Friday, May 1, 2009

Kanata to downtown direct bus service ?

I read on Real Grouchy's blog that he and Marianne Wilkinson expected direct BRT service from Kanata to downtown to continue after the LRT system is opened from Tunney's to Blair.

When the DOTT study began, its terms of reference were from Bayview to Blair. It was a somewhat dubious proposition to force all west end commuters to transfer to the LRT at Bayview when they were already in sight of the downtown. They therefore proposed continuing BRT service from the west into the core. Since the transitway would be converted to LRT, the buses would exit the transitway at Tunney's and use Scott-Albert-Slater through the downtown. Turning all the buses around was a problem, so they proposed to run them all the way through to Hurdman. Then they would pick up traffic at Hurdman. It was immediately apparent that this approach had many flaws:

1. we would build a tunnel and LRT, but have to keep the bus lanes on Albert-Slater
2. not enough people would be on the LRT/BRT if a parallel surface BRT ran from Hurdman to Kanata through the downtown
3. The LRT and BRT are on the same alignment from Campus to Hurdman, and Booth to Bayview ... this might force a mixed surface running both buses and LRT's
4.. the surface bus lanes would stay in place for about 20 years, until the LRT was extended to Lincoln Fields. Would west end taxpayers be willing to continue funding an LRT system they seldom used? Recall that one reason the southwest LRT was killed was because west and east end commuters saw no immediate benefit to themselves.

The final LRT system selected deliberately offered service to two high ridership routes - east and west. (I confess I still think the southwest route was better from a town planning perspective, as it shaped new growth rather than servicing old growth, and existing neighborhoods usually complain about any changes, especially intensification).

BTW, as a citizen rep on the public advisory committeee to DOTT, I made those very aguments repeatedly.

So in January of so of this year, the DOTT mandate was extended to Tunney's. There is room there for a major transfer station. It is far enough from the downtown core to "warrant" transfering people from BRT to LRT. The LRT will offer all users the advantage of an exclusive grade separated congestion free all-indoor route through the congested downtown and its immediate east and west sides. And importantly, more taxpayers will get to ride on the LRT and benefit from its glamorous stations etc etc and thus be willing to vote for expanding it.

Note that the DOTT team and OC Transpo do not expect west end BRT users heading to Bayview and its O-Train or Booth to go to Hull, to transfer to the LRT. Instead, every 3rd or 4th 95 bus will continue to Bayview and Booth and maybe over to Hull. But not into the downtown.

In full disclosure, I should note that Marianne Wilkinson was my high school Geography teacher at Boredom High in Nepean. I subsequently went on to accumulate two geography degrees and the world's shortest career at the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs and subsequently the urban transit directorate at Transport Canada.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the detailed clarifications on when the change took place. I fully agree (and always have) that buses should not go downtown.

    - RG>