Tunney’s Pasture is the interm western end of the initial LRT system. At Tunney’s, riders will transfer from bus rapid transit on the transitway to LRT to go through the downtown and then on to Blair Road in the East.
Tunney’s is the second largest employment node in the City, and will triple in size over the next few decades. At some point the LRT service will extend west of Tunney’s to Lincoln Fields and then out to College Square.
The new LRT station will replace the existing bus station at Tunney’s, down in the cut. The train track will extend a few meters west of the station, for storing equipment and turning train sets around. On the north side of the cut, where there is presently a lawn, there will be an oval loop bus depot. On the south side, along Scott, will be bus stops for local buses and the few express buses continuing along Scott to Bayview, LeBreton, and thence to Gatineau.
Here’s what it will look like, when viewed from the transitway:
Above: Scott Street is on the right; Tunneys and the new bus-transfer station to the left. Set in the same cut, the station reuses the same retaining walls as the current bus station. The City will replace the transitway asphalt road surface with rails; under the road there are two big box sewers already there.
What follows is the planning rationale for the station, how the station functions, and details for the keeners.
Above: the arrows show major organizing features for the site. They are maintaining long vistas and views along Scott, and along Holland towards the Brooke Claxton Building. (I confess to mixed emotions about the centre boulevard there — why not develop it for a row of condos to add some “mixed use” and life to a site that goes dead after 4pm? Brooke Claxton, formerly known as Judy’s Tower (after Judy LaMarsh, the cabinet minister responsible) isn’t exactly Peace-Tower-worthy of a view, IMO).
Towards the left, notice how the LRT tracks (in red) terminate just west of the station, and the dotted line shows the buses taking a new ramp up out of the cut to a ground level turning oval and station. The pinkish north-south line shows an extension to Goldenrod Avenue, either a bridge or a filled embankment. This is a new road link that isn’t there now.
The next slide shows key circulation paths around the site:
There are two dotted circles shown. the inner one is the 300m or 4 minute walk zone; and the outer circle is the 600m or 8 minute walk zone (your walking path may differ and take longer if you chose to walk around the buildings).
Look for Scott Street on the map (light blue line running left-right). On the same axis is a yellow dashed line indicating on-street painted bike lane(s). Immediately above the dashed line is a dark blue solid line, indicating the multi-user path, or MUP. In the 1970’s, the City built the MUP that is there now along Scott and it falls far short of today’s design standards. The MUP will be rebuilt (eventually?) as a 4m wide path. Note also how bike lanes travel up to the turning circle in front of the Claxton Building (replacing on-street parking?), and then over to Parkdale, further east on Burnside to the new traffic roundabout there; and up Parkdale to join onto the Ottawa River cycle paths. Who is going to mark or build these, and when, is not specified. Certainly the access for peds and cyclists from Parkdale onto the River paths is appallingly bad and dangerous today. But at least the larger site plan considers these access routes.
Less well developed is the walk in from the neighborhoods to the south. Do they expect everyone to behave like motorists, and stick to the arterials like Holland? If people filter towards the station via the residential streets, how easy will it be to cross Scott mid-block?
While you have to have remarkable eyes to pick it out on the small pictures included here, the key to the slide shows that the sidewalks in Tunney’s are also labelled as ‘cow paths’. Yup. Seriously. Surely this is not an editorial comment on the inhabitants of the cubicle farms in the Pasture…
Next up is an air photo of the overall site:
Above: the red line is the new LRT track, extending a bit west of the station shown in yellow. The first phase station is west of the Holland Avenue overpass; when fully built out it will extend under the Holland Avenue overpass.
Zooming in closer:
Notice a couple of things in the air photo above. First, the existing pedestrian overpass with the bright red roof, a signature element of the old transitway system. This overpass will be doubled in width. Then notice the buses using the overpass just northwest (left of) Huron Avenue to access the north side of the station. The City will close this overpass to buses, and convert it into a major pedestrian element of the new LRT station. Notice the turning loop towards the left, where buses get in and out of the transitway cut. A new angled road to get the buses up and to the new station on the north side will be near here, and the City will extend Goldenrod over the transitway cut (either with an earth fill or bridge) to join Scott Street.
To see all those elements in place, check out the next drawing:
The station itself is in the cut; there are two entry buildings or mezannines on the Scott Street level. One is on a widened-pedestrian overpass close to Holland Avenue. The darker yellow part is the “within station” part where you take the escalator down to the LRT platforms where the existing bus stop waiting areas are.
A bit further west (to the left) the former bus bridge that took buses from Scott over the cut to the service roads on the north side, the City has enclosed making an entry hall accessing the escalators and elevators to the platforms.
