Ottawa LRT Stage 3 maps

As the Stage 3 plan is neither complete nor funded, there isn’t a lot of definitive detail.

In Stage 3 Ottawa may extend commuter rail west to Kanata and south to Barrhaven, both from the west side of Line 1 (the red line, also called the Confederation Line).

It may also extend rail to Quebec over the existing but currently unused Prince of Wales Bridge, although there is also a Gatineau proposal to create a west-end rail system in Quebec that would run across the Prince of Wales Bridge.

To some extent you can get a sense of Stage 3 from the transportation network in the 2013 Transportation Master Plan.  (The Transportation Master Plan normally would have been updated in 2018, but the city wants to complete Stage 1 of the rail system first.)

This map is a vision for the future (roughly 2028-2031 timeframe).  The actual network will depend on many different factors including funding and route optimisation.  Red is rail (Light Rail Transit), blue is bus (Bus Rapid Transit).

TMP - Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Network - Ultimate Network - tmp_en

Above from [2013] Transportation Master Plan, page 123 in the full PDF document or separate map download Map 3 Rapid Transit and Transit Priority Network – Ultimate Network (PDF).

Stage 3 is still at least 5 years (2023) from being finalised and started, since Stage 2 has to complete first.  Completion of Stage 3 would be something like 2028 at the earliest.

Kanata (Line 1 West)

Ottawa’s east-west commuter rail Confederation Line (Line 1) is completely grade-separated, which means that it never intersects with car traffic.  This is absolutely the correct design for a high-reliability commuter rail network.  When extending the network into car-designed Kanata, however, it has the unusual result of a recommendation that part of the line be elevated.  Any time you put rail under the ground or elevated above ground level it’s more expensive, but I guess there are a lot of highways for the Kanata extension to cross.

The website is ottawa.ca/kanataLRT

Documents are available from the May 9, 2018 City Council:

There are also documents from August 2018 available from the kanataLRT webpage itself, but rather unusually they’re in DropBox, so caveat downloader:

UPDATE 2018-11-25: The final Environmental Project Report (EPR) is available, dated November 21, 2018 and is also stored in Dropbox:

END UPDATE

Kanata LRT Stage 3 Map

In the map below, the proposed corridor and station locations are shown, with elevated portions of the line in green, at-grade in blue, and underground in yellow.

Kanata Fig 8-1 LRT Alignment and Station Locations

Map from section 8-3, page 168 of the August 2018 Report Draft from DropBox.

Stations heading west and then south:

  • Moodie Station (planned for Stage 2)
  • March Station
  • Kanata Town Centre Station
  • Terry Fox Station
  • Didsbury Station
  • Campeau Station (line turns south after this station)
  • Palladium [stadium] Station
  • Maple Grove Station
  • Hazeldean Station

The diagram below from the earlier May 2018 report to City Council – Corridor Options (PDF) shows the stations a bit more clearly, although to be frank neither diagram is going to win any awards for clarity.

Kanata LRT Fig 4 Preferred Corridor

Barrhaven (Line 1 South)

Barrhaven is new addition to the LRT evaluations, although a rail line to Barrhaven was always envisioned as part of the Ultimate Network.  The line would connect south from west Line 1 Stage 2 Baseline Station.

There is a document from Transportation Committee on October 3, 2018 (also see meeting Agenda):

Barrhaven LRT Stage 3 Map

Barrhaven LRT Stage 3 map

Above from page 5 of the Statement of Work document.  Note that this is a study corridor, it’s not a proposed or final alignment.

Prince of Wales Bridge

You can see in the Ultimate Network at the top of this blog post that there is a plan for OC Transpo’s commuter rail service to cross the Prince of Wales Bridge, but I don’t know any details.  I don’t even know whether they would use Line 1 or just extend Line 2 northwards.  I’m happy to add details if they are provided.

Addendum

These are very early days, so rely on the City of Ottawa for official word on the specific rail lines and stations for Stage 3 LRT.

Ottawa LRT Stage 2 maps

Ottawa’s commuter rail (light rail transit, LRT) gets a lot more complicated in Stage 2.

