City Council today approved the Richmond Underground (R12) as the preferred corridor for Western Light Rail extension from Bayview Station to Baseline Station.
“Clean, green, quiet light rail is one of the keys to our future as a beautiful, liveable capital city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I want to thank staff for their hard work, and residents for their feedback, in helping us determine the best solution for Ottawa.”
“Our project team undertook an exhaustive study of many corridors to extend the Confederation Line to the west,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the Transportation Committee. “The project work has been peer reviewed and refined, in response to comment from the public and the National Capital Commission. We will continue to gather public feedback and work with the NCC as the project goes into detailed design and approvals stages ─ as we did for the Confederation Line project that is under construction now.”
The project team initially evaluated 15 routes between Bayview Station and Baseline Station, including the possibility of using Carling Avenue. After a report on the study in June of 2012, Council directed further planning and evaluation that take into account feedback from the public and the National Capital Commission.
Further work was carried out, including a peer review of the research, and development of three additional possible corridors. The project team in April recommended Richmond Underground as the best solution. Richmond Underground saves the Byron linear park, removes over 440,000 bus trips from the parkway annually, creates two new transit stations, uses portions of the existing Transitway, has limited impact on the NCC’s Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, creates new pedestrian/cycling links to NCC greenspace along the Ottawa River, and is affordable.
After Richmond Underground was identified as the top-scoring corridors, the project team worked on design changes and mitigation measures that would respond to concerns raised by residents and the NCC about preserving greenspace and views. Solutions include placing sections of the rail line below grade, building open-air stations and using natural ventilation to preserve scenic greenspace.
By building this second major piece of the LRT, the City will have a 22-kilometre electrified rail system that reduces traffic congestion, gives residents the best public transit available today and allows the City to keep growing as it passes the one million population mark. Light rail will roughly double the capacity of the transit system to move people through central Ottawa.
The Western Light Rail Corridor Environmental Assessment Study will become a part of the Transportation Master Plan, which is being updated this year. The western section of the LRT system would be constructed sometime after 2018, when the Confederation Line is constructed and operating.