I’m often asked how people are responding to the Western LRT plans announced last Thursday. Here are snippets from all the feedback we’ve received, positive, negative and questions.
In no particular order:
“I appreciate that the City has undertaken to improve the design for the Richmond Road route for the Western LRT”
“It should have been the residents, [not the City] that choose the preferred route, and that would be Carling Avenue.”
“Fantastic. Great work Katherine.”
“This plan looks to be pretty close to as good as we’ll get.”
“Looks to me like staff have done a commendable job of responding to as many of the community concerns as possible. I particularly appreciate the new pedestrian connections under the LRT and Parkway. The revised Richmond Underground option now gets two thumbs up from me. Now if we can just get the NCC to reduce the Parkway from 4 lanes to 2, then we’ll have some riverfront greenspace worthy of the name!”
“This I am OK with as long as our green space is not touched; our Byron strip left alone”
“There are not enough businesses on Richmond Road in Westboro to justify the line’s existence.”
“Will dominion station be built right in front of the existing residences?”
“Very impressive and exciting. I hope this project will be successful. I love the fact that it will be underground where necessary to preserve the beauty of our city.”
“I am delighted that the city listened to the concerns we raised last year, and then again to the concerns raised by a smaller group of people this year. The current Richmond Underground route has outstanding promise, and I am an enthusiastic supporter. I look forward to the day when I can walk to Cleary to take the train downtown.”
“I gather the light rail will now continue along the parkway and not cross Rochester Park onto Byron. This is great. Wish I owned one of the beautiful condos at Cleary and Richmond!!”
“As soon as most folks in McKellar realize how much their property values will increase because of LRT they will come on side.”
“This seems very promising! The video was a good idea. I’m very happy when I see ideas, suggestions and concerns coming from the community and actually getting a response from planners and politicians. Over the years we’ve had far too much “top-down” imposition from both official Ottawa and the developers. Any step in the other direction is much appreciated. Thank you for all your work on this.”
“Excellent work Katherine!”
“I would like to know if the local bus routes along the Richmond Road corridor will be removed should this go through?”
“I do appreciate the substantial concessions that the new announcement has addressed.”
“I am sooo happy to hear what the final decision is. I would love to know if there will be an increase in value in our property when all is done. Or at the very least, our value will increase to at least what house values are inside McKellar as now they are slightly lower on Byron.”
“The current proposal shows that the city has listened to the residents and has provided some answers to their concerns but I am afraid that the new proposal of a berm to cover the railway and its fences would do what I feared. The Railway must be buried completely and the Cleary station eliminated in favour of one at Woodroffe to service Carlingwood Mall or the LRT moved to Carling Ave to service the hospital and the myriad businesses and condos along that street.”
“As a Kitchissippi resident living relatively close to the R12 Richmond Underground route, I am very pleased to see the enhancements and the modifications to the route and the stations as presented last week.
The efforts of all involved over the past few months is certainly evident and the modifications reflect many elements that have been suggested by the local communities. It is also refreshing momentum in the overall Western Light Rail project, which I have been following closely for over four years.
Having engaged many local residents over the past years in conversation and lively, constructive debate about the various potential routes for the Confederation Line west of Tunney’s Pasture, I have heard very diverse opinions reflecting many impacts and opportunities of light rail through our communities. Since last week, I have perceived a noticeable shift in the overall ‘tone’ of these conversations. Many now seem even more positive towards the most recent revisions to the route and are excited to have the City move forward with vision and with clarity for the future stages.”
“I’m impressed. Thanks Katherine! It seems like an excellent compromise to bury the line only where absolutely necessary, and only to the depth necessary to provide the access and noise abatement that is being sought by local residents.”
“Thank you for the update on the proposed “Richmond Underground” LRT route. I attended the open house on April 25th, and feel that the recent enhancements to the route address any concerns that I had.”
“Thank-you for helping secure $80 million in design changes to the Western LRT. It is clearly much better for it.”
