Ever since I started considering Ottawa home, somebody somewhere’s been nattering on about light rail transit (LRT). It was supposed to be up and running by now. Then it was still in the initial planning phase. Then it was cancelled. Then it was reborn with new management. then it was over budget. Now, a small age after it was first brought up, Ottawa says they’re ready to get underway. for sure, now. Promise. Step 1: redo the transitway. Wait–what?
If OC Transpo has its way, and they’re figuring they will, most if not all of the transitway from the downtown core to pretty much the east end of the city will be rail line. For folks what exist in Ottawa and do the bus thing, that means there’s about to be a whole lotta shaking going on as they shuffle every route that even dips onto the transitway for 5 seconds onto the 417–which they’re also hoping to have widened by the time that becomes an issue. That means, if we’re doing our theoretical trip from this place to a college campus in the east end (more on that in another entry), rather than walk up to the mall that isn’t far from here and catch a direct route, we’ll be theoretically hopping at least one bus, to what I’m assuming will be the nearest train station in this end of the city, jumping a train to the east end, then hopping a bus from there–unless they really surprise me–and getting off at the campus location. Or, walking up to the mall in this end, grabbing a bus and taking a very indirect route to the east end and getting dropped off where we’re supposed to be. either way, they take a system that works fairly well–when their drivers don’t decide to go on strike for 3 months–and make it overly complicated. And they still have absolutely no idea how most of the thing’s going to work, or how much more they’ll be charging folks, when it’s all said and done.
The transitway was designed so the major routes, particularly the ones stopping off at universities and the like, could get downtown from here without sifting through rush hour trafick to do so. The plan as it stands now will see those same routes, probably with several changes, heading downtown via the highway–and right along with rush hour trafick. Which, no big surprise, will take longer–not something OC Transpo needs when they’re trying to *increase* ridership.
All of this is supposed to happen in early 2013. This time, they mean it. Pinky swear, even. So they’ve got about until 2016 to make a few more adjustments–or at least clarify the ones already made. In theory, it’s a cost saver. But in theory, we have it already. In 2025, in theory, we’ll know what it looks like. Of course by 2018, no one not in city council will actually care.