this. Few people will want to transfer twice to get to downtown hotels with luggage in tow.
 
First of all, Bank Street cannot have a St. Clair/Spadina style ROW. Bank Street is only 4 lanes wide. Second, we have pretty well eliminated Trillium Line access to the downtown tunnel. We are now buying new trains that will certainly be incompatible. Full double tracking of the Trillium Line will require yet another lengthy shutdown of service, which will affect the entire current route. If you want the Trillium Line to be a trunk transit route, service frequency has to be better than 12 minutes, which is the current limit and will continue to be the limit without full double tracking. 12 minute frequency is incompatible with local bus 30 minute bus frequencies in off peak hours, making transfers unreliable.

On the subject of a Bank Street subway, you are incorrect to suggest that the train needs to run underground for the entire route. An existing right of way would allow the train to run on the surface south of Billings Bridge.

The current plan for rail to the airport is a white elephant. Thankfully, Ottawa taxpayers will not be paying for this. Few people will want to transfer twice to get to downtown hotels with luggage in tow.
I'm actually curious to see how it works in practice. One transfer is fine, but two is overkill, especially if one of them is on the same line. Although if they get the timing down, it could function kind of like a People Mover system, so we'll see I guess. Also, the people talking about density on bank should also take note of the stadium that is along the route. Not sure if it's a tipping point, but it's definitely a factor. After Billing's Bridge, there's probably no need for a subway line by any metric.
 
Bank street subway is not justified now, obviously.

But yes, someday.

Trillium Line has stations practically in the middle of nowhere, while Bank Street subway (tighter 500M station spacing north of the stadium + underground only to Billings Bridge, while in median south of Billings Bridge). It can easily be designed as network connectivity solution with many routes, short term and long term -- especially since the street is densifying with towers and that trend may continue over the next 20 years.

By 2035 the business case might be justifiable in the right scenario -- including Billings Bridge densification (redeveloping the mall into a mixed-use complex) -- and one day CanPL -- our national soccer league -- may be begin to become huge by 2035 with full sellout crowds. Obviously, Fury FC is still up in the air (negotiating sheninigians) but that's today, not tomorrow. The stadium may actually be full more than twice as often in 2035.
 
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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.
The peak period capacity of the Trillium Line is abysmal and will continue to be abysmal. As it is, the trains can't handle the number of student passengers trying to get to Carleton in the morning. Stage 2 will only double (very precisely too) the capacity of the line which will help in the short term, but in the long term with the added passengers from the south as well as those heading to the hospital, it'll just be the same issue again. I recently asked if the line will be limited by track capacity after Stage 2 but haven't gotten an answer yet.

Obviously not every passenger on the line will be trying to get to the new hospital or Carleton which is where another trunk line like a Bank Street subway would come in to play. It would offer an alternative way downtown that would reduce peak stress on the Trillium Line and avoid piling more passengers onto the Confederation Line which will have its own load problem with everyone coming in from the east (with the addition of Stage 3 too). Obviously, not a problem yet, or soon, but in the distant future.

I'm not suggesting tunneling all the way to the Airport. That would be a waste of money. A Bank street train could have a below-grade (or the same grade as the Transitway station) at Greenboro and then cross under the Trillium Line before going above grade and connecting to the planned Airport spur and then effectively replace the Trillium Line on that piece of track. That section would be relatively cheap.
 
I'm actually curious to see how it works in practice. One transfer is fine, but two is overkill, especially if one of them is on the same line. Although if they get the timing down, it could function kind of like a People Mover system, so we'll see I guess. Also, the people talking about density on bank should also take note of the stadium that is along the route. Not sure if it's a tipping point, but it's definitely a factor. After Billing's Bridge, there's probably no need for a subway line by any metric.
The claim that the timing between airport shuttles and the main Trillium Line will make transfers easy. Nevertheless, it is pain having to transfer twice and the second transfer at Bayview will require the use of an escalator with your luggage in hand and then repeat again downtown.

Regarding a Bank Street subway, if it were to be built, it would automatically become the main route into downtown from the south end. Billings Bridge is a useless terminus and would greatly reduce the usefulness of a Bank Street subway. It is not only about density but also about catchment population. A Bank Street subway terminating at Billings Bridge would serve maybe 50,000 but the catchment population going further south is probably closer to 250,000. But we have to be clear, this would never be a Montreal or Toronto class subway. It would be an underground LRT line like the Confederation Line probably with shorter trains. In this respect, building the train south of Billings Bridge would make sense. Underground north of Billings Bridge and a surface rail south of Billings Bridge. This would solve the double transfer problem at the airport and create the direct service to the whole south end of the city, which currently exists through the Transitway that we currently planning to end in November.
 
