Transit alternative the first

As I’m sure many of you know, the City of Ottawa officially released four new transit alternatives on Monday. I’ve decided to go through each of them, presenting the highlights and what my opinion on the plan is, starting with the first alternative.

Alternative 1 is about as conservative as you can get for transit planning in Ottawa. It involves creating a downtown tunnel, yes, but that tunnel would be dedicated to continued Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service like the existing Transitway. It also calls for a significant expansion of the existing Transitway, and would not involve rail transit at all, except for the existing 8 km O-Train line.

This plan would cost about $3.2 billion dollars (the cheapest plan to implement) and require an annual operating budget of $485 million the most expensive estimated budget). There would be twin bus-only tunnels running through the downtown core, with a bus required every 14 seconds by 2031.

I think that it’s pretty obvious the only real advantage of this plan is the cost. It would be relatively cheap and easy to implement, but the advantages end there. It would lock us into a bus-only transit system almost permanently, and I can’t imagine that a bus-only tunnel would be a very pleasant place; you only need to catch a bus at Saint-Laurent to know that. It would be pretty short-sighted of City Council to approve this plan, and hopefully the city’s government is smart enough to know that.

Lastly, a map of the proposed new system:

Alternative 1

Source: City of Ottawa, Beyond 2020

3 Responses to “Transit alternative the first”

  1. March 5, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    There’s no cost advantage in the long term — especially as oil prices rise, and a carbon tax is inevitable.

  2. 2 David McClelland
    March 5, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Good point, that’s something I probably should have mentioned in the post.

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Email: dmccl033(at)uottawa(dot)ca

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