Friends of the O-Train

Friends of the O-Train is transit group composed of a number of community leaders, rail and transit experts, and concerned taxpayers. Our goal has been to present practical rapid transit options for the National Capital Region, for open discussion with anyone.
Email: friendsoftheotrain (at) gmail.com

A Practical LRT Alternative for Ottawa

Nov 5, Ottawa Citizen: "It's one thing for the mayor to attack the motives of people who are trying to steal his job, quite another to be positioned against a group of volunteers with an alternative plan that, on the surface, seems more effective and less expensive than the mayor's."

Solution Saves at least $340 million, Enables a Doubling of Downtown East-West Transit Capacity, and Provides Options for Easy Expansion
The Proposal will be presented to a Public Meeting of the City's Pedestrian and Transit Advisory Committee on Thursday, November 16th

Ottawa, October 30, 2006: Friends of the O-Train, a volunteer organization of transit experts and advocates, today announced the release of its Practical LRT Plan for Ottawa. The purpose of the plan is to prove that demonstrably better alternatives exist to the LRT plan currently proposed by the City. With a new Council on November 14th, our objective is that this Practical Plan would form the basis of a renegotiated LRT contract.

"We want to get this plan out now so that all candidates and voters know that a vote against the City's proposed plan is not a vote against intelligently designed, cost-effective transit," said David Jeanes speaking on behalf of Friends of the O-Train. "There are ways to do it right. It just takes political will."

"As a result of a design that dramatically increased service levels and system capacity, the Practical Plan enables significant transit ridership increases as called for in the City's Transportation Master Plan," said Jeanes. "It solves the transit capacity constraints through the downtown core for decades to come. It also provides easy and economical expansion options to the city's east, west, south and north to Gatineau. The Practical Plan can do all this with a capital budget of $438 million, a savings of over $340 million dollars compared on the City's proposed plan." Key elements of the Practical Plan include:

Expanded O-Train Service

The current O-Train diesel light rail transit (DLRT) service will be extended to a Park & Ride at Armstrong Rd. and the service schedule doubled to every 7.5 minutes between Bayview to South Keys.

Unlike the City's proposed plan, this expansion will involve no disruption of the current O-Train service and could be in full service by fall 2007. In conjunction with existing bus services, this rail transit infrastructure allows for sufficient growth capacity to serve north-south transit demand well beyond the forecasts in the City's Official Plan. As future demand warrants, trains could be added such that peak hourly capacity on this line could exceed 9,000 riders.

The budget for this part of the plan would be $39 million. An environmental assessment would be required for the Armstrong park and ride. This line will provide effective, economical, optional expansion south to Barrhaven along the current VIA corridor to Fallowfield, to the Airport, north to Gatineau via the Prince of Wales Bridge, and east-west to Kanata.

Bayview to Hurdman ELRT Service

Electric light rail transit (ELRT) service will be provided over a 6 km route between new, comfortable, high-capacity terminals spanning the downtown core. Eleven sets of three-light rail vehicles (LRVs) coupled together, will service the route at 3-minute intervals providing peak hour capacity of over 13,000 riders.

By concentrating the ELRT service in the downtown core, all transitway buses can be removed from Albert and Slater streets, while dramatically improving rider's overall origin-to-destination service levels, reliability and comfort. Removing buses from the downtown core eliminates at least 15 minutes off suburban feeder bus routes, allowing an increase in route frequencies of at least 40% without any increase in bus fleet capital or operating costs. Dramatic improvements in service frequency and reliability, with a single efficient connection to ELRT will induce and enable significantly increased ridership. As ridership grows, the maximum capacity of this 2-line ELRT system could ultimately grow to over 25,000 riders per hour, more than double current peak hour ridership levels.

The budget for this part of the plan would be $399 million. This part of the project would require an environmental assessment for a maintenance yard as well as for the line extension from the University of Ottawa to Hurdman terminal. This part of the project could begin construction in the spring of 2007 and be in full service by the fall of 2009.

Like most successful urban rail transits systems, the Practical Alternative incorporates a hybrid hub-and-spoke route network. Unlike the City's current proposed plan, which is planned to serve only 2.1% of Ottawa commuters, the Practical Alternative cleanly solves the problems of downtown transit congestion and provides for faster, more frequent and more reliable service for the vast majority of Ottawa's transit riders.

