The new Lincoln Fields Station will, in the LRT era, no longer be a major transfer station, and can be downsized dramatically. The little Iris Station, now merely a bus shelter on the verge, gets major engineering.
When the first transitway plans for Lincoln Fields Station were revealed back in the 70’s, the station was directly under the Carling Avenue overpass. The neighbours to the south objected, claiming excessive noise and rowdy behaviour by station patrons, some councillor chimed in that the underpass location would be dark and dangerous, so the expensive drive in-drive out transfer station was built north of Carling.
After nearly half a century in the “wrong” location, it looks like the future LRT Station will be efficiently located with its middle section underneath the Carling Avenue overpass. This means buses along Carling can stop curbside, unload and load passengers, and carry straight on, without dawdling through the off-road transit station.
One probable reason for the relocation is to get a straight stretch of track since one of the planning priorities on our LRT system is no stations on curves. The new station plan frees up the old transitway station and its circuitous roads and parking lot for reversion back to parkland, although a modified version of the passenger pick up and drop off area is to be kept.
While the function of this station looks good, there are a couple of worries, which local community associations and lobby groups need to address:
- the station designs seem to be getting simpler and cheaper as one leaves the core, with these ones being simple boxes with flat roofs. In a high visibility location like this, the peaked sloped roofs of the original 13 stations should be continued. The distinctive station roof lines are powerful marketing, wayfinding, and advertising for the LRT lines.
- the all weather protected crossing of the parkway via an elevated footbridge will be removed. Instead, pedestrians will have to use the Carling Avenue mini-sidewalk, which is windswept and frequently a wall of slush or airborne water. It desperately needs glass railings, wider sidewalks, and some setback from the travel lanes.
- And, those merge-style on- and off-ramps from the Parkway will need to be civilized, squared-off, probably as a signalized intersection. Otherwise access to the transit station for those who walk will be severely impeded.
- while improving the bridge, cycle tracks would be nice … oh oh, like at Pimisi Station, OC Transpo objects to people riding bicycles fearing they will drive at high speed through hordes of waiting bus users, scattering them like skittles. But is it good to ignore people who cycle along Carling?
- traffic on Carling speeds up dramatically between Edgeworth and Lincoln Fields, as the road is wider and “wide open” looking. With the probably removal of the park and ride traffic light, this will be an even longer straight stretch. Traffic calming is needed. Trees in raised planters along the centre median would help. A new light might be warranted at the intersection of the off ramps.
Here is the City’s plan view of the station, albeit rather cluttered with lots of lines:
Depending on the final alignment of the tracks south of the Station, the Woodroffe HS ped bridge over the parkway may have to be relocated. AND, there is the opportunity to “daylight” the Pinecrest Creek which in a fit of NCC tidyness back in the 70’s was sewerized just south of here, near the pedestrian bridge. It would be good to have it visible again.
History Trivia: Looking at the air photo above, a bit of ghostly history appears. Notice the faint trace of a circular ramp on the south east quadrant, right behind the homes of Whitehaven. This was to be the main off ramp of the Parkway, for cars to go east to Woodroffe and then south to Barrhaven. Instead the “temporary” construction off ramp at Woodroffe itself was kept, afflicting residents there with endless through traffic, and making the east bound off ramp at Carling superfluous. Its roadbed outline is also visible when standing on the south side of Carling.
The Iris Station. Currently, Iris station is, like Dominion, a rather forlorn cluster of bus shelters at the intersection of the transitway and Iris.
The location is difficult to engineer, due to the presence of the shallow Pinecrest Creek and the anomalous at-grade intersection of Iris and the transitway which must become grade-separated. Somehow three levels of infrastructure have to be inserted in one area while allowing for existing water and sewer services to continue.
In the plan, many of the multi-use pathways in the area will need major relocation, including the bridges over the creek and the at-grade pathway crossing between Iris and Baseline. The creek itself will get rebuilt in a new alignment, entirely on the east side of the LRT (the west side creek bed might be useful as a spring flood storage zone if regraded as a swale or rain meadow). Once relocated, it becomes a simpler task to grade separate the LRT from Iris.
An earlier option dead-ended Iris on either side of the transitway-come-LRT alignment, with a pedestrian overpass, which would have cut out a lot of through traffic through the west end neighbourhood. But the plan now shows Iris rising up and over the in-a-shallow cut LRT line. The Iris overpass will allow the west side multi-use pathway through the parkland to go under Iris, thus avoiding the current intersection. The current east-side pathway will then terminate at Iris.
The station itself will remain dead simple: two open platforms, accessed by long ramps from Iris, no stairs or elevators required. Passenger pick up and drop off points and bus stops will be located at the ends of the Iris bridge.