City of Ottawa’s transit budget planning projects one hundred percent funding from higher levels of government

The Executive Summary of City of Ottawa ACS2018-CSD-FIN-0003 Long Range Financial Plan Transit Update (PDF) contains an interesting change.

The key changes made to the revenue projections from the 2017 model are as follows:

  • Transit Taxes – increase in the assessment growth factor from 1.3% to 1.5%, to reflect recent trends, and increasing the transit tax to 3% from 2.5% to align the increase to the same rate as operating costs and capital costs.
  • Transit Fares – increase of 2.5% aligned with the increase in operating costs, consistent with the CUTA definition. Fare revenue projections were also decreased to reflect recent trends and the decrease in the average fare.
  • Grants from Senior Levels of Government – the revenue from senior levels of government is projected at two-thirds funding for future [Bus Rapid Transit]. For future [Light Rail Transit] this assumption was changed from two-thirds funding to 100 per cent funding.

The city is now assuming that Stage 3 LRT will be 100% funded by the provincial and federal governments.  (Stage 2 LRT will use the current 2/3 funding model.)

UPDATE: This is even clearer in slide 104 of the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project: Technical Briefing – February 22, 2019 (PDF) – section on changes since the 2017 Long Range Financial Plan (LRFP): “Assume 100% senior level government funding for Stage 3”

Stage 2 LRT presentation slide 104 Updates to the 2017 LRFP
above from slide 104 of Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project: Technical Briefing – February 22, 2019 (PDF). Highlighting of line in blue mine.

END UPDATE

The previous 1/3 federal, 1/3 provincial, 1/3 municipal funding model was manifestly unfair considering that municipalities collect 8 cents out of every tax dollar.  But it seems a bit unrealistic to me to expect provincial and federal governments to suddenly fund all of rail transit, particularly if those governments are right-leaning.

UPDATE 2018-02-27: Jonathan Willing has summarized the city’s approach in the Ottawa CitizenCity of Ottawa leaving it entirely up to other governments to fund future LRT projects.  END UPDATE

DISCLAIMER: I am definitely not an expert in the long term financial plan or in Canadian transit funding.

Ottawa – Gatineau interprovincial rail

There used to be three interprovincial rail links.

Ottawa streetcar Line H went across the Chaudière Bridge to Eddy Park.

Hull Electric Railway streetcars went across the Alexandra Bridge to Ottawa Union Station.

CN Rail CP Rail crossed at Alexandra Bridge & Prince of Wales Bridge.

UPDATE 2018-02-14: The Internet tells me that both Alexandra and Prince of Wales were CP Rail bridges.  END UPDATE

Ottawa Electric Railway – Line H

Line H (Hull – St. Patrick) crossed the Chaudière Bridge to Eddy Park (the solid red line on the map below).

[Greber Plan Plate 14 Distribution of Street Cars 1948]
from Greber Plan Plate 14 Distribution of Street Cars and Buses 1948

Hull Electric Railway

Three rail lines crossed the Alexandra Bridge.  The outer two tracks were for the Hull Electric Railway streetcars (one line for each direction).  The centre track was for heavy rail, I believe CN rail.  The Internet tells me the heavy rail was CP Rail.

[Past Ottawa Alexandra Bridge approach circa 1915]
from Past Ottawa – Alexandra Bridge – Streetcars, Rails & Locks circa 1915 (image from Library & Archives Canada)

[Past Ottawa Alexandra Bridge from the Nepean Point Footbridge 1938]
from Past Ottawa – Alexandra Bridge from the Nepean Point Footbridge 1938 (image from Library & Archives Canada)

[Greber Plan - Approaches of Interprovincial Bridge, Ottawa Side]
from Greber Plan – Approaches of Interprovincial Bridge, Ottawa Side (circa 1948?)

You can sort-of see the rail lines heading up to the Alexandra Bridge (diagonally to the upper left) in this 1928 aerial image below from GeoOttawa, on which just for illustration purposes I have overlaid Confederation Line 1 underground rail and Rideau Station in yellow and red.

GeoOttawa Alexandra Bridge rail lines 1928 and Confederation Line 1

I was unable to find a map for the historical Gatineau streetcar (Hull Electric Railway) but there are photos available.