Additional information has been released on the Friends-of-the-O-train website: http://friendsoftheotrain.blogspot.com .

Friends of the O-Train
Formed in the summer of 2006, Friends of the O-Train consists of community leaders, transit experts, rail experts, and tax-payers concerned about the overwhelmingly poor transit effectiveness and value of the City's current proposed LRT plan. Many of our group members were present in the late 1990s for the original O-train vision, and we sought to return to the vision expressed then by Mr. Chiarelli, that of an incrementally expanding light rail system that was both practical and economic.

Contact:
Phone: David Jeanes. 613-594-3290
Email: friendsoftheotrain@gmail.com
Web: http://friendsoftheotrain.blogspot.com

19 Comments:

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

"It's good to see members of our community put their collective skills to use and demonstrate there is thought leadership in this City that far outreaches anything our own paid City Staff can accomplish on their own. Folks I encourage you to have a good hard look at the cost savings derived from this plan; after all it means money back in your pockets at the end of the day.

Posted at the request of:
Peter J. Hillier, CD, CISSP, ISSPCS, ITIL
Ottawa, Ontario

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

Absolutely brilliant timing and what great uptake! If this doesn't stop the current stupidity, nothing will. You're all terrific! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your efforts.

Posted on behalf of:
Cheers - Ida
100 Lorne Ave, K1R 7G9

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger A true friend of the O Train said...

I'm going to rant here for a minute... please excuse me.

I have read through this proposal and there's so many holes in it you could... well.. drive a train through them.

First off it should be noted that one of the people behind this proposal is involved in a major proposed development (drumroll please) right at the end of where this proposal would have the OTrain end in the south end. Hardly doing this out of the sense of what's right for the community.

Why would Siemens (who manufactures ELECTRIC LRT rolling stock) have any interest in being involved in a project that would force them to buy DIESEL rolling stock from a competitor?? Doesn't make good business sense to me.

Secondly... if you want people to change how they use transit you have to make it appealing. Forcing people to make multiple transfers for a trip downtown (adding 5-10 minutes for each transfer - walking time, waiting time, queuing time) would turn a lot of people off of transit.

Lastly, even discussing such a major change to the plan such as this proposal is an affront to openness in government purchasing. If there's such a drastic change to be made, the existing project must be scrapped (and all penalties paid in full) and the entire project must be re-tendered. Anything less would smack of back-room deals for large dollar deals.

Get on with it... the deal on the table is pretty darn good... it's been through all off the due diligence and public consultation to come up with the best possible plan that meets the needs and wants of the most number of people involved. Is it perfect? No. But it's a lot better than sitting in long line-ups going north-south in this city.

People say "Well what about the people in Orleans and Kanata".... Well you have the transitway, the 417 , the 174.... you have a lot of money that's been poured into infrastructure over the years. The south end has.... hmmm... Limebank Road - 2nd worst road in all of Ontario!!!! That's our transportation infrastructure. I'd trade someone in Kanata the 417 for Limebank any day. I've lived in Kanata and the North-South congestion is far worse than the 417 on its worst day.

End of rant.

 
At 12:01 AM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

You're right, all developers are evil. But the developer who you refer to actually has an environmental agenda.

Siemens makes a diesel train that is virtually identical to the O-Train. It's in use now in CA with much hype about how quickly it can be deployed and its low capital infrastructure cost. Anyway, Siemens could take over the Bombardier contract if that's what the city wanted.

Your point about making transit appealing is true. Transfers have a bad rap in this city because 1 in 5 OC Transpo buses are not on schedule. Transferring to a train that leaves every 3 minutes is a totally different story.

The city has approved the "hub and spoke" concept that has been successfully implemented in cities around the world.

If the city's plan goes ahead "as-is" it will tie our hands, financially, for 15 years. It puts all available transit funds into a 29.5 km line that will serve too few people, add congestion to downtown, and squander our investment in the O-Train. It's worse than "not perfect" it's a boondoggle.

 
At 6:45 AM, Blogger A true friend of the O Train said...

Too few people? Check this out - http://www.riversidesouth.org/index.php?option=com_poll&task=results&id=7

Say 50% of people in Riverside South use the train every day (which isn't a stretch with the current proposal) that's 20,000 people a day within not too many years.

