On June 13th the City of Ottawa released an update to the Ottawa Western (Light Rail Transit) LRT plan. This update was meant to address the concerns of local Westboro residents (with opinions voiced mainly by those living along Skead St.) who complained that the original plan (to have the LRT in a semi-submersed trench, hidden by a berm, between Skead St. and the parkway) hindered visibility of, and access to, the parkway and river front. Thus, the proposed solution is to fully submerge the section of the LRT line from after Rochester Field (where the houses begin) all the way to Cleary Station where it originally planned on going underground, and in so doing, keep the level of access and visibility of the parkway and river what it is right now.
This solution does solve the majority of concerns voiced by the more emotionally charged (irrational) residents who were complaining about the impact the LRT would have on them and their places of residence, but still fails to address the larger systemic problem with the entire Western LRT route (which I addressed in my earlier article).
The aesthetic and scenic concerns encountered along the edge of the parkway would not be an issue had the city made the proper choice in the beginning and run the transit system along Carling Ave. Now they are having to deal with the very stubborn (and often misguided) residents of Westboro. Secondly this modification brings into question the cost of the Western LRT line, because with more of it underground it one wonders whether there are still any cost savings over the discarded Carling option. This is an important factor as the reason they chose the Green Line and not Carling (and the reason the Green Line was to only be partially underground) was that otherwise there would be no real cost savings over some of the other more practical routes.
There are still many questions to be answered but one thing is for sure: with the delicate and sensitive nature of the parkway, its nearby residents, and the building of infrastructure nearby, one can be sure that there are bound to be more costs to come, none of which will help in dismissing the notion that Carling would have made a better Western LRT route.