The Western LRT (WLRT) and what it means for Westboro….

2 02 2015

The WLRt is great news for Westboro. But there may be a downside. The current plan calls for the first 500 meters of tracks (from Berkely to the western edge of Rochester Field at Skead Avenue) to be either at grade or in a shallow trench with high fences, overhead electrical wires and 7/24 lighting.

From the information currently available, the city proposes to take out 1.2 km of urban forest along the  the  Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway on National Capital owned lands to make room for the tracks and stations. This area contains hundreds of mature trees and is one of the few large wooded areas in Westboro enjoyed daily by many residents and contributing to Westboro’s reputation as one of Ottawa’s top liveabe residential communities

Currently, plans call for the park at the end of Berkley Avenue to be mostly replaced  by a large covered station and a 100m platform in a trench running from Roosevelt to Dominion Avenue, the length of a football field.   The LRT is not a city tram. Nor is it the smaller lighter trains running in some european cities.  City plans call for 600 passenger 310 ton trains, twice the weight of the O Train running every 3 minutes. The trains require overhead wires and high fences cutting-off access to the park except at the new stations themselves.

City proposal: 100 meter platform and a shallow 500 meter trench to Skead Avenue.

The urban forest will disappear.

 

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has posed two conditions to consider the project: continuously uninterrupted access to the parkland and minimal visual impact.  Likely the only way this can be achieved is if the trains, tracks and stations are underground so that the forest can be restored. Our councillor, Jeff Leiper supports the NCC conditions and made it a campaign promise.

The NCC and the City have been sparring in the media over this issue since meeting the NCC conditions will likely require more money.  In November 2013, the NCC officially rejected the proposed city route but apparently not the first 500 meters in Westboro which remain at grade or slightly trenched effectively leaving Westboro the only community along the western route with tracks at grade in a park!

Mayor Watson and John Baird agreed to engage in private discussions and promised a solution 100 days later (early March 2015).

 

Underground solution: Trains, tracks and stations are underground and the forest is restored.

 

Meanwhile our Councillor, Jeff Leiper is asking for support from all concerned Community Associations including Westboro to present a united community approach to the city. He is asking that we support the following statements which were originally put forward by the Champlain Park Community Association:

  1. The Byron linear park, Rochester Field and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway should be maintained and preferably enhanced as attractive, user-friendly urban green spaces. All three provide much cherished core community benefits. They must not be compromised.
  2. If the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway route is ultimately chosen, the engineering design must be fully compatible with the NCC’s on-going efforts to develop and implement its long-term vision for an accessible and more animated water-front park adjacent to the Ottawa River.
  3. In our view, the best, and likely the only way to respect these principles, is to fully tunnel the LRT should the City and the NCC agree upon any of the above routes.

This would ensure that the entire line from Berkley Avenue to Skead and beyond would be fully underground and allow for mature trees to again grow in the park lands.

Let us know if you wish your community Association to support these statements by providing your comments below.

 

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9 responses

3 02 2015
Liam Casey

I do not want Westboro Community association to support Councillor Jeff Leiper’s statements. I think that a city wide perspective is needed. Spending money that could otherwise be spent on libraries, better community facilities, low income housing etc., to ensure that those who use public transit are treated like third class citizens, deprived of views of the Ottawa river while sole occupant cars continue to enjoy the use of the parkway is plain wrong.

3 02 2015
McIntyre Blake

The city-wide perspective is essential. And as for the cutting of trees – plant some more. They’ll grow.

6 02 2015
Graham Deline

The city’s plan to run the trains on the surface will lead to the permanent destruction of almost all of the qoodwd area between the Dominion Station and the west end of Rochester field. The trees will not grow back.m

3 02 2015
Jan

The western lrt line is being built to transport tens of thousands from the far west and woodroffe south neighbourhoods to the centre of the city and beyond. That it will run through Westboro means we too get to use it, but hopefully not at the expense of our neighbourhood. I support Jeff Lieper’s efforts to preserve our community. The section under discussion for additional tunnelling is to me short relative to the proposed western line, but the whole problem could have been avoided if the carling ave route had been chosen.

3 02 2015
Don

I cannot support this route until it is explained to me why Carling doesn’t work. It is the most logical and Clive Doucet has the entire proposal done.
See http://unpublishedottawa.com/letter/1748/carling-avenue-lrt-concept-design-study

6 02 2015
Jimmy Cheng

Under the last council and with the mayor’s intention, this route was forced into our neighborhood of Westboro and McKellar Park without a fair consultation process. With that being the case, shouldn’t we demand the best design solution so that we can preserve this wonderful neighborhood? For the long view, this route will have decades and decades of usefulness. If additional investment is needed, it is actually trivial if we average it out say 50, or even 100 years. Support this position and at minimum it is a backstop to otherwise an unacceptable design that was tabled by the city last year.

6 02 2015
David Paterson

Building a rail line beside the NCC’s highway should not be a problem. The rail will be less polluting, and provide greater access to the waterfront, if well designed. That would seem to be a win/win situation. (Or, better yet, once the rail is in place tear up the highway).

The continual fear of change in much of Ottawa / many Ottawans is tiring. While some proposals should be actively discouraged (the Fendor site comes to mind), city-building initiatives such as expanding the transit system should be embraced.

As for the Carling proposal: there are too many level crossings required on Carling, which would slow the train considerably (as Ottawa has many of the worst drivers in Canada) or require either tunnelling or elevated tracks, at considerable expense.

13 02 2015
javachonJacques vachon

The choice of the NCC parklands to build the LRT extension is wrong. It will destroy hundreds of mature trees without any possibility of replacing them as the line is at grade for the first 500 meters and buried in a shallow berm which will not sustain more than shrubs for the rest of the 1.2 km run between Dominion Station and Cleary Avenue. The line and stations should be buried deep enough to promote the growth of mature trees so that the tree canopy can grow to something resembling what is there today. Because of the need for high fences and wires access will be reduced to the actual stations. This is a historic park along the river,if it must be built along the parklands bury it!

6 03 2015
Luke S

It’s a disaster of magnificent proportions… any twelve year old looking at an aerial map of Ottawa could tell you that the tracks/any rapid transit route for innew west Ottawa should run along Richmond/Byron or Carling for catchment let alone development opportunities.

The rest of the world’s transportation & planning communities are laughing at us.

Duplicating services for $2.1 Billion + $6-10 Billion to complete to Orleans, Kanata and Barrhaven just to replicate the current service levels more or less? Yes the headway will be shorter, we will save on operation costs with reduced bus drivers… But all in all this whole F#$* process has been shortchanged and ‘value engineered’ starting with the lack of a station at Elgin/Confederation Park and continuing through the entire system design and fabrication. It’s a sham. I hope Watson is happy when hes blown billions of dollars but has found enough saving to maintain his tax rate quota.

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