Category Archives: Transportation

Your letters and feedback on OC Transpo’s service changes

At the start of this year, OC Transpo replaced express busses – and the premium express fare – with new “connexion” routes.  The connexion buses ferry passengers between suburbs like Stittsville and downtown bus stations, as part of a transition to light rail.  Here’s what we’re hearing from our readers about the changes.

Shirley Butler wrote to us about the pros and cons of the new system:

I have used the peak hour 261 route in both directions for the last ten years.  First, the positives:

1. Bus pass fares are uniform for all riders other than seniors.

2. Regular pass holders are now able to ride the more direct (old “express”) routes and are not forced to ride buses that take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes longer than the regular routes.

3. Stittsville old “express” routes no longer stop at any stops between Tunney’s Pasture and Bayshore making the trip a few minutes faster.

The negatives:

1. Express buses between the hour of 6:45 and 7:25 are very full.  Most days by the time the bus gets to Canadian Tire Centre there is barely standing room.

2. Express buses between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. are very full.  The bus starts at Rideau and by the time it arrives at Kent there is standing room only – that is three stops away.

In the ten years that I have lived in Stittsville (and while rush hour express riders were paying a premium for a bus pass) only one additional trip to routes 261 and 263 was added to the route (in the morning and in the afternoon) in spite of the exponential growth that Stittsville has experienced during the last ten years.   I know that a number of trips were added to the 262 route.  That said, if OC Transpo were to change the timing of the 263 so that it hits Fairwinds at around 7:20 a.m. that would alleviate some of the congestion.  Additionally if there was a 263 trip that started at Rideau at 3:55 p.m. that would spread the 4:00 p.m Fairwinds/Stittsville crowd between the 261 and 263.  As well sending a short 261 at 4:00 p.m is most ludicrous.

All to say OC Transpo charges some of the highest fares when compared to other cities and provides less than adequate services to its users.  I have changed my evening commute to catch the 4:40 261 as it is not as full.  However it is not as convenient.  If that bus does not show up I have to wait for a full 40 minutes before another 261 shows up. 

Although these are not unsurmountable problems I see that OC Transpo will lose ridership, causing fares to go up and service standards to go down. Is anyone looking into the problems and is anything going to be done?

Yes, OC Transpo and Councillor Shad Qadri say they are listening following up on feedback.  “I just wanted to let you all know that I am fully aware of your concerns. I am working with OC Transpo and will get back to you with a follow up within the next two weeks,” Qadri posted to Facebook on January 16.

Meanwhile in Kanata North, OC Transpo officials and Councillor Marianne Wilkinson will be attending a public meeting on Thursday, February 2 to discuss concerns about bus service to that community.  (The meeting is from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Richcraft Recreation Complex Kanata, 4101 Innovation Dr., in the Minto Room.)


What do you think of the new OC Transpo services changes? How can service be improved for Stittsville? Add a comment below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


Not everybody sees the changes as a negative. Here’s a note we received from resident Linda Norton:

I take the 263 bus and in the morning see no change in the bus schedule or number of people taking the bus ( there are always too many people that have to stand for the entire trip downtown). With the removal of 4 stops on the downtown to Stittsville afternoon route the 263 has become a bus for those heading to Bayshore and west, not a bus for people who can take any bus for a short trip. This means that more Stittsville residents get a seat for the trip home. In my observation the changes to the 263 route are not material.

Positive comments were few and far between. Greg Stapledon’s review of the service was one of many we received in the same vein:

261 is atrocious. It’s a milk run in the morning and a cattle car in the evening. The last 2 days, the 4 PM bus left people at the bus stop after Lebreton. Before Christmas, there was rarely anyone getting on the bus after it left Stittsville in the morning. Now there are people getting on and off all along the route before Tunney’s. It’s added about 10 minutes to my normal commute. Coming home I have to walk up to an earlier stop just in hopes of getting a seat. Lately there seems to be an issue having a long bus on the 4pm run.


What do you think of the new OC Transpo services changes? How can service be improved for Stittsville? Add a comment below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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UPDATE: More about Stittsville sidewalks

Last week we published a list of ten spots in Stittsville in need of sidewalk or pedestrian upgrades. We asked readers for your suggestions and heard from a lot of you. Here’s a sampling:

“I live in Traditions area. Why is there not a sidewalk from Fernbank to Elm Street along Stittsville Main Street? Where the church is. Children who want to walk from Traditions to where the gas station is, have to cross at Fernbank, go across a busy street, then go past the library, and cross at the light there. We need a sidewalk on the west side of the road there.” -Lori Claringbold Continue reading


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MIS-STEP: A list of mysteriously missing sidewalks

(ABOVE: Walking down Stittsville Main Street during Jane’s Walk 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.)

