So what’s the deal with Clive Doucet’s transit plan for Stittsville?

Photo: Clive Doucet’s proposed Capital Region Rail system.

Mayoral candidate Clive Doucet’s plan for a regional rail system in Ottawa wouldn’t send trains into the heart of Stittsville.

Rather, there would be a station somewhere between Carp and Stittsville along an existing branch line that runs through Kanata North.

Doucet unveiled his “Capital Region Rail” plan earlier in September, saying it’s time for Ottawa to get a regional rail service similar to Toronto’s GO Train system.

“We will run trains on rail lines that already exist in the National Capital Region, making this a cost-effective solution to get 20,000 cars off the 417, reduce our carbon footprint, open our city for business, and connect the four corners of the National Capital Region. This plan will integrate itself with our present OC Transpo system,” Doucet’s website says.

Because his system map shows a line running from Bells Corners into Stittsville and Carp, a few people raised questions on how that would work, given no rail lines actually run through Stittsville. Some wondered if Doucet was proposing to re-lay tracks on the Trans-Canada Trail, which formerly was a rail line.

(The City of Ottawa considered doing that for Phase 3 LRT but decided a future rail line should run parallel to Highway 417 instead.)

Doucet’s campaign says they’re not going to rip up the trail if Doucet is elected Oct. 22.

“Stittsville will be served at the beginning by a station between Stittsville and Carp along the rail line with the terminus at Kinburn,” said campaign spokesperson Anne-Marie Roy in an email to this newspaper. “We will not be using the former rail bed that is used for cycling (TCT) and there will be no additional cost for tracks since our plan does not require laying down any new track.”

The campaign website links to OpenRailwayMap, which shows an active branch line running through Kanata North to Carp. The campaign said the exact location of the Stittsville/Carp station would be subject to a request for proposal process once in office, but it would presumably be near Huntmar Drive or Carp and March Roads for access to both Carp and Stittsville.

OpenRailwayMap shows the line (in yellow) which Doucet’s plan would use to serve Carp and Stittsville.

The proposed Capital Region Rail system is in addition to, and would not replace, the Stage 2 and Stage 3 LRT plans in their current form — Phase 3 including a station to Stittsville post-2031.

“We fully support the construction of the LRT going forward,” Roy said.


7 thoughts on “So what’s the deal with Clive Doucet’s transit plan for Stittsville?”

  1. Using existing tracks and being able to extend rail service further west and faster than the LRT plan certainly makes a lot of sense. I don’t know why this wasn’t the plan in the first place. If this had been planned twenty years ago, we’d already have trains going to every corner of the city and could have spent the billions that we’re putting into a short light rail track into connections from the main rail fanning out to the other communities.
    People further out, e.g. Arnprior or Renfrew, would much rather drive to Kinburn than all the way in to town and this train would take a lot of cars off the 417 pretty quickly. I can see bus service going from the Kinburn station to communities up the Valley. Then eventually the train could be extended. That’s how the GO Train and GO Bus have developed in the area around Toronto.

    1. I suggested using this line a few years ago and was shot down by the Mayor and my colleagues who want to concentrate on light rail. As the existing line doesn’t go downtown but does go near Algonquin College and other parts of the City it could still be very useful and I’d like to see it studied.

      1. They were right to shoot you down.

        “Hey let me suggest something off the top of my head with no consideration to development plans or costs of implementation, cause all choo-choos look the same.”

    2. Who gives a …. about Arnprior and Renfrew? Seriously.

      We’re talking about towns of less than ten thousand that may not generate more than a few hundred commuters a day. That is literally seconds of capacity on the 417. The average highway has a capacity of 2000 vehicles per hour, per lane.

      There may not even be a business case to provide them with bus service. Moreover, I fail to see what Ottawa taxpayers should be concerned with providing them service. Let Renfrew County taxpayers fund a bus service to Ottawa if they need it.

  2. He is calling it Stittsville, but the station would be 9 km north-west of the 417. Given that a Terry Fox LRT station would be 5km east of Carp Rd. the station would be of little to no use for Stittsville residents.

    The other thing is his map shows straight lines but in reality the tracks take a long, circuitous route (south to Colonnade rd) to get to either Bayview or Tremblay, thus the train would take as long if not longer than the LRT will, especially if you consider that the NCC removed all tracks downtown in the 60’s, so a transfer would be necessary to get downtown.

    As for Arnprior and Renfrew, they only have populations of 8,795 and 8,223 (2016) respectively, and few of them commute to Ottawa. Also, both of those communities are outside of the City of Ottawa and given that OC Transpo’s subsidies come from Ottawa Taxpayers, their priority should be Ottawa residents.

    If the Ontario government wants to run it as a GO Train, by all means, though I am not holding my breath on that happening anytime soon, since the rural population of Ottawa is just too small to think of anything beyond Kanata/Stittsville, Barrhaven and Orleans and those are too close to town to be a terminus for commuter rail, especially without a downtown station.

    The other factor he hasn’t mentioned, is the tracks to Kanata North and Fitzroy were removed a few years ago.

    1. If you look on the map, you’ll see that the line to Fitzroy is shown in grey, not black, which indicates an abandonned line. It would be a lot cheaper and faster to restore these lines, even including laying new track, than it will be to start from scratch as the LRT does.
      There are already commuter buses coming to Ottawa-Gatineau from Renfrew County in addition to the people driving in. I was only referencing Arnprior and Renfrew as examples but there are people commuting to Ottawa from as far as Pembroke. The train wouldn’t change the numbers coming into the city. It would just get them off the 417.

      1. And their numbers aren’t significant enough that you’d even notice the change in traffic.

        The 417 has > 6000 vehicles per hour of capacity in each direction. Few hundred vehicles is not going to move the needle on traffic congestion. Positioning light rail so that it gets Kanata and Stittsville drivers off the road will.

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