City to study fast-tracking LRT extension to Orléans

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There’s already disagreement over a proposed LRT extension after a City of Ottawa report suggests bus money for Orleans could go towards light rail instead.

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 report says the city will start to examine the feasibility of extending LRT into Orleans.

“Here in Orleans we’re already spending money on buses . . . should we take that money and put it in light rail?” said Cumberland councillor Stephen Blais, who had been pushing for the report.

Previous studies have said a light rail line could go from Blair Road, where the initial line is supposed to stop, to the Trim Road or Millenium Park and Rides.

One councillor in west Ottawa’s suburbs said he also wants the city to look at light rail in his area.

“We need improved transportation across the city and we should be looking at all alternatives,” said Kanata South councillor Allan Hubley. “We have to do that, and as quickly as possible.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said focus should be on getting light rail in downtown Ottawa first.

“We don’t have funding to go father east or farther west or down south at this stage,” he said.

“Once the work starts we need to think about what we’re doing next, not debating phase two,” Blais said.

The city said Orleans has the highest number of transit riders in Ottawa.