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.
Phone: David Jeanes. 613-594-3290