PHOTO: “A window on transit in Ottawa” by Jamie McCaffrey. Used under creative commons license.
While Stittsville is still playing catch-up on the light rail transit file, Riverside South may be getting its own LRT station as early as 2021.
This, of course, all contingent on the provincial Liberals securing re-election this June, but it is a telling turn of events all the same: on Thursday, Mayor Jim Watson announced that the province would kick in $50 million to extend the Trillium line south into the centre of the community. With another $30 million contributed by two large property developers, service for this extension shall begin in 2021.
Meanwhile, in Stittsville, we can expect LRT to begin serving the area no sooner than 2031. By the time I’ll be able to hop on LRT for the afternoon commute home to Stittsville, I’ll be in my mid-30s (for reference, I’m 19). I imagine I will be very bitter about having wasted much of my youth on the 61, milk running through Kanata. Ah, well.
There’s certainly good reasons to build this extension to Riverside South. While it’s only got 16,000 residents now, that number should grow to 55,000 within the next decade. It will have a town centre, the city mentions. It is prudent to be prepared for future demand by building early, which is what will happen with Riverside South if this goes through.
Of course, we missed that bus in Stittsville. Our fast-growing community has already blown past the 30,000 mark and has a 2031 population pegged at around 70,500. Hey, we already have a town centre! There’s even a gazebo.
The route for a future western LRT will serve the area well, when it’s built. The city transportation committee this past week approved the route it should take, with stops at the Canadian Tire Centre, Maple Grove and ending at Hazeldean Road. Particularly, the stop at the CTC could be setting the stage for a vibrant neighbourhood to come, if appropriate development ensues.
While we wait for that, we’ll continue using the same old unreliable buses, as we are now.
The government seems to have clued in that transit is best built before growth, not after. Sadly, they realized too late for Stittsville.