People living in Blackstone should finally have OC Transpo service to their community in June, thanks to an agreement between the developers and OC Transpo.
Until then, residents like Jennifer Young (photo above) face a long walk to the nearest bus stop in Glen Cairn.
“I’m one of the few people that thinks we have a really good bus service in Ottawa, I just can’t get it from my area,” says Young. “If it even ran along Terry Fox, I could walk that distance to the main road.”
She’s lived in the Blackstone community since 2013. She says her family was one of the first homeowners to move into the new development, and she was aware that there would be no bus service for a while. But she was also told that the builders (Cardel and Monarch) would provide a shuttle service to the nearest Park & Ride until OC Transpo had permanent service.
So far, that shuttle hasn’t happened.
Young says she has several neighbours who take the bus. In the winter she carpools to the Eagleson Park & Ride with a neighbour when she can. Otherwise it’s a frigid walk to the corner of Castlefrank and Glamorgan, which she says is minimum 20 minutes “if I speedwalk”.
“In the summertime, it’s almost a nice walk because you’re on the Trans Canada Trail, but it’s still a long walk. If I walk to the 62 stop, from there it’s a 50-minute bus ride. And that’s when there’s not traffic,” says Young.
After receiving an email from one of Young’s neighbours about bus service, we asked OC Transpo if they had any plans to provide service to the community.
“The developers have agreed to fund and provide interim transit service to connect the Blackstone community with Terry Fox Station, Monday to Friday during peak periods,” says Pat Scrimgeour, AGM of Customer Systems and Planning for the city’s transit services.
“The interim bus service will begin once the connection of Robert Grant Ave. to Abbott St. is operational, which is expected to be in June 2015,” says Scrimgeour.
(We’ve asked how much the developer is paying for the service, but haven’t heard back yet from OC Transpo.)
Scrimgeour says that OC Transpo is looking at adding regular service to the community in accordance with City Council-approved service standards:
- Peak-period transit service is expanded into a new residential area when development approval has been given for at least 250 new housing units that are located more than 400 metres walking distance (a five-minute walk for most people) away from other routes.
- All-day transit service is typically expanded into a new residential area when development approval has been given for at least 500 new housing units that are located more than 800 metres walking distance (a ten-minute walk for most people) away from other routes on the all-day route network.
The City of Ottawa will work with developers to provide service to bridge the time between the start of a new community, and the point where they meet the service thresholds. A similar arrangement is in place with the owners of the Tanger Outlets mall in Kanata North.
“This is done on a case by case basis and bridges the period until there are enough residents and transit customers that the service would meet the City’s financial performance standards,” says Scrimgeour.
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