60 per cent of Ottawa, Gatineau residents support STO tramway tunnel under Sparks Street: Survey
A slide showing the proposed tracks of a future STO tram system in Ottawa, using either Wellington Street aboveground or a tunnel under Sparks Street. (City of Gatineau et al./WSP consulting)
OTTAWA -- Commuters are onboard the idea of running the STO's new transit system under Sparks Streets in downtown Ottawa.
And public consultations show a majority of residents in Ottawa and Gatineau want Gatineau's proposed electric tramway to connect with the Confederation Line.
A report for Wednesday's Transportation Committee meeting outlines the results of a public consultation survey on the Societe de transport de l'Outaouais' proposal to connect its electric tramway to the downtowns of Ottawa and Gatineau.
The STO identified two corridor options for the tramway after it crosses into Ottawa at the Portage Bridge.
- Wellington Street on the surface with three stations. This corridor also includes two sub-options with traffic maintained along the entire length and without traffic between Bank Street and Elgin Street.
- Sparks Street tunnel (with two stations)
Between June 22 and July 19, the STO offered an online consultation to the general public in Ottawa and Gatineau.
Of the 1,503 people living in Ottawa and Gatineau who responded, 60 per cent said the Sparks Street tunnel is the preferred option.
"Despite the higher costs associated with this option, questionnaire respondents feel it is the most realistic and viable option over the long term," the report by Annie-Pier Caron Daviault consultant said.
"It would also be the option that would best meet various objectives presented, namely meeting the travel needs of respondents connecting the STO and OC Transpo transit system, providing improved access to Sparks Street and the Parliamentary Precinct."
Nearly one in four respondents indicated the two options for Wellington Street (with or without traffic), were not an acceptable option for the tramway.
The survey also found that 51 per cent of respondents said the tramway on Wellington Street would be compatible with the image and patrimonial value of the national capital and Parliament Hill.
According to the survey, 87 per cent of respondents said the Gatineau tramway must adequately serve major destinations in downtown Ottawa.
Eighty-four per cent of respondents say the new Gatineau transit system must connect with Ottawa's O-Train system.
The report for the Transportation Committee says Gatineau's STO continues to study options for running the electric tramway into Ottawa.
"Inserting a new transit facility into Ottawa's downtown core is complicated due to its historical context, being a capital city, competing needs and limited rights-of-way," says the report.
"The study is continuing with its technical analyses."
The report notes there are still several issues to be resolved before City of Ottawa staff can formulate a recommendation about Wellington or Sparks as the preferred corridor, including:
- Parliament Hill and Judicial Precinct Access
- Traffic Impact on Ottawa Streets
- Property Requirements
- All-Tram vs. Hybrid