Posts Tagged ‘carling

26
Oct
08

Light rail along Carling

Alternate title: *sigh* Oh god, not this again

I meant to post about this a few days ago, when Public Transit in Ottawa pointed it out, but Councilor Clive Doucet is calling for the City to consider using Carling Avenue as a corridor for our future LRT system. Now, setting aside the fact that this is a debate that should have been concluded six months ago when the transit alternatives were being debated, I can’t help but feel this is an incredibly silly idea.

On the surface, it seems good, I must admit. Doucet is right, Carling is a heavily populated corridor along much of its length—though I think the 300,000 figure he claims is rather optomistic, that being close to the entire pre-amalgamation population of the Ottawa city proper—and is more centrally located than the Ottawa River Parkway, the currently favoured corridor.

Of course, there that has to be followed up with a “but”. And in this case, it’s a big one. For Carling to work as a rapid transit corridor (and we are, I hope, trying to actually build rapid transit), the City would likely need to invest millions of dollars extra to build either a subway or an elevated rail line. Mr. Doucet seems to be calling for something more akin to a streetcar line built in its own right-of-way up the middle of the street, and  using “gates” to block of intersections. I’m not entirely sure what he means, but I’m presuming standard railway crossing gates, much like these in Los Angeles. That doesn’t exactly seem ideal to me, especially given the frequency of trains we’d likely be seeing on such a line.

The bottom line is, I think that running trains along Carling is a great idea if we want to cripple our new system before we even build it. Imagine riding Vancouver’s SkyTrain system, which is generally pretty sleek, fast and modern, and then turning a corner and finding yourself on Toronto’s St. Clair or Harbourfront streetcar. It’d be like you just changed to a completely different (and much slower) transit system, and would make Ottawa’s new transit system a laughingstock in Canada. I sincerely hope that the City is able to see beyond this proposal.




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