DOWNTOWN OTTAWA - The city plans to move the proposed Rideau light-trail station east into the ByWard Market and away from the National Arts Centre.
The re-alignment, which was revealed in a report scheduled to go to the city’s finance and economic development committee on March 6, will provide better transit service, according to a city report.
“Moving the station eastward on Rideau Street will … give access to the ByWard Market, reduce the depth of the station, and increase the station catchment area. It will also provide a better transit solution by balancing the ridership at the station entrances and by providing entrances closer to transit riders’ origins and destinations,” the report states.
The underground Rideau Station platform was supposed to be situated west of Sussex Drive under the Rideau Canal and two large sewer pipes under the canal, which would have made the station and tunnel much deeper – and more expensive.
Further analysis revealed that few passengers would use the station’s west entrance at the NAC, the city report states.
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury said he sees the change in a positive light.
While the realignment might not be ideal from the perspective of the NAC, it makes more sense financially and practically when it comes to making the station accessible to those using the system.
“I am very favourable for the new re-alignment,” Fleury said. “In my view it connects a little better the Rideau Centre, Lowertown and Sandy Hill – my residents, but also the nodes of employment, entertainment and festivals.”
Adjusting the station location dovetails with the reconstruction and makeover of Rideau Street that will get underway this summer and the upcoming expansion of the Rideau Centre, Fleury said.
Fleury doesn’t buy the argument that the NAC and city hall on the other side of the Rideau Canal will be too far away from the station. Since the station will connect with the Rideau Centre, it is still only a short walk from landmarks west of the canal to the Rideau Centre, Fleury said.
The city must think of the project from a functional perspective to ensure it serves people’s travel needs – not from a national capital-building perspective, Fleury said.
“I view it as positive. You could view it from different angles,” he said. “From a (perspective) of showing the capital, maybe not. From a functional standpoint, getting people to use it and travel faster on it, this is in the right direction.”
The NAC and Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes, whose ward contains the NAC, did not return calls for comment before press deadline, but check yourottawaregion.com and the March 15 edition of your community newspaper for updates.
Minor changes to stations at Via, Bayview
The changes also call for Bayview Station location to move west, above the O-Train station. The change will create better connections between different modes of transit and also provide better pedestrian and cycling connections for residents in Mechanicsville and Hintonburg to the southwest and Dalhousie to the southeast, according to the report. It also retains the possibility of a future connection so that north-south trains can continue into downtown, or cross the Ottawa River for an interprovincial connection into Gatineau.
In the east end, the National Capital Commission required that the Train Station be moved west, which will mean a shorter walk to the VIA Rail station and a better connection to the proposed pedestrian bridge over Highway 417 to the baseball stadium and Overbrook.