Re: More Opposition To The Light-Rail Plan | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

James OGrady's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

I am the founder of Unpublished Media Inc., a company I started in 2012. I am also a communications professional and community activist, living in Nepean, Ontario. And, I am a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate for grassroots, participatory democracy at all levels of government.

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Re: More Opposition To The Light-Rail Plan

January 3, 2013

This is one of three comments I made on this blog post by Ken Gray regarding Mark Sutcliffe's OpEd in the Ottawa Citizen on the problems with the current LRT plan for Ottawa.

We need the complete LRT plan for Ottawa, if not Gatineau as well, built yesterday. But, unfortunately we don’t have the money to build both a downtown tunnel and LRT out to all the suburbs that required it. The City has prioritized as a result. Hence the problem.

The majority of people live East-West, so of course they were going to vote for a plan that met their needs first (O’Brien victory in 2007). But, if you don’t live on the East-West axis of the City or rarely venture downtown during rush hour, then the issue of downtown congestion isn’t your primary concern.

I supported a tunnel downtown in the 2010 municipal election because I believe the ideal LRT system includes a downtown tunnel. But, I also believe it includes LRT and/or heavier rail lines out to the suburbs and across the river to Gatineau. Its clear we can’t have the ideal solution, so we need to compromise. That’s been the debate since Chiarelli’s NS proposal came forward.

Because I live off of Greenbank Rd. and have to put up with the ever increasing traffic from Barrhaven that cuts through my community and by my neighborhood schools everyday on the way to the Queensway, I would prefer to see rail head south before a downtown tunnel is built. That’s my personal preference because that’s what affects me and everyone else living in Nepean.

Stage 1 of the current plan will not improve traffic congestion throughout the City. It might downtown during rush hour, but it won’t do anything to help anywhere else. At the same time, it uses up the entire budget. That’s the problem with it.

Ideally, I would like to see the whole plan built as quickly as possible so we can start becoming a first world national capital the way many people living here believe Ottawa is capable of becoming. But, if we have to wait until most of us are dead to realize it, then there isn’t much point to making the sacrifice now.

Frankly, this kind of infrastructure project is too costly for municipal government and should be paid for by the provincial and federal governments, especially the federal government since Ottawa is a federal government town. Until the feds realize the benefit of covering the whole cost now (There are many I don’t have time to get into. See Green Party platform from 2011 federal election campaign for details), we are forced to make compromises that don’t meet the needs of all our residents.

So, my question to you is: Who should come first, those who already have adequate service, although they may not like it, or those who don’t have adequate service?

I’d prefer to see Ottawa’s transportation system expanded and improved first, before replacing existing services. Hence my comment regarding ‘duplication’.