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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 16th Session LRT into Kanata

This is the preparatory part of the Environmental Assessment for the section of Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction from Moodie Station through to a proposed station at the Canadian Tire Centre.   This step in the process will consider the corridor, the stations and the relevant criteria for a functional design of the LRT facility.  The central theme will be to accommodate the formal 120 day TPAP with a functional design that will produce a completed formal Environmental Assessment.    

This new functional design is to be one in which the stations are structured to encourage as best as possible the connection for pedestrians, cyclists and other transit vehicles over vehicles to LRT Stations in Kanata-Stittsville.   The existing and new Park & Ride facilities will function as they should, but the stress will be to accommodate the other modes of access more fully in the functional design than had been done in past stages.    Accommodate people who walk, bicycle or take transit better as was done for LRT Stage #2 before construction began.
Unhappily while technical constraints and grade separation are a given the Transportation Master Plan from 2013 is one on which the Stage #3 LRT proposal will be built despite the welcome involvement of the Federal and Provincial Governments in sharing the cost and leading the assessment of the bids.

The criteria for screen the potential corridors are: ridership, potential for building Intensification, natural factors, social elements, complexity of construction and the projected cost.     The corridors which survived the basic analysis are those along Highway 417.     That is to say the possible choice of a corridor along Compeau Drive, a corridor North of Highway 417, a corridor South of Highway 417  had the fewest disadvantages, but the corridor along the 1996 bus transitway proposal survived with a plus result on all six criteria at least in this initial stage of consideration.

The one element of consideration is that the process properly serves the area North of  Highway 417 in the Tanger Mall area with is expected to become a very large employment location in the immediate 10 to 15 years.     However since the choice of serving the High Tech area in Kanata North with LRT facilities is not being considered because the study group does not think that LRT trains would serve the High Tech area of Kanata North any more frequently that every 12 minutes and that is judged to be unacceptable.     They propose to use the fully designed and environmentally assessed and approved bus transitway proposed for the median of March Road.    They note that after a few months we will have LRT service used to the full and still hold to the in frequent use of LRT service to the North Kanata High Tech area.    The working population in the High Tech area is 21,000 plus.  

About 10,500 of total come from across the City.   If the LRT trains deliver 600 passengers to Eagleson Station it would take 17 and ½ trains to deliver the current employees to Eagleson and a constant stream of 100 people crowded on to busses to deliver them North.   That does not leave room for Kanata residents much of the remaining 10,500 to travel by bus.    

I cannot help but wonder whether LRT trains would need to provide service every three minutes from Centretown to Kanata to realistically serve the cross town commuters and that this could be possible because there will only be one way to get to Kanata by LRT.     Whereas there will likely be the O Train service and the Baseline Station service to take people to Barrhaven for those heading to Barrhaven as commuters.

Furthermore, there will be approximately 8,000 military and DND employees being brought to Moodie Drive Station many as commuters.   I just do not see dropping off 10,500 people at Eagleson Station and a ten minute bus ride or up to 8,000 at Moodie Station and a three minute bus ride.   The military will need to be accommodated by 2025 when the Kanata service will be in full flight.    A quick bus ride may work in good weather, but in bad weather I doubt its acceptability.   In any event a ten minute bus ride raises the spectre of many persistent complaints.

There will be a Public Open House on the Light Rail Transit for Kanata on Monday, June 5 at the Kanata Recreation Complex in Kanata’s Walter Baker Park.    The session begins at 5:30 pm with the presentation at 6:30 pm
Rod MacLean