(PHOTO: Artist’s rendering of the Rideau LRT station downtown. Via City of Ottawa.)
It occurred to me on the drive home from Monday night’s LRT open house that we just spent a lot of time and money on consultants to tell us that the best route for LRT is along the Queensway, like we’ve been planning all along.
Still, consultants and planners will spend the next few months evaluating three options (down from 13 shortlisted routes) for the potential future Kanata-Stittsville LRT extension, from Moodie Drive to Palladium.
- “Corridor 5” – travels all the way up March Road to Terry Fox to Kanata’s business park, then follows Terry Fox to Tanger Outlets.
- “Corridor 8” – runs parallel to the Queensway on the north side of the highway. This one scored the highest of all 13 routes on every criteria.
- “Corridor 13” – takes the Trans Canada Trail from Bells Corners to Robert Grant Avenue in Stittsville, then north to Palladium.
About 100 people came to the consultation meeting, where large panels were set up around the room showing maps of the different routes considered. Over the past few weeks, various stakeholders including residents, businesses and government agencies were consulted to evaluate each of the options.
A lot of the routes are obvious non-starters. Some would run through the Greenbelt, including long stretches without adjacent homes or businesses. One route has 44 grade separations where the track would have to go over, under or across a road. Some would require land acquisitions, or major infrastructure builds. And I can’t see residents being very supportive of a plan to convert the Trans Canada Trail back to rail, even if it is a reserved transit corridor.
Corridor 8 is the obvious pick. It’s the goldilocks route: not too far north, not too south, right in the middle. I’d like to see the Corridor 8 route extended south from Palladium to Hazeldean Road, which would put thousands of people in the Fernbank area within a short walk from a station.
A few residents have asked why the LRT would extend to Canadian Tire Centre, if the Sens are probably moving to Lebreton Flats. The justification for LRT to Palladium was never based solely on servicing the arena, even if the Sens were staying in the west end. The Palladium stop is justified based on the number of residents and businesses nearby, who would commute daily from to and from Kanata/Stittsville and central Ottawa. The arena was a just nice bonus to be able to add to the service.
Beyond the shared benefit of getting people out of cars and onto trains, LRT will be a massive boost to development in our area. If/when they do end up building LRT to Palladium, I would hope there’s good planning in place to encourage more employment areas and fewer parking lots around Palladium.
This is all years and years away of course. The City of Ottawa has funding for this study, but still needs federal and provincial infrastructure funds to start construction. Phase 2 of light rail is scheduled to be completed by 2023, so this project would come sometime after that.
Here’s a slide deck and presentation panels that were presented on Monday night. The deadline to send comments to the City of Ottawa is June 23. Contact Angela Taylor, Senior Project Engineer, Transportation Planning, at firstname.lastname@example.org 613-580-2424 Ext. 15210. There’s more info online at www.Ottawa.ca/KanataLRT