Friday, October 23, 2009

DOTT plans affect west side residents (x): Campus Station

The Ottawa U station on the new DOTT system will be located near the location of the current surface transitway Campus station. Recall that early plans had a new surface station here, but it made more sense to keep the LRT service in the tunnel longer to avoid having the trains climb to the surface and then descend again towards Lees Avenue, and the underground option also facilitates surface car traffic on the roads. This logical change to a better plan is, of course,  headlined as an example of wildly escalating DOTT costs, overruns, etc.

 (Note that this and other benefits to car traffic will be expensed as a DOTT expenditure, not charged to the general transportation budget. It is worth emphasizing because many of the DOTT expenditures will deliver great benefits to motorists (not the least of which is getting buses out of the downtown) but motorists will not pay a cent specifically for the benefits but can complain bitterly about the overly-expensive LRT).

The new Campus station will be located somewhat closer to the Canal than the current station. This shift is done to minimize surface road disruption during construction (car benefit!). But it generates some interesting benefits to residents of centretown. The station, like the others, will have two entraces. One will be a bit south of the current pedestrian underpass and Campus transitway station. The other will be a few hundred meters north. Most intriguingly, the north station entrance will be very close to the end of the new Corktown (Somerset Street) pedestrian and cyclist bridge. Recall that this much derrided and mocked bridge has proven very popular with residents, pedestrians, cyclists, and visitors, and resulted in new linkages between neighborhoods.

It is yet to be worked out if the new north entrance could be right at the eastern edge of the Corktown Bridge. This would make the Campus Station into a Golden Triangle station as well, and offer LRT service conveniently to City Hall, the Court House, and Elgin Street. The station access design is difficult here, with the various conditions attached to the Corktown Bridge design, the heritage status of the Canal, etc but it is exciting to consider the urban planning benefits of having one of the north entrances located right at the end of the bridge. (Does anyone else not feel there is something a bit wrong with the current handling of the bridge pedestrians and cylists that have to descend from the bridge to a at-grade road crossing, before ascending again into the campus? It always seems to me to be overly circuitous, inconvenient, and incomplete. Pedestrians go out of their way because the motorists come first).

I gather Ottawa U officials are ecstatic about the Campus Station design and entrance points. The DOTT LRT service will greatly improve the accessability and attractiveness of their business to all regions of the City.


  1. If the station is to be underground, why not move it to a location closer to King Edward, so that Sandy Hill residents can enjoy better service? That would roughly line up the station with Lees anyways.

  2. I agree with Anonymous. If we're going underground anyway, at least make it worthwhile.

    As for the "benefit" of moving transit underground, I recall one of the consultants saying how this would improve the "gateway" into Ottawa by removing the buses. I guess he must have meant car users on Nicholas, because for transit users (including those taking transit from the VIA station) it won't be improved in a visual sense. Perhaps Nicholas should be buried at the same time as part of a Byward through-traffic burial project between the MacDonald Bridge and the Queensway.

  3. Does anyone else not feel there is something a bit wrong with the current handling of the bridge pedestrians and cylists that have to descend from the bridge to a at-grade road crossing, before ascending again into the campus.

    Absolutely not.

    There's something a LOT wrong with it. As usual, it was designed by people who drive everywhere.

    Cf. the deliberate congestion built into the woefully small O-Train platforms at Carleton. Mind you there's not much wrong there that a pair of bolt cutters wouldn't fix.