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study gives Stittsville a walkability score for of 54% for pedestrian infrastructure. That’s slightly above the city average of 50%, but it suggests there are a lot of places where we can do better. Here’s a list of 10 spots in need of an upgrade for pedestrians.

Stittsville walkability score
Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, 2016.

Continue reading


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Everything you need to know about OC Transpo changes in the new year

(PHOTO: “New Flyer”. Photo by Justin S. Campbell, via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons License.)

OC Transpo fares will go up in 2017, along with some route changes and a major overhaul to the express bus system.

NEW FARE TABLE

  • The adult monthly pass will cost $113.75, from $105.75.
  • The per-semester U-pass will increase to $202.46 from $197.52
  • The base cash fare will decrease from $3.65 to $3.40.
  • Paper tickets will now be on par with the cash price, with two tickets equal to $3.40.
  • Presto e-purse increases from $3 to $3.35.
  • A full 2017 fare table is on OC Transpo’s website.

If you still use paper passes, those will be discontinued so you’ll have to get a Presto card for $6 soon. Continue reading


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Maple Grove closed from Huntmar to Terry Fox starting Sept 8

(via City of Ottawa)

The City of Ottawa is in the process of constructing the new Kanata West Pump Station and Forcemains to provide servicing to new development in the region.  Work will involve the construction of a sanitary pump station at 1540 Maple Grove Road, a trunk sewer extension along Maple Grove Road, and twin forcemains along Maple Grove, Terry Fox and Katimavik. This notice serves as an update to the progress of work onsite in particular on Maple Grove Road.

Please be advised that Maple Grove Road will be closed from Huntmar Drive to Terry Fox Drive from September 8th until October 28th, 2016 to complete a sewer crossing and reinstate the road surface.  Access to all properties will be maintained throughout the work.


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Maple Grove Road to close until early September for sewer work

(press release via City of Ottawa)

Maple Grove Road will be closed to traffic between Terry Fox Drive and Silver Seven Road beginning Wednesday, July 20. The closure will allow for the installation of sewer pipes related to construction of the Kanata West Pump Station on Maple Grove Road. The closure will remain in effect until early September.

Work will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., extending to 10 p.m. as required. No overnight work is planned. A signed detour will be in place throughout the construction period. Motorists and cyclists are advised to follow all signage directed at them. Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the construction period.

There are no anticipated effects to OC Transpo routes.

Walter Baker Park and nearby businesses will remain open as usual and access will be maintained.

For current information about traffic and construction around the city, visit ottawa.ca.

 


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OC Transpo fall service changes will include service to Blackstone

Highlights:  30-minute service from Blackstone to Terry Fox; Tweaks to 92 evening schedules to match shifts at Tanger Outlets; New service to DND Carling Campus.

(Memo via OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi)

This memo provides an overview of the Fall 2016 transit service changes that will be starting on Sunday, September 4. These changes are part of OC Transpo’s regular schedule adjustments, which take place four times a year – April, June, September and December. Transit Commission and City Council members are provided with a summary of the service changes in advance of each new schedule period. Continue reading


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COMMENT: Ice those plans for changes to minimum snowplow standards

(Snow removal in Fairwinds. Photo by Hien Hoang.)

Forgive me for being cynical, but when you schedule a presentation about snowplow service during the first week of July, and only tell the public about it two days before the long weekend, my first thought is that you’re trying to bury some bad news.

That’s exactly what it looks like the City has done with a KPMG report scheduled to be tabled at a Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday.   Continue reading


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Part of Katimavik Road closed until July 17

(press release from the City of Ottawa)

Starting Monday July 4, Katimavik Road will be closed from Terry Fox Drive to Davis Avenue until July 17 to accommodate installation of sanitary sewer forcemains.

To keep the duration of the road closure as short as possible, work will proceed during peak and off-peak hours, and if necessary hours of work will be extended to ensure the work is completed within the allotted two weeks. Continue reading


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Hartin Street closed for construction July 4-5

(via Councillor Shad Qadri)

Hartin Street will be closed from Hazeldean Road to Loreka Court because of construction from Monday, July 4 to Tuesday July 5.
The contractor will be providing written notice to all residents and business 72 hours prior to the closure. Access to adjacent dwellings as well as pedestrian access will be maintained at all times in order to account for emergency vehicle access.

The contractor, Primrose Cartage & Excavating Ltd. will be connecting new services at 5943 Hazeldean Road. The predicted impact to traffic will be low.

If you live in the area, please remember to plan your route on these days. If you require any additional information, please contact me at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca.


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OC Transpo summer service adjustments take effect Sunday, June 19

(press release via OC Transpo)

On Sunday, June 19, new summer schedules begin along with several routing changes for improved service in the community of Greenboro East. 