With the proposal proposed here I would have to take a bus to Armstrong Rd. (say 15 minutes to do that), wait 5 minutes for a train, 20 minutes to the transfer point, 10 minutes to transfer (walking time, queuing time, loading time), 10 minutes to downtown - grand total 60 minutes. Vs. walking to the O-train station (10 minutes) and 30 minutes to downtown - total time 40 minutes. That's enough of a difference to convince me to keep my second car and drive to work.

 
At 6:46 AM, Blogger A true friend of the O Train said...

The URL got truncated... here's a shorter version: http://tinyurl.com/yh8ql7

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger mabba18 said...

Because a 300 person web poll is accurate. The city's own esimates place ridership at 2%.

"With the proposal proposed here I would have to take a bus to Armstrong Rd. (say 15 minutes to do that)"

Okay, but chances are many people will drive to a the park and ride also.

"wait 5 minutes for a train, 20 minutes to the transfer point"

Okay

"10 minutes to transfer (walking time, queuing time, loading time),
10 minutes to downtown"

The downtown route is every 3 minutes. I hope it doesn't take 7 to walk up a flight or 2 of stairs. So this should be 5 minutes.

" - grand total 60 minutes. Vs. walking to the O-train station (10 minutes) and 30 minutes to downtown - total time 40 minutes."

The city own info states 40 minutes from Riverside South to Downtown.
http://ottawa.ca/residents/lrt/ns_line/facts/faq_en.shtml


"That's enough of a difference to convince me to keep my second car and drive to work."

Okay. I get 50 vs 55 minutes, and if 5 minutes will keep you in your car, even though it means better service for many more people, then you are more then welcome to enjoy your drive.

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger Ottawa LRT said...

Claim: "Say 50% of people in Riverside South use the train every day (which isn't a stretch with the current proposal) that's 20,000 people a day within not too many years."

Reply: The City's ridership study says that the peak morning ridership from Riverside South in 2021 will be 1,910 people per hour (page 106). This number assumed that Riverside South has 7 more train stations than the City's plan provides.

The same Ridership study (revised October 2006) says that the City's plan will incrementally attract only 1,050 from their car versus those who would have otherwise just taken bus services currently supplied. That equates to less than 900 cars off the road for a $900M+ investment. $1 million per car removed is a ridiculously pathetic value for taxpayer money. To learn more look at this:
http://ottawalrt.blogspot.com/2006/07/north-south-lrt-transit-ridership-in.html

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

Posted on behalf of Jason from Osgoode:

Great plan and makes sense. With some tweaking I am sure it would be better than the current propo$al.

Some other notes I am sure you and others have thought of..

Add the Airport link asap
-- who cares what the cabbies and parking people think.

Add the Gatineau link asap
-- It would be in their best interest as well and the bridge is already there.

Make major Transfer Stations at Bayview and current Ottawa VIA Station
-they would be the bookends of a downtown LRT.

Once that goes well then add more commuter train lines coming in from the West and East on existing rail lines that already come into the main VIA station.

Move the ScotiaBank Place to Lebreton flats (just joking.. seeing if you are still reading)

I am sure you have lots of ideas.. if you are interested in a few more of mine let me know. We have to make better use of what we already got.

Regards,

Jason
Osgoode (a town that used to have a rail line)

ps - Hey.. did we not have a LRT system 40 some years ago. I am sure environmental studies were done then in less than a year.

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger LRT's friend said...

I am really disappointed that the Friends of the O-Train are dividing LRT supporters in this city.

Do you not realize that there is a good possibility that on November 13th a mayor will be elected who will likely use much of the LRT money for road expansion? This kind of divisive proposal fits in with that candidate's plan to attract voters uncertain about LRT. And the result could be that no LRT at all will be built for years to come.


On the proposal itself, there are so many flaws.

Anybody interested in LRT knows how successful the C-Train in Calgary has been. Why is The Friends of the O-Train not advocating something that resembles the C-Train? The C-Train provides direct service to downtown from the southern, north-eastern and north-western suburbs, and there are no transfers involved. Why are we advocating a system that will require transferring between trains just outside of downtown? Also further commitment to diesel trains will mean that direct rail service to downtown on the north-south line can never happen. There are complaints about disrupting the O-Train now, so it can only get worse later.