As a reminder, there are two lines:

  • Line 1, the red line, runs east-west.  It’s also called the Confederation Line.  It uses all-electric trains, running on dual tracks (i.e. separate tracks for each direction).
  • Line 2, the green line, runs north-south.  It’s also called the Trillium Line.  It will use diesel trains, and has segments of single track (meaning that trains have to wait in carefully-managed stops, in order to share the track in both directions).

Line 1 extends east to Trim Station, but on the west side it splits, with part heading west and part turning south.  Line 2 adds stations and continues south, but then takes a rather dramatic turn to the west at the end of line.

Stage 2 System Map

In terms of implementation, the project is separated into three separate parts for the east and west (Line 1) and south (Line 2) extensions.  You can see the planned system in this Stage 2 map, including a Line 1 extension that was added in the west to Moodie Station and the new west turning to Limebank Station at the end of Line 2.  Below map from Stage 2 – Where.

Stage 2 with Limebank Station extension - lrt_stage2_alignment_en2

Black circles with black text boxes are new stations, and the new segments are also shown as thinner.  On the green line (Line 2), two stations are added within the existing Stage 1 segment: Gladstone Station and Walkley Station.  Line 2 also gets an extension to the airport, but my understanding is that this is not a direct train; you have to change to an airport shuttle train at South Keys Station.

The timelines are notional, basically intended to show that one part can be delivered before another.  A general guideline would be a 2023-2025 for completion of the entire system, particularly given the delayed launch of Stage 1.  Note that bus rapid transit (the remainder of the Transitway buses) is shown in grey.

Line 2 Extends South, then West

The details of the plan to extend Line 2 west are available in the Trillium Line Extension Planning and Environmental Assessment (EA) Study – Addendum.

I’ll only look at the end of the line, which is a change to the original Stage 2 plan.

Here is Earl Armstrong / Bowesville Station and Park & Ride

Earl Armstrong and Bowesville Station park and ride

Earl Armstrong and Bowesville Station plus park and ride functional design

Above two images are from pp. 68-70 of the Trillium Extension EA Study Addendum document (PDF).

Here is the extension west to Limebank Station

Limebank Station - extension

Limebank Station - preliminary station functional design

Above two images are from pp. 93-99 of the Trillium Extension EA Study Addendum document (PDF).

Line 2 Stage 2 Train Sets

In Stage 2 the existing Line 2 trains will be replaced with the Stadler FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train).  It is diesel powered but can be converted to electric.

LRT2_Boards_48x36_EN_May02_2018

Above from City secures funding to extend O-Train Trillium Line to the heart of Riverside South.

Website

The main website for Stage 2 is https://www.stage2lrt.ca/. Please refer to that website for official Stage 2 routes and station information.

Stage 3

Stage 3 may extend to Kanata, to Barrhaven, and possibly across the Prince of Wales bridge to Quebec.  Details are not finalised; I have done a separate blog post with Stage 3 maps.

STO bus changes after Ottawa LRT Stage 1

This post describes the planned changes to STO Ottawa downtown core routes, to be implemented sometime after the Stage 1 LRT goes into service.  (So don’t expect these STO routes on day 1 of LRT service, but sometime in mid to late 2019.)

For OC Transpo I’ll just give a quick summary about the downtown core, rather than documenting the huge number of changes to OC Transpo bus routes all over the city; their site can tell you what you need to know much better than I can.  See the planned 2019 system map for all the details.

The high level summary of the OC Transpo Stage 1 bus changes from a downtown core perspective is that all of the Transitway buses, like the workhorse 90 series, are gone from downtown, along with all of the direct-from-the-suburbs buses, and Albert and Slater are no longer primary OC Transpo bus routes through the downtown.  Everything moves to a hub model, with the rapid buses going to Tunney’s Pasture Station (west end), Hurdman Station (southbound buses), and Blair Station (east end).  You can see my post Ottawa LRT Stage 1 maps for a map of the new rapid system.

Queen of Buses

The major downtown OC Transpo change will be a focus around Parliament Station on Queen.  All the frequent local bus routes, the 6, 7, and 11, will have a route on Bank and Queen.  This may be interesting considering that Queen has just been narrowed, and Queen will still be open for regular car and truck traffic.  My understanding is this shift will precede the STO bus route changes.

