Western LRT “Stage 2” Plans: An open letter

16 03 2015

An open letter to:
Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa
Keith Egli, Chair, Transportation Committee
Stephen Blais, Chair, Transit Commission
Mark Taylor, City Councillor and Deputy Mayor
cc: Jeff Leiper, City Councillor
The McKellar Park Community Association is pleased with progress made towards an LRT agreement-in-principle between the city and NCC. We look forward to exploring possible further refinements to the plan, with the same collaborative spirit that led to this agreement. In the interest of a more effective consultation at the March 30th open house, we request a meeting with key stakeholders in advance of that meeting. Of immediate interest are:
  1. Technical design options and constraints at Cleary Station. In addition to challenges with the route through Unitarian and other properties, there is local concern about safety at the station site. Even if it were not mandated to be “invisible”, the location is inherently difficult to secure for 24-hour pedestrian access, and conventional measures such as lighting and video surveillance are not adequate. Also, the site’s extremely tight access constraints pose further challenges for emergency and other vehicles under realistic usage as a transit station.
  2. Plans and alternatives for routing of buses and other traffic during construction. We are particularly eager that local residents be fully engaged in decision-making about these matters, and that the planning schedule be public well in advance of any decisions.
  3. Options and constraints at Dominion Station and the portal north of Rochester Field. As users of this station, McKellar Park residents are eager to understand routing and access both to the station and for pedestrian and bicycle paths in the area. We are disappointed that the current plan for this high-visibility location includes a fenced open-trench portal west of the station, an eyesore that diminishes accessibility and reduces the waterfront park space by forcing the parkway travel lanes closer to the river. We would like to discuss whether this portal trench can be removed and if the cost to remove it can be obtained from another source or other savings.
  4. Engagement of the local community in enhancing the remaining Rochester Field park land. We acknowledge the tremendous potential of this greenspace gateway between the riverfront and the Richmond/Byron corridor, and are eager to participate in making this a vibrant park. We hope to learn how to make that happen, with whom to work, and where to push for budgetary support of this initiative. The community also expects early and ongoing consultation on development planning for the remainder of Rochester Field, in accordance with the Community Design Plan (CDP).

We again commend the working group participants in achieving this breakthrough, and hope you can facilitate a stakeholder meeting to explore these matters in advance of the March 30th open house.

McKellar Park Community Association