Congestion at the Bayview and Hurdman stations will also be a major issue. Thousands of passengers will have to transfer there and hundreds of buses will have to load and unload and turnaround and wait for the scheduled departure times. This will be far worse than the current situation on Albert and Slater Streets as full buses will have load or unload all at one stop. And what about the trains themselves. Can a 600 passenger train load and unload in just 3 minutes? It seems to me that these transfers will not be as quick as some suggest. I also assume that some of the 600 passengers will have to stand making the trip to downtown not as pleasant as suggested in the proposal.

Then there is the location of the Armstrong Road Station. Why place a station at the south-east corner of Riverside South, far from current development and also south west of Findlay Creek. This means that in order to go into town, you must first travel out of town which is rather wasteful and illogical. The whole point of LRT is to get people out of their cars, yet the tone of the proposal concerning the Armstrong Road station suggests that all people should drive to the station. Certainly the location is not friendly for people wanting to use transit for their whole trips and I do recall the commercial interest that had attempted to relocate LRT previously to this same location. As someone else has suggested, this looks very suspicious.

On costs, I agree that the current Siemens contract will have to be settled and a new bidding process started. This will cost millions, and has been conservatively estimated at $60 million. The bidding process itself will also cost another few million and then there is the Standherd Bridge at $34 million which will be built regardless and is included in the current $778 million total. So this will add about $100 million to The Friends project cost to make them comparable. I also believe that the number of trains needed has been underestimated. We do need backup trains to allow for breakdowns and routine maintenance. I would conservatively estimate that 3 train sets of 3 cars or a total of 9 train cars. I also question whether 3 minute service can be maintained without extra trains given the potential loading and unloading issue at Bayview and Hurdman. Furthermore, the number of train sets included in the proposal barely meets current demand. I believe that some surplus capacity will be needed to address normal fluctuations in passenger traffic and also to address the arrival of north-south trains at Bayview station. Let's say that adds another $50 million for the extra trains. We are now up to $600 million and yet the service offered and the area served is considerably poorer than the approved plan. Is this really the bargain that it is being portrayed to be?

Then there is the future plan of using the Via Rail Line to Barrhaven. Let's get real about that one. It has been publicized that LRT trains will not be allowed to operate on the same track as Intercity trains for safety reasons. That means we will need a completely separate rail bed parallel to the Via rail line, and a new rail bridge over the Rideau River. Besides, is the rail corridor wide enough to accomodate parallel tracks which I assume will have to be a certain distance apart.

I believe that the current north-south LRT plan is not so outrageously expensive as some portray it to be. It may just be the cost of providing proper LRT service over that distance. Should we do east-west first? Ideally yes, but we don't have the budget to do so and there is still much work needed to be done to identify the best route.

I feel that a successful north-south LRT project will generate the enthusiasm and the demand which will help our politicians make the case for extra provincial and federal funding.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger bennettjp said...

Here, here LRT Friend,

The so-called benefits of the "Friend" plan have been all on the sticker price. The more you look into the logistics and practical reality of using such an LRT system, day in and day out, the more it's clear why this proposal must be rejected.

First, the price -- $400 million for a downtown electric LRT system over a 6km route. Sounds great, but consider with the current project we'll get an electric LRT system over a route 5 times as long -- 30 km -- for $400 million more. "Value for money" cuts more than one way.

Second, I'm totally baffled the obsession to completely eliminate all Transitway buses from the downtown. The Friends cite Toulouse as one major city that has done away with downtown buses, but I can't easily count five major cities that I visited that have LRT AND buses downtown. Why do we want to eliminate ALL Transitway buses from the core? Just so there's more room for cars to drive downtown? Surely there's a balance between LRT and buses in the core that doesn't require the creation of an arbitrary barrier to the latter.

Third, the proposal is anti-neighbourhood. How else can someone living in Hintoburg interpret the rather breezy proposal to build a hulking transfer station for all Transitway traffic at Bayview? It's bad enough that by living in pedestrian-friendly areas, my neighbours and I have to breathe the daily pollution generated from the Queensway, but now you want to add 200 buses idling at Bayview into the mix? I'm sorry, but if the Dalhousie Community Association was up in arms about the current N-S proposal, I can't foresee how they would endorse something like this. This isn't NIMBY -- I think our neighbourhood is taking its "one of the team" hit with the Queensway -- it's also about livable communities and community planning, and the Friends' vision of Bayview is simply a nightmare.