Summer service improvements

  • In Greenboro East, Route 143 will be cancelled and replaced by a modified Route 114, which will serve Johnston Road and provide hourly service on Tapiola. Route 43 will be modified to travel from Cahill, south on Bank Street to Hunt Club, then north along the Transitway to Hurdman Station.
  • Route 72 will be extended along Cobble Hill to start and end at Hélène Campbell.
  • On Sundays, several southbound trips on Route 98 in the morning and evening will be extended to start at Mackenzie King Station for improved service along King Edward and at Lees Station.

Special summer weekend service

Service to local museums and beaches will operate on weekends and holidays throughout the summer until September 5. Route 129 will serve the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and Route 185 will operate to the Agriculture Museum and Experimental Farm. Route 198, which starts June 18, will serve Petrie Island.

Summer schedules

New schedules will reflect the lower demand for service during the summer vacation period. School routes will be suspended until the fall, and there will be minor schedule reductions on mainline and peak period routes. New schedules are available at OC Transpo Customer Service Centres, by calling 613-741-4390, and at octranspo.com.

Starting June 24, adjustments will be made at Tunney’s Pasture Station for Confederation Line O-Train construction. Further details are available online at ontrack2018.ca and will be posted at the station.

The next service change will occur on Sunday, September 4.

For automated real-time bus arrival information, customers can call 613-560-1000 or text 560560 plus their four-digit bus stop number. For more information and travel planning, visit octranspo.comor call 613-741-4390.

 


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Section of Maple Grove closed on Saturday for more hydro pole relocation work

(via Hydro Ottawa)

In May, Hydro Ottawa began conducting a pole relocation project to improve the reliability of the electrical service in the Stittsville and Kanata West area. Pole relocation involves excavating and moving existing poles located on your street and/or in your backyard. Continue reading


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City begins planning for light rail extension to Kanata

A large group of politicians showed up at the Terry Fox transit station today for what was billed as “an important announcement regarding Ottawa’s future transit options”.  The announcement turned out to be about launching a study to look at extending light rail from Bayshore to Kanata sooner than planned.

The City and federal government will split a tab of at least $2-million for the Environmental Assessment (EA) study, which will take a couple years to complete. Continue reading


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WTF are PXOs? All about the city’s new pedestrian crossovers

(PHOTO: The City will be adding even more signage to roundabouts as part of their new PXO or “Pedestrian Crossover” program. The signs are up at Huntmar-Rosehill, waiting to be unveiled later this month.)

Ottawa drivers are just too polite for roundabouts.

In most jurisdictions, cars have the right of way over pedestrians at a roundabout.  But City of Ottawa studies suggest that 50-70% of vehicles are currently yielding to pedestrians as a courtesy, even though they’re not supposed to.

By the end of this month, the city will soon be lifting the veil at the Huntmar-Rosehill roundabout on what they’re calling “PXOs” or “pedestrian crossovers”.  It’s part of a bid to make roundabouts and other road crossings safer for pedestrians.  (UPDATE: The roundabout at Fernbank and Shea, as well as Robert Grant Ave. will also be converted to include PXOs.) Continue reading


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What’s happening with the Maple Grove link to Jackson Trails?

Today, the west end of Maple Grove Road is just a dead-end dumping ground for construction waste and dog poop bags. Someday, it could be a road connection to Stittsville Main Street.

It’s an idea that’s been talked about for several years, and it shows up from time to time on planning maps, but there’s no specific timeline.

It came up recently during the discussions about Minto’s Potter’s Key subdivision. Some homeowners in Jackson Trails have suggested that Maple Grove could provide a second exit from their community, although many residents don’t want it opened up just yet. Continue reading


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VIDEO: How Hydro Ottawa moved 20 poles in a day along Maple Grove

(Editor’s note: Here are some photos, text and a video shared by Hydro Ottawa, with background on Saturday’s pole-moving project on Maple Grove. Hydro Ottawa is proactively moving the poles to accomodate future road widening, currently slated for after 2013 in the City’s transportation master plan.)

Twenty-five employees, six contracting staff, 20 poles, 12 hours, one Pole Claw, one day. These are the numbers required to successfully complete hydro pole relocation on Maple Grove Road on Saturday, May 14, due to a road widening project. Continue reading


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LETTER: Hold planning staff accountable for “epic fail”

Re: Qadri and planners get rough ride over Johnwoods “proposal”

As a former political staffer to Bob Chiarelli from 1987 – 1990 and again in 1999, I have seen some great work down by bureaucrats at the provincial level and at the former Region of Ottawa-Carleton (ROC). I went out of my way to thank staff when they were of assistance to the MPP and then Regional Chair as well as helping me in my role. Continue reading


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