STO presentation to NCC on Gatineau west-end rail June 2020

STO presented to the NCC Public Board of Directors Meeting on June 25, 2020.

The NCC has replied with staff analysis:

including a recommendation that the entire segment in Ottawa, including the crossing of the Portage Bridge and any segment on Wellington, use battery power:

The tramway will have to be battery operated on the bridge to avoid any equipment that diminishes the aesthetic quality of this section of Confederation Boulevard.

In [the Wellington Street] section, the tram would operate on batteries only and no overhead wires or structures would be necessary, in keeping with the aesthetic requirements along Confederation Boulevard.

which would not have been my choice.  Much better to have overhead wires than to introduce more complexity into what is already a very complex transit planning problem.

Plus which, let’s be super generous and say Confederation Boulevard is 35 years old (“Planning began in 1982 and construction in 1985.”)  Ottawa had streetcars with overhead wires from approx. 1891 to 1959.  That’s 68 years.  Overhead wires are way more a part of Ottawa’s built heritage aesthetic history than Confederation Boulevard.

NCC summary:

A presentation was made to the Board of Directors on the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) study for a transit system linking Gatineau’s west end with downtown Gatineau and Ottawa.

The study

  • will help to determine the mode (or modes) that would be implemented
  • refine the corridors in the west end of Gatineau (Allumettières and Taché)
  • define the alignment of the future tram / light rail system (which will take the Portage Bridge) into downtown Ottawa (via a tunnel under Sparks Street or a surface route along Wellington Street).

The NCC is in favour of public and active transportation initiatives in the National Capital Region. In evaluating this project, the NCC will have to ensure that the proposed solutions comply with plans governing the use of federal lands.

The sections of the alignment that affect federal lands will be submitted to the Board of Directors for approval in October 2020 or January 2021.

SIDEBAR:

The STO has launched a consultation on how the proposed tramway should arrive on the Ottawa side.  Should it go on the surface on Wellington or in a tunnel under Sparks?

END SIDEBAR

For more information about STO’s proposed transit system, you can see my previous blog post proposed rail transit for Gatineau west end – May 2020 update to City of Ottawa.

STO consultation on options for integrating proposed Gatineau west-end rail transit into Ottawa

STO is proposing a rapid transit system in the west end of Gatineau that would connect to Ottawa by a tramway over the Portage Bridge.

They are consulting on the options for integrating this tram on the Ottawa side.  The options they propose are surface rail on Wellington or a tunnel under Sparks.  The consultation closes July 19, 2020.

There is a really extensive (as in, very long web page) background overview presenting the analysis and options:

Consultation:

The consultation closes July 19, 2020.

For more information, you can see my previous blog post proposed rail transit for Gatineau west end – May 2020 update to City of Ottawa.

finding BBC Radio audiobooks

The short answer to finding BBC Radio audiobooks that you can listen to outside the UK, is use BBC – Programmes – Categories: Audiobooks – Available now and then look for only the books that say “BBC Radio” after them.  Books that say “BBC Sounds” are not available outside the UK.

This doesn’t cover all of the things you may consider to be audiobooks, as BBC categorizes many of them as “Drama”.  The BBC website doesn’t provide any way to filter out just drama based on books.  It also doesn’t have any way to filter just drama presented on BBC Radio 4 Extra (which is mostly books).

Dramas are also not consistently named.  Sometimes it’s by author.  Sometimes it’s by author and book title.  Sometimes it’s by character name.  e.g.

  • BBC Radio 4 Extra: Dick Francis (author) – “Adaptations of the popular thrillers by the British steeplechase jockey turned crime writer.”
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra: Jack London – The Sea Wolf (author and title)
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra: Miss Marple (character) – “June Whitfield stars as the iconic sleuth created by the queen of the whodunit, Agatha Christie.”
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra: Sherlock Holmes (character)

The two main audiobook programs are Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime.

  • Book of the Week – BBC Radio 4 – audiobooks, usually in 5 or 10 episodes
    • Note books are only available for a limited time; only books with a speaker icon are actually available online
  • Book at Bedtime – BBC Radio 4 – audiobooks, usually in 5 or 10 episodes

It used to be the case that the multipart BBC Radio 4 audiobooks would be made available on BBC Radio 4 Extra in combined omnibus episodes at the end of the week (on Sundays I think), usually one omnibus for every 5 episodes.  However once the current pandemic crisis got underway, BBC Radio 4 Extra stopped posting omnibus editions, so you will have to listen to the individual episodes for now.

SIDEBAR: Don’t use the very similar BBC Sounds – Category – Audiobooks page as it doesn’t show which books are BBC Radio and which ones are BBC Sounds.  END SIDEBAR