Fourth, I'm critical of a plan that, for all intents and purposes, aspires to be Ottawa's version of the GO-Train. While I'm sure it could move lots of commuters, LRT should be something more than a great "worker mover" during morning and afternoon rush hour. Where is the integration of LRT into residential neighbourhoods so people can begin to organize work AND recreation around public transportation? The Greenboro Park-and-Ride is deserted every weekend -- what we need are more residential LRT stations, like Gladstone and Spratt, to encourage every day use.

If nothing else, thank you for providing me with the motivation to continue pressing for an LRT solution to our community that respects neighbourhoods as well as the need to move LRT beyond more empty Park and Rides on Saturday.

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

LRT Friend> I am really disappointed that the Friends of the O-Train are dividing LRT supporters in this city.

FOTO is identifying a less costly viable LRT alternative that
successfully addresses the need to bring light rail to Ottawa South and
equally if not more important, to bring in a fast mass-transit
solution for our bus-congested downtown core.


LRT Friend> Do you not realize that there is a good possibility that on November 13th a mayor will be elected who will likely use much of the LRT money for road expansion? This kind of divisive proposal fits in with that candidate's plan to attract voters uncertain about LRT. And the result could be that no LRT at all will be built for years to come.

We understand that Mr. O'Brian and Mr. Munter wish to learn more about FOTO's solution.

On the proposal itself, there are so many flaws.

LRT Friend> Anybody interested in LRT knows how successful the C-Train in Calgary has been. Why is The Friends of the O-Train not advocating something that resembles the C-Train? The C-Train provides direct service to downtown from the southern, north-eastern and north-western suburbs, and there are no transfers involved. Why are we advocating a system that will require transferring between trains just outside of downtown?
<...>

Ottawa has historically developed a different transit solution and invested heavily in Express Bus routes and a transitway system to bring buses to the downtown core that many years ago won the City transit awards. The intention of FOTO is not to tear down what works but to build on earlier successes by keeping those pieces of the transit system
that work well. Yes, having Express buses bring commuters to the Hurdman/Bayview hubs represents a tansfer. This is no different than the hub and spoke Calgary LRT which requires bus commuters to transfer to the LRT earlier up the line. One transfer is one transfer. The BIG advantage of the Hurdman/Bayview solution is that the Express buses do
NOT STOP AT EVERY TRANSIT STATION ALONG THE TRANSITWAY. That task is reserved for the the 95 (for example). Extending the ELRT along the transitways takes away the big advantage of transitway buses that can leapfrog each other, and have some that do not stop at all until they get to Hurdman/Bayview. That is the true definition of an Express. New York City for example double lanes subway tracks at minor stations to allow "Express Trains" to bypass these stations - and we already have this solution built into our OC Transpo transitways by default. That is why FOTO is proposing its fast mass people mover solution to where the problem is - in the core - where the bus congestion is bringing traffic to a halt and year after year increasing transit commutes and decreasing existing services as new Express Bus routes are added to serve new and expanding communities.

LRT Friend> Also further commitment to diesel trains will mean that direct rail service to downtown on the north-south line can never happen. There are complaints about disrupting the O-Train now, so it can only get worse later.

The FOTO solution brings commuters close to the core based on what is working well - the OC Transpo Express Bus system and the O-Train. What the core needs now is a rapid mass people mover that will significantly reduce congestion. The FOTO solution does that, and it is equitable - everyone gets to transfer! The difference is however that the transfers
between bus/O-Train/ELRT will be a lot more comfortable and much faster. The waiting time to board an ELRT will always be under 3 minutes and commuters will have covered and heated breezeways which are affordable since it involves only 2 stations.


LRT Friend> Congestion at the Bayview and Hurdman stations will also be a major issue. Thousands of passengers will have to transfer there and hundreds of buses will have to load and unload and turnaround and wait for the scheduled departure times. This will be far worse than the current situation on Albert and Slater Streets as full buses will have load or unload all at one stop.

We agree that thousands of passengers will transfer but we disagree on the impact that this will have. All Express Buses turning around will leave right away to pick up the next load. Regular buses turning around will wait at their bays and leave when the next bus comes. There will be an overall improved turn-around schedule that will increase frequency.

Loading and unloading at one stop happens very fast - 15-30 seconds to unload normally. Loading will not be based on queues - once a bus leaves another takes its place and commuters board as they get there for the return trip. Also, once a bus is full, it leaves - EVEN if it is ahead of schedule as the Express Bus service will become an "on demand"
service. The next bus to take its place will leave at the scheduled time if that happens before it it filled up. This approach coincidently rewards heavily used Express Route commuters since their wait time for the bus to leave is shortened.


