OTrain Trillium marathon

In mid-September, the transfer walk from the OTrain to downtown-direction buses will change. This is also the transfer walk from buses coming from the west end connecting to the Trillium OTrain line. And its the walkway for local residents to use to access the Trillium line.

The current  pathway was installed about two years ago, running diagonally along the slope from the Trillium platform to the bus stop on Albert.

The walkway is on land borrowed from the property owner, Trinity Development, which proposes to build a large mixed use development on the site.

In preparation for that, it will be relocating some major sewer lines that run through the site. It is the sewer work that will commence later this month. We can only presume that work comes very close to the pathway, necessitating its closure. And that an abundance of bureaucratic caution isn’t going to close the walkway while it sits unused and undisturbed until the Confederation Line opens a year from now.

So OC Transpo and the folks at City have come up with the following “detour” to start in mid-September. In the drawing below, notice the current pathway is shown with a black dotted line with a superimposed “no pedestrian” logo. And the new detour route by a black line, that takes one under the Albert Street overpass, under the new Bayview LRT Station, to the far north edge of the construction zone, then follow the pathway west (left on the drawing) before cutting back southbound to go back under the Bayview Station again, then under the Albert overpass again, then follow the pathway alongside Tom Brown to the (new) temporary bus stops alongside Albert.

In photo form, this is the walk from the Trillium platform to the new bus stop. Go under Albert …

go under the new Confederation Line bridge…

walk north, out to the bypass MUP, and turn left, following the yellow line …

turn left, going southbound back under the Confederation line again, through this new underpass built to convey a future west-side-of-the-Trillium-line MUP …

eventually come out onto the pathway beside Tom Brown …

arriving at Bayview Rd / Albert intersection, where the new bus stops will be here…

OC Transpo says the walk time will increase from 2 minutes to 5.  According to Richard Eades’ measurements with Google, the walk from the current Trillium Line platform to stop 2A is about 140 metres. The relocated stop will be almost 420 metres walk from the train. That is three times the distance; so a 2 minutes walk should become 6 minutes. Consolation prize: it will be flatter.

I don’t think many OC Transpo planners actually use the transit system. If they did, they would understand user frustration with mid-block bus stops and other inanities. And this longer walk will be frustrating because the walkee has the sense of being sent around in circles, through a maze, and generally treated poorly. Can planners not see that?

Of course we can be thankful they did not add a road crossing to the excitement, as they could have chosen the route shown below in blue:

When work and school resumes in fall 2018, transfers will be enjoying the inside of the brand new Confederation Line Bayview Station.  The walk will be very short then, as most users exit the Trillium train onto the new concrete platform, directly into the building, and up the stairs to the eastbound or westbound platforms.

There will still be some people wanting to transfer to and from eastbound buses on Albert. These will be arriving Trillium passengers transferring to the #95’s going to Gatineau via Booth Street. (All bus route numbers will be changed by then). And those coming from Kanata and wanting to go southbound on the Trillium Line who take the remaining express buses directly to Bayview (not all express buses will terminate at Tunney’s, so that pax transfering to the Trillium Line or to Gatineau wont have to get off their bus at Tunney’s, ride the Confederation train just one or two stops, and transfer again). There will also be people seeking a bus service for local route stops along Albert.

Since the high rise “future development” should be well under construction by that time, maybe the new eastbound bus stop 2A will remain near Bayview Road for some years. Although in theory one could go through Bayview Station to the upper level, walk to its east end, and cross Albert Street to the original bus stop location if the pedestrian traffic light is re-installed. While that light would also facilitate access from the south side sidewalk to the Confederation Station, it would also slow motor traffic, so will the city will be reluctant to reinstall it?

Is there an alternative?

Let me suggest that the city could have built a boardwalk of scaffolding from the northern edge of the old OTrain platform directly across to the Tom Brown path, as shown below by the magenta line. This scaffold walkway could easily be removed on station opening week. While it would have to wiggle around the new concrete block tool shed still being finished under the Albert overpass, it would be convenient, considerably more direct, and efficient …

The view from above the current Trillium platform looking towards Tom Brown…

And down to the concrete block tool shed the passengers would have to jig around while its exterior cladding is being finished …

to attain the ready-to-puddle Tom Brown pathway…




18 thoughts on “OTrain Trillium marathon

  1. This is so stupid, I take a bus every single day to bayview and go down the Otrain path. Why would they do something this stupid?

  2. This must have been planned by the same Canada Post planners who felt it would be good for our (not their) health to walk outside every day to get our mail. Transfer points on the system are clearly not designed for the convenience or ease of the user. As a regular transit user, I get lots of walking in already, thanks so much.
    I hope that the path will be well light and safe in the darker hours. But I have my doubts.
    As well, I can see the buses on Albert blocking Bayswater when more than one bus arrives at the stop…

  3. Imagine the wind tunnel effect on a January morning or evening, as the unfortunate commuter has to walk into the subarctic winds, while they make their way under the various underpasses.

