Confederation Line’s new East stations Dismay

This is a blog about the West side of the downtown, not the East. But I cannot resist a few comments on the proposed East stations. They are so dismaying.

First, I remain appalled that the City decided to run the LRT down the median of a freeway.

This will require closing Hwy 174 for at least two years during construction . Oh no, wait, they’re closing the Trillium Line for over two years, but roads are never closed. So, somehow the 174 will remain open while the sewers and drains replaced, utilities relocated, road bed laid, track laid, signalling put in place, multi storey stations constructed, etc. Amazing what can be done when you put your mind to it.

Once built and the LRT is opened, any major road accident (for eg, overturned or burning tractor trailer, vehicles climbing or breaking the centre barrier) will likely shut down both the road and the transit line. It is easy to construct numerous other scenarios that might close down the LRT. Let’s put all our eggs in one basket.

The illustration (below) shows the freeway with a six or eight foot jersey barrier wall. As anyone who walks across the Queensway knows, the salt spray from traffic extends up to the overpass level. So these platforms will be in a constant spray or rain of soot, dirt, slush and brine. Those glass shelter roofs and walls better be very tight fitting — but wait, this is a centre platform design so the open part of the shelters faces the freeway traffic, not turns their backs to it. Passengers will have almost no shelter at all, not even sandwiched “under” the station buildings or the cross road overpasses.

Gives cheap and dirty a whole new meaning.


But even some spray protection doesn’t provide clean air. Walking over the Queensway or Orleans expressway any summer day is to bathe in crappy air. And now the city demands I wait for 8 to 20 minutes in it?

Waiting indoors and dashing down the stairs when a train hoves into sight  isn’t much better. Where does the air in that second floor glass enclosure come from? Directly above the freeway, of course.

Once one gets up to Orleans Boulevard or Jeanne d’Arc or Champlain, there is no bus stop at the station door (as, for example, at Pimisi). Instead the station debouches onto the sidewalk along the busy road and pedestrians and bus users are expected to walk across at least half the freeway lanes via the overpass to get to the bus shelters located at the far ends of the overpass. I guess it was too expensive to built the bus stops on the bridge or, worse yet, take away some space from cars.

The station entrances aren’t any more appealing for neighbourhood “walk in” or bike in traffic either.

Unfriendly at any speed by any mode.

Whomever designed this wasn’t a transit user. Maybe they were a bean counter. Or a car traffic engineer. But not a transit user.


Place d’Orleans

The City apparently wants the bus zone at the south side (by the Mall) to be part of a fare-paid zone, like Tunney’s and Lincoln Fields. Commendable as this thought is, it seems to necessitate a lengthy new pedestrian bridge to keep fare-paid folks separated from the plebes merely crossing the freeway on the red bridge. As a taxpayer, this “solution” makes me wince.

The station buildings have to be the tallest or lengthiest walks other than the downtown subway stations, as the walkers have to rise up from the sunken freeway then above the service road level to the highest overpass level. Once again we are looking at very long escalators (outdoors, in winter, thru salt and grime and sidewalk grit). If they work. Will this be an inviting walk to traipse every day?

Where will people go who ascend from the other station building onto Champlain Street?

Can the eventual future redevelopment of Place d’Orleans (a semi-dead mall even now) and the park and ride on the north side ever be integrated into the transit station?

I haven’t any quick and perfect solutions to offer for the freeway alignment and Pl d’Orleans station, because there probably aren’t any **, but I do know the current plan is below mediocre from the get-go. Poor Orleans continues to get the dirty end of the stick. In the eye, no less.


** but there are suggestions for making the Pl d’Orleans situation less bad.

Note to readers: the preceding 4 stories covered the other Confederation and Trillium stations in much more detail. And more positively.


8 thoughts on “Confederation Line’s new East stations Dismay

  1. I have been following your blog with fascination since I discovered it several months ago. You are absolutely right about the poor (or absent) thinking about the location of the LRT in the middle of a busy road. Aside from the question about whether funds are available for this increasingly expensive project, is this design and location final?


  3. This is very eye opening! Having a station in the middle of a highway with the toxic air that comes with it makes the station inaccessible to all Ottawans with breathing difficulties.

  4. Talking about salty road spray, the LRT station windows facing Nicholas St. are already constantly dirty. Plus, will washing the windows necessitate closing the adjacent road lane?

  5. Orleans Blvd station presents the perfect opportunity for a road diet of Orleans Blvd to add bike lanes.

    Despite being a wide 4-lane road, it is not heavily trafficked and actually features stop signs rather than traffic lights at the intersections closest to the future station.

    Orleans Blvd should be narrowed north of St Joseph Blvd to add bike lanes all the way to the end, connecting with the Ottawa River Pathway.

  6. Locating LRT stations near a busy highway will be more dangerous than previously thought, due to recent research (2016) which shows a link between magnetic nanoparticles in car exhaust and brain health ( alzheimers).

    In short long term exposure to car exhaust from being in traffic jambs,waiting for transit ,living next to busy highways , cycling on busy streets will increase your risk of alzheimer disease.

    In a recent CBC article a scientist has proposed building special hedges near schools next to highways could protect children from dangerous airborne particles that may cause the disease.

    Perhaps in time protective masks with filters will be developed to capture these nanoparticles.

    In the mean time living in areas with less traffic and choosing travel routes with less traffic will reduce your exposure

  7. Want to talk about a way to waste infrastructure funding? Build an LRT down the middle of a highway. Why is this a waste?

    1. It will perennially be a low ridership portion of the LRT, with little walk up traffic generated by being in the middle of a non-pedestrian environment.

    2. These types of stations are never a magnet for transit-oriented development, another generator for ridership. We have enough trouble getting it right with stations in the core, so who thinks that suburban freeway-locked stations will be any better?

    3. The solution to rapid transit is already there. Want a fast-moving transit solution that moves people atr a minimal cost? Continue to run the buses on the shoulder of the 174 into Blair Station.

  8. Hi, I love your blog, but I disagree that the alignment in the median is an issue. It’s less beautiful than unused rail or hydro corridors, but other cities (notably Chicago) have built excellent systems that capitalise on this low-value land. In a greenfield development there would be more choice, but building systems through longstanding neighbourhoods would require expropriation. THAT would be a problem. As for the bus stops at the ends of the overpasses, I expect that’s so the buses can queue up behind the first bus in line. Six short buses would fill an overpass in question, so having bus #1 stop in the middle would cause delays in boarding and disembarking. It does push passengers out into the weather, though. Boston and Chicago have put canopies over some of their analogous stops, but others are the same as pictured here. Hope this is seen as helpful!

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