OC Transpo 2019 downtown core detail inset

Above is an extract from the downtown core submap on the lower right of the main OC Transpo 2019 System Map.  The red circles are station entrances, the black squares with letters are station-adjacent bus stops.  Mackenzie King Station at the south of Rideau Centre goes from being a very busy Transitway station to only being visited by the 16 and the 19.  (It will become a very busy STO station as you will see below.)

SIDEBAR: If you like Ottawa transit history, the 6 and 7 echo the route of streetcar line B, and the 11 echoes the route of streetcar line S.  You can see the streetcar routes in a plate from the Greber report.  END SIDEBAR

I had actually thought that the local bus routes would go on Albert and Slater and end up at the south side of Rideau Centre at Mackenzie King Station, but this is not at all the case.  Slater will still be used but only for part of the route of the 17, 16, and 19.

However Albert and Slater will not go for long without substantial bus traffic, as it turns out the STO buses will move to travel deeper into the core, including along Albert and Slater to Mackenzie King Station.

STO Bus Like a Lyon

Lyon Station will be a minor loop for OC Transpo, with the 10, 16 and 17.

But Lyon will become a major rush hour weekday Ottawa-side hub for STO, which will move almost all of its buses off of Wellington in front of Parliament Hill and instead loop past Lyon including going east-west along Albert and Slater with a second hub for regular lines at Mackenzie King Station.  This is a dramatic change for the STO routes.

STO Carte_arrêt_oct_2018

For Ottawans living in Centretown used to heading to Wellington to get their STO bus, this is a significant change, with STO stops (the small blue dots in the above image) strung along Albert and Slater, with some on Lyon and Bank as well.  (I assume based on the dots that OC Transpo stops will basically turn into STO stops.)

The new stops should make it much more convenient to use the STO buses from Centretown, except before 9am.

Outside the Perimeter

There are two hassles for Ontario residents taking the STO bus:

  1. You can’t tap your Presto card to pay for a single ride.  STO will only accept monthly pass, U-PASS, DayPass, and an OC Transpo transfer.
  2. Before 9am, outside the “perimeter” (which is in Quebec near the river), you must have an STO – OC Transpo Rider smart card.

First what this means is that if you walk direcly (rather than taking an OC Transpo bus) to an STO bus stop in Centretown, you either have to pay cash for your trip, or you need a pass.  (If you’re just going for a single STO trip, it’s almost worth stepping onto an OC Transpo bus first just to get a transfer.)

And second what this means is since you’re probably going to work before 9am, you also need the STO – OC Transpo Rider smart card.  Which costs $8 and must be renewed every year and is only available at 3 STO service points.  If you tap your Presto on STO before 9am the reader will flash yellow, which indicates a need for the STO – OC Transpo Rider smart card if you’re outside the “perimeter”.

On the plus side in practice when the reader flashes yellow the bus driver always ignores it anyway.  Which is good because for one thing, there’s no way $8 possibly covers STO’s administrative cost of processing the card application every year, and for another thing going to get it takes extra time and hassle every year.  Plus it slows down bus boarding every day.

On top of which the actual STO procedure for Presto is ridiculous (so it’s kind of good that no one actually follows it).  It appears to be:

  • tap your Presto card (which must have either a pass or a transfer)
  • show the driver the back of your Presto card (every time)
  • if it’s before 9am the reader will flash yellow, so then
    • tap your STO – OC Transpo Rider smart card
    • show the driver the photo side of the STO – OC Transpo Rider smart card (every time you use it)

I honestly don’t know what the point of this sequence can possibly be, other than to paralyse STO bus boarding in Ottawa.

Basically as far as I can tell the entire thing is designed assuming that before 9am you take an OC Transpo bus to the Perimeter Zone in Quebec, and then change to an STO bus.

Perimeter zone in red in above map from STO – OC Transpo Rider smart card specifically Perimeter of the downtown areas of the Hull sector and Ottawa.

But with Lyon Station as a rush hour weekday hub starting in 2019, the above model no longer seems valid.

There is a super-simple solution, which is to extend the Perimeter to cover the entire Ottawa downtown core that STO loops through.