Even further to the left will be the new filled-in bit of the transitway trench, upon which the City will build an extension of Goldenrod Avenue to let the buses over to the north side of the cut, where there will be an oval track for storing buses. The filled-in bit of the cut will have to be removed or replaced with a bridge once the LRT extends further west, if the oval is to continue to be used as local bus transit station (which is surely a better location than on Scott Street itself, if buses are to “time stop” there).
Notice that OC Transpo will store buses on Yarrow, on the oval, and on the north side of Scott. There appears to be two bus stop areas on the north side of Scott, one at each pedestrian plaza entrance to the LRT station. It is possible to walk across the cut on either pedestrian bridge without going indoors. Of course, if you are not simply transferring bus to LRT, or going into work at Tunney’s, and using this as your local walkin transit station, then you face the same situation as now, which is to say nothing seems to have been planned for neighborhood walkins.
Direct your attention to the far right, where the existing Scott Street MUP (aka bicycle path) is identified as being rebuilt (by who? when?) as a 4m path. This is great news. Hopefully the City can build a proper cross walk / cross bike at the intersection. But then notice how the bike traffic is directed to pass between the station entrances and Scott Street. While this can be done, safely, with coloured pavement textures and other clues to pedestrians, the path is labelled as being only 1.4m wide. Hmm. This obeys Council’s motion of Dec 2009 to preserve the BikeWest right of way, but only just.
Also notice that at the top, on Yarrow, close to Tunney’s Pasture Drive (aka Holland) there is a cute kiss and ride lot. I really doubt if it will get any use, but at least it is so minor a feature as to be inoffensive. Perhaps it will be pressed into better use for bus storage.
In previous versions of the Tunney’s bus turnaround area, the bus passenger platforms were in the centre of the oval (like at Hurdman). Passengers could descend down to track level from the building in the centre of the oval, walk through a short tunnel, directly onto the platforms. This new scheme is
cheaper more economical with our transit dollars, as passengers will walk around the oval at surface level.
So where exactly is the station building? In the illustration below, the blue dotted line shows the extent of the overhead roof area. All the area within the dotted trapezoid will be under the roof, but not indoors.
The red triangles show the main pedestrian entry points to the station area. Trains entering the station can come in on either track, but must leave on the same track as there is no crossover west of the station. So passengers coming into the station might find the next train to the downtown on either track. Since this is not a centre platform station, there will have to be some sort of signalling system to tell customers which track to head for.
Remember that the building roof is like a saddle, it sags to the middle. In the middle, it will be an open skylight between the two train tracks below. Rain water will run off the roofs into the space below. The City is proposing to build a planter box between the tracks, watered by the drip and lit by the open sky directly above.
The generous roofed over area on both sides of the station, in the middle “waist” area, the City has designed for rain-sheltered bike parking. This parking area appears very generous and will be a boon for Westboro cyclists. Well done City of Ottawa!
A little bit worrisome to me are the two elevators, which are somewhat isolated at the far west end of the station. It also appears there are only two escalators, at the western end, with stairs at the eastern end where the current pedestrian overpass is. This is more apparent when viewing the platform level drawing below:
See how the elevators are tucked away at the left end? If I was a smoker sneaking a smoke, or buying my Indian smokes for the day at work, I’d do the transaction at the far west end of the platform… There is also only one elevator for each platform; two elevators are required in case one breaks down. Are they planning to roll wheelchairs and strollers across the tracks to the opposite platform if one elevator breaks? Will civil servants with walkers be able to cross the tracks fast enough before being run over by the next LRT?
If you have really sharp eyes, you will have noticed the two escalators are marked down to the south side platform for trips into the downtown; and up on the north side platform for trips continuing west. I don’t know how accurate this is, or how they intend to move the train from the north platform to the south one when there is no crossover track west of the platforms…
Clearly, to judge by the location of the wider mezzanine areas and escalators, they are expecting most use to focus on the western end of the platform. This will be a very much at one end of the train, and even futher when the platform is extended under Holland Avenue overpass at ultimate build-out. I wonder if people will behave as the planners expect. Or maybe the planners don’t expect this to actually happen, as they drew their 4 and 8 minute walk circles centred on the Holland Avenue end of the station!
The next drawing shows the station profile, as seen from the end:
The station roof soars 16′ -24′ above the sidewalk at street level; 33′ above the track platform in the cut below. Even though located in a hole, this station should be very pleasant.
Here is a blow up of the station, showing the roof area, the mezzanine levels, and the platforms, with red arrows showing the main pedestrian flows:
Tomorrow: Bayview Station