Mov­ing for­ward on Rapid Tran­sit

Ottawa Business Journal - BOMA Magazine - - City Of Ottawa Report -

The City of Ottawa’s new Trans­porta­tion Mas­ter Plan (TMP), ap­proved in Novem­ber 2008, es­tab­lishes a prac­ti­cal vi­sion for the fu­ture of trans­porta­tion in our city. The TMP in­cludes a Rapid Tran­sit Net­work (RTN) and im­ple­men­ta­tion sched­ule for both tran­sit and road projects, as well as a pedes­trian and a cycling plan de­signed to serve a pop­u­la­tion pro­jected to reach al­most 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple by 2031.

The TMP’s ob­jec­tives in­clude re­duc­ing au­to­mo­bile de­pen­dency dur­ing peak travel pe­ri­ods; de­creas­ing com­mute times; in­creas­ing the num­ber of walk­ing and cycling trips by ap­prox­i­mately 50% and in­creas­ing tran­sit trips by about 76%. Given that the cur­rent tran­sit sys­tem through the down­town core is ex­pected to reach ca­pac­ity by 2018, it is es­sen­tial that the City con­tinue to move for­ward with the es­tab­lished TMP.

The RTN project will be di­vided into two phases within which sec­tions / in­cre­ments of the rail ser­vice will be rolled out. In Phase I, In­cre­ment 1, a 12.5 km rail line ser­vice will be built from Tun­ney’s Pas­ture to the ex­ist­ing Blair Road Tran­sit Sta­tion in the east end of Ottawa. The down­town seg­ment of this line will pass through a newly con­structed 3.2 km tun­nel from Booth Street to the Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa. Construction time­lines for Phase I, In­cre­ment 1 of the LRT line are con­ti­gent on the pro­cure­ment model se­lected by Coun­cil in De­cem­ber 2009. City staff have ap­proached the Fed­eral and Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments for a high-level fund­ing com­mit­ment of the cost of Phase 1 of the Rapid Tran­sit Net­work (RTN).

Upon the com­ple­tion of Phase 1, In­cre­ment 1, tran­sit rid­er­ship is ex­pected to reach al­most 140 mil­lion cus­tomer trips per year and is ex­pected to in­crease to ap­prox­i­mately 175 mil­lion by 2031. The City an­tic­i­pates that a num­ber of busi­ness and de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties will ex­ist for var­i­ous stake­hold­ers in prox­im­ity to this mod­ern and in­no­va­tive trans­porta­tion sys­tem. Part­ner­ships will al­low for col­lab­o­ra­tive de­vel­op­ment ef­forts in tran­sit sta­tions, sta­tion ac­cess and ar­eas ad­ja­cent to tran­sit sta­tions in keep­ing with the City’s Tran­sit Ori­ented De­vel­op­ment guide­lines.

The first phase of the tran­sit plan for Ottawa will be built in three in­cre­ments with an ap­prox­i­mate cost of $3.2 bil­lion. In Phase 1 the City of Ottawa will in­vest in 40 km of light rail tran­sit and 29 km of bus rapid tran­sit ex­pan­sion. City Coun­cil has ap­proved the pre­ferred LRT route align­ment for Phase 1 In­cre­ment One, along with the gen­eral sta­tion lo­ca­tions. This LRT net­work will be sup­ported by a new 3.2 km tun­nel and four un­der­ground sta­tions through the Down­town area. It is es­ti­mated that the Down­town Ottawa Tran­sit Tun­nel (DOTT) project will em­ploy ap­prox­i­mately 7,000 peo­ple di­rectly and in­di­rectly, over a six-year pe­riod.

A fo­rum about tech­nol­ogy op­tions for the RTN was un­der­taken in June and a re­port with tech­nol­ogy rec­om­men­da­tions will be pre­sented to City Coun­cil in Novem­ber of this year. Ottawa’s Coun­cil will then vote on ap­prov­ing the func­tional de­sign of the DOTT project with the En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment process ex­pected to be com­pleted in Q2 2010.

