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.
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.