“The southern side bicycle/pedestrian path must not be positioned as shown in display panels close or closer than currently to the east bound roadway, nor introduce needless hills. The paved pathway should be on the top centre of the tunnel from Cleary Station east to the eastern end of the tunnel, currently at Rochester Field.”
“What steps will the City be taking to minimize toxicity of diesel exhaust emissions of equipment used to construct the western LRT segment, so as to minimize adverse health effects (including premature death) on and better accommodate the significant portion of the population disabled with lung, (including asthma), heart, and/or kidney disease?”
“I’d prefer [the Transitway trench] to be covered, since this would make areas available on the North side of Scott St. for commercial development.”
“As one of your constituents, I applaud your hard word and creativity in arriving at these compromise solutions for the Western LRT.
I hope that the full Council will approve the new plan and initiate this magnificent project, which I believe has been delayed far too long.”
“The proposal is excellent. You and the City staff are to be congratulated on a job well done.
I would hope that the proposal addresses the NCC’s concerns. I truly wish that they stop being a hindrance to transit development and become a partner with the city.”
“I think that an LRT along the transitway would be very noisy and intrusive, unless the rolling stock were modelled on the Montréal Metro, i.e. with rubber tires rolling on concrete. We had friends in Toronto whose apartment overlooked the open-cut portion of the Toronto subway on Yonge Street north of Bloor Street, and every time a subway train went by we were disturbed by the noise of steel wheels on steel rails. I don’t know if that aspect has been considered but it is too important to be ignored.”
“Just want to tell you that I think you’ve done great job at coming up with a very reasonable and intelligent solution to the challenge of the LRT route through Westboro. I’m sure you’ve taken a lot of flack too. Hang in!”
“Well the plan is looking better, but I have 2 suggestions. Before I make them, I just want to remark that the introduction of light rail is an opportunity to not make things worse.
1) fully bury the rail line from Cleary to Dominion. The park at Maplelawn is a great way to access the park land and the river (even if it is difficult to cross the parkway with a canoe) and exposing the rail line makes no sense in there. It is worth the extra 10M$ or so to keep it buried all the way to Dominion. We don’t need a trench and fencing to isolate the two areas of park land. In the long run it will be a mistake not to do so. Plus – why force the elevation of the rail line at Dominion? The grade is low on either side. Better to do a leveling between the transitway grade and the buried grade.
2) take the opportunity, since the parkway and the transitway will be separated, to move the southernmost parkway closer to the northernmost at Dominion. This will open up the space needed for bike path as it is a little congested in there … That park next to Maplelawn is fine the way it is! No need to develop that land!”
“Never mind the critics, I think you have been very reasonable in dealing with the LRT — and I think it is an important step forward –”
“I still think that city council has once again totally missed the boat by not picking the Carling Ave route – that’s where the population, the businesses, community organisations, and the traffic already are, and where the light rail would have the greatest net benefit.”
“I think that burying the LRT between Dominion and Cleary will satisfy residents along that route and preserve the parkland presence.
As I mentioned in a previous letter I support protecting the Byron Linear Park which is a very well used green space in our community. With density comes the need to safeguard pedestrian places in our city.”
“Well done! I love it.”
“Thank you for your hard work on this project and for fighting for a compatible design and extra funding to secure it for our community. While it is probably not perfect for everybody, I think the new proposal is something we should all be able to live with. I am happy that the trains will not run on Richmond Road or Byron linear park as that would have divided a vibrant, functional community. I am happy they will not run at grade along the edge of the Parkway either. I am pleased that access to the Parkway will be assured at Cleary, pathways and green space will be preserved, and that the trains will run below ground through the residential section. For homeowners along the Parkway, I understand why they would prefer the trains to run in a tunnel, and perhaps they will still push for that, but the latest plan with the trains below ground level looks so much better than the original plans that I would be happy with it. Getting the NCC on board would be reassuring.
Do we have light at the end of this tunnel? One hopes.”
“There is no recognition that this is beloved community park land. The plan demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of basic park and landscape design.”
