Transit Stations … What will we get? …

Detroit’s downtown city bus station

This photo is of a new centre-island transit station in Detroit. Detroit is not the most viable city in the USA. We’re not Flint … nor Detroit. Will Ottawa’s LRT system get anything as nice?

It has a tensile fabric outdoor shelter at the bus loading platforms and there is also a elevated people-mover station platform. The air conditioned and heated glass waiting room building is 25,000 sq ft, includes washrooms, ticketing, and shops. The whole thing cost $22 million dollars, and opened in June 09.

And here’s the kicker: the entire terminal complex serves about 12,000 passengers a day — which is about the same as the OTrain station at Bayview. Could anyone say our bus-shelter collection at these points is better than Detroit’s?

Proposed Bayview station; click to enlarge

Thus far in the DOTT – LRT process all the outdoor (non-tunnel) stations have looked the same because the project team has a local-architect-on-board who has sketched in the stations. I presumed that the station architects were there to ensure the functional aspects of station design – pedestrian flow, access points, ensure there is enough space for an elevator well, escalator well, etc.

But at the last few DOTT meetings I recall that the stations have been described in much more definite terms: Tunney’s station will look like this; this is what Bayview will look like, etc. I am wondering if the conceptual space planning is turning into a fait accompli?

What happened to the notion that LRT stations should reflect individual neighborhood identities (existing or proposed)? Do other LRT systems have uniform station design system-wide (like we did for the transitway) or unique stations?

Are unique stations reserved for politically and economically powerful neighborhoods whilst lower income neighborhoods or unorganized communities get off-the-shelf stations-from-a-kit?

Where is the we need a world-wide design competition crowd — have they gone away because no stations are planned for the Glebe? Are Ottawa’s transit stations going to be sole-sourced to the planning bureaucrats or the winning bidder architectural firm on the project planning level?

Proposed Tunney’s bus centre-island transfer station and LRT station. No soaring roofs … but soaring isn’t usually associated with government office complexes. In the City of Ottawa, only taxes soar.

Read more about Detroit’s station at