[Hull Electric Railway cars inbound and outbound near Alexandra Bridge]

Above is Hull Electric Railway (HER) car No. 50 in a clear view of HER cars both inbound and outbound on the tracks to and from Alexandra Bridge, from TrainWeb Hull Electric Company.

[Hull Electric Railway car inbound to Ottawa]

Above is a view looking south of a Hull Electric Railway car inbound to Ottawa, image CSTM/MAT04642 from Canada Science & Technology Museum Picturing the Past – A Train Journey through the Ottawa Valley Using the Mattingly Image Collection.

The above postcard with colour applied almost certainly originating from this image below posted on Lost Ottawa February 19, 2013.

Lost Ottawa Hull Electric Railway 20130219

The Hull Electric Railway closed in 1947. The terminal was underneath Confederation Square, across from Ottawa Union Station.

Interprovincial heavy rail

Heavy rail crossed the Alexandra Bridge to Gatineau on the centre track, and returned to Ottawa over the Prince of Wales Bridge.

There were numerous stations on both sides of the river.

Below is an image of heavy rail crossing the Alexandra Bridge, from Urbsite – Those Museum Trees, The Digester Tower, and a Smokestack.

[heavy rail crossing the Alexandra Bridge] Image captioned “The Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway Alexandra Bridge is the national capital region’s mightiest engineering landmark.”

Even after the Hull Electric Railway lines were removed in 1947, the heavy rail continued until 1966 when Ottawa Union Station was closed.  You can see just the central rail tracks remaining in this cover image from Canadian Rail (Number 179, July-August 1966 Ottawa Union Station Closes).

Canadian Rail - Number 179 - July August 1966 cover
Photograph by Jim Sandilands.

The Greber Plan Plate 12 Réseau Ferroviaire Existant Ottawa – Hull and Environs 1948 below gives a view of industrial Ottawa, with a mix of passenger and freight rail lines criss-crossing the capital region.

Greber Plan plate 12 Réseau Ferroviaire Existant Ottawa - Hull and Environs 1948

You can see the loop of a train going Ottawa – Alexandra Bridge – Hull – Prince of Wales Bridge – Bayview Station in the video A train ride from Union Station Ottawa to Bayview via Hull 1966.  You can also see some photos of the various stations in Canada Science & Technology Museum Picturing the Past – A Train Journey through the Ottawa Valley Using the Mattingly Image Collection.

If you want to understand what the planners of 1949 thought about the trains, see this great video: A Capital Plan.  “Today, into the very heart of the city, come the trains to the Union Station, but with them comes smoke and grime and noise.”

Ottawa Union Station - A Capital Plan - 1949 (see above image in more detail on Flickr)

They succeeded in eliminating most of the train lines, and wrapped the region with highways (often running on former rail rights-of-way).  They imagined these highways as “capital arrivals, scenic entries and parkways”.  (They are in practice commuter highways.)

Capital Arrivals
Above was from draft Plan for Canada’s Capital 2017-2067 (PDF), page 103 “Capital Arrivals, Scenic Entries and Parkways” which in usual NCC fashion has disappeared from the web.

NCC Interprovincial Transit Strategy 2013

Since everything that goes around comes around, having eliminated all of the interprovincial rail, the NCC circa 2009-2013 tried to conjure up some ideas about bringing it back, as a light rail loop.

In usual NCC fashion, almost all of the documentation has vanished from the web, including the website

www interprovincial-transit-strategy ca

and the archive website

archives ncc-ccn ca/planning/transportation-strategies/interprovincial-transit-strategy

In fact the only thing remaining on the web is the summary hosted by Quebec’s STO – Connecting Communities: An Interprovincial Transit Strategy (PDF).

Some other sites have preserved the report: Action Sandy Hill has the full report in a Google Doc, and City Centre Coalition has all of the annexes/detailed reports as Google Docs.

I saved the presentation deck, and here is the key slide with their imaginary LRT loop.

NCC Interprovincial Transit - Infrastructure

There was no money and no plan so the whole thing is moot.

It would be great if OC Transpo and STO would at least integrate at the level of payment, but right now all you can do with your OC Transpo Presto card is take STO if you have an OC Transpo transfer or monthly pass.

