Thursday, October 22, 2009

DOTT plans affect west side residents (vi): Bayview Station revised

Currently the transitway passes over the railway tracks at Bayview with a simple high level overpass. At the east side, it widens for the Bayview station, which is built on a downslope into the LeBreton Flats area. The only access to the Bayview transit station or OTrain station is from the east side of the overpasses.

Passengers can transfer to the OTrain tracks which are on the east side of the railway right of way, simply by walking down the sloped asphalt paths (being careful not to fall off the broken up edges of the path). Recall that the OTrain service north terminus is at Bayview.

The transitway will be converted to LRT use. Earlier plans showed the new LRT station located roughly where the existing transitway station is now located, but with slightly revised elevation and alignment. The new plan proposes major changes to that scheme. The existing transitway overpass will remain in place, but will be widened by about 20' on EACH side, and the station will be on this elevated structure directly over the OTrain cut.

The west end of the station will be on the existing embankment with elevators down to the new OTrain platforms that would be relocated to the west side of the cut, about 100' west of the current OTrain platforms. Presumably the west end of the LRT Bayview station would also have access onto Scott Street, although this is not yet shown (plans are not fully developed). The Otrain platforms are being moved west to open up the area under the overpasses for future LRT construction and possible Rapibus terminal.

The east end of the station will be on the embankment where the current transitway station is now. However, the embankment itself will be gone, replaced with an elevated concrete structure to hold up the tracks and station. Pedestrians will walk over a pedestrian bridge from Albert Street to a mezannine level under the tracks, and then up escalators to the side platform station. Or, from the mezannine, they could go down one level to the future LRT station for the north/south LRT should that be built (currently converting the OTrain line to LRT service is phase 3 of the LRT system buildout). Until the N/S LRT is built, or LRT service is extended to Gatineau via the Prince of Wales Bridge, they may be going down to a Rapibus terminal instead.

The new station location preserves and serves all the necessary options for LRT service to Gatineau, to the south along the OTrain alignment, and east-west. It permits transfers and continuous service by the same LRT vehicles from the downtown to points north, west, and south. It seems a logical design, if expensive and years ahead of living up to its major full potential.

Given that so much bridge widening will be necessary at Bayview, it is time for cyclists and community associations to lobby for improved cyling access from the Albert Street rights of way to the Scott Street corridor rights of way. The simplest thing is to widen the transit bridge on the south side to include a bi-directional segregated bike route. If this link is not built (and during transit construction is the best time to do it) then the dreams of efficient and safe cycling from the west to the downtown will be thwarted as there are no plans to widen the Albert Street overpass over the cut.


  1. Well at least widening the existing Transitway overpass is an improvement on tearing it down and building a new one right next to it. If I understand correctly, the widening will be for the platforms, not to carry trains, correct? If that's the case then the new structure doesn't need to be nearly as strong as the existing structure.

    I agree that further widening it on the south side by another 12 feet or so for a bikeway would not be difficult, though it would virtually fill in the space between Scott/Wellington/Albert and the Transitway at the east end up to about the current O-Train station.

  2. This bridge idea sounds silly. Given that the existing structure would be taken down, why not take the opportunity to do things right? I propose that instead of building a new elevated structure, the Transitway/LRT cut be extended under Bayview Road , with the O-Train tracks going over the cut. This would provide benefits by:

    1) Opening up the vista into Mechanicsville. Granted, it's not pretty now, but things change. Eliminating te physical barrier that is there now, helps to connect this area of Mechanicsville and any future redevelopment to the south end of Hintonburg.

    2) If the O-Train tracks do not have to wend their way between the piers of an elevated structure, that would mean that the curves for the track would be more gentle, increasing speed, reducing noise and improving travel times. One of the big concerns I have with the LRT plan, is the number of sharp curves that would drastically slow trains down.

    This is a once in a generation chance to do things right, so let's not squader it!

  3. Anon: lowering the east-west LRT route is interesting, I don't imagine they have looked at that option since they want to reuse as much infrastructure as possible, but it would replace a barrier-like embankment with an easier-to-cross or cover cut, and would eliminate the hill between the depressed cuts along Scott and (soon to be...) through the Flats.

    David: yes, the tracks remain on the old bridge, the station is built on extensions of the bridge to widen it. Adding a bikeway would be a cinch.

  4. Actually, the current plan calls for the bridge to be replaced by new structure, so the cut should be feasible.