Since early spring (April?) there has been the single lonely trainset, mostly unmoving, parked near Tunney’s and under 24-hour babysitting/guard by a security firm car lingering on the bike path.
This week, though, there have been two trainsets on the west side of the downtown tunnel, and spotting a moving train is becoming common. I suspect for many motorists on Albert and Scott streets this will be their first realization that the neverending construction projects along here are in fact the Confederation Line. I cannot count how many people I meet who have no idea where the Trillium Line is, simply because the track is often in a cut and thus invisible to motorists. There used to be flag banners at Carling, but these have been gone for a year now.
When the city issued contracts for the Confederation Line, the interaction with the original Trillium OTrain line was poorly understood. At one of the rare public input meetings (arranged by Jeff Leiper) city planners got an earful about the underwhelming design of Bayview Station. The east-west bike route connection had been forgotten, and the Trillium Line platforms were small and treated as second rate afterthoughts. For example, for winter maintenance a “tool shed” was planned, and OC Transpo was expected to dispatch a crew in a truck to the station several times a day to keep the Trillium platforms shovelled.
Things have improved since then.
The Trillium platforms look much better than I recall from the then-plans; and the ped-cycle path underpass has been installed; and stairs will connect the underpass to the Confederation platform. All improvements that should not have been missed first time around.
Here is the Trillium Line platform before the final top coat of cement was poured last week:
If we zoom in closer, notice the red lines in the reinforcing wire mesh:
Heating cables !
I often feel the Trillium Line is the problem child of OC Transpo. Not really wanted by the bureaucracy of the day, instead of a lemon it turned out to be highly successful, despite the botched addition of sidings-in-the-wrong places, new trainsets of a design not suited for the type of traffic loads on the line, and a creaky slow signalling system that retards trains movements rather than enhancing them.
But at least Trillium passengers at Bayview will have clear platforms in the winter; here’s a photo of the finished platform surface:
Mind, I expect the city will be coming back to the Stations in the future with additional improvements to fix “unforeseen” conditions.
I remain concerned how well cycle parking is being handled given the original low estimates of cycling connections (although the abundance of racks at Blair is encouraging). I think at Bayview there should have been an exit-only gate at the south end of the platform with a connection to the pathway exiting toward Tom Brown arena. This would avoid circuitous walks through the station for Hintonburg residents. The Trillium platforms lack roof canopies to keep passengers out of the rain, and will probably come someday via an expensive retrofit. And the integration of Bayview Station to the planned urban developments around it remains murky.
But I do have confidence our city hall staff is building up skills to design better stations. There is something to be said for having an in-house staff with a decent knowledge base and time to consult with the citizen-users of the infrastructure.