The City of Ottawa launched the first stage of the light rail transit system in September 2019. Multiple issues arising soon after the inauguration, Ecology Ottawa and The Ken and Debbie Rubin Public Interest Advocacy Fund saw an opportunity to assess and shed more light on how light rail stations perform across a range of social and sustainability-related concerns. As a pilot program, Ecology Ottawa sees a need for further study of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the implementation of light rail in Ottawa, ongoing monitoring of the Confederation Line network, as well as for content that will help ensure the successful delivery of the second stage of the light rail. This is a first attempt at delineating several lines of evaluation, studying only two stations.
Follow this link to access the final findings and recommendations on opportunities to improve Rideau and Parliament stations in order to make commuting safer, more accessible and more convenient for all users.
One major finding stemming from Ecology Ottawa’s analysis and public conversations around transit and active transportation is the critical role of the development of light rail transit in determining the way Ottawans choose to commute.
The audits of the Rideau and Parliament light rail stations revealed important issues that had not yet been discussed in the media. Ecology Ottawa is confident that the results of the audits support other studies conducted by partner organizations in the sector such as the Council on Aging of Ottawa with their Snow Mole audits, and the Ottawa Transit Riders. Ecology Ottawa encourages the City of Ottawa to acknowledge and fix the issues with the first stage of the LRT, as well as urges both the City and the Rideau Transit Group to consider the recommendations stated above to avoid similar problems in the second stage. While some constitute significant investments, such as implementing better weather-sheltered bus stops, others are simple fixes that will make the Ottawa transit system much more appealing. Ranging from suitable bike ramps, sufficient bike parking, and an increase of users’ sense of place with improvements of the access to greenspace and green infrastructure, we hope the City sees the co-benefits involved in implementing these suggestions, such as reduced road traffic and better air quality. The advantages involved in improving the light rail experience for transit users is multifaceted and is directly linked to the ability Ottawa has of being a leader in its response to the climate crisis. Ecology Ottawa is hopeful that further steps will be taken to have a bigger and better impact, both on the transit riders’ point of view, but also on the climate front.
If you would like to continue auditing light rail stations, please use this document as a template and send us your results. We will continue to accept reports and will communicate issues with city staff and councillors when relevant. Thank you for your continued support and help with transportation issues!
Contact Emilie at [email protected] for more information.