Last Thursday evening, Overbrook residents got a glimpse of the future — during and after the Confederation Line construction!
At the OCA’s Annual General Meeting, Evelyn Danilko and Matt Eason, transportation specialists with the City of Ottawa, outlined the current construction challenges in laying the groundwork for the final stages to complete the Light Rapid Transit system.
Widening the Queensway:
Widening of the Queensway is necessitated by the need to move OCTranspo buses off the Transitway during its conversion to light rail tracks. The job of communicating construction schedules to the public falls to Evelyn Danilko. Assurances were given that the stones and boulders filling part of the river at the bridge are clean stones and will be removed when the job is complete. River ice and flow will be monitored carefully in the spring.
Cycling, Walking and Public Transit:
Evelyn Danilko answered concerns with regard to the opening and closing of the bicycle/pedestrian pathway that passes under the Queensway at the Hurdman Bridge. (Public notices about this pathway will be posted on our website as soon as they are received.) She also announced that the Coventry Road to Tremblay Road pedestrian/cycling bridge will be opening in January 2015.
Evelyn mentioned that OCTranspo are currently working on their routes and schedules for the time that buses are moved to the Queensway from the Transitway.
LRT Tunnel and Maintenance Yards:
Matt Eason showed slides of the tunnel being bored under the downtown core. The work is half finished and is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
The construction of the LRT maintenance yards has necessitated the closing of the bridge over the Queensway at Belfast. This huge project, due for completion in 2016, is located on the east side of Belfast Avenue south of the Queensway.
Development around St. Laurent and Tremblay Stations:
Chris Brouwer, Planner with the City’s Planning and Growth Management, gave a fascinating presentation on the vision for the development of land around LRT stations. Labelled Transit Oriented Development (TOD) areas, they are envisioned as mixed-use environments requiring a higher order of planning. Since the LRT stations are within a 10 minute walk, density targets have been set at 200 to 400 people per hectare (includes people living or working in the area). Chris indicated that the density around St. Laurent now sits at 62 people per hectare, while 64 people per hectare now reside or work around the future Tremblay Road/VIA station. He predicts the densities in these two TODs to increase to 180 and 160 respectively in the next 18 to 20 years.
The priority in the TODs will be given to people and not cars. Parking spaces will be limited. Three levels of zoning (TD1, 2 and 3) are being defined, with “step backs” between zones part of the plan. It is anticipated that development will occur naturally, while main streets (Active Frontage Streets) are being identified, St. Laurent Boulevard being one. Pedestrian and cycling plans will also be integrated into these plans.