See the train coming out of the tunnel? Maybe not.

Picture standing on a rail platform in some interesting place. Off in the distance is the tunnel portal where the train appears. It is a pleasant and amusing scene that caught everyone’s attention on this platform.

above: Varenna station, Italy.

Do you think we will be able to see a similar sight from either end of the Ottawa transit tunnel?

Even though Pimisi Station just a few metres west of the portal, it appears that a large concrete wall is going to block the view:

Above: photo taken from Booth overpass. The eastbound rail will follow the tire tracks in the centre of the picture; the waiting platform is under those steel beams and takes up the left half of the picture. The end of the platform is a giant concrete wall.

Presumably the architects didn’t install that wall just to spite the view (although the decision was made for Bayview Station that it wouldn’t take advantage of its hilltop view of the downtown because that might make the station seem extravagant. Maybe blocking the downtown view at Pimisi came about the same way). A view analysis was done as part of each station design, before the “conspicuous utilitarian” design diktat came down.

Here’s more of that wall:

It is possible the concrete wall is prevent run-away trains from crashing into the passenger platform. There are crash barriers at other stations.

The city has revealed very few plans of LRT stations. There are no renderings of the eastern end of Pimisi station. There is one of the western end though:

Yup, the western end of the platform is a solid something. Display panel? crash wall? (Note the steps down, to the temporary surface upon which a future platform extension can be built should we buy longer train sets).

Funny enough, out on Cyrville Station, the end wall is glass. Will there be anything to see?

Above Cyrville Station: note what appears to be a generous amount of cycle parking under a glass canopy on the far side of the station.

Ottawa’s LRT stations could and should have been about city building and city beautiful, and not necessarily at any additional cost. The architects were well aware of the view possibilities.

I hope the stations, once we can experience them, will generate a feeling of civic pride and joy to the use the facility. Hope springs eternal.

5 thoughts on “See the train coming out of the tunnel? Maybe not.

  1. I assume the same “no view of tunnel and emerging vehicles”, (note I avoid the word ‘train’ as this plays into the hands of all the deniers of LRT and its pleasant aesthetics), applies at OttawaU, an area I am more familiar with, where eastbound vehicles will mount what may be the steepest grade toward the OttawaU station. I am not sure how they will hide the tunnel entrance there.

  2. Ugh. For some reason the City and NCC see trains as an eye sore. We are spending how much to bury/trench tracks along SJAM? All that while keeping same SJAM freeway in place – no biggie.

  3. The concept of leaving the Flats as open space may seem a copout for those hungry for development but I think most people living in this kind of urban area want to be in walking distance to existing amenities: restaurants, food and drink etc.

    It is acknowledged the LRT and Parkway run through it, even so the space offers an opportunity for urban park activities appropriate to a national capital setting.

    Some ideas heard, include landscaping to incorporate the exposed sedimentary stone bed of the Champlain Sea; broardening the existing riverside passage under the rail bridge, to improve interaction with the river parkland for both summer and winter recreation.

    The idea would be programmed involvement, monitoring usage and limiting, severally, permanent structures.

    Mike Gregory

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