LRT Friend> And what about the trains themselves. Can a 600 passenger train load and unload in just 3 minutes? It seems to me that these transfers will not be as quick as some suggest.

Yes, if fact in can unload even faster. Just look at the New York Subway Shuttle between Grand Central Station and Times Square.
1. The ELRT will not need to stop at red lights waiting for traffic to cross - the signals will be controlled to give the trains the right of way.
2. Pick up speed between platforms will be faster than the bus
3. There is no waiting to get to the platform because other buses are ahead and are discharging passangers
4. The stop at each drop off location will be closer to 15 seconds (like a subway) than a minute - like a bus. The platform will also be at the same level as the train - so no step up or down as is the case with the bus.
5. There will be a greater door surface on each side - again, similar to a subway car - and not like the bus where people literally have to step over each other at some stops.

LRT Friend> I also assume that some of the 600 passengers will have to stand making the trip to downtown not as pleasant as suggested in the proposal.

Yes, all except handicapped and elderly passengers will stand as the total elapse time from Hurdman/Bayview to the last of the downtown stops is 5-7 minutes.

LRT Friend>Then there is the location of the Armstrong Road Station.
<...>
As an interim terminus Armstrong was very stringently compared to Leitrim and after considerable debate it was a clear no-contest winner. The fact that the proponenet for a recreational facility was able to make this choice 6 years ago is a tribute to that developers foresight, but ultimately it has nothing to do with the best overall choice in this regard. The merits of Armstrong outweight hte merits of leitrim. Simple as that.

Why? Armstrong terminus is...

1. On a major 4-lane arterial hence significant reduction in road costs associated with accessing Leitrim( as outlined in a previous post).

2. Closer to major destination attractions and the origins of users to the south of Armstrong as well as less problematic for commuters who reside north of Armstrong (no peak period grid lock conflict to access the P & R).

3. Maximizes the use of City-owned corridors, hence less environmental damage, less cost, faster service and less optical connection to industrial, commercial and residential developers.

4. Easier and less costly for quick expansion into RS and eventually, if deemed appropriate, across the Rideau to South Barhaven.

An extension into RS (ex: Limebank) could be negotiated. Friend's have already assessed costings on this and are prepared to discuss with the new Council, however overall impact on smog, GHGE's and quality of life within the entire transportation grid would dictate a rolling program of prioritized extensions into areas of the City and NCR already identified by Council as priorities for light rail. The N-S project is not a balanced way
to produce results on a region-wide (including interprovincial) basis.

 
At 12:09 AM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

bennettjp: The cost for the 30KM is closer to 1billion$

Our solution only eliminates buses coming from Hurdman/Bayview, not
other buses that travel along Bank Street etc. We are replacing these
buses to reduce travel time to the core and add Express Bus capacity for OC Transpo. At present, every new Express Bus route will either add more congestion to the downtown core or replace an existing bus on an existing route! Our plan will allow new communities to be served by Express Bus service without impacting on either travel times for others or on service levels for others. Now is that not a win-win situation?

The location of the Bayview transit station is in a "brown" area not a
"green" area. Further, the vast majority of buses in the morning will turn around back to Kanata or wherever. They will not stay around. In the afternoon, the buses will be leaving the station as soon as they are full or their scheduled departure, whichever is first. Buses coming back from their route in the afternoon will be placed into service for the next available route demand. The whole emphasis will be on getting in/out fast. There is no benefit to have buses standing there idling, like they do now, at Bayview before and throughout the afternoon peak.

And how can you ignore all the EASTBOUND express buses that originate at Bayview in the afternoon, that will start at Hurdman instead with our proposal?

And what about all the buses on the Transitway itself, not to mention Slater and ALbert, which are idling because they are stuck behind squadrons of other buses or at red lights?

And what about the fact that the bus transfer facility could replace the Bayview snow dump with its dump trucks and bulldozers in the winter.

You clearly don't consider downtown to be a neighborhood, nor worry about the devastating impact of the current number of diesel buses there. Our proposal will make it livable.

We should also mention that by decoupling the west end bus system from the east end, we eliminate the need for crosstown deadheads (due to demand imbalances), and we prevent
propagation of route failure events across town.

"...what we need are more residential LRT stations, like Gladstone and Spratt, to encourage
every day use."

