Yet another Scott Street > transitway option

Recall that the current transitway, running in an open cut through the west side, will be replaced by rail tracks for the new Confederation Line LRT. There is a construction lead time to construct the tracks and the new stations at Tunney’s and Bayview and LeBreton, so the buses now on the transitway will have to be detoured during the construction period. Others are busy working on detours that do not involve Scott and Albert Streets. This is the second exploration  of how the detour could occur on Scott-Albert. (for the first option, see:       http:/ ; the comments … Continue reading Yet another Scott Street > transitway option

Some thoughts on that airport link for the OTrain

So, the Airport folks are now on-board with the notion that rapid transit to the airport is a good thing. As an occasional airport user, and appreciating the importance that good transportation links make for a better local economy, I’m on board too. But there are numerous pitfalls along the way, and sure footing is required to get a system to work. I sure don’t have the answers, but I do have some questions. Note on the City’s TMP map below, the link to the airport is the short red horizontal line somewhere south of Hunt Club Road. It shows … Continue reading Some thoughts on that airport link for the OTrain

What to do with unused Talent(s)

What do we do with the three existing Talent OTrains soon to be surplus? Work continues round the clock and on holiday weekends to complete the trackwork required to run the six new Alstom OTrain sets starting in the Spring. These new trains replace the 3 Talent OTrains we now have. With the six new trainsets we will have approx. 8 minute service instead of 15. It is noticeable that there has been no commitment to selling the older Talent trainsets and pocketing the money. Which leads to speculation that we are keeping them. But for what purpose? Maybe the Mayor’s transportation … Continue reading What to do with unused Talent(s)

OTrain Artwork Proposals Unveiled

It was off to Carleton U on Monday night for the public unveiling of the four finalist artworks in competition to grace the OTrain route. Recall that a percentage of all capital projects (such as this summer’s repairs and still-incomplete enhancements to the OTrain track) is to be spent on Art. The whole competition had some unfortunate aspects to it. One, the finalists were selected while the OTrain itself was shut down. So none of the artists actually stood on the Carleton U platform, or Dow’s Lake station, or even Greenboro. None could walk up close to their installation site. … Continue reading OTrain Artwork Proposals Unveiled

O-Train resumes service

Here’s a shot of the OTrain doing a practice run south of Somerset viaduct on Monday afternoon. It had just left Bayview Station.   In this area, the OTrain will continue to use its single track, albeit with some new alignment and grading just south of Bayview Station. Turnouts, or switches, have been installed for the new passing track, and the deep layers of roadbed installed. Some new retaining walls, signalling and wiring are also installed. Yet to come is the final roadbed, ties, and rails for the passing tracks. They have to be operable by spring 2014, when the … Continue reading O-Train resumes service

If there has to be a Somerset barrier, let it be discrete

Recap: recall that in the last two posts we see the City planning to “harden” various pedestrian walks over the OTrain corridor. We don’t know if this is to prevent objects — or people —  being dropped on the OTrain, or what the priorities, if any, are.  It would be nice to know. And the City’s proposed designs for Somerset Street are simply awful. Presumably, other walks near the Otrain and possibly other transit facilities (hello transitway, hello LRT) will similarly be hardened. So a better design is urgently needed. above: the not-yet-terror-proofed Bayview Station, soon to be populated with … Continue reading If there has to be a Somerset barrier, let it be discrete

Somerset Viaduct hardening

  The local community around Somerset Street had to push very hard to get a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly environment. The results, shown above, are extraordinary (by Ottawa’s low standards): wide walks, bike lanes, ped lighting, trees and shrubs in irrigated-planters where there is no dirt … At the top of the bridge (or viaduct, to be accurate) there is a furnished belvedere. Right now the viewing point is a bit understated, but when the lines of 30-35 storey highrises already in the plans appear, there will be only one sight line to the north and south along the greenway corridor, … Continue reading Somerset Viaduct hardening

Preston “extension” bike path going, going … gone

  The Preston Extension (shown above),  the leftover bit of pavement that runs north from the Preston-Albert intersection, that takes cyclists out to the Aqueduct bike path (now remediated into a pit) and eventually the  Sir John A Mcdonald (JAM?)  Path, is due to be closed this spring. It won’t reopen in a hurry. The surrounding brownfields will be remediated. For a clue as to what that will look like, examine the Damascas-like terrain out by the War Museum. Then the Confederation Line LRT track will replace the transitway. It will be bordered on both sides with six-foot chain link … Continue reading Preston “extension” bike path going, going … gone

