In 2009 the NCC launched a study (together with City of Ottawa and Gatineau) to recommend ways to improve the quality and efficiency of transit across the Ottawa River. This is of particular interest to downtown communities because today 120 STO buses per hour are found on Rideau & Wellington streets during rush hours, significantly reducing quality of life in these areas. A better integrated inter-provincial transit system has the potential to take the majority of these buses off these roadways. The CCC was an active participant in the PCG (Public Consultation Group) guiding this study.
The concluding report of this study was finally released in April 2013. It consists of a single summary document together with a number of supporting documents focused on specific sub-topics (long term evolution, user experience, bus operations, governance). The full set of these can be found on the NCC's Interprovincial Transit Study Resources page (editors note: As of Nov 2013 this website appears to have stopped working).
This Final Interprovincial Transit Study Report (7MB) recommends tweaks to improve the operational integration between OC Transpo and STO but does not recommend any major inter-provincial transit changes until at least 2031 at which time it is suggested that the STO Rapibus facility be converted to LRT with a link across the Ottawa River west of downtown. The report identifies challenges to finding a way to terminate this new interprovincial LRT line in downtown Ottawa, outlines several possible options and leaves a final decision to some time in the future.
In terms of STO bus operations in downtown Ottawa, the report basically calls for the status quo of > 100 buses per hour during peak periods on Rideau/Wellington streets for another 20 years. This is combined with 35 OC Transpo buses per hour on the Rideau portion which together translates to approximately 1 bus every 25 seconds (during rush hours). Uninspiring to say the least.
In the interim (between 2013 and 2031) the study identifies the possibility of extending the existing O-Train across the river. This will not address the core challenge of moving large numbers of passengers to/from Ottawa's downtown. It's main benefit would be allowing some interprovincial passengers better connections between points south and west in Ottawa to/from Gatineau's downtown without them needing to connect through existing downtown bus transit routes. This would help to reduce slightly the number of STO buses downtown. The O-Train interprovincial extension and bus routes on any proposed east end Kettle Is bridge are not core to the long term interprovincial transit strategy.
More detailed information about the results of the study, it's detailed background documents, and the CCC's involvement can be found on this interprovincial transit study webpage.
This is the NCC's interprovincial transit study website. (Note: no longer functioning in Nov 2013)
OC Transpo modeling has confirmed that over 5,000 daily transit riders traveling from the south end through the city’s downtown core via Hurdman Station could travel more quickly to their destination if they were routed via the O‑Train line through Bayview Station.
In the busiest hour of the morning peak period, over 200 buses run west through Hurdman Station. There are also significant numbers of buses running east through Hurdman, as well as terminating at Hurdman and returning east or south.
Expanding the O-Train service, as outlined in this report, would reduce bus traffic at Hurdman Station by approximately 6 per cent during the morning peak. This represents a significant reduction in congestion and would be a positive step towards greater service reliability.
Further, over 3,000 additional daily transit riders travelling from the west to Carleton University and points south would benefit from being re-routed to the O-Train line with its increased level of service.
On a daily basis, O-Train expansion would reduce the equivalent demand for 12 articulated buses per hour through Hurdman Station. It would also support a gradual increase of transit modal share in the north-south corridor, in line with the recent service improvements in the Leitrim and River Road areas and the forthcoming completion of the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge; future origin-destination surveys would provide more information on this particular aspect.
The $59-million cost of the recommended O-Train service expansion (35m$ of which is for the purchase of 6 new trains) can be supported by the reallocation of $3.63 million from the existing O-Train train purchase budget. The requested budget increase of $55.37 million will be offset by future cost efficiencies and revenues, including:
- A reduction in the cost of transit service mitigation during east-west LRT construction;
- Revenue from the sale of the current Bombardier trains, and avoidance of major costs to refurbish and overhaul those aging vehicles;
- Reduced requirements for growth of OC Transpo’s bus fleet and operations in other corridors; and
- Revenue from increased transit ridership attributable to the improved quality of O-Train service.
The financial analysis reveals that, from 2011 through the first 10 years of operation (i.e. from 2011 through 2024), the capital and operating costs of O-Train expansion would have a neutral net present value (within the project’s recommended margin of contingency) compared to the “base scenario” represented by continued operation of the current O‑Train service.
Approval of this report’s recommendations by the Transit Commission and Council would enable expanded O-Train service to begin by September 2014
- $2.5m - Buying 75 more double decker buses and using them on express routes
- $1.8m - Lowering Peak hour coverage commitment from 98.6% to 95% of customers to be within a 5-minute walk (400m) of a transit stop
- $17.7m - Lowering off peak coverage commitment from 99.9% to 95% of customers to be within a 10-minute walk (800m) of a transit stop
- $.7m in other operational cost efficiencies
- 94% of riders would see no service changes (although they would enjoy increased frequency on a number of routes as a result of these changes)
- 6% of off peak daytime users would see changes involving a walk to get to a bus stop of 10 minutes or less (vs 5 minutes or less today), partially offset by the fact that these new fewer/farther bus stops would see slightly more frequent service compared to those stops proposed for elimination
- 1% of peak users would experience a similarly extended walk
- some routes will be modified where 2 or more routes overlap too closely
- carry 90 riders rather than 70 for an articulated bus
- have seating for 82 vs 55 for an articulated bus
- uses 11% less fuel per km than an articulated bus (while carrying more passengers)
- performs better on slippery roads in winter than an articulated bus
- has less headroom (esp on 2nd level) compared to an articulated bus
- is slightly slower (4-6% outside of the downtown)than an articulated bus
- takes longer for passengers to load and unload vs an articulated bus
After the cancellation of the 2007 North-South Light Rail project and as part of the preparation for the 2008 update to the City of Ottawa Transportation Master plan, the City undertook public consultations for a new Rapid Transit Expansion plan. A key component of this new plan is the proposal for a downtown LRT transit tunnel and a focus on alleviating the congestion / increasing the capacity for east-west travel to downtown. The system would be based on using 4-car electric rail vehicles.
It had become clear that the current situation with up to 180 buses per hour travelling in each direction during peak hours on Albert and Slater streets is nearing its maximum capacity and had little room for future growth. Already on days where issues are encountered in the 2-3 km section of the downtown network significant bus congestion and delays can occur. These issues combined with the calls of the downtown business community to reduce the number of buses in the downtown were the major drivers behind this new plan, referred to as the DOTT (downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel). This plan was approved by City Council in Jan 2010.
The CCC participated in the consultations during the development of the DOTT plan. The CCC is supportive of a light rail project intended to address the congestion in the east-west direction through the downtown. However the CCC also registered some concerns regarding the decision to base the solution on a deep tunnel (10 stories below ground) and on the fact that this tunnel would mean the system would not see its first ridership for at least 9 years (in 2019). These concerns were expressed in this DOTT letter to council.
In July 2011, in a staff report back to council, it was decided that a new tunnel alignment would be pursued which followed Queen street rather than the original 'cross-country' alignment. It was stated that this new alignment would enable a shallower tunnel (for most of the route through downtown. but not at the Rideau Centre). It was also stated that this route and the shallower tunnel would provide the tunnel construction firm more flexibility in tunnel construction methods and improve the chances that the tunnel could be built under a fixed price contract. Details of this report can be found at the LRT Business Case Update to Council - Minutes Jul 14, 2011. The following quote is extracted from that report:
"By reducing the required depth of the tunnel, the improved alignment achieves significant benefits for the project. The tunnel portion of the project will now be less expensive to build. Running underneath Queen Street allows for decreased depths throughout, and ensures that downtown stations and additional private sector accesses are less costly to construct and service. This proposed alignment will no longer be under the deep foundations of multi-floor buildings."
These are exactly the issues that the CCC had highlighted during the public consultations held for this project. Although we were disappointed that these concerns were not taken seriously at the time, we are encouraged that this project has been improved now as a result of these reconsiderations.
Detailed and updated information on this topic is available by following this link to the DOTT project page
The City of Ottawa has initiated a study to determine the best choice of route for extending the east-west light rail project (sometimes referred to as the DOTT=Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel) west from Tunney’s pasture which is the western terminus of the first phase of the LRT implementation. This W-LRT extension would extend westward to Algonquin College. This extension has been planned as Phase 2 of Ottawa’s LRT expansion and is to occur sometime after 2019 when the 12.5 km long Phase 1 begins operation (from Tunney’s Pasture, east through downtown to Blair Road).
The study will focus on 3 main corridors. (1) Ottawa River Parkway (2) Richmond/Byron and (3) Carling Ave. The study will include several different variations of each.
A public consultation group has been established by the City of Ottawa and the CCC is represented in this group. The consultation process began in spring 2010 and is expected to carry on for several years.
In June 2012 an interim report was brought to council. This report ranked the 15 corridor/sub-corridor combinations and asked for permission to focus their efforts over the next year specifically on the top 4 ranked corridors. One of these is the Ottawa River Parkway and 3 of the remaining 4 are different variations of the Richmond/Byron corridor. None of the Carling Ave corridors were listed for further study.
The NCC and many citizens continue to voice strong resistance the Parkway Corridor. Similarly many groups are also opposed to the Richmond/Byron corridor. Meanwhile the Carling corridor which is supported by many community groups and politicians at provincial and federal levels will be given significant less study. A couple of the main reasons cited for this is Carling's purported significantly higher cost and slightly slower travel times.
More details about this study and the position of the CCC on the issues can be found at this W-LRT extension page.
In the 2008 TMP the City was moving forward with plans to extend the BRT system along a route heading in a south easterly direction from Hurdman station along Terminal/Belfast and then eastward via Innes Rd. During 2009 and 2010 several different route options were evaluated and this preferred route was chosen. An environmental assessment was performed on this route and as part of that process a preliminary design of the route and associated stations was completed.
In the 2013 TMP priorities were changed and the implementation of this project was pushed to beyond the 2031 time horizon.
The map below illustrates the route and proposed stations.
In Nov 2009, City Council approved in principle a plan to re-develop Lansdowne Park. This approval spawned a number of more detailed studies (transportation network impact, retail viability, etc) and based on these studies final City Council approval to proceed with the project occurred in June 2010. This plan involves the City of Ottawa investing 130M$ to renovate the existing stadium and co-fund with the private developers construction for approximately 1200 underground parking spots. In addition, 300,000 sq ft of new retail development, a multi-screen cinema, and some new townhomes, office space, and a hotel would be constructed on the site by a private developer.
One of the key issues surrounding this project is whether the transportation network (basically Bank street and the Queen Elizabeth Driveway) will be capable of coping with this incremental demand from all of the new aggregated uses on this site, particularly during 20,000+ person events in the stadium. In these cases, a number of special measures will be needed such as special bus operations, occasional closings of sections of Bank street to all vehicles except buses, special shuttle bus operations to remote satellite parking lots, etc. Ottawa is now embarking on a 6B$ multi-decade plan for a new rail based transit system and the Lansdowne site is not located anywhere near this new rapid transit line. Should we be investing 130M$ in a large public stadium which is not located anywhere near our rapid transit system? A recent City of Ottawa study evaluating potential sites for a new stadium ranked at least 4 other possible locations higher than Lansdowne as the preferred location for a stadium.
Another key issue is understanding the magnitude of the impact that the transportation measures will have on the surrounding communities. The City has agreed to form a committee in which the communities will participate and a monitoring program is to be set up before the project is finished (to establish baseline metrics) and to continue once the site is developed in order to quantify the impact and propose additional mitigation measures.
The CCC was involved together with other downtown community associations in examining closely the transportation study which in June 2010 concluded that the transportation issues could be managed adequately for this re-development. Click on this link if you wish to see a copy of CCC's Lansdowne letter to council.
Click this link to view/download the detailed Lansdowne transportation report.