June 25, 2012
NEWS RELEASE: Questions that City Council should be asking about the western light rail report
OTTAWA – Neighbours for Smart Western Rail, a rapidly growing grassroots community group, is deeply concerned about proposals for putting a commuter train through the community along Richmond-Byron – one of the city’s most liveable areas because of its green, pedestrian-friendly and family-oriented nature.
We would like city councillors to ask some questions about these options before they vote Wednesday to approve the transportation committee’s recommendations on the western light rail environmental assessment.
1. Is the intention to transform this area into a dense, commercial zone where single-family homes don’t really fit? Or is the idea to turn it into an intensified transportation corridor to get commuters from Point A to Point B, similar to Bronson or King Edward?
2. How much of Byron Linear Park will disappear if the train goes down Richmond-Byron, percentage-wise? How does this fit with the City Strategic Plan’s service priority of a “Sustainable, Healthy and Active City”? How does this fit with the Urban Greenspace Network described in the Recreation Master Plan? How does this fit with the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan which talks about enhancing (not minimizing) the Byron Linear Park?
3. Where will the vehicular and bus traffic go that currently travels along Richmond Road if two lanes out of 3-4 are taken up by a commuter train track? What would the impact be on the surrounding residential streets? Is the idea to make Byron Avenue more of a thoroughfare?
4. Is placing a train 10-13 metres from a home (as per Delcan’s estimates for Richmond-Byron) considered an acceptable distance, given considerations of safety, vibration, noise and light? What standard has been applied for other rail decisions?
5. Are councillors satisfied that a scenario involving Carling Avenue – AT GRADE – has been fairly evaluated?
6. Will the train be travelling virtually empty on evenings and weekends? Is it worth fundamentally altering beautiful, well-functioning neighbourhoods to address peak-hour traffic?
7. What has the city been doing to find a compromise position with the National Capital Commission on western light rail?
We appreciate the diligence that council applies to all of its work. We hope you are able to visit our neighbourhoods to get a better sense of how a commuter train, running every two to three minutes at peak hours and reaching speeds of up 80 km/h, will affect our community.
For more information, please contact: [email protected]
or Trevor Jones (613) 728-6404