And an even better solution would be just to have Presto totally compatible for use for single payments or passes, without an extra STO rush hour card.  And an even better solution than that would be to support tap payment with debit and credit cards and phones, along with tap passes that you could have on your phone or a card.

OC Transpo to Gatineau

There will still be OC Transpo buses to Gatineau, with their hub at Pimisi Station, but I never take these buses so I can’t say much about them.

The Future

There is a proposal for a Quebec west-side train loop, with connections across Prince of Wales Bridge (which you might expect) and Alexandra Bridge (which you might not expect, and I don’t really understand how it would work unless you completely redo the car lanes).  I will write more about it in a later blog post.

Addendum

As always, check the STO website for official information about the new bus routes and when they will come into effect.

Ottawa LRT Stage 1 maps

Here’s what the Stage 1 commuter rail (light rail transit, LRT) network will look like when it launches in 2019.  This post focuses on the rail maps; there will also be lots of bus route changes.

Maps

Line 1, the Confederation Line, the red line, runs from Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west to Blair Station in the east.  It is an all-electric, dual-track line (i.e. separate tracks for each direction).

It makes for a pretty simple map, from the OC Transpo Ready4Rail – Where will it go page.

OttLRT Line 1 Stage 1 Line_map1

Lyon, Parliament and Rideau stations are underground.  The Gatineau bus connection shown at Pimisi Station indicates OC Transpo Gatineau-bound buses.  The STO bus connections aren’t shown.

Line 2, the Trillium Line, the green line, runs from Bayview Station in the north to Greenboro Station in the south.  It is a diesel line with some single tracking, which means trains have to wait at stopping points in order to share the single track in both directions.

It also makes for a pretty simple map, from the current OC Transpo Route 2 results page, PDF map option.

O-Train Route 2 map_carte_002

The lines have a single transfer point at Bayview Station.

I don’t know of a map that shows just Line 1 and Line 2 together for Stage 1.  There is a map (PNG) that shows all rapid routes, which includes the two train lines in red and green as well as buses in blue. Basically the blue is what remains of the workhorse Transitway / Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines in Stage 1. (Map from OC Transpo New service types page.)

OC Transpo Rapid 2018_Network_R 200

Interactive Maps & Downloadable Data

You can see current and proposed station footprints and track alignments in GeoOttawa.  Go to More layers… and select Rail Implementation Office at the very bottom (below Miscellaneous).  http://maps.ottawa.ca/geoottawa/  Note that GeoOttawa requires Flash.

If you want the data for Line 1 including station alignments, as shape files, you can get it from the City of Ottawa Open Data site http://data.ottawa.ca/en/dataset/o-train-line-1

There is also open data for O-Train Stations and O-Train Tracks, including Google Earth KMZ format.  I don’t know whether this is just the north-south line (Line 2) or whether it includes the forthcoming Line 1.

Websites

The main website for Stage 1 is https://www.ligneconfederationline.ca/

but there is also information at http://www.octranspo.com/ready4rail/

There is a completely separate website for Stage 2 https://www.stage2lrt.ca/ (I have covered Stage 2 in a separate blog post).

Addendum

In renaming and rebranding the lines there may be some confusion.  Previously O-Train referred just to the north-south train, now it is used for the entire system.  Also previously route 1 and route 2 were downtown core frequent buses.  Route 1 was changed to route 6, and route 2 basically ended up as two routes, the 11 and the 12.

The Stage 1 rail lines won’t change, but nevertheless always go to the OC Transpo website for the latest official information about routes.

reflections on 24 hours without power in Ottawa

The 2018 Ottawa-Gatineau tornado and associated windstorm took out power to much of Ottawa and Gatineau.  I lost power for 24 hours.

I don’t have particularly profound reflections, I mostly thought about how to power my cellphone.  Kudos to Rogers to keeping cellphone service including cellphone data working continuously.

Recommendations

  • Have some portable batteries and keep them charged.
  • Have a portable radio, with appropriate batteries / charge.
  • Have some flashlights, with appropriate batteries / charge.
  • Have some AA and AAA batteries on hand if that’s what your devices use.
  • Have a crank power / solar power battery that provides USB out.
  • Leave solar powered devices in the sun (e.g. on a windowsill) so that they have a charge when you need them.
  • Know where all your emergency devices are.

