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Ottawa Transit Developments

kEiThZ

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third of Ottawa's population lives in the south end. Not Riverside south, but, south along the bank street corridor, Hunt Club, South Keys, Greenboro, Hunt Club Park, Blossom Park within the greenbelt,

That's quite the expansive definition of "south end". Most of the Bank St corridor's population is within 5 km of Parliament Hill. Translated to Toronto, this would be like saying Yonge and Eglinton is in North Toronto.
 

gweed123

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I'm guessing Ottawan lives in South Keys, Riverside South or Barrhaven. So he'd be perfectly okay with a plan that got him LRT and left everyone from Orleans, Kanata and Stittsville riding the bus.

O'Brien's decision was undoubtedly controversial. There was a populist element to it. But in the end we got a system that was larger, fully grade separated and serves a higher proportion of existing transit users. I'm not going to shed too many tears for developers and speculators who lost out on their bets in Barrhaven and Riverside South.

I see the old LRT proposal as something akin to building the Scarborough RT. A set up for multi-decade long chaos and political fight. $100M is a small price to pay for avoiding that. Even if it made some folks unhappy.

Agreed completely. In the long run, canning that LRT plan was the best thing for transit in Ottawa. It's just a shame that that plan was able to get as far into the process as it did. Having that debate one election earlier would have likely bumped everything up by 4 years, and we'd be riding Stage 2 by now.
 

Ottawan

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Talk about selective memory from those who don't recall that an east-west phase 2 was already planned when the old plan was cancelled a plan on which construction had already begun in 2006 and would have been completed in 2009. Confederation line could have proceeded with the same schedule.
 

kEiThZ

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"Planned" is a stretch. That second East-West phase had as much socialization as this hypothetical Bank St. subway.

And the only reason they started talking about East-West in a second phase is because lots of folks started complaining, realizing it wouldn't benefit them.
 

Ottawan

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I'm guessing Ottawan lives in South Keys, Riverside South or Barrhaven. So he'd be perfectly okay with a plan that got him LRT and left everyone from Orleans, Kanata and Stittsville riding the bus.

Everyone in Kanata and Stittsville still do ride the bus, now with a transfer.

Have you ever lived in Ottawa?
 

kEiThZ

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Everyone in Kanata and Stittsville still do ride the bus, now with a transfer.

Gonna ignore Orleans, the suburb with the highest transit ridership?

And it's not like the old LRT plan did anything for Kanata and Stittsville anyway. At least now they'll transfer at Moodie instead of riding the bus all the way to the core (with the Albert/Slater bus parade) or transferring at Bayview.

Have you ever lived in Ottawa?

Yes. Which is why I find the transit fantasies locals have there absurd. A city with a population slightly larger than Mississauga thinks they should have the subway network of Montreal.

So which southern developer friendly 'hood do you live in that has you pining for the old plan? Barrhaven, Riverside South or South Keys?
 
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gweed123

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I tend to think of transit plans that actually favour existing transit users as good planning.

Exactly. The original LRT plan banked on creating TOD by developing corn fields. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I don't like the idea of prioritizing new riders from yet-to-be-developed areas when existing riders were packed to the gills on buses that were running on surface lanes through downtown that were beyond capacity. To add to that, that plan would have made those lanes worse by throwing LRT trains into the mix.

Where the original Transitway plan failed was that it placed the lowest capacity part of the entire system in the section that would see the highest ridership (downtown). As a result, the capacity of the entire Transitway network was hamstrung by the capacity of the lanes on Albert & Slater. Where the 'new' LRT plan succeeded was that it recognized that in order to properly build a network that would serve Ottawa for the next 50+ years, it needed to put in place a high capacity solution through downtown that the entire rest of the network could be built off of, and that wouldn't hamstring capacity. The price tag for this section would be high, so the reach would be limited, but once that infrastructure was in place the network would be set capacity-wise for decades to come.
 

Ottawan

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Exactly. The original LRT plan banked on creating TOD by developing corn fields. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I don't like the idea of prioritizing new riders from yet-to-be-developed areas when existing riders were packed to the gills on buses that were running on surface lanes through downtown that were beyond capacity. To add to that, that plan would have made those lanes worse by throwing LRT trains into the mix.