Tire(d) of dumping

So here’s the picture. An innocent auto-body shop on Breezehill Avenue backs onto the OTrain cut. The slope behind the shop is littered with tires. Just look at the picture !   Now I am sure Japan Auto has nothing to do with the tire dumping. They aren’t a car tire shop are they? No, it must be people sneaking into their fenced yard at night and tossing them over the high chain link fence at the top of the slope. Or maybe it’s people somehow breaking onto the fenced OTrain right of way, missing the running trains while they … Continue reading Tire(d) of dumping

Eric Darwin commemorative gate CLOSES soon

Intrepid follows of this blog may recall the brou-ha-ha over the gate at the north end of Preston (aka the Preston Extension) where for decades residents have accessed the Ottawa River parklands. We even had a legal crossing of the Transitway ! Then one day — shock: Several times the NCC has tried to close the gate, but we beat them back. Some kind soul even put up a sign naming the gate after Qui- Moi? That sign is long gone, and today the NCC announced our gate and access to the Flats, the River, the bike paths … is … Continue reading Eric Darwin commemorative gate CLOSES soon

Multi modal transfer station design

Ottawa will soon be getting a dozen or so LRT stations. We don’t know what the “final” design will be.  The PAC for those stations hasn’t met for months. I do hope it gets one last kick at the penultimate designs of the winning contractor. PACs can and do offer good advice, very practical, from the user perspective. Until then, here’s a look at the Hyannis MA multi modal transfer station. Located in the downtown (such as there is in low density America) on former rail yards, it has a passenger rail terminus, the inter city bus station for buses … Continue reading Multi modal transfer station design

Update on OTrain bike path (MUP)

A lot has happened on the new multi-user path (aka bike path) being constructed along the east side of the OTrain from the Ottawa River to Young Street, which then joins the existing path that runs further south to Carling Avenue. Someday, I might get to put up all the in-progress pictures, but here are some showing the state of the new path as of yesterday. We start at Young Street / the Queensway, and work north to end up at the Ottawa River near Bayview Station. Path is due for completion just when the snow flies. Continue reading Update on OTrain bike path (MUP)

Shake the planning etch-a-sketch: Build that LRT to Orleans, and charge them for it

Let’s shake the planning etch-a-sketch by building that LRT out to Orleans right now.  And charging them for it. The Sinkhole Incident on Hwy 174 has high lighted the lack of access to the former St Joseph d’Orleans. And its not just the lack of road access, it’s the lack of alternatives. If the sink hole happened on the road to Kanata, there are more alternative routes. The higher road capacity pushes off the breakeven point for extending LRT to Kanata. And remember, the nearest point of Kanata is further away than the farthest point in Orleans*. In this road shortage situation, Orleans … Continue reading Shake the planning etch-a-sketch: Build that LRT to Orleans, and charge them for it

Update on the OTrain MUP

What has happened in the  two weeks since worked started on the new multi-user path (aka MUP, or bike path) running from the Macdonald Parkway by the Prince of Wales Railway Bridge south to Bayview Station, behind City Centre Building, to the new underpass under Somerset Street? (First post can be read at ). From the Macdonald Parkway viewpoint by the Ottawa River, not much has changed in two weeks. Most of the work has been going on south of the Parkway, towards Bayview Station. The contractor graded an alignment for the path, here seen looking north from Bayview Station towards the River: Most of … Continue reading Update on the OTrain MUP

Toronto Now — Ottawa Later

Toronto has new subway trains, now. Ottawa will have its new LRT trains sometime in the future. What Toronto has now has certain similarities with what Ottawa will have in 2017 or 2018. Unlike earlier subway cars that were individual cars hooked together into trains, without any means for passengers to switch cars, the new train cars have open gangways. This is similar to how the articulated OC Transpo buses work. It means passengers can get on any car but then as passengers shift around, the load evens out throughout the train. Passengers feel safer, less “trapped” in one car. It … Continue reading Toronto Now — Ottawa Later

Chinatown Art Installation

The City sets aside a certain small percentage of its major capital projects budget (such as road reconstruction) for art installations. West Siders know the ones: Preston Street granite postcards from the piazzas, West Wellie’s marble veggies, the red chairs in the Glebe. The just-getting-completed reconstruction of Somerset between the OTrain tracks and Booth had a very small art budget. One that had to cope with three distinct areas: Chinatown, the bit of Little Italy around Preston, and the OTrain viaduct-bridge. With public consultation, the decision was made to have two installations: one on the Chinatown hill, and one on the viaduct … Continue reading Chinatown Art Installation

