Light Rail Stage 2 / graphic via City of Ottawa

Light rail plans edge a bit closer to Stittsville

The City of Ottawa held a big press conference this morning to announce the latest plans for “Stage 2” of Ottawa’s light rail system. The most significant update for Stittsville residents is that planners hope to extend the tracks as far as Moodie Drive (instead of Bayshore) by 2023.

Councillor Shad Qadri says he’s hopeful that will mean a further extension to Kanata/Stittsville will be approved ahead of the current 2031 time frame, and he’ll also look into adding a Park and Ride at the Moodie station.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, Councillor Stephen Blais, Chair of the Transit Commission, and City of Ottawa staff today shared significant news about plans to move forward with the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project.

City Staff also provided a detailed presentation of a related report on Stage 2 LRT, in advance of the tabling of the report at the Finance and Economic Development Committee on February 24, and at City Council on March 8. The briefing included an update on significant changes to the scope of the project, information on the final alignment adjustments, the recommended procurement model and the specific activities the City will undertake to get ready to implement Stage 2.

Following extensive public consultation and preliminary engineering work, an expansion of the scope of the Stage 2 LRT Project is being proposed, in order to extend light rail further and faster to the West, South and East:

• Confederation Line West: beyond Bayshore to Moodie Drive, and southwest to Algonquin College;
• Confederation Line East: beyond Place d’Orleans to Trim Road;
• Trillium Line extension to Bowesville and Riverside South; and
• An Airport Rail Link from South Keys Station on the Trillium Line.

As part of the Western Line extension, an additional Maintenance and Storage Facility will be built in the Moodie Drive area to continue to fast-track LRT progress westerly and service the 8,500 public servants at the new Department of National Defence employment hub at the former Nortel Networks campus.

The briefing also laid out the City’s innovative approach to the procurement of the Stage 2 Project, continuing to work with existing partner Rideau Transit Group (RTG) to ensure an integrated and consistent expanded system while maximizing the amount of work to be procured under new competitions.

The Stage 2 expansion of the O-Train network will be undertaken through two new procurements:

A new $2.5-billion Design-Build-Finance competition for the Confederation Line East and West extensions (includes Airport, Trim and Highway 417, and City-bundled works); and
A new $535-million Design-Build-Finance-Maintain competition for the Trillium Line extension.

The $3 billion in light rail contracts will be bundled with additional City infrastructure projects in order to improve construction integration, reduce detours, save money, and reduce impacts to the community. The total of over $3.6 billion in combined work will generate over 21,000 person-years of employment.

Upon approval of this report by Council, the project will go to market later this winter. A final report will be brought forward in early 2018 outlining the results of the procurement process and related activities, leading to the final design and beginning of construction. The Stage 2 project will proceed with staggered openings to allow for faster expansions to LRT service:

• Trillium Line South extension in 2021
• Confederation Line East including Trim in 2022
• Confederation Line West to Moodie by 2023

***

We also asked Councillor Shad Qadri to put today’s announcement in context for Stittsville commuters. Here’s his response:

Today at City Hall, a short technical briefing was held regarding the implementation of Stage 2 of Ottawa’s upcoming Light Rail Transit (LRT).

Mayor Watson took the time to outline some of the key figures that will be taking place once LRT is opened for residents to enjoy as well as thank some of our community partners in their assistance with the project, including Transportation and Transit staff as well as residents who took the time to share their insight into the needs of our communities.

I as well would like to thank our residents for communicating with City staff and for their patience with this incredible project. As Mayor Watson mentioned, this is the largest procurement process in the history of Ottawa and an excellent example for future Canadian LRT projects. With all of the changes happening in our great City, it is important to remember the finish line that is in sight for how a project like LRT will benefit our community members.

Once fully operational, LRT will utilize its 59km of rail to take 14,000 cars off the road during rush hour and assist approximately 24,000 residents an hour in getting where they need to go, more than double our current transit system. It will also reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 110,000 tons.

The Stage 2 implementation report, which is available here, will also recommend an extension of the previous west ending point from Bayshore to Moodie, east from Place D’Orleans to Trim, and southwest to Algonquin College and will go to City Council and Committee for final approval in the near future. I am thrilled as this is great news for those residents who require transit for work at Moodie’s business district or the Department of National Defence HQ. I would be interested in looking into the implementation of a Park and Ride at this location as well in the future.

While some residents may be disappointed that Stage 2 will not reach as far west as the Canadian Tire Centre as I would have looked forward to, this is still a significant step forward and I would like to thank community members for their input during the consulting process as well as my West-end councillor colleagues Marianne Wilkinson, Allan Hubley, and Eli El-Chantiry for their assistance in supporting West-end LRT with me. Hopefully with the proposed extension of Phase 2 to Moodie and Trim, it will mean that Ottawa’s west end will see LRT sooner than the presently proposed Stage 3 2031 date as well.

I am excited to hear of the progress being made on this project and look forward to what Ottawa’s LRT system has in store for us all.

 

***

Quick Facts (via City of Ottawa)

· The Stage 2 Implementation report provides recommendations that meet the directions given by Council in the “Stage 2 Light Rail Transit (LRT) Environmental and Functional Design Report,” approved by City Council on July 8, 2015. If approved, it will allow for a competitive procurement process for all three Stage 2 extensions and the related supporting projects, and permit the projects to be built within the City’s affordability envelope.

· The Stage 2 LRT Project budget is $3 billion (excluding the Trim Extension with one station at $160 million, and the Airport Rail Link with two stations at $155 million).

· The Trim and Airport extensions will only proceed if they are fully funded by the federal and provincial governments; on June 3, 2016 the province of Ontario has committed to covering half of the capital costs for both of these projects.

· Once the federal funding commitment is confirmed, the City can proceed with the release of the Stage 2 Request for Proposals.

· The Moodie extension is expected to be achievable within the original budget envelope for Stage 2.


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