“How many years will it take to get decent vegetation so that it will hide your station that is in fact NOT needed at Cleary. How many condominiums in the area of Cleary will it require to justify a station at Cleary?”
“This city council continues to disregard the importance of preserving a unique waterfront, which has been here for thousands of years. The healing powers of flowing water, green space and a quiet place to walk etc are not to be underestimated.”
“The current LRT proposal protects the Byron Linear Park at the expense of the Parkway Green Space and the continued wasted unused space of Rochester field. ”
“It’s not enough!”
“Good plan. Well done! You won’t please 100% of people, but this plan should get the most votes.”
“It seems that the major objection to the proposed LRT has to do with the extension west of Tunney’s Pasture. Here is a radical proposal that will eliminate this problem. Take the new line only as far as Tunney’s Pasture. This will provide transportation to Tunney’s Pasture employees and others in the area, and eliminate the need for the expensive remedies proposed. Why make a huge effort to placate a part of the city where it is clear a major part of the residents don’t want the system? To take care of transit requirements to the West of the city, implement the O-Train extension which was cancelled by Larry O’Brien.”
“While there is no plan that will satisfy everyone (except at an untenable cost perhaps), this version appears to address many concerns in a reasonable fashion.”
“I’m sure you are continuing to be deluged by yet more objections to the latest LRT proposals, but as a resident of Windermere Ave I wanted to let you know that I support the latest revisions. In a rare moment the City has actually listened to its citizens and come up with a good compromise. Now its time to get on with implementation.”
“Noted you’ve moved away from the Byron linear park for good. Thank you … The video calls for a berm, landscaping and fences. You’re changing the landscape of this waterfront area for residents and users. Just do it right and build a tunnel. ”
“This was a great, informative and relevant e-mail and video. Thanks for sending it.”
“It is so offensive, particularly for the people living along that so-called plan for a tunnel along 700 metres. As well, the stations are placed so close to dwellings, it is hard to conceive that this plan is serious, but from your remarks, you think it works. It doesn’t.”
“This is all sounding good! Look forward to hearing more as plans progress.”
“As a 20 year resident of Mckellar park I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have learned that the preferred Western LRT route will not compromise Byron Linear Park. I can tell you that its value as it currently exists cannot be overstated. I have seen everyone from people pushing baby carriages, to the elderly out for a stroll, and all in between. Its more than a park, it is part of Westboro’s social fabric. The LRT preferred route will enhance this as opposed to taking away from it! Bravo to you and all your hard work, it has certainly paid off.”
“Wish the train would service high density areas and run along routes where people live, for example. Baseline, carling, etc. Running along the parkway continues to provide the same level of services which sadly continue an under utilized ineffective over priced system.”
“It’s apparent you are listening to everyone’s concerns and trying to accommodate as many people as possible. The new plan sounds like a good compromise to me. Too bad it couldn’t all be so much simpler, but it’s difficult when everyone is trying to envision their future long-term.”
“While I wasn’t overly sympathetic with the complaints that lead to these changes — sometimes we have to make do with inconveniences when living in a big city (I know all about that living right next to the towers of Preston). However, the changes your team have come up with seem both sensible and affordable and I guess I reluctantly support them.”
“Does anyone have any idea what the costs will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Every day the costs keep going up.”
“Good for you! This looks much better.”
“As a resident of Mansfield Ave between Richmond and Skead, I accept this underground stretch would be an improvement over the previous proposal. However, as a transport economist with 40 years of experience in transport research, and a major developer and practitioner of cost-benefit evaluation methods in transport, I have to reinforce the conclusions of the original city consideration of rail transit options, that the appropriate east-west route would be along Carling Avenue.”
“I saw the video of the changes to the Richmond Underground route, and am glad to hear about the new underpass beneath the Parkway at “Cleary”, and the plan to bury the line near the houses. Can I make a suggestion? How about renaming the station at Cleary Avenue to be called “McKellar Park”.”
“Do you mean that you have increased the cost of the system by 80 million? Think of what could do with this 80 Million in other parts of the city in need of better transit solutions.”