Bank street subway is not justified now, obviously.

Trillium Line has stations practically in the middle of nowhere, while Bank Street subway (500M station spacing + underground only to Billings Bridge, while in median south of Billings Bridge) can easily be designed as network connectivity with many routes, short term and long term -- especially since the street is densifying with towers and that trend may continue over the next 20 years. By 2035 the business case might be justifiable.
It would make more sense to convert the southeast Transitway to LRT than street run LRT on south Bank Street. The Trillium Line could then be converted to LRT at or near South Keys and going southward towards both the airport and the new southern suburbs, which by then will have a population of 150,000 or more. The Trillium Line would then return to its current route from Greenboro to Bayview and would never need double tracking. It would be a secondary route, the same as today.
 
Theoretically, both theoretical future LRT routes (an electrified Trillum LRT plus the Bank Street Subway LRT) can use the same trains, with wye near Greenboro. Once complete, the indirect LRT ride from downtown becomes a direct LRT ride from downtown, with Trillium serving as a secondary route.

Then Billings is just a stop, not a terminus. Though it does have reasonable future potential to be a much better terminus with massive redevelopment (elimination of surface parking lot).

This is far future stuff (2035 or later) but with Ottawa gaining a >$5bn LRT network in a mere decade capable of pushing far more ppphpd thru downtown -- may end up amplifying transit use in the years beyond.

Any hunt for the next downtown route, and the only route I can see is really the Bank Street subway option once justified (tweaked with lots of justifications like condo densification + 500m spacing north of Rideau River + extra games at Stadium (e.g. CanPL) + Billings redevelopment + connectivity + ability to gain a one seat ride to airport + overcrowded Confederation LRT).

Many theoretical variations exist on this, depending on how Ottawa "develops".
 
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There will be no service improvement and the Trillium Line will never go downtown.
Second, we have pretty well eliminated Trillium Line access to the downtown tunnel.

Why this is important is beyond me. It's like arguing that somebody from Scarborough should have zero transfers from STC till Union. Interlining would have been nice. But the Confederation Line will launch with 3 min headways at peak. Interlining with frequencies like that would be very complex. And worse, interlining would probably limit the Confederation Line going to 2 min peak frequencies in the future.

So the train is mostly useless to me.

A single added transfer made the train useless to you? Come on.

We wasted $100M when we cancelled the plan on a $900M project that would have built a 30 km rail system.

That 30 km of rail would not have even half the ridership of the 12.5 km Confederation Line. Probably less than a third of the ridership. And the city would still be spending tens of millions running bus service and dealing with congestion in the core. And they were banking on new suburban subdivisions to anchor ridership on this line. Maybe some day we'll find out how much the developers paid Chiarelli and Council to push that harebrained idea.

Yes, we are ending up with a downtown tunnel, which we needed but I am firm that this could have happened anyways.

Your confidence is misplaced. There was no funding commitment from any other level of government for any of that. Moreover, the tunnel was needed a decade ago, not eventually, whenever funding was secured....

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.

Not even close. Yonge-Bloor sees over 400 000 passengers per day flowing through with probably half of that being transfers.. Bayview will not even see a quarter of that for a long time. And the amount of transferees will be even less, given the massive disparity in ridership between the Trillium Line and Confederation Line. As per the TMP, Ottawa had 325 000 total daily transit trips for ALL of OC Transpo. The Ottawa-Toronto comparisons are ridiculous. Ottawa's entire ridership in 2048 with Stage 2 is projected to be 177 million. So Ottawa's entire transit network, in 30 years, will have daily ridership that is only 24% higher than Yonge-Bloor's ridership in 2016.


We will still have a one track trunk line (because of the 2006 cancellation) that will always limit frequency and reliability of trains.

And yet that meets demand for the corridor. Which really shows you how dubious the business case for the previous LRT plan was. Heck, I'd argue that a Transitway in this corridor would deliver higher ridership.

Also, why is having one trunk line an issue if your population is largely distributed along it? And what's the value of another trunk line if it's not supporting the bulk of your ridership and not offering redundancy to your primary line?

. 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.

