“Debate on Bank Street O-Train Needs to Continue”- Ottawa MPP Harden

Clinton Desveaux
5 min readJan 26, 2021

If the city is going to have an electric Bank Street O-Train Tunnel, Joel says “I want to see it done in a proper and accountable way”

Ottawa MPP Joel Harden - Photo by Emma Fischer, Centretown News

Ottawa MPP Joel Harden believes one of the reasons people in Ottawa are excited for the electric Bank Street O-Train Tunnel concept “is because Ottawa is a progressive city, the environment is a foremost issue for our city, and we have to act accordingly. I know this because of I’ve talked to thousands of residents and everyone in this city cares about the environment. An electric O-Train (on Bank Street) can be part of the solution when dealing with the climate emergency.”

Joel was first elected to Ontario provincial political office in June of 2018. He is known for listening to people and finding solutions for residents in the city. Prior to provincial politics, he was the chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students which gives him unique insight to the transit needs for students all over the city. In August of 2018, Harden was appointed Official Opposition Critic for Accessibility & Persons with Disabilities; Pensions; Seniors’ Affair. He prides himself on knowing transit issues, and you can tell when talking to him, that he actually loves talking transit, it’s not just a job, it’s part of who he is as a person.

If the city is going to have an electric Bank Street O-Train Tunnel, Joel says “ I want to see it done in a proper and accountable way; we can’t have lawsuits, and serious mistakes and delays. The problems on Confederation Line 1 were not helpful for advocates of rail transit. I’m constantly humbled by the knowledge that is in our community on this issue for Bank Street.”

Map created by Antoine Sauve

When discussing the Trillium Line 2, Joel points out “ it’s diesel, I understand from an emissions point of view why people are upset, the line does work without the problems that Confederation Line 1 had. I would have preferred it to be electric so I understand the issue well and hear the concerns about emissions that residents are worried about.”

Joel is someone who is worried about the city core and Ottawa South being ignored by critics of the idea, as he points out “there are evidenced based answers for rail transit to the suburbs into the downtown via Confederation Line 1. But I understand the frustration of the city core. It doesn’t have to be an either or kind of debate.”

“I’m not happy that the city has been in the process of tearing down housing for modest income families because of how transportation planning has unfolded. Again, I repeat, it doesn’t have to be an either or debate. We can have electric rail to the suburbs AND we can focus the discussion on downtown & Ottawa South. We can’t ignore these crucial parts of the city and we can’t look the other way when modest income homes are being bulldozed.”

Joel suddenly pauses, and chooses his words carefully, and states in a matter of fact, but forceful manner, “the debate on Bank Street electric O-Train needs to continue - we need to deal with the climate emergency and rail transit, if done right, it can be part of the solution.” Harden has a sense of calm about the issue, he knows the public will agree with him.

Ottawa Gatineau O-Train Map created by Antoine Sauve

“Bank Street is a nightmare from a traffic and congestion point of view - when people didn’t feel safe on the Bank Street Bridge for example, they were going to jump in their cars. The good news is people like Ottawa City Councillor Shawn Menard has done some good work on the Bank Street Bridge which is important for people who walk or cycle. So we have seen some progress.”

Joel is someone who has a sense of optimism when it comes to the future, “electric O-Train expansion into downtown along Bank street would absolutely have lots of benefits for transit accessibility, reducing car usage and improved biking and walking infrastructure in the core while helping our local businesses prosper.”

For more stories on Bank Street O-Train see links below

Clinton P. Desveaux is an accredited writer for Troy Media he can be reach via E-Mail: ClintonDesveaux@gmail.com or you can follow him on twitter https://twitter.com/ClintonDesveaux



Clinton Desveaux

Left Handed Guitar, Photographer and Talk Jock - also known to ski wherever a hill or mountain can be found