The de­vel­op­ment of sta­tions along the LRT line will pro­vide unique op­por­tu­ni­ties for both the City and the pri­vate sec­tor to cre­atively in­te­grate the LRT sta­tions into the com­mu­nity. The 13 pro­posed LRT sta­tion lo­ca­tions are in the ar­eas of: • Tun­ney’s Pas­ture (Tran­sit­way at Scott

Street and Hol­land Street) • Bayview (Tran­sit­way at O-Train) • LeBreton (Booth Street) • Down­town West (Al­bert Street; near Bay

Street) (Tun­nel Sta­tion) • Down­town East (Queen Street; near

Met­calfe) (Tun­nel Sta­tion) • Rideau Street (Tun­nel Sta­tion) • Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa Cam­pus (East

Side of Ni­cholas Street) • Lees Av­enue (Ex­ist­ing Tran­sit­way sta­tion) • Hur­d­man (Near ex­ist­ing Tran­sit­way

sta­tion) • VIA Sta­tion (Trem­blay Road) • St. Lau­rent (South side of St. Lau­rent Shop­ping Cen­tre north of Hwy 417 at ex­ist­ing sta­tion) • Cyrville (Ex­ist­ing sta­tion) • Blair Road (South side of Glouces­ter

Shop­ping Cen­tre

Tech­ni­cal con­sid­er­a­tions will de­ter­mine the fi­nal con­fig­u­ra­tion of the sta­tions and pedes­trian con­nec­tions, how­ever there may be some flex­i­bil­ity in this re­gard, es­pe­cially re­lated to the num­ber and lo­ca­tion of pedes­trian con­nec­tions serv­ing each sta­tion. Ad­di­tional pedes­trian points could in­clude ac­cess­ing LRT sta­tions through ad­ja­cent prop­er­ties or by way of street ac­cess. In this re­gard, in­put on how build­ings in the area that are not di­rectly be­side a pro­posed sta­tion can gain ac­cess through, un­der or be­side an ad­ja­cent build­ing or de­vel­op­ment site are wel­comed, given the City’s goal to en­cour­age rid­er­ship and pro­mote an op­ti­mal ex­pe­ri­ence with the new LRT sys­tem.

Var­i­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties for pri­vate sec­tor part­ner­ships will ex­ist at LRT Sta­tions in the Down­town Tun­nel. The 4 sta­tions within the 3.2 km tun­nel in the down­town leg of the LRT line will have at least two ac­cess points from the sur­face. Th­ese ac­cesses can be in­te­grated into pri­vate build­ings and form a node for new re­tail and com­mer­cial ser­vices. At the mez­za­nine level of each un­der­ground sta­tion, op­por­tu­ni­ties may also ex­ist for new com­mer­cial ser­vices that cater to the trav­el­ing pub­lic. Sim­i­larly, for the down­town area, pedes­trian con­nec­tiv­ity will be of great im­por­tance to en­hance the ac­ces­si­bil­ity for LRT pas­sen­gers. At all LRT sta­tions, the city is in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing busi­ness de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in and around sta­tion lo­ca­tions.

In other cities, the pri­vate sec­tor now en­joys a va­ri­ety of ben­e­fits as a re­sult of hav­ing an in­te­grated LRT sta­tion within their de­vel­op­ment or be­ing in the sur­round­ing area. Th­ese ben­e­fits come in the form of higher den­sity de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, re­duced park­ing re­quire­ments, in­creased pedes­trian traf­fic sup­port­ing com­mer­cial ten­ants, added in­cen­tives in at­tract­ing fu­ture em­ploy­ees/em­ploy­ers (e.g. Fed­eral gov­ern­ment) and in­creased land val­ues. In looking at other ju­ris­dic­tions with suc­cess­ful mul­ti­fac­eted tran­sit sys­tems, such as Toronto, Van­cou­ver, Cal­gary and Montreal, to name just a few, it is clear that there are many ben­e­fits for mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers which will stem from the RTN in Ottawa.

The City looks for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor within the con­text of this project; to this end, an ini­tial RFI process was com­pleted in June 2009. The in­ten­tion is to ex­plore in­no­va­tive ideas as well as use the lessons learned by other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties so that the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors col­lab­o­rate to pro­duce ben­e­fits for both par­ties and for the com­mu­nity at large.

Ad­di­tional up­dates can be found on the City’s web page at www.ottawa.ca/tun­nel – watch for more de­tails from the City as tran­sit plans con­tinue to take shape over the next year.

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