I respect politicians who make the right decision. Not the popular one. This old LRT plan was simply a way to boost property values in Riverside South. It wasn't a transit plan. And it would have left a massive hole in the city's transit budget since it wouldn't address bus congestion in the core or the high cost of moving tens of thousands of riders daily on buses.

Proponents of the old plan (like yourself) argue that future funds would have come. There's no evidence for that. And if for some reason that didn't happen or there were significant delays in funding, Ottawa would have basically risked a failing transit system as bus congestion in the core basically handicapped the system.

Larry O'Brien was a terrible mayor.

Only to you, because you didn't get a one-seat ride from your low density suburb to the core.

First of all, Bank Street cannot have a St. Clair/Spadina style ROW. Bank Street is only 4 lanes wide.

This is why I said eliminate street parking and bike lanes in the core. You'd get one lane of traffic and an LRT lane in each direction through the core.

And all that is assuming that Bank St even warrants a streetcar or any higher order transit. I've seen absolutely zero evidence that Bank Street has ridership that demands anything more than than bus service with 5 min headways.

Full double tracking of the Trillium Line will require yet another lengthy shutdown of service, which will affect the entire current route.

I am sure people will appreciate the quick 1.5 year turn to upgrade the existing line for Stage 2. Compare that to the 3.5 year closure of the Transitway that east enders put up with. Another closure to rebuild in the next 15-20 years won't be in the memory span of most people.

If you want the Trillium Line to be a trunk transit route, service frequency has to be better than 12 minutes, which is the current limit and will continue to be the limit without full double tracking. 12 minute frequency is incompatible with local bus 30 minute bus frequencies in off peak hours, making transfers unreliable.

Indeed, which is why I said, they should spend the billion bucks some day to make twin track it and build stations. As for bus frequencies, they'll be halved post Stage 2 when buses don't have to go all the way downtown and deadhead back.

On the subject of a Bank Street subway, you are incorrect to suggest that the train needs to run underground for the entire route. An existing right of way would allow the train to run on the surface south of Billings Bridge.

Again, at what cost. Just the portion from Bank and Queen to Billings Bridge would cost $1.2 - 1.4 billion. This is probably higher than what it could cost to twin track and build proper stations for the entire length of Stage 2 Trillium. And I would bet money a twin tracked Stage 2 Trillium would get more ridership than a 5-stop Queen-Billings Bridge Bank St. subway.
 
This is far future stuff (2035 or later) but with Ottawa gaining a >$5bn LRT network in a mere decade capable of pushing far more ppphpd thru downtown -- may end up amplifying transit use in the years beyond.

While that's true, any extra funds before or after 2035, are going to Stage 3 extensions to Barrhaven and Kanata. Remember, the goal here is to convert the core of the Transitway to LRT so that bus vehicle-kilometres-traveled comes down and they can redirect those buses to improving service, without increasing the size of the bus fleet. We'll see modal share increase and lots more riders and Stage 2 will handle that really well.

Any hunt for the next downtown route, and the only route I can see is really the Bank Street subway option once justified (tweaked with lots of justifications like condo densification + 500m spacing north of Rideau River + extra games at Stadium (e.g. CanPL) + Billings redevelopment + connectivity + ability to gain a one seat ride to airport + overcrowded Confederation LRT).

Exactly. It will take all that to achieve ridership that will be on the bottom end of justifying a subway. People in Ottawa act like Bank St. is dense because a handful of condos popped up. It's laughable. This is also making the same mistake as Toronto and mixing up regional and local transport needs. It's like arguing that Toronto needs a Queen St East subway running through Leslieville and the Beaches so that Scarborough residents can get downtown. Bank St. itself has very different transit needs from Alta Vista, South Keys and Hunt Club.
 
A single added transfer made the train useless to you? Come on.



I've just agreed to disagree (with the 2006 plan pining), this circular argument has literally been going on for years.


On an unrelated (to quoted) note, the only reason I recommended a terminus at Billing's is that after that you might have stations served by LRT, BRT, and the subway/more LRT, making it a bit too redundant for a place the size of Ottawa. Billing's Bridge can be accessed from further south via the transitway.
 
I've just agreed to disagree (with the 2006 plan pining), this circular argument has literally been going on for years

Ottawans are weird like this. Probably 70% of them don't realize how big their city is. And so don't understand the need for serious investment in higher order transit ("We're not Toronto! Buses are fine here."). And then the other 30% overcompensate acting like Ottawa is some multi-million resident metropolis that needs several subway lines.
 