The ride would be a "free ride between Hurdman and Bayview
thereby allowing people in the downtown core to go cross-city to do
their shopping, pick up tickets at the Art Centre or whatever. Downtown
merchants will be much more accessible to the thousands of office workers during break times and after work. Also, tourists will be attracted to a free sightseeing ride and being able to bring back the day's shopping without investing in a taxi ride. The Hurdman/Bayview
stations will also attract commercial businesses because of the
thousands of people crossing over - everything from newsstands to,
cleaners, to Second Cup/Starbucks etc. and restaurants, to flower shops to mini grocery store etc.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger gc said...

Nonsense!

I live quite close to Greenboro station and I have only taken the O-Train once. Why? A bus on the Transitway will take me from my door directly to downtown. The train requires a transfer to get to it and then it doesn’t take me downtown. In fact it leads you well west of downtown. It doesn’t matter that there are Transitway buses at least every couple of minutes at Bayview. It is a well known fact that transit riders do not like transfers. Why would a train that I have to stand on and that runs less frequently (even at 3 minutes it is less frequent) make this one bit more attractive? I think before wasting more money on expanding the diesel O-Train that doesn’t go downtown, a rider survey is needed. I think you will find that the vast majority of current riders are not destined for downtown. This very much limits the market for the O-Train and a one stop extension to the south will likely result in only modest ridership growth. While the north-south electric LRT proposal is expecting ridership growth from 10,000 to 40,000+ per day, an extension of the O-Train to Armstrong Road with no downtown service is likely to be much less. I would be surprised if it reached 15,000 per day. The whole project could be a dismal failure.

And don’t talk about the attractions served by an Armstrong Road station. An attempt was made to extend bus service to Rideau Carleton Raceway a few years ago. It attracted almost no riders. Anyway, the Armstrong Station location is still quite a walk from the Racetrack. The main purpose of LRT south of the airport is to serve the new subdivisions of Findlay Creek, Riverside South and Barrhaven. The route must be convenient for those living there.

In off peak hours, downtown trains will not run every 3 minutes. More likely every 10 minutes and every 15 minutes during the evening and weekends. Downtown will become a transit ‘no go’ zone. Double transfers will be required to travel to and from downtown for most people and triple transfers to cross town. There are no express buses during off peak hours. This is better transit? We could of course run the trains only during peak periods and use buses otherwise to get around this problem but LRT seems so pointless then, doesn’t it?

You say that traffic signals will give trains priority so that they will only have to stop at stations. This is not realistic. How can you have all north-south streets blocked by a train every minute? Just think about it, a train every 3 minutes in both directions and allowing time for the trains to cross the intersection. Besides, for safety reasons (particularly pedestrians), trains will operate at a slow speed on downtown streets.

The idea that there will be no idling buses at Bayview station is ridiculous. Just look at Hurdman Station now. There is a large parking lot used for idling buses. If Bayview and Hurdman become the terminus for dozens of bus routes, there will be many buses waiting especially in the afternoon rush hour. You cannot get away from idling buses at transfer stations unless you are willing to do away with schedules altogether. How does that help transit riders? No schedules means chaos.

There will actually be a third transfer station as well, located on Lebreton Flats to allow passengers to take a bus to Hull. Those poor people will automatically have to transfer twice. Once at the Lebreton station and again at either Bayview or Hurdman.

This whole idea of free transit downtown is nice but won’t bring in a lot of riders. I don’t think I will be anxious for a trip from downtown to the Bayview or Hurdman dead zone. Not exactly a tourist attraction either. And if the trains are running only every 10 minutes at lunch time, I might as well walk to the Rideau Centre from a few blocks away.

I also believe that the FOTO proposal will provide a barrier for future growth of LRT. We are totally limiting our options to extending LRT on the Transitway. What would we gain by doing this? We would simply be transferring existing bus riders to trains with little possibility of gaining new transit riders. One of the reasons why the O-Train has been a success is that it provides fast service on a route that previously could not be provided by transit. What if we wanted to create a completely new east-west line that connects to the north-south route with the possibility of some trains switching to the north-south track? This cannot realistically be considered if the north-south line does not go downtown. What about the massive transfer stations if we want to extend LRT east or west? Well, they become obsolete. Wasted investment!

