Today, the City of Ottawa is recommending Light Rail be extended to Orléans in the second phase of the light rail plan.
“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.”
On July 13, 2011 City Council passed a resolution brought forward by Councillor Blais that said: staff be directed to fully assess the feasibility and relative priority of rapid transit investment in the east and develop an option to provide a rapid transit rail solution to Orléans at the earliest opportunity, respecting the affordability model established within the 2011 LRFP for Transit and that this work inform the Transportation Master Plan update.
“This was the first time City Council had said we should look to find ways to bring LRT to Orléans sooner rather than later,” adds Blais.
According to the most up-to-date and comprehensive travel data for the City of Ottawa, the Public Transit Modal Split from Orléans to Downtown Ottawa is 64%. This represents the highest modal split to downtown of any community in Ottawa. Given that Ottawa has the highest transit modal split in North America for a medium size city of approximately 1 million people, it is likely that the 64% transit mode split from Orléans to Downtown Ottawa is the highest suburban to downtown transit modal split in North America for a city of comparable size.
“The residents of Orléans & Cumberland deserve LRT in our community,” says Blais. “The communities commitment to public transit is being recognized by the investment in extending LRT to Orléans.”
The Transportation Master Plan is recommending a corridor along HWY 174 to bring LRT to the heart of Orléans.
“LRT can be a game changer for Orléans,” says Blais. “Not only will it make the commute downtown faster and more comfortable, it opens Orléans to a huge potential for economic development bringing high quality, high paying jobs to Orléans.” Additionally, by establishing LRT adjacent to HWY 174, it allows the opportunity to potentially widen the 174 with a minor alteration of the existing bus lanes, which will no longer be needed once LRT is built.
- Orléans is the largest of Ottawa’s suburban communities.
- 40% of urban expansion is happening in Cumberland Ward.
- With 35% of trips using public transit Orléans has by far the highest ridership of any of the suburban communities and outpaces the City average of 20%.
- With 64% of downtown commuters using public transit – it is believed Orléans has the highest modal split in North America.
- Orléans has the lowest projected employment growth and household to job ratio of any of the suburban communities.