OTTAWA – Neighbours for Smart Western Rail, a growing grassroots organization of concerned Ottawa residents, is calling on the City of Ottawa transportation committee to reject any options for a western commuter train route that would cut along the Richmond/Byron corridor.
Putting a high-speed commuter train, carrying 12,000 to 14,000 passengers per hour, straight through the heart of a tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly residential neighbourhood would be devastating to the local community.
The Richmond/Byron routes do not constitute a “wise public investment” as they are up to $1.85 Billion more expensive to Ottawa taxpayers than other identified options in the recent environmental assessment, whilst providing no improvement in service or speed.
The communities that border Richmond/Byron are already a haven for pedestrians and cyclists – a characteristic that should be protected by the city. The noise, vibration and huge physical presence of a commuter train would disrupt a central Ottawa neighbourhood that already functions beautifully for families who stroll the streets and paths, for children who walk and bike to area schools, and for the many seniors who enjoy the tranquility of the area.
Any damage to the Byron Linear Park or Rochester Field with their generations-old trees would be inconsistent with the city’s efforts to preserve green space.
No good argument has yet been presented for why a high-speed commuter train needs to cut through a residential neighbourhood. Councillors should be exploring other options.
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