Where the original Transitway plan failed was that it placed the lowest capacity part of the entire system in the section that would see the highest ridership (downtown). As a result, the capacity of the entire Transitway network was hamstrung by the capacity of the lanes on Albert & Slater. Where the 'new' LRT plan succeeded was that it recognized that in order to properly build a network that would serve Ottawa for the next 50+ years, it needed to put in place a high capacity solution through downtown that the entire rest of the network could be built off of, and that wouldn't hamstring capacity. The price tag for this section would be high, so the reach would be limited, but once that infrastructure was in place the network would be set capacity-wise for decades to come.

It is possible to agree with many of these premises, and still view the cancellation of the original plan as a failure. Yes, the downtown choke point was the failure of the transitway network. But the north-south line would have alleviated in the short term by taking much of the route 97 buses off of it. This would have bought time to build the east-west tunnel and lrt conversion essentially in the exact same timeline as did transpire. We lost not only money but a lot of time in planning with the cancellation. Does no one remember how much ink was wasted after the cancellation on the ridiculous possibility of building a bus tunnel?

The reason the old plan placed the route on the surface was to save funding for a tunnel to be used for the inevitable east-west LRT line. There would be greater capacity and redundancy through downtown and less risk of eventually hitting a new capacity issue with all lrt lines branching through the same downtown tunnel. The prior plan properly foresaw that once the east-west portion was was done, the south part of the City (the lower income portion with less political capital) would never be able to achieve a single seat ride downtown.

Yes, the portion of the line that went south of the airport did depend on (planned and since come into existence) suburban expansion and was the worst aspect of the proposal. But the core of the line would have serviced existing transit users who were already using the southeast transitway and diesel O-Train. What was great about the plan was that it did reward transit users - while Orleans did have the highest number in absolute terms, the southeast inner suburbs (i.e. those inside the greenbelt) had the highest per capita usage.

Moving on from rehashing the past, can we at least agree that once the currently planned O-train expansions are complete, the next priorities would be Carling and Rideau/Montreal, not a Bank Street subway?
 
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gweed123

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Yes, the downtown choke point was the failure of the transitway network. But the north-south line would have alleviated in the short term by taking much of the route 97 buses off of it.

It would have taken those riders off of buses and put them onto LRT trains in the exact same lanes. Only marginally better than re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

This would have bought time to build the east-west tunnel and lrt conversion essentially in the exact same timeline as did transpire. We lost not only money but a lot of time in planning with the cancellation.

I sincerely doubt upper levels of government would have funded the E-W tunnel to the same degree had the N-S LRT been built. The City would have very likely been on the hook for a much bigger share of the cost.

Does no one remember how much ink was wasted after the cancellation on the ridiculous possibility of building a bus tunnel?

Andy Hayden running for Mayor again is what really put that back into the discussion. Between him and Doucette pitching his Laurier Ave surface route, it was largely white noise that served as a distraction.

The reason the old plan placed the route on the surface was to save funding for a tunnel to be used for the inevitable east-west LRT line. It properly foresaw that once the east-west portion was was done, the south part of the City (the lower income portion with less political capital) would never be able to achieve a single seat ride downtown.

The forced transfer at Bayview is less than desirable, no objection there. Personally, I wish the City had spent the extra money and electrified the Trillium Line so it could be interlined with the Confederation Line.
 

kEiThZ

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But the north-south line would have alleviated in the short term by taking much of the route 97 buses off of it. This would have bought time to build the east-west tunnel and lrt conversion essentially in the exact same timeline as did transpire.

Taking one bus route off would haven't done anything for the Albert/Slater bus parade.

Personally, I wish the City had spent the extra money and electrified the Trillium Line so it could be interlined with the Confederation Line.

I kinda wish that happened, but we need to be realistic on cost. A full conversion to twin tracked and electrified LRT would easily have been over an extra half billion dollars. Not an easy swing for governments that are already spending $6.8B combined, between Stage 1 and 2. The City of Ottawa itself is putting up over $2.7B, a hefty load for a city of a million. So, in reality, this would mean cuts elsewhere. Whose service would people be willing to sacrifice to provide these improvements for Trillium users?

Also, would electrification even be allowed? Or is Capital Railways obligated to maintain the corridor in a manner that can accommodate freight movement at night?
 
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