COMMENT: Let’s start saying light rail to Stittsville

Artist's rendering of the Rideau LRT station downtown. Via City of Ottawa.

(ABOVE: Artist’s rendering of the Rideau LRT station downtown. Via City of Ottawa.)

It was great to see City Council approve plans for Phase 2 of light rail transit (LRT) today. The $3-billion project includes an extension of the rail line west from Bayshore to Moodie Drive by 2023. That’s good for all west end commuters.

But there’s one thing that’s bugging me: I keep hearing councillors and other officials use the phase “bringing light rail closer to Kanata”.

We need to change that line and start saying “bringing light rail closer to Stittsville.”

This map is from the City of Ottawa’s latest Transportation Master Plan, and shows what planners have in mind for the west end’s “ultimate transit network”, sometime after 2031. The red is LRT, and extends to Huntmar Drive.  The blue lines are dedicated bus Transitway, extending all the way to Fernbank Road.

Transportation Master Plan: Ultimate Transit Network
Transportation Master Plan: Ultimate Transit Network (Click for full size)


So far, so good.  But none of the plans are set in stone.  My worry is that there’s a chance that councillors might be tempted to build tracks toward the high tech business park in Kanata North, before extending it west through Kanata South and Stittsville. There’s already a lightly-used freight rail corridor along the route.

The Kanata North BIA, a  group representing businesses in that area, is already trying to make the case that the high tech employment hub should get light rail ASAP.

I commute to that area daily and I agree that transit service is dismal, but as a Stittsville resident I want to make sure that light rail comes to our neighbourhood first, as has been long-planned planned. After all, with all the new housing in our area we’re projected to double in size to 70,000 residents within a couple decades. That’s going to make for one heck of a commute downtown.

So, the next time you hear somebody say light rail is coming closer to Kanata, make sure you correct them and say that light rail is coming closer to Stittsville.  We don’t want our neighbours in Kanata North getting any big ideas.


7 thoughts on “COMMENT: Let’s start saying light rail to Stittsville”

  1. My sentiments exactly. Our councillor should be leading the charge to bring LRT to Stittsville, instead of applauding politely when his Kanata colleagues lobby for and get improvements for Kanata.

    I’ve heard that Councillors Wilkinson and Hubley have been vocal and strategic in getting LRT to come to the west end sooner, but I haven’t heard our councillor champion Stittsville yet. Perhaps it just hasn’t been reported?

    Stittsville already gets treated like a poor cousin to Kanata with the existing transit service. It’s time our councillor stood up for us.

  2. The reason they say it is coming closer to Kanata is because it has to get there first. Extension to Kanata Town Centre has been planned for a very long time. The addition of Fernbank resulted in the LRT extension to CTC and BRT being added. If the Senators move out, there will be less need for it.

    The City is studying how it could service Tanger and the Kanata West Business Park as the plans did not have a station close by – they expected people to use the Huntmar Bridge to get to the CTC station or Campeau station which was moved further east. The plans for the March Road branch were done at the same time as the Fernbank extension. There is no LRT or BRT planned through Kanata South.

    The existing rail corridor through Kanata North was considered in the early days but was rejected and can’t be used as long as the line is active. Your beloved Trans Canada Trail is still being protected as a future rapid transit route – the 950 Terry Fox Drive Draft Conditions which I received yesterday require notice to be placed on title that it may be used as a transportation and/or utilities corridor. The same for the rail line which goes through Kanata North.

    Stittsville had real rail service in the early days – it is too bad that it was discontinued. Hazeldean Road is designated as a Transit Priority corridor but has lots of stoplights and a bottleneck area near Carling. Even if the lines do get extended, there will still be transfers (from bus to BRT or LRT and from /to BRT or LRT) required for most people

    1. It’s not really correct to say that the existing rail corridor through Kanata North can’t be used for non-freight purposes, as there are federal regulations that allow it to be used by non-CN railway owners, for compensation and with conditions. It’s simply that it is just not in current formal plans for transit use by the city; reports to the city even indicate support for transit use on the corridor.

  3. If Stittsville had an LRT station, coupled with a park and ride, not only would it serve Stittsville, but it would also improve service for those from outlying areas who currently use the park and rides. In 2018 when LRT is operational, those folks would have to drive to the park and ride, then transfer and wait for a bus, then transfer to the LRT, and then quite possibly transfer to another bus. To me, that’s not an improvement of the service.

    The LRT should span the entire city. I haven’t heard our councillor voice that option.

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