The saga of the amazing perambulating Bayview Station is nearing completion.
Recall that the station has been proposed in various scales, sizes, and locations. Well, the final plan is available exclusively to readers here.
Bayview Station is back to being “on the structure” of the transitway bridge over the O-Train cut (yes, I know, the O-train isn’t in a cut, it’s on the level, it’s the road that is elevated, but such is our road-focussed society that the road becomes the normal level, and the flat becomes the hole…).
The new station is in the same style as the majority of other proposed LRT stations. It has an arched roof made out of metal diamonds or triangles finished on the underside with wood. The exterior colour is usually shown as a light coloured metal.
It is an LRT station, not an O-Train station, so the station itself is on the LRT alignment and the O-train platforms, to be rebuilt on the west side of the track, are largely uncovered and seem to remain bus-shelter style. They do get some additional shade and rain protection from the overhead bridges, especially with the O-Train platform shifting slightly south to be directly under Albert Street. Still, I wonder if it worth lobbying to have the O-Train Station built to a similar standard of the LRT station.
I also note that the current configuration will work equally well for the O-Train terminating at Bayview or continuing on to Gatineau via the Prince of Wales railway bridge (provided it is not converted by the city to a road bridge for the STO). This configuration does not work well if the O-train tracks are someday turned at Bayview to go east towards LeBreton Station. The option of having direct train service from the airport to the downtown is not yet foreclosed although planners have not been enthused about the link.
The main entrance is on the O-Train level. The stated reason for this is that the station is primarily a transfer station between the E-W and the N-S rail service. An unstated reason is that the STO wants to build a major transfer station for its Rapibus line at Bayview. So in the picture below, the station is viewed from the north, between the Ottawa River Commuter Expresway and the head of the O-Train platform, where Bayview Yards is now and the proposed Rapibus station might be:
The two tall towers immediately behind the station (pictured above) are the proposed Phoenix 35 storey twin office towers (6500 employees, 200 parking spaces, so it is really-transit-oriented development) located on the triangle of land immediately south of the Station and before you get to the existing City Centre 8 storey tower.
The elevated station is built on the existing structure. The only widening of the structure will occur for the stairs and elevator shafts going down to the O-Train.
Here’s a daytime view of the station, now seen from Albert Street, just west of the O-Train, on the opposite side of Albert from the Tom Brown Arena. Note that there is no pedestrian entrance from Albert on this side of the station. Hintonburg and Mechanicsville residents will generally approach the station through the O-Train level entrance and a series of ground-level pathways extending on the north side of the Station structure to Bayview Road (this is also the Bikewest route); or to the south on a flat pathway extending along the edge of the Tom Brown soccer field.
The whole LRT station is supposed to fit on the existing structure. The extensions on each side support the stairs and twin elevators on each side. I suspect the roof detail for the stairways has not be designed yet, as none is shown. Presumably the stairs will also contain escalator(s) but it is hard to tell from the plans provided.
Personally, I think we could cut some costs by providing stairs and elevators only, and skip the escalators. We need to walk more, and a 20′ flight of stairs twice a day might help reduce some coach-potato-office-cubicle bellies and promote coronary fitness. But if there are escalators, I will of course join everyone else in using them and skipping the stairs.
If you go back up to the top picture, you will notice a flight of exterior stairs at the northeast end of the platform (far left). These are denoted as “emergency stairs”. I confess to some confusion here. If the emergency is a vehicle crash, or bomb scare, why do the stairs keep one close to the structure? If it’s for “maintenance emergencies” the stairs are unusable for the handicapped, strollers, etc. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more useful to put in a asphalt ramp similar to the walkway there now?
Access to the new Station from Dalhousie (ie, from the east) is via a secondary entrance at the Albert Street level at the SE corner, where the OC Transpo Albert Street bus stop is now. This corrects a major failing of previous designs which favoured transferring passengers and only minimally serviced walk-in clientelle.
Here is a plan view of the Bayview Station:
The station itself is primarily the yellow (fare-paid area inside the turnstiles) area shown on the existing structure that carries the transitway over the O-Train. Note how the bridge has been widened just enough to locate the stairs and elevators. The O-train platform has been moved to the west side of the existing tracks, and extended a bit further south, beyond the Albert Street overpass shown in white. There is a pedestrian pathway running off to the southwest by Tom Brown arena. The entrance for people coming from the east is on the Albert level, and shown in pink. Most readers can double click on the drawings to enlarge them to full screen.
The plan shown above also shows that the City has been listening to public input. There is now a connection to the Albert Street multi-user path on the east side. The path along the soccer field at Tom Brown will be very useful and direct, and eliminates the need for a flight of stairs up the steep hill to Albert Street where the path is now shown doing a sharp S-bend.
I was out walking the Station area on Friday with City engineers and consultants figuring out just how to wiggle the N-S bike path through the station area. This path will be constructed next year, in 2012, from the River up to Gladstone Ave. While on the platform areas with the plans in hand, the access routes seem to make a lot of sense and will provide direct and safe access to the station from the surrounding communities. The trick right now is trying to route the bike path through and keeping it open during the conversion of the transitway to the LRT.
Here’s a close-up of the main station entrance at the lower, O-Train level:
It is not perfectly clear from just this drawing, but there is lots of room for the pathway on the west side, from Hintonburg, to pass under the stairs as the stairs shown on the plan above the words “lower plaza” are really 16′ up at that point. Try to compare the pic at the top of the post with the drawings if you are really keen to see the details of the circulation.
I still think the Station is underserved with bike racks, but now areas for expanded racks have been identified. The curvy green dotted line in the illustration is the bio-swale designed to carry runoff waters down the slope in a decorative and ecologically sensitive manner. The drawings show most of the station sides glazed in, as is befitting this windy spot; I hope the few unglazed sections are built so that glazing can be added later if required.
For keeners, the illustrations shown the supporting pillars under Albert Street as black circles; but the ones under the transitway are shown as hollow black squares. Readers may also find it helpful to go back to last weeks post about the Bayview-carling CDP which has areal illustrations of the area around the station all built out.
In sum, the designers seem to have finally gotten this Station right. Now, to build it…