Light Rail Update

Light Rail constructionBy: Mayor Jim Watson

While the snow melts and days get longer, another busy construction season is set to begin. While we can expect some delays, crews will be hard at work improving how quickly and comfortably residents move around our city.

Luckily, crews working on the Confederation Line Light Rail have been hard at work throughout the winter. The Confederation Line project continues on-time and on-budget and I am excited to update you on several significant milestones.

  • Phase 1 – will be up and running in 2018
  • 2016 will see the final section of tunnel running between Rideau and Parliament stations excavated.
  • Excavation of the Lyon Station was recently completed, while Parliament is over 90% complete and Rideau soon to reach 80%.
  • More than 3.5 kilometres of track have been installed to date.
  • All 13 LRT stations will be under construction before the end of 2016.
  • Testing on some of the world-class Alstom CITADIS Spirit LRT vehicles will begin within the next year.

As many of you know, this is just the first phase of the system we will be constructing over the next decade. The next chapter of light rail is just around the corner: Stage 2 of LRT.

When Stage 2 is complete in 2023, residents will be able to catch a train as far west as Bayshore and Algonquin College, as far east as Place d’Orleans, and as far south as Riverside South. This will bring close to 70 percent of the city’s population within five kilometres of rail. This will fundamentally transform the way our city moves and grows.

Bringing light rail to Ottawa will be the single largest infrastructure project since Colonel By built the Rideau Canal. With a project of this size and scope, some disruptions are unavoidable for commuters.

To ensure the fewest disruptions to your commute as possible, I encourage you to access construction and traffic management information by:

  • Visiting the City of Ottawa’s interactive traffic map at ottawa.ca
  • Calling 3-1-1
  • Following the City of Ottawa’s Traffic Twitter feed @Ottawa_Traffic
  • Signing up to receive regular e-mail updates at Ottawa.ca/confederationline

For those who make use of Ottawa’s extensive multi-use pathway network, all efforts will be made to ensure access is maintained during construction, where safety permits. Detours will be provided where necessary.

Thank you for your patience as the O-Train Confederation Line continues to grow into reality. The way our city moves and grows will benefit our economy, our environment, and our families for generations to come.

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Life in Overbrook before and after completion of the LRT’s Confederation Line…

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.

 

When LRT Stops in Overbrook — What Then?

Find out more and join the conversation!

Thursday, 20 November at 6:30 pm

Evelyn Danilko and Matt Eason from the City’s Rail Implementation Office will outline the construction plans to complete the Confederation Line, while Cheryl Brouillard from the Planning & Growth Management Department will address the community design plans surrounding the St. Laurent and Tremblay stations. This will be followed by a question and answer session.

These presentations will be preceded by OCA’s Annual General Meeting when a new board of directors will be elected.

Everyone welcome! Refreshments will be served and heritage holiday cards will be on sale!

Heritage Holiday Card sketched by Tanja Mackin, 2013
Heritage Holiday Card sketched by local artist Tanja Mackin, 2013