Ottawa LRT Stage 3 and Gatineau West-End Rail

The only thing likely to happen in terms of interprovincial rail is a resurrection of the Prince of Wales rail link, since all of the infrastructure is still there.  This might happen in Ottawa LRT Stage 3 (which has a reasonable chance of being funded) or, rather less likely and also somehow including an Alexandra rail crossing, in the proposed but not funded Gatineau West-End Rail.

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. (See updates below.)

UPDATE 2018-02-15: I would characterize the surface rail (tram) line running along Carling depicted in the map above as highly speculative.  If implemented as a tram, sharing the roadway with cars, it would have the same reliability problems other North American streetcars have.  (This type of tram with shared road space is common outside North America, and works well there due to a variety of factors including different road designs and slower vehicle speeds.) END UPDATE

UPDATE 2018-02-23: There has been a detailed announcement about Stage 2, including a new prospective map for Stage 3 and a new timeline.

Mayor Jim Watson tweeted

We are setting the stage for future expansion of 12km to Kanata-Stittsville [from Moodie Station] and Barrhaven. Additionally, the Baseline Station is protected for a future 10km extension to Barrhaven, and Bayview Station is protected for a 1.5km interprovincial rail link to Gatineau [over the Prince of Wales Bridge].

[Bracketed comments] and strikeout mine.

He tweeted a map with Stage 3 rail extensions in blue, but this is usually used for Bus Rapid Transit, so I have changed the extension colour to purple.  The map is low-resolution to start with, but I increased the size a bit anyway.  UPDATE 2018-02-24: The map is from slide 109 of the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project: Technical Briefing – February 22, 2019 (PDF) END 2018-02-24 UPDATE

Ottawa Stage 3 LRT prospective map purple resize

Stage 3 is now at least six years (2025) away from being finalised and started, based on the new timeline for Stage 2.  This would mean completion of Stage 3 in the 2030-2031 timeframe.

END 2018-02-23 UPDATE

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 draft 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.

The website is ottawa.ca/barrhavenLRT

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

Barrhaven LRT Stage 3 Maps

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.

Newer map highlighting study area:
barrhaven_lrt_keymap_en
Above from https://ottawa.ca/barrhavenLRT

In the above map BRT (the blue line) means Bus Rapid Transit.

There was to have been an open house in June 2019 on Barrhaven Light Rail Transit (Baseline Station to Barrhaven Town Centre) and Rail Grade-Separations Planning and Environmental Assessment Study as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP).  The open house has been postponed.

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.  (See update below for new timelines.)

UPDATE 2018-02-24: A detailed technical briefing including updated timelines, budget, and the selected private sector implementation groups will be presented a Committee of the Whole special meeting of Council on February 27, 2019 at 1pm.

The documents are available in the city’s SIRE agenda system.  There are two agenda items:

The report ACS2019-TSD-OTP-0001 Contract Award of Ottawa’s Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Projects and Related Matters (PDF) has nine appendices of which the most interesting for me was Appendix 5: Station Descriptions and Technical Overview (PDF) which includes renderings of all the new Line 1 and Line 2 stations.

There is a very-high-level summary in city news release City holds technical briefing on Stage 2 LRT and the Preferred Proponents.

Stage 2 is made up of two projects extending the Confederation and Trillium Lines totalling 44 kilometres of new rail and 24 new LRT stations.

The marquee information is:

  • total cost $4.66 billion
  • Trillium Line (Line 2, north-south) extension target completion 2022, including a complete shutdown from May 2020 until September 2022
  • Confederation Line (Line 1) East extension target completion 2024
  • Confederation Line (Line 1) West extension target completion 2025

Ottawa Stage 2 LRT Table 5 Updated Schedule
above from page 61 of Contract Award of Ottawa’s Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Projects and Related Matters (PDF)

The Trillium Line (Line 2) includes a completely separate Airport Link Line, a spur line from South Keys.  By completely separate I mean you have to change trains at South Keys, and in fact the Airport Line will run completely different trains – it will inherit the current Alstom Coradia LINT diesel trains, while as previously announced the main Line 2 trains will be new Stadler FLIRT diesel trains.

