No Rapibus at Bayview, Please

The following is a letter sent by the DCA to Marie Lemay, chief executive officer of the NCC:

Marie Lemay

Chief Executive Officer

National Capital Commission                                        9 Nov 2009

Re: Interprovincial Transit Study & Rapibus, Bayview Station, Prince of Wales Bridge

The Dalhousie Community Association represents the Ottawa neighborhoods located from Bay Street to Bayview; from the Ottawa River to Carling Avenue.

We note with alarm that it is proposed that a Rapibus station and marshalling yard be constructed on the Bayview/LeBreton Flats development lands.

We feel the Bayview Yard and LeBreton Flats lands, closely proximate to the downtown, are best used for dense urban development according to smart growth and transit-oriented-development principles.

Low value uses, such as bus storage and marshalling facilities, are inappropriate.

The City of Gatineau has opted for a BRT transit system which could later be converted to LRT, much like Ottawa decided 25 years ago to build its transitway BRT. This does not mean that the Rapibus BRT need come into Ottawa. The future of both BRT systems lies in their conversion to LRT.

The POW is a railway bridge now. With maintenance, it could be used to convey LRT vehicles from downtown Ottawa to Gatineau. The bridge may not even need double-tracking to become operational. It is wasteful to consider converting the rail bridge to become a short-term road bridge with long-term aim of converting it back to a rail bridge later.

The NCC should show green leadership and smart growth leadership by encouraging the extension of the Ottawa LRT over the POW bridge to Gatineau. This would be the first phase of an eventual LRT “loop” route that would include both downtowns.

The NCC should not be converting a rail bridge to road to bring old technology to meet new technology. Rather, build a federal capital region and national unity on the backbone of a forward-looking LRT connection. A Federally-funded interprovincial transit connection should not offer Quebecers a second class technology.

We also fear that the benefits of removing buses from the downtown Ottawa streets will be compromised by the temptation for a transfer-free continued operation of STO buses through the downtown along Albert to connect to the proposed Rapibus terminus at Bayview. Even worse, there would be the possibility of a never-ending surface bus loop running from MacDonald Cartier along King Edward, Rideau, the downtown, Albert, Bayview, POW to Gatineau.

Recommendation: extend the Ottawa LRT system to Gatineau via the Prince of Wales Bridge. Do not bring Rapibus to Ottawa.


Eric Darwin,

President, Dalhousie Community Association