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Wow! See Torontonians. People in Ottawa disagree with each other. Unfortunately, it is usually people who will have easy access to the Confederation Line who will lecture those of us who live in the south part of the city.

I will correctly point out that it is not one transfer added. It is actually two transfers. I don't expect a one seat ride. I don't live within walking distance of a train station nor do I expect a train that close by. But I do expect to be taken to some of Ottawa's prime destinations when I do get on the train. Right now it takes you to an empty old industrial site. In the future, maybe condos, but that is not a destination for me or my neighbours. We might get an NHL arena fairly close by, maybe. This has been a tiresome argument brought up repeatedly on an Ottawa board. So is the interlining issue. It is sickening listening to the argument that we need trains every 2 minutes for the elite who live in Westboro that might receive 1 passenger per train. Interlining will work until capacity is almost reached. By then, that second tunnel better be under construction.

Bank Street and streetcars will never work. They got rid of them in 1959 for good reason. There is not enough room for streetcars, bike lanes and vehicles. There is physically not enough space. Spadina and St. Clair are wide boulevards by comparison.

Regarding the Bayview transfer, of course, it does not have the scale of people that the Yonge-Bloor transfer has today. But, we also have to scale it to the size of trains we will be using. We are not using Toronto size subway trains. It won't take as many people to cause problems. You may laugh at me right now, but this is the permanent solution we are creating that will have to last Ottawa 50 or more years. Lots will change in that time, as more megatowers are built and if we send much of Gatineau's transit riders through the same spot. We didn't plan for the latter when we made our tunnel plans.

I will say it again. Larry O'Brien was an idiot. If he was such a great mayor, why was he turfed out at the next election. You know his tenure was a circus. A good politician could have pulled off the tunnel funding without cancelling the original plan. Ottawa was also punished by $100M when we were short changed on Phase 1 from the provincial government and likewise a matching $100M from the feds. Then we lost $100M on the cancellation and we have spending extra Ms as we build the same line piecemeal. That's a lot of money that we gave up because of political inexperience.
 
Ottawans are weird like this. Probably 70% of them don't realize how big their city is. And so don't understand the need for serious investment in higher order transit ("We're not Toronto! Buses are fine here."). And then the other 30% overcompensate acting like Ottawa is some multi-million resident metropolis that needs several subway lines.
You make me laugh. You are one of the ones who thinks that building one line should be enough to serve the entire city. How is that possible? Look at what is happening in Calgary and Edmonton. Then we build the one line so it serves basically no one in the central neighbourhoods of the city on top of that. We took the route of least resistance. At least Bank Street is Ottawa's main street and the corridor is gradually densifying even though served only by buses caught badly in traffic.
 
How is that possible?

Mostly geography and because the Confederation Line is a lot more than a simple single line when you consider the eventual branches.

There's nothing that I have to prove. Current and projected ridership says it all.

You are one of the ones who thinks that building one line should be enough to serve the entire city.

More than one line is necessary. More than one LRT line? That's debatable. And good news, between the Confederation Line, Trillium Line and the Southeast, Southwest, and Western Transitways, there's more than one line serving Ottawa. BRT is still rapid transit, last I checked.

Again, do you have any ridership number to show that a subway is warranted along Bank or that Trillium actually needs anything approach the level of service on the Confederation Line, in the next decade. A simple check of bus frequencies on Bank, multiplied by bus capacity should tell you everything you need to know.

Look at what is happening in Calgary and Edmonton.

The Confederation Line will have higher ridership than any of their lines. And Ottawa's transit modal share is higher than both those cities. So what exactly do you think we need to learn from them?

Then we build the one line so it serves basically no one in the central neighbourhoods of the city on top of that.

We don't invest $5 billion to serve neighbourhoods. We invest that money to serve riders. Ottawa made the right choice in building LRT in a manner that serves the most users. And LRT ridership projections and current Transitway numbers show that.

At least Bank Street is Ottawa's main street and the corridor is gradually densifying even though served only by buses caught badly in traffic.

Bank Street is no more important to the city than Rideau or Elgin. And when it comes to transit, doesn't actually generate all that much in ridership. It runs just fine on a bus every 5 minutes today. And heck, Ottawa is still okay with street parking on Bank Street. That should tell you, how concerned the planners really are with traffic.
 
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