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)

What People are Saying...

Give the mayor some time
Michael Polowin, Citizen Special
Published: Monday, January 08, 2007

I think it is incumbent upon us to remember the strength of the mandate that our new mayor enjoys. It is also incumbent upon our councillors to remember the strength of that mandate.

It is true that all councillors running were in fact re-elected. However, lest some begin to believe that such success is entirely due to their individual sterling qualities, I think it important for many of them to remember that they were virtually ignored during the election season. The attention given the race for mayor sucked much of the oxygen out of the coverage given to the various council races, other than the odd endorsement and story, and therefore the public was focused on the race for mayor. With more coverage of council races, more might have been defeated.

I note that Mr. O'Brien won across the city, in almost every ward, including many of the wards held by those whose political philosophy does not necessarily agree with his. I was astounded to see that when the final vote for light rail was held, there were 11 votes for the old plan. Didn't those councillors notice that between votes for the mayor and for Alex Munter, the old plan was rejected by more than 83 per cent of the voters?
As light rail was perhaps the leading issue in the campaign, and clearly was the hill on which the former mayor chose to plant his flag, the decisive defeat of Bob Chiarelli showed the people's view of the old plan. Councillors should recognize that.

Michael Polowin practises municipal and commercial real property law. E-mail him at
complete article


What's next?
The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, December 09, 2006

Councillors Jan Harder and Maria McRae have pulled a fast one on rookie
Mayor Larry O'Brien and other councillors naive enough to support their
revised north-south light-rail proposal.

Light rail was one of the central issues of the municipal campaign. Mr.
O'Brien promised a careful look at the proposed project and a realistic

We woke up the second day of the council meeting to read that Mr.
O'Brien and 11 councillors had taken an impulsive decision that will
cost us more than the original billion-dollar boondoggle. With a split
council and more than 80 per cent of the electorate having voted out
former mayor Bob Chiarelli, the main proponent of north-south rail, why
would a rookie mayor, a couple of days into his term, break his
commitment to the voters and fall for the Harder/McRae ploy?

If this is what he meant by bringing a businesslike approach to City
Hall, I shudder to think what might be next.

Scott Parsons,
© The Ottawa Citizen 2006


No trust

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, December 09, 2006

Re: Subway transit plan receives council's OK, Dec. 7.

Absolutely incredible. Unbelievable, as a matter of fact! And our city
politicians wonder why we can't trust them.

Mayor Larry O'Brien promised a six-month review of the light-rail
project -- not one week.

What was Councillor Rainer Bloess thinking? He took a cruise knowing
that light rail was council's first order of business in early December.
Mr. Bloess failed us and failed miserably at representing Innes Ward.

Pierre Langevin,

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006


Big mistake

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, December 09, 2006

So now we know. We made a mistake on election day. We (I did, too) chose
a mayor who made a promise that he's already broken -- or at least
failed to explain.

And we elected councillors who obviously don't listen or don't care what
their constituents said at the ballot box. We might as well have elected
Jan Harder as mayor or maybe Larry O'Brien should just pass his chain of
office over to the Barrhaven boss-lady. Obviously she has the power at
the council table.

And we have four years to endure our collective mistake. How much more
damage will Mr. O'Brien and his merry band of misfits inflict upon us
poor trusting taxpayers in that time?

Joe Spence,

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006


We win, but we lose

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, December 09, 2006

I voted for Larry O'Brien because he promised a debate on light-rail
transit. If Mr. O'Brien had proposed an expensive subway solution to the
already overpriced light-rail system that goes nowhere, I would not have
voted for him. Perhaps this is why people have lost confidence in their
leaders, and why many people do not vote anymore -- because even when
your guy wins, you lose.

Jeff deMontigny,

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006


- In ott.general on Nov 30, 2006
>Pat wrote:
> I ride OC Transpo every day. What makes it palatable is that most of
> the traveling happens at 80 km/h along the transitway. Still, I spend
> over 1 hour each way (better than falling asleep in bumper-to-bumper
> Queensway traffic though).
> If the new (expensive) train can't achieve these speeds, why are they
> even considering it???
> Definitely something fishy going on here.
> None at all wrote:
>> Well, I'm not sure about 40kmh but not too much faster. As well, it
>> was disclosed last week that the ride from BarFhaven to downtown will
>> take over 40 minutes (Longer than a car ride) and will then merge with
>> City traffic. Council admitted that taking the lightrail will in fact
>> take longer to get to your destination. It really is a huge joke and
>> complete waste of money.
>> Pat wrote:
>>> Is it true that the maximum speed of the new train is only 40 km/h?
>>> Who the hell is going to ride a "streetcar" into Ottawa from Barrhaven
>>> (and later, Kanata) at 40 km/h????

It has nothing to with commuting it's purpose is a legacy for Bob
Chiarelli and to ensure his re-election in November 2006 (ooops, I
guess it didn't do that either! It is to increase property values in

The upside of the LRT speed is if you miss the train you can run to the
next stop and get there first.


At 4:22 PM, Blogger shall said...

During last month's election, Ottawa's new mayor campaigned with the promise of taking six months to consult the public before deciding about Ottawa's plan to begin a light rail system.

Instead, it took him just three days to reach a decision, and I'm not sure how many people he consulted.

The result is an amendment to the light rail project that mystifies me. A partial project that spends the bulk of its money ($600 million) replacing the existing section of rail that uses diesel-electric trains.

The result - it will take at least a decade before anything happens in Ottawa's downtown. Worse than that, this idea of a tunnel is being talked about before it gets properly studied and compared with the alternatives.

The only justification that I can see for approving this truncated project is to avoid or minimize the penalties for cancelling the original contract.

This is a lousy rationale. The city would be off paying the penalty (or, better still, we could drag it through the courts for a few years until Siemens (the contractor) is willing to negotiate a reduced settlement).

Instead, we are stuck with an amended project because it is OK with Siemens, not the people of Ottawa.

And we are committing the people of Ottawa in 5-7 years time to spend hundreds of millions on a tunnel, before it has been properly studied. God knows what other demands there will be for public subsidy (hospitals, bridges??) when it comes time to build.

The new mayor portrayed himself during the election as a hard-headed and visionary businessman. It's nice to see that he is, like the rest of us, merely human, and can make very costly mistakes. Too bad the city and taxpayers of Ottawa will end up paying for this enormous mess.

S. Hall
Sandy Hill

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Bruce said...

Several years ago when I moved to Ottawa my decision to settle in the south end was largely because it was easier to commute downtown by bus from Barrhaven than Kanata. I understood from my colleagues that public transit from the east and Gatineau also needed improvement. The proposed lightrail from Barrhaven would have taken me longer than it currently does by bus so I wouldn't have likely used it and it was too costly, frought with uncertainty and would do nothing to improve the transit situation in other parts of the city. I am very pleased therefore that this potential white elephant is dead and a saner and more holistic planning approach is now proposed that holds greater potential to improve the transit needs of the city as a whole.

Bruce Hood, North Gower


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