Today, I was very pleased to join Mayor Jim Watson in announcing the City of Ottawa’s plans to move forward with Stage 2 of our Light Rail Transit project, which will connect Ottawa; East, West and South together.
Light Rail / Train Léger
Cumberland Councillor and Chair of the Transit Commission Stephen Blais helped hammer in the first rail tie for the O-Train Confederation Line signalling the beginning of the Transitway conversion; another important milestone in the Light Rail project.
The City of Ottawa is undertaking an Environmental Assessment (EA) Study for the extension of LRT from Blair Station to Trim Road along the Ottawa Road 174 (OR174) corridor in accordance with the Transit Projects Assessment Process. This LRT line will provide fast, reliable service to the communities of Beacon Hill, Blackburn Hamlet, Orleans, and rural Cumberland. A total of eight stations are proposed between Blair Station and the Trim Park and Ride.
Highway 174/County Road 17 Widening
The United Counties of Prescott and Russell in partnership with the City of Ottawa are undertaking a Class EA study for the OR174 and Prescott-Russell County Road 17 (CR17) corridor from Highway 417 to County Road 8 (Landry Road). This Study is being carried out in accordance with the requirements for a Schedule ‘C’ project under the Municipal Class EA process.
Disturbingly, Ottawa residents lose 81 hours being stuck in traffic, which is only slightly behind Toronto at 83 hours. When you consider Toronto has more than more than five times our population, these figure become even more alarming.
“This is exciting news for Orléans and all of Ottawa,” says Blais. “A fully integrated, city wide, rail system is the future of public transit in Ottawa and this is another important step in achieving that goal.”
Hashing out the city's transportation master plan might sound like the world's driest bureaucratic proceeding, but it could very well turn into the biggest political - and most substantive - debate of this city council's term.
Commuters in the city's east end said it can take as many as two hours to get to work with traffic.
"When going from one end to another, there are no direct routes; I take three buses to work," said Trevor Smith. "It's too much time commuting every day."
The city plans to eventually extend light-rail east of Blair Road along a pair of routes: One south of Highway 174 and the other a Cumberland transit corridor that stretches along a section of Innes Road and continues south of Innes before ending east of Trim Road.
The city’s planning chief told council Friday staff will investigate if it’s a good idea to take all the rapid transit money earmarked for the east end and use it for extending light rail there.
The area has one of the highest transit demands in Ottawa.
At Councillor Stephen Blais’ behest, City Staff will commence the processes of fully assessing the feasibility of bringing LRT to Orléans.
“Orléans’ residents commute to Downtown by bus more than any other suburban residents in North America,” says Blais. “Given this unprecedented commitment to public transit demonstrated by Orléans and Cumberland taxpayers, bringing LRT to our community is tax dollars well spent.”
On his last official day of office, Gord Hunter referred to the gang of new councillors as "Snow White with her friends." But that metaphor hasn't turned out to be altogether accurate.
For one thing, not all of the nine male councillors are so vertically challenged that they deserve the diminutive characterization. More important, they don't moon after Kitchissippi's Katherine Hobbs, the sole female rookie councillor.
“An Orléans LRT connection will sharply decrease commute times for East End residents,” says Blais. “Orléans has the highest ridership of public transit in the City – we’ve bought into public transit and it’s time for the City to buy into LRT for Orléans.”
Councillors harangued senior city staff Tuesday over what they characterized as the slow progress of the $2.1-billion light-rail plan and pushed for the new transit system to be completed by 2017 -a full two years ahead of schedule.