City report proposes changes to locations of LRT stations
New changes to Ottawa's $2.1 billion light rail project would move a station originally slated to be connected to the National Arts Centre to the entrance of the Byward Market instead, according to a report published by the city.
The report says the station connected to the NAC would have been located under the Rideau Canal. Building it would have meant digger deeper and incurring extra costs. The city's report says that cost wouldn't be worth it considering the amount of people expected to use the NAC station.
Instead, city officials say a station at the entrance to the Byward Market would be better for commuters.
"In terms of cost savings and making sure we get the most usage out of the LRT, this is what's proposed by staff at this point," said councillor Mathieu Fleury.
But some transit experts say the NAC station was crucial to adequately serving Ottawa's downtown core.
"The stations downtown were already going to be too far apart," said Transport Action Canada President David Jeanes. "Now we find there is no station serving the whole of the Elgin Street and Confederation Square area?"
"That's a big mistake."
Ottawa city council voted unanimously in favour of moving forward with a light rail tunnel through the downtown core in July.
The relocation of the NAC station is just the latest change to the project. The stations will be less elaborate than originally proposed and some of the tunnels will be shallower.
Still, while the debate rages over whether the station should be located near the NAC or at the Byward Market, some residents say either location would work.
"You'd still be in the area," said resident Melissa Fraser. "For me, it's easy to walk to either. If I got off at the NAC, coming over here to the market wouldn't be difficult."
With a report from CTV's Ellen Mauro