Trillium Line (Line 2) Vehicles
Figure 7 Stadler FLIRT and Airport Link Vehicles
above from page 55 of Contract Award of Ottawa’s Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Projects and Related Matters (PDF)

The Stage2LRT website has also been updated, although not particularly intuitively.  There is a new News item (the same as on the city’s main website):

BUT this news item doesn’t link to the new Stage 2 LRT documentation, which can be found on the Resources page, specifically at the bottom of the resources page.  (If they’d wanted to make it any harder on to find, they could have put a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”  Kudos to Skyscraper Page forums for finding it for me.)

The technical briefing includes a much clearer Trillium Line (Line 2) train diagram.  Note that our FLIRT trains will have two sets of doors per car, not one set as in Figure 7 above.

Ottawa LRT Line 2 vehicles Stage-2-Light-Rail-Transit-Project_Tech-Briefing_20190222_EN
above from slide 83 of Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project: Technical Briefing – February 22, 2019 (PDF)

END UPDATE

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.

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.

Ottawa and Ontario consultations March – April – May, 2015

Monday March 30, 2015

Western LRT

opens at 5pm, presentation at 6:30pm
Ottawa City Hall

http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/transit/information-session-march-30-2015

There is a somewhat-confusing diagram (PDF) on the consultation site.

Eric Darwin did four detailed blog posts: Westward Ho! One, Two, Three, Four (and uses a clearer diagram).

Twitter hashtag is #WLRT and the general hashtag is #ottLRT

Tuesday March 31, 2015

OPL

Starting at 7pm.

Consultation on a new Ottawa Central Public Library.

In-person at Ottawa City Hall is full.

You can still watch the live webcast though.

I will be using hashtag #ottlibrary
The declared hashtag was #OttCentralLibrary

I would imagine the library will be tweeting, @opl_bpo

UPDATE 2015-04-03: There is a very brief online consultation.  It was supposed to be an ideas market, but that broke, so now you can

email CentralLibrary@Ottawa.ca

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-Central-Library-Biblioth%C3%A8que-centrale-dOttawa/681512461960430

deadline is Wednesday April 8, 2015

More info: http://ottawacentrallibrary.ca/#ideas and webcast archive at http://ottawacentrallibrary.ca/#webcast

ENDUPDATE

Capital Illumination

6pm

http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/capital-planning/public-meetings/calendar-events/capital-illumination-workshop

Space is limited. Please RSVP to info@ncc-ccn.ca by noon on Monday, March 30.

NCC Capital Urbanism Lab tweets @NCC_UrbanLab

Wednesday April 8, 2015

Complete Streets open house

UPDATE 2015-04-03: Complete Streets open house moved to May 5, 2015.  ENDUPDATE

Thursday April 9, 2015

O’Connor Bikeway

opens at 6:30pm, presentation at 7pm
Ottawa City Hall

http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/transportation/open-house-april-9-2015

Ottawa has a Cycling Plan that includes separated lanes (Ottawa calls them “cycle tracks” running east-west and north-south).  The first major north-south route will be on O’Connor (although it turns into painted bike lanes in the Glebe).

(There is a larger issue, which is that cycling is still funded through a secondary “if we have money left” process, not as part of the main infrastructure in the budget.)

Ottawa Citizen article –
Segregated cycling lanes coming to O’Connor (sooner) and Wellington (later) – March 23, 2015

The general hashtag for cycling in Ottawa is #ottbike

Tuesday May 5, 2015

Complete Streets open house

opens at 5pm, presentation at 6:30pm
Ottawa City Hall

http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/transportation/open-house-april-8-2015
http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/transportation/open-house-may-5-2015

Unfortunately the city hasn’t provided any links to Complete Streets info.  And the presentation boards aren’t online (as usual).

The key item to know is that in Chapter 7 of the 2013 Transportation Master Plan, it says

Action 7-1: Adopt a “complete streets” policy for road design, operation and maintenance

The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation did an analysis, and I also found a presentation from May 27, 2013. (If you have other resources, please feel free to share them.

More to come…

thought exercise: cycling north from Blair Station

blair_station_cycling-crop

Red: pedestrian and cyclist contention, or crossing intersection (car and cyclist contention)
Yellow: some pedestrian and cyclist contention
Green: no pedestrian and cyclist contention
Cyan: multi-use pathway (MUP)

Section 1: some pedestrians
Section 2: Basically zero pedestrians.  While this may look like it fronts on houses, they are suburban mall houses, with a giant wall all along the sidewalk (see image below).
Section 3: Very dangerous crossing of Ogilvie.
Section 4: This fronts on a drive-in Starbucks and an old-age home, so in theory there could be some pedestrians.

