– Ottawa ‘Sticking with LRT’: City staff

ED. Yet another city rejects heavy rail (unlike Vancouver)

Nepean This Week

By Jennifer McIntosh

City staff recommended the use of electric light rail as the technology choice for Ottawa’s rapid transit plan in a report tabled at a transit committee meeting on Oct. 21.

In a preview of an open house that was scheduled for Oct. 26, where the public was allowed to ask questions of City staff about technology choices and the downtown transit tunnel, deputy City manager Nancy Schepers outlined the reasons for the staff choice.

“It was quite a debate between staff between light metro or light rail and we really put our recommendations to the test,” she said.

In a study done by Delcan Corp. comparing light rail and light metro — or heavy rail —light rail came out on top because of the technology’s ability to blend with the existing urban fabric.

“One of my take aways from the technology forum we had in June was the enviable position Ottawa was in because of our existing network of corridors and our dedicated ridership,” Schepers said. “So we had to look for the technology that fits best with that framework.”
The study showed that while light metro could handle a higher capacity of passengers, there was a potential for it to divide the transportation network. The system would require dedicated corridors and a segregation of the western leg of the system. It could also represent higher operational costs.

On Oct. 23 Schepers released the refined cost estimate for running LRT between Blair Road and Tunney’s Pasture, including the construction of the tunnel. The price tag was projected at $2.1 billion.

Capital Coun. Clive Doucet expressed confusion over the need for a technology choice.

“It was my understanding that we chose light rail in 2006 and then again last year, now we are choosing it again?” he said. “Is this the last time we have to make this choice?”

Schepers said staff wanted to make a decision on the technology after the rejection of the original north-south rail line plan was rejected by council.

“We simply want to cover all the bases,” she said.

Cullen said the choice in technology is just one step closer to the realization of a finalized transit plan for the City of Ottawa.

“It’s not just about heavy rail or light rail,” he said. “We are faced with a number of options that will have a significant impact on the system. It will also affect the environmental assessments and design plans as we move forward.”

The committee is set to debate the contents of the report on Nov. 18.  Its recommendation will go to council on Nov. 25.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ottawa, Technology, transit

%d bloggers like this: