Our Canadian Cities 2923 Views by Eddie Rwema

Ottawa: O-Train plan calls for 8-km extension to Riverside South


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Coun. Steve Desroches gave a thumbs up for a feasibility study that calls for the extension of the O-Train eight km south past the airport to serve the growing Leitrim and Riverside South communities.

The Gloucester-South Nepean councillor said he was in full support of the report that was released to the transit commission on Feb. 22.

“We need to consider this option if we are going to increase transit use to serve the growth in south Ottawa,” said Desroches.

The report said it is technically feasible to extend O-Train service to a station at Bowesville Road in Riverside South with intermediate stations at South Keys and Leitrim.

Gloucester-South Nepean has seen the highest rate of growth in the city of Ottawa with more than 50 per cent increase in population since 2006.

“We know that the south is growing very rapidly and we want to build transit for the communities in Findlay Creek and Riverside South and we want the south rural communities to also benefit from the transit system in south Ottawa,” Desroches said.

He added that he was certainly going to be making that pitch when council meets to talk about the next generation transportation master plan that would be updated during the term of this council.

“It is going to be helpful when we begin deliberations on refreshing the transportation master plan,” said Desroches.

The city’s transportation master plan is due to be updated in 2014.

The report indicates that the overall project is estimated at $76 Million.

The extension of the O-Train would reduce the number of buses required in the OC Transpo fleet by 12, as the O-Train would replace bus service that would otherwise operate between Bowesville and Hurdman stations thus reducing bus operating costs by approximately $3 million, according to the report.

If the O-Train were to be extended to Leitrim and Riverside South it is estimated that there would be an additional 3.6 million customer trips each year.

“I also like this project because it is a small scale one, given the financial pressures the federal and provincial governments are facing.

“It is one that is affordable for three levels of government working together,” said Desroches.

He emphasized that the spectacular growth of the city’s south end is adding more pressure to traffic on road networks around the Ottawa International Airport.

Desroches said the airport is an important part of “our local economy.”

“It is an important economic engine and we need to ensure that residents have reliable and timely access to the airport,” he said.

Desroches said the extension offers benefits not only to the residents of south Ottawa but to the entire city and its surrounding.

“Unless we start making transit investments in south Ottawa it would be extremely difficult and more challenging to access the airport during peak hours,” said Desroches.

The possible extension of the O-Train will also compliment the future Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge by creating improved accessibility to an alternate transportation network for residents in south Ottawa and will compliment the city’s current and future park and ride facilities.

“Given the growth in south Ottawa we need to be looking at all viable and practical transit options,” Desroches added.


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