  4. I’ve thought more about this…. why not just put back the pedestrian crossing at the Bayview Station? Ugh their solution is so dumb. I look forward to seeing the shortcuts created by the more rebellious and adventurous peds.

    1. I wondered the same thing, except I suspect they don’t want to slow down the vehicular traffic… so instead they will make people walk in circles. So stupid. People will just jaywalk across Albert from the opposite side or find some other inventive way.

  5. Whatever happened to those historic locomotive turntables that were uncovered and recovered in recent years? Will the new development pretend that nothing ever happened?

    1. Dan: most of it will sadly be lost when they excavate several storeys down. This includes as far as I understand it the entire turntable portion. Only a little bit of the roundhouse at the western part close to the otrain tracks will survive. I was disappointed they elected to recover it rather than try to save portions (or ideally preserve the whole thing as some kind of lobby feature). The exercise to unearth it last year was to do a history recording, and that was the end of it. Too bad.

  6. There is so much cynicism in this post!

    Looking at the development plan on the Trinity site, it would appear that at least a portion of the existing ramp from Albert to the O-Train are on their lot. Not only will this pathway be closed to facilitate development on the site itself, but the City will be widening the streets and installing a new intersection to provide access to the development. This is a significant amount of work that necessitate the closure of the pathway on the “borrowed” land. Ultimately, the new development will be directly connected with a new dedicated walkway, but a new ramp will also be installed in the same location of the existing.

    Your proposal for building a series of scaffolding over the current O-Train track does noting to assist those with mobility needs, bikes, strollers, etc. You accuse the City planners of not using transit themselves and having no consideration for its users, but you are clearly not considering the needs of ALL users of transit in your post either.

    Transit is undergoing substantial change and this change hurts, we as residents of this city need to deal with it and the benefits will be worth our while.

    1. David: the same Otrain track is being used for the current platform AND the future platform made of concrete recently constructed on the west side of the track. The track height and location do not change. Therefore the old platform currently in use AND the new platform are the same height. So, a bit of scaffolding could be used to cross the gap between the old platform and the approaches to the new platform, and the walkway / MUP / wheelchair needs would be met by a short flat boardwalk connecting the two. From the west side, the same Tom Brown MUP would be used in the City’s proposal and my shorter one.

      1. I agree with David, In a few years this is going to be a world class transit hub. The short term detours are well worth the long time benefits of this project. Its easy to be an armchair critic here but there is a tremendous amount of work and engineering going into this that is not appropriately acknowledged

        1. Patrick, unless I am missing your very subtle sense of sarcasm, please define “world class”.

          Is it world class by virtue of the number of users per day? If so, please provide us with a copy of the study that supports this statement.

          Is it world class by virtue of using leading edge technology to move people between trains, perhaps in some magical way?

          Is it world class because someone in the mayor’s office likes the sound of those two words, together?

          Don’t get me wrong on the LRT. I am very supportive of the project, with my main regret is that it doesn’t go far enough west, south or east.

        2. Patrick — I really want the transit oriented development at Bayview to go ahead. And I want it World Class. It isn’t there yet. The difficulty I have today is that a lengthy detour discourages transit use today, while car travel gets more attractive, decreased ridership may not self-repair once the Trinity project is built. Once transit ridership goes down, it is hard to get it back. Our transit usage trend is downward, it is the result of a thousand little indignities like mid block bus stops, low quality waiting areas, and circuitous expectations.

          And I have suspicions that the decreased ride comfort on the trains because of a high ratio of standees to sitees, compared to express buses, may discourage long haul commuters. We must coddle our customers, not force them onto long detours. Our Trinity transit hub as presently being permitted by the city, has curious features, such as the city is still forbidding it to connect directly to the Trillium platform. Sort of transit-oriented but not not-too-connected.

  7. “…and up the stairs to the eastbound or westbound platforms”
    Will there be an elevator? (thinking about those coming from the airport with a pile of heavy luggages)

    1. Haruki: yes, two elevators on each side. Two, in case one needs service. Sometimes single escalators as well. Plus at Pimisi, elevators that just go from the surrounding pathways up to Booth Freeway level without actually going into the station. Full directional access for everyone for every use.

  8. Thank-you for this, the information here is more complete than any coming from the city or it’s politicians. It may explain the lobbying of OCTranspo and local politicians by Trinity recently.
    My proposal is a temporary platform on the west side of the O-Train. It can open its doors on both sides.

  9. Thank you for sharing this, it’s the first I’ve heard of such a change commuting via Otrain a few times each week. I do not understand the costs of building paved pathways, removing them, then rebuilding them. Nor the costs of building bus stops with shelters then moving them. However, it seems to me that over the past 2-3 years the ever-changing maze of detours and pathway re-construction could have, somehow, been better planned, knowing that the construction phase was a large, multi-year initiative.

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