Note: For radios/flashlights that use AA/AAA batteries, you may want to leave the batteries out of most of the devices, otherwise without a regular replacement schedule the batteries will eventually die and burst in the device.

You could consider e.g. having a box of ermegency devices in one place, and writing the battery replacement date(s) on the box, and put a calendar reminder to check it once a year.

I did ok, I basically had everything except my crank power / solar power radio+lamp is so old (it’s a big Freeplay plus) that it doesn’t provide USB power out.  (I don’t even know exactly what it has inside, probably a big spring and maybe a battery.)

I will buy a newer radio with USB power out.

You probably want to follow actual expert preparedness advice from the federal government and the provincial government rather than my cellphone-focused musings.

Main Discoveries

  • A portable speaker with USB out is basically a big battery.
  • CBC Radio One 91.5 MHz FM has pretty terrible signal, at least for analog tuning radios in some areas of Centretown.  (I tried multiple radios in several locations, I was only able to get a clear signal in one location with a Grundig Mini World 100 PE small portable radio.  It seems like there are powerful radio channels just to either side of 91.5, and/or CBC has a weak signal.  Ended up streaming the radio over cellphone data more than using the actual radio.)  I also secondarily realised that I have no idea what the local radio stations are or what frequencies they’re on.
  • Local news including the Ottawa Citizen (via Internet) and radio were useful, I also used Twitter quite a bit.  Hydro Ottawa’s website was not particularly useful, both because it was initially overwhelmed by demand, and because the scale of the disaster meant they couldn’t provide very detailed outage recovery time info.

Power Story

  • I first used my regular portable batteries to charge my phone.  It’s good that I always keep them charged.  I have an old 1800 mAh Kensington (no longer made) and a newer 10000 mAh Aukey.
  • I realised I could use my portable speakers as big batteries to charge my phone.  I had thought the USB power out on my speakers was kind of useless, but it turned out to be a very useful feature.  (I keep them plugged in, so they always have a full charge; I normally use them just as small speakers rather than actual portable speakers.)
  • If the portable batteries and speakers had been discharged, I next would have used my laptop as a big battery.
  • If the laptop had been discharged I next would have used my big and very not portable UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply; basically a giant battery with multiple power outlets), which in theory could have provided many many hours of cellphone power.  (I have a large UPS which has a button to turn off the continuous “power is out” beeping; many smaller UPS units don’t have this feature.)
  • UPDATE 2018-11-02: If you have other small battery-powered electronics such as electric hand warmers, some models may provide USB power output, but they won’t provide very much power for a modern phone.  END UPDATE

comments on proposed Elgin Street redesign

Ottawa Transportation Committee is meeting on May 3, 2017 to consider the staff report including proposed designs.  Here’s what I wrote to the committee:

COMMENT

Dear Councillors Egli and McKenney:

I am writing to you as chair and vice-chair of the Transportation Committee, about the Elgin Street redesign that will come before the committee on May 3, 2017 (ACS2017-TSD-PLN-0007 Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Design Study).  I support the report recommendations, namely (1) that the functional designs in the report be approved as-is and (2) that the speed limit be posted as 30 km/h.

I want to emphasize particularly strong support for the speed limit reduction to 30 km/h, and the language of the report “Designed for lower operating speed” (page 14).  Using design to lower the speed of vehicles in the downtown core is the single most important intervention that council can make to provide a safer and more pleasant experience for pedestrians and cyclists, and to make an even more liveable Ottawa.  This is particularly important given the presence of Elgin Street Public School.

I also want to express my support for the particular design intervention of raised intersections.  I very much hope this means that the crosswalks themselves will be continued across the street at sidewalk level (“continuous sidewalks”) across the side streets (I am using the language from NACTO guide “Pedestrians at Multi-Modal Intersections” http://nacto.org/docs/usdg/pedestrians_multi-modal_intersections_perkins.pdf ).  To me raised intersections and continuous sidewalks are a very significant design improvement that helps ensure lower operating speed.

