Visions of LRT along the Parkway

Much fuss has been made about the merits of running the new LRT along parts of the Parkway aka Ottawa River Commuter Expressway.

Personally, I don’t see why motorists have to get the view and nice landscaping whilst transit users have to ride in a ditch. I think electric trains on grassy trackbeds along the river would be more environmentally sensitive than noisy, fumey cars and buses on asphalt roads that have to be salted all winter.

I realize one** of the “criticisms” of riverfront transit is the aesthetics of overhead wiring. I spotted this view of Island Park Bridge and thought immediately how similar it might look to poles for overhead catenary wires above an LRT. The bridge gives us the worst of the motorist option: wide road, salt, noise, overhead posts and clutter. An LRT would give us rails set in irrigated grass, overhead posts and wiring. Hmm, so much to choose from.

** I dont want to continue the debate here about catchment areas, cost, the war on cars, etc. We all know the arguments. This post is just about the novel view that in some places we already have a lot of overhead clutter, but without the LRT.

PS: the blog will be unmoderated for a few days while I am busy on another project.

8 thoughts on “Visions of LRT along the Parkway

  1. And if the windows on the LRT cars were really big, then the view of the motorists would be even smaller.

  2. Oops, I meant to write
    “And if the windows on the LRT cars were really big, then the impact on the view of the motorists would be even smaller.”

  3. I really don’t get the issue that Ottawans have with overhead wires (of any purpose).

    There is this strange fixation on the idea that wires are ugly. (And, inter alia, that widely-spaced, widely-set-back, squat dumpy buildings are attractive; or that the height of a building determines its attractiveness, no matter how gruesome it might be at ground level.)

    It’s like all the esthetic wires – ha! – are crossed, or something.

  4. If only the LRT wires could be mounted on wooden poles that sit the middle of newly reconstructed sidewalks (a la West Wellington), maybe some progress could be made!

  5. Not sure the wires are the real issue on the Parkway option. Unless the LRT is a commuter route for the far westies, no one lives down there to take the train.

    1. No, they’re not the *real* issue, but the “WIRES!” panic is one of the commonest tropes resorted to by anti-OttawaRiverCarPath people.

      I think the Car Path is a bad place for the LRT, too, but not because of “WIRES!”.

  6. I find the aesthetics argument against transit / bike / pedestrian projects bizarre. Certainly they should be made to look as nice as possible, but in the context of existing ubiquitous aesthetic atrocities in this city it’s hardly a huge concern. I guess ugly is grandfathered, and roads / bridges / car related stuff is entirely exempt.

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