Ottawa LR news.
- From http://www.ottawacitizen.com/city/000119/3459927.html Dawson
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A vision for a new Ottawa
Downtown rail line on track ...
By Ken Gray
The Ottawa Citizen
March 1, 2001
A proposal to build two light-rail lines that would join downtown Hull to
Ottawa's core and Sparks Street to the Ottawa Airport is being developed by
regional government staff.
The plan, which has the support of Transport Minister David Collenette,
would piggyback on the already-approved light-rail project from Bayview Road
at LeBreton Flats to Greenboro Transitway station near South Keys Shopping
"I'm quite excited about it," Regional Chair Bob Chiarelli said. "This is a
pilot that is intended to grow."
That $16-million original light-rail project is expected to be running in
the spring of 2001.
The core rail extension would link the huge government office complex at
Place du Portage in Hull to the Prince of Wales rail bridge and join with
the Transitway and new light-rail project at Bayview Road near the Ottawa
The new core rail route would continue through LeBreton Flats to the Garden
of the Provinces at the foot of the Portage Bridge, hook up with Sparks
Street and travel along the mall as far as Bank Street.
The second proposed route would follow the existing CP Rail line south from
the Greenboro Transit station and turn southwest into the airport.
The regional government does not know how much the project will cost, Mr.
Chiarelli said, because its planning is in very early stages.
While the chair's office has been considering the expanded rail links for
two years, it only became serious about planning six months ago after the
original light-rail project was finalized.
The region does not have money for the project, but is planning in
anticipation of federal infrastructure money being approved by cabinet this
year and being allocated in 2001.
As well, the region hopes to tap into existing Ontario and Quebec
A new city council in Hull gives regional staff hope that the cross-border
link will fly in Quebec. The Quebec government does not have to be on board
for the project to work, but regional staff would prefer that Quebec City
Mr. Collenette has asked cabinet for national infrastructure money and in
that package is money for the light-rail expansion, Mr. Chiarelli said.
That infrastructure money would have to be approved by the federal Finance
department, Mr. Chiarelli said.
As part of the original program, the regional government secured the option
of buying the Prince of Wales Bridge from CP Rail at its scrap-metal price,
thus ensuring the span's availability if interprovincial light rail became a
The newly proposed extensions to the original rail project would link
downtown Hull though Ottawa to the Ottawa Airport.
Despite the short planning period, a number of obstacles have already been
For example, the light-rail line down Sparks Street would cross downtown
streets and be aided by synchronized traffic lights so cars and trains could
intermingle. According to regional staff, some light-rail trains now in use
in Europe are capable of stopping and starting quickly enough to use traffic
In addition, the region would like to create a public-private partnership,
possibly including a hotel on Sparks Street, to create a downtown terminus.
The two new proposals use mostly existing track to cut costs. The core route
would run on a line along the Ottawa River shoreline in Hull and the Prince
of Wales Bridge. The southern extension would take advantage of the CP Rail
line that skirts the airport.
Mr. Chiarelli was unable to say when the two extensions might be built.
He cited a number of reasons for building the extensions. They include:
-Getting people out of cars and on to mass transit;
-"Animating" Sparks Street;
-Working with the NCC plan to boost business on Sparks Street and convert
buildings to residences.
-Linking federal government buildings in Hull and Ottawa.
-Taking pressure off crowded bridges.
-Creating more cross-river links to improve national unity.