High rises: Gladstone southwards

Yesterday’s post covered high rise intensification — on an east-west axis — along the north edge — the Carling Avenue line — of our  community. Today’s post covers a north-south line drawn roughly along the OTrain cut from Gladstone to Carling. It is not clear if the drawing (second pic, below) puts the line along the OTrain cut or Preston Street itself. This post is somewhat speculative. Here is the area in Google Maps: Recall that there is a proposed LRT station on the OTrain corridor near Gladstone. Generally, the station is drawn running from Gladstone to the Queensway, with its north exit … Continue reading High rises: Gladstone southwards

What condo buyers see

There’s a big flurry of condos going in around the Preston – OTrain corridor. There are obvious attractions, such as shopping and dining on the traditional main streets (Preston and Somerset/West Wellington). And easy access to the numbers one and two employment centres (downtown, Tunney’s Pasture) and minor ones such as NRCan, Agriculture, or Gatineau. And being on one or both of the  two major passenger rail transit lines, and Carling Avenue/Queensway for motorists. But what will the residents see? Alas, I am unable to hold my camera up 23 stories, let alone 42, but here are some pictures from the top of … Continue reading What condo buyers see

Civic Gateways (absence of)

Ottawa is nicer than many other cities. Despite the criticisms of the NCC, they do engage in long term planning and city building that generates a sense of grandeur or pride. Without them, Ottawa would be vastly impoverished, just another short-sighted mid-sized city planned with short term expediency the governing rule. Ottawa is engaged in a worthwhile planning exercise for the downtown core, called Downtown Moves (DOMO). The removal of the bus lanes by 2017-18 creates the opportunity to remake the surface streets in a more livable and pleasant way. And not just replace the bus lanes with parking lanes. For this strategic thinking … Continue reading Civic Gateways (absence of)

Misc thoughts on the western LRT

The instant springing up of a “friends of” organization to oppose rapid transit is not unexpected. Everyone wants transit nearby but not too nearby.  Me included. At least one block over is just fine. Just like for arterial and collector roads. I think the City falls short in its communication of the LRT options. Many of the complaints about each proposed alignment are eminently predictable, or have been already expressed (repeatedly !) in the media. If I were running the show, these complaints / concerns would be addressed right up front, either acknowledged or countered. Instead we have endless rehashing of shallow comments. … Continue reading Misc thoughts on the western LRT

The O-Train bike path

For some time the City has been working on a multi-user path — MUP — (aka “bike path”) from the Ottawa River beside the Prince of Wales Bridge, south to the Bayview Station O-train platform, then south behind City Centre to the new underpass under Somerset Street, then slightly uphill to an at-grade crossing of Gladstone, thence behind the City signals yard, St Anthony Soccer Club parking lot, under the Qway, and joining the existing NCC path along the east side of the OTrain cut right to Carling Station. The reconstruction plan for Carling includes a signalized crossing of Carling for the MUP. At a … Continue reading The O-Train bike path

The “Other” Iconic Station viewpoint that we lost

The Confederation Square station entrance (or lack of one) is getting a lot of press.  Earlier, the proposed Rideau Station was straddling the underside of the Canal, with the east entrance coming up at the Rideau Centre and the west entrance coming up at Confederation Square. This was called the Rideau Street station as that was its primary market, and the main reason it was pushed eastward under the canal was the sharp southward curve the track took immediately upon leaving the Rideau Station heading towards Campus:   The prior plans showed the western end of the Rideau station platform connected to a long, fairly … Continue reading The “Other” Iconic Station viewpoint that we lost

Phoenix LRT (part ii)

In the downtown Phoenix transit plaza there were these brightly coloured display boards. From a distance, I thought they were route maps or timetables. Upon closer inspection, they proved to be laser-cut metal sheets. Each one showed a subway or rail transit map from the major cities of the world. I felt a bit – discomforted – inspecting these. Was little Phoenix trying to cast itself in the Big Leagues, rather like Toronto (used to) cast itself as “world class” which simply proved it isn’t? Was it pompous? Or was it just Public Art? The station closeup (above) shows a number … Continue reading Phoenix LRT (part ii)