So I let this one sink in a bit to see if I was just "Awesome train stuff biased..." about using the POW train bridge, well.., for trains... Turns out, I AM biased for using the bridge for its intended purpose. However, I took some time out of the boring part of my life: work, family, dog.., to put some action behind my thoughts. As I posted elsewhere, I believe the argument that the POW bridge is too far west is false. I did a small experiment. Starting downtown, I took the Otrain to Bayview got out and "pretended" to take the Trillium to Tache bus transfer by taking an uber. I boarded the Rabidbus and off I went. Making the assumption that my uber was actually a quick connect fast Trillium shuttle across the river, it was fast and simple. On the way back, I got a taxi and made the driver (from Casino) take a route suggested by STO for their tram, all the way to Lyon, then transferred to the Otrain, then to Bayview, then onto line 2 for my theoretical trip to the airport. Even taking 50% off the taxi time to account for coordinated/priority traffic lights or some below grade dedicated stretches... it was ridiculous. If it was a rush hour commute or I was loaded with my suitcase for the off-rush trip to the airport, it was not workable as a real modern city solution. Scientific? No. Representative? Yes.
The Bayview station is actually central to the entire metro area. It is only west of downtown, it is east, north and south of many places! The largest growth is occurring in areas of the metro area that are not downtown Ottawa. LRT Phase 2 will be bringing train access to many employers and entertainment areas. I think people, including myself, forget how a proper train system (not bus/street tram) makes a city feel so much smaller geographically.
Bayview/POW/Tache/Rapidbus connects to the Airport. I cannot stress how important this is to have simple mass transit access to the airport. Very soon, we will have train access to the airport! Almost the entire population of Gatineau (Hull, Gat, et. al.) will be within a very short walk/taxi/uber of a fast single-transfer public transit access to the airport. The Rapidbus ends at Tache, the Trilliium can end there too. Currently , to get to YOW, people in Gatineau have to pay a huge taxi fare (its horrible even from this side in the Market...), pay to park at the airport, or have a friend drop them off. The time, convenience, money, and automobile trips saved to get to and from the airport is well worth this option. Edit - I forgot to mention that if Trillium comes over, and eventually converts entire Rapidbus to train, then most of Gatineau will have direct no-transfer train service to the airport. Something most in Ottawa will never achieve.
To help things along, the airport is not a rush hour use only. YOW is basically a 18 hour operation, a huge employer, and that area of the city is growing like mad. They need employee access and lots of employees like to live in less expensive areas, like Quebec. To think that someone at the Lac Leamy Casino or anyone anywhere along the Rapidbus route, would go to the airport via a) get ride to rapidbus b) change to Hull street tram c) change at Lyon to Otrain d) change at Bayview for Line 2, is simply lunacy. It would take forever and be highly NOT-convenient. Even if they built a dedicated grade separated line that went to Pimisi from downtown Hull, its not practical to change at Pimisi then again at Bayview.
Fast and efficient connections are paramount for success. Gatineau's plan of a street driving tram (or some sort of combination of street and grade separated) is neither fast nor efficient. Just look at the new Kitchener/Waterloo system. The new tram is really nice, but it is not fast in any sense of the word. Uber will compete with them to no end. Gatineau's "new" plan to use the Portage bridge to drop people on the street outside of the Lyon Otrain station is simply ridiculous at best. We just removed the bus traffic from there with an expensive tunnel, and now we think bringing vehicles back to the curb is a good idea? That is not a real interconnected system.
Converting Gatineau's Rapidbus back to train does not have to be a billion dollar expense. With the Trillium going to Tache, it would be simple to, one or two stations at a time, move the train/bus transfer station up the line and convert the buses from rapid bus use to train feeders. Because the way the line is laid out now, at grade boarding ,with no massive expense for elevators, would make this an inexpensive conversion.
This is just one of two needed train bridges - If we are serious about this, then we need a bridge east of downtown too (and convert the Alexandria bridge to LRT too) in order to make this all just wonderful
My 2 cents for today!
Just as a side note, after spending considerable amount of time "riding the rails," the concept that the POW bridge is too far west is not true anymore. With Bayview station now open, it is just a few minutes to downtown, uOttawa, Carleton. I do not think anyone really expected that is would shrink the size of the city so much.
Oh trust me....it's frustrating..yet fun. I still need a few trains to complete the first checklist...but the last few always flummox me!
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