I hope as well that the committee will recommend careful monitoring of speed and multi-modal level of service after the redesign, to ensure high levels of service are being achieved for pedestrians and cyclists, and to ensure that the design is keeping speeds below the 30km/h target.  If the data indicate that speeds are higher than 30km/h, I expect the city to continue to modify the design until speeds are 30km/h or less.

In my submission to the Elgin Street consultation I had recommended either no parking, or parking on only one side https://manifestomultilinko2.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/rebuilding-elgin-street/

While I am pleased to see some reduction in parking, I will just echo Councillor Chernushenko (page 25):

I am concerned that the proposed 90 spaces, although less than the current parking supply, is a half-measure that will ultimate prove a disservice to the same businesses that are in favour of more parking, as the renewal of Elgin Street will not be as complete as it might have been had fewer such parking spaces on the street itself been included.

I would particularly emphasize the fact that the report states (on page 18) that there are currently 3749 parking spaces within 2 blocks of the area (including 850 underground parking spots at City Hall http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/transportation-and-parking/parking ).  It seems to me the city could be more ambitious than cutting 32 parking spots out of 3749, particularly given the substantial downsides of on-street parking for traffic flow and safety, including circling cars and dooring of cyclists.

I look forward to the Elgin Street redesign.  I am pleased to see the city following Complete Streets design principles and emphasizing streets designed for safety, with improved levels of service for pedestrians and cyclists.

Thank you,

Richard Akerman

CC: Councillors Fleury, Chernushenko and Leiper
ENDCOMMENT

 

As a side note, on the topic of the 850 underground parking spaces at City Hall, here’s how many were free on Sunday April 2, 2017 around 10:30am.

IMG_9284-9284-20170402-6S - Version 2

Ottawa Like a Local

January 5, 2017 – partial blog post rescued from drafts – as a rescue post, I must warn it is very fragmentary with a lot of incomplete info

If you want to explore Ottawa more as a local, it helps to understand the structure of the city.  There are a few key neighbourhoods and streets.  Shopping and restaurants are almost all strung along just a few streets, which were key streetcar routes for Ottawa’s streetcar suburbs.

The main two streets are the long north-south Bank Street and the long east-west Somerset Street (which turns into Wellington and then Richmond as it continues west).  For those with a historical bent, these are the equivalent of the cardo maximus and the decumanus maximus.

Neighbourhoods strung along Bank Street, starting at the north and heading south, are:

  • the Central Business District (CBD), a typical business tower area from Wellington to Gloucester
  • Centretown, which runs from Gloucester to the highway (Queensway, 417)
  • the Glebe, which runs from the highway to the canal (Rideau Canal)
  • Old Ottawa South, which runs from the canal to the Rideau river

Bank continues south of that, but after that it’s into far suburbia basically.

Neighbourhoods strung along Somerset Street West, starting at the east and heading west are:

  • the Golden Triangle (a residential neighbourhood) from the canal to Elgin (more or less)
  • Centretown, from Elgin to Bronson (more or less)
  • Chinatown, from Bronson to the train overpass
  • Hintonburg, from Breezehill to (at Garland, Somerset Street West turns into Wellington Street West)
  • Wellington Village
  • Westboro

Because Westboro, Wellington Village and Hintonburg are all one continuous stretch, they tend to blur together (Westwelliburg) and even locals have trouble remembering exactly where the boundaries are.  Hintonburg used to be a lot rougher, but it is in full gentrification mode now.

Other streets and neighbourhoods of interest are:

  • the Little Italy neighbourhood on Preston Street from
  • Dalhousie Street from (sometimes called “North Dal”)
  • New Edinburg, particularly along Beechwood from
  • Elgin Street in Centretown, from Wellington south to the highway

To understand the structure of Ottawa, while the population is notionally 1 million, there’s a very suburban distribution, with roughly 20,000 in the core (Centretown), about 180,000 in the inner-ring suburbs (many of which listed above), and the remaining 800,000 in outer-ring suburbs and rural areas.  Many people also live “across the river” (the Ottawa River) in Quebec, but the river serves as a fairly substantial barrier – people tend to stick to their side.