CSE MUP: public multi-use pathway (currently closed while CSE in under construction; see image below)

I’m not proposing this as an ideal route.  It’s just a thought exercise about how a cyclist could actually get safely (i.e. not on the road) from Blair Station to the NRC campus (or with a longer route to Cite Collegiale).  I’m not a vehicular cyclist and I will never be.  I’m certainly not a suburban mall and highway vehicular cyclist.  The sidewalks selected are basically unused (they don’t front on anything but fence, blank building walls and trees), I can’t imagine they get more than a dozen pedestrians a day.  You’d want to count pedestrians and if the numbers made sense, change the sidewalks to be multi-use pathways.  You’d also want to do some work around the bus stops and particularly at the Ogilvie crossing to make it safe for everyone.

If you want to add Cite Collegiale you basically make the entire east-side sidewalk on Bathgate a MUP.  The entire east sidewalk north past the old-age home fronts on uninterrupted government-owned trees, no one walks there.  You’d just need to figure out some treatment around the few bus stops.

Ideally there would also be secure bike parking at Blair Station, for people who don’t want to take their bike back and forth on the (forthcoming) train.

This also assumes that the central road through the NRC campus continues to be blocked as it is now, so that pedestrians and cyclists have to use either Bathgate or Blair to go north.

Transit-Oriented Development?

I thought enabling this kind of cycling connectivity was part of the planning they would do in the Blair Station Transit-Oriented Development plan, but it isn’t.  The TOD plans have two built-in assumptions:

  1. Because the LRT is commuter rail, you are arriving from elsewhere.  As far as the TOD plans are concerned, no one lives or works near the LRT stations (where near is a 20 minute walk or ~5 minute bike ride).
  2. When you arrive, you work or live directly within the 800m station zone, in some mixed-use fantasy development that spontaneously springs up in what are currently parking lots around single-level malls.  You are enclosed in the station zone, which exists in total isolation.  It’s basically just the suburban office park next to a mall, with more residential and towers.

That kind of development does happen to some extent outside Vancouver, but Vancouver housing costs a bajillion dollars, and this kind of development basically gives you enclosed nodes, not stations as the new village centres for existing housing and employment.

“Burnaby doesn’t have a traditional downtown centre, like in Langley or Maple Ridge or Chilliwack,” Mr. Geller said. “Burnaby has a collection of shopping districts and business parks.”

from Globe and Mail –  Transit fuelling Burnaby’s growth – March 6, 2013

This is not modern development.  This is just Place du Portage with housing and a bunch of theoretical walking and cycling and public space amenities that no one will ever use.  Inward-facing, isolated from the surrounding context.

You can see from the September 2013 TOD information session that the Blair scope includes mostly the mall and its parking lots, and a tiny skim of housing surrounding it.  The vast housing to the north and the major employment and school nodes to the north get not even a sketch of connectivity.

Blair TOD – Pedestrian and Cycling Network (PDF) – all on-street cycling.  In the suburbs.  Where no one expects to see a bike.  Particularly laughable is the existing cycling on Ogilvie, which by putting cyclists in high-speed traffic is roughly like aiming bullets at the cyclists and seeing if they can dodge.  Other than vague-at-best “bike on the road and get there somehow” there’s no indication of how commuters would get by bike from Blair to CSE, CSIS, NRC (all with thousands of workers minutes from the station) or to Cite Collegiale.

Blair TOD – Street Network (PDF) on the other hand has bold black lines of car traffic arrowing everywhere.  Who would ever walk or cycle to or from a station?  Park-and-ride or “kiss-and-ride” are clearly the main modes imagined.

Blair TOD – Conceptual Images A (PDF) shows a fantasy of the mall turning into parkland and mid-rise.

The actual streetscape

The suburban housing shield wall ensuring almost no one will set foot on the City Park north and east sidewalk curve.

City Park Drive - wall

The new CSE MUP has very nice signage.  Unfortunately the MUP is blocked off until the end of construction I guess.

CSE MUP 1

CSE MUP 2