Neighbours for Smart Western Rail want to see the beauty of the Ottawa River Parkway preserved and enhanced. So we are encouraged that the City has taken the voices of citizens seriously in putting forward an option that protects the Ottawa River’s beauty and promotes access to its shores for all residents and visitors.
Replacing the two eastbound automobile lanes with LRT will eliminate the current heavy bus traffic and and greatly reduce automobile traffic on the Parkway. The noise and air pollution that currently characterizes this space, particularly at rush hour, will be reduced.
With the space afforded along the Parkway, the City is promising to use special landscaping techniques to keep people a safe distance from the passing trains, not fencing. The City suggests that views from train, car and shore will be unimpeded. While the visual effect of the electrical wires powering the trains will be less obvious by virtue of the Parkway’s trees, Neighbours for Smart Western Rail are equally interested in working with all concerned parties to ensure that this wiring has minimal impact on visual perspectives of this landscape.
Depending on the City’s work with the National Capital Commission, access to the shores of the Ottawa River could improve significantly with additional stops at New Orchard and Cleary Avenue. These could offer public transit riders new opportunities to step off the train and explore the Ottawa River and its pathways. The City is also planning to add more pedestrian underpasses and overpasses so that people can reach the shores of the Ottawa River more safely than they can today through 4 lanes of quick Parkway traffic.
In total, some 20% of the over $500 million of the estimated cost for this project is to be dedicated to protecting the aesthetic splendour of our cherished Ottawa River landscape.
Neighbours for Smart Western Rail look forward to working with other concerned citizens groups, community associations and residents of our city and country to hold the City to its promises and make any Ottawa River Parkway LRT route successful. With all that’s at stake, we call for and expect open, frank discussions between the National Capital Commission and City to ensure that the views of all parties with an investment in Ottawa’s future are heard and considered.