I will say it again, if we want LRT to be successful, it needs to run from the suburbs directly into downtown. All successful LRT systems are designed this way including Toulouse, France. If you want transit in general to be successful, we cannot interrupt existing rapid transit by cancelling all express and Transitway buses into downtown. The proper time to take buses off downtown streets is when LRT reaches various suburbs. In those suburbs served by LRT, very frequent shuttles can replace express buses providing better service. If Albert and Slater Street become too congested by a combination of trains and buses, simply move some or all the buses over to Laurier Avenue. This is a simple and realistic solution.

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

GC, in a city like ours, no-transfer trips across town are becoming
unrealistic. The hub and spoke model has been approved by council and adopted in cities around the world, using the best aspects of local buses and light rail. Our population is growing so much we can't possibly continue along our usual way of sending buses from one end of the city to the other.

Idling buses will be greatly reduced under our plan. Buses will provide a greater level of service to smaller local routes which feed
the Bayview and Hurdman hubs.

Transfers are not that bad. 75% of all O-Train passengers transfer at
least once per trip, so the idea has been working here like it has in
other cities. It's a matter of making the transfer as pleasant as
possible, by providing spacious hubs with value added services and
shops nearby.

This city has a transit growth problem which is not well served by the city's plan. Our alternative seeks to get the most bang for the
taxpayer dollar.

 
At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes me 2.5 hours using public transit to arrive at the home of my closest friend who has children a similar age as mine; and the same medical disorder as I. Neither of us can drive. We live in Orleans and Kanata. If the city doesn't start an east-west line and expand on it with time; or make a downtown core street bussses only; maybe it needs what Toronto has, east west just outside of core and an underground core for transit. For those of us who want to get beyond the city core to the other side sometimes, the downtown busses are often slowed by cars traffic lights, etc.; that won't change with above ground rail.

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger Stan G said...

I've been considering the Friends of the O-Train proposal and there are two thoughts that just keeps nagging at me.

Why build ELRT to shuttle people through the core ( Bayview to Hurdman ) ? Could this not been done with frequent shuttle buses between the two hubs that run as frequently as the proposed ELRT ? It would be substantially cheaper ; no rails to build. It could be just as clean if Fuel Cell or Hybrid buses were used.

Of course this would not eliminate the second big problem with the proposal. Forcing everyone using transit to the core to transfer just before getting there ( even worse if you are trying to get across town ).
I really don't see how the proposal will make transit better for users. It will only make it different.

Would it not make more sense to try and figure out how to make better use of our existing hubs ( transit way stations ) to minimize the number of transfers required and reduce the number of buses running through the core ?

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger GC said...

I have just read with interest a ridership study for LRT in another city following the implementation of a new line. Two things really stood out. First, LRT does attract car drivers to transit. Second, 33% of the riders walked to the station, 44% by transit transfer and only 16% by car. Those arriving on foot had walks typically under 10 minutes. The popularity of walking to a transit station can be seen every day at Greenboro station where many people can be seen walking to the station from the neighbouring South Keys community.

This all suggests that ridership growth can be best achieved by locating stations within the community instead of on the periphery. This is the glaring weakness of the Armstrong Road station location. It is not even within the proposed limits of the Riverside South community and far from current housing. It is not within walking distance of anybody. I think this kind of approach plus the fact that the train will not go downtown will really limit the ridership potential of the north-south line.

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger Friends of the O-Train said...

stan g said:Why build ELRT to shuttle people through the core ( Bayview to Hurdman ) ? Could this not been done with frequent shuttle buses between the two hubs that run as frequently as the proposed ELRT ?

Stan, quite simply, buses can't move enough people. Buses get stuck behind other buses in our downtown core. The city plan adds LRT to an already jammed downtown bus lane. We propose removing all buses from these lanes to allow a 3 minute eLRT service. The only way to do it is with fast, high volume trains.

>Forcing everyone using transit to the core to transfer just before getting there ( even worse if you are trying to get across town ).

The city has approved the hub and spoke concept as the way forward for our transit system. This means there will be transfers to and from the high-speed downtown eLRT line. But not to worry, these won't be transfers like you're used to at the Stalin-esque OC Transpo steel and glass huts. The main hubs will be large and comfortable, with useful shops and services and.. washrooms!

Transfers aren't inconvenient when you're waiting an average of 90 seconds to be whisked away by an electric train. 75% of all O-Train riders transfer at least once, some twice! So why would people mind doing it with a super new system?

Cheers,
Ron

 

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