In response to Capital Ward candidate Rebecca Bromwich and Somerset Ward candidate Brandon Russell who have spoken out about Bank Street O-Train planning; Ottawa area MPP Lucille Collard says discussions about the concept running from Parliament Station to Billings Bridge “would significantly contribute to getting cars off of our roads and to make our city more accessible.”
Somerset Ward candidate Russell declared “my policy is that I’m a huge supporter of Bank Street O-Train, we need to start discussions right away on this file.” Meanwhile Capital Ward candidate Bromwich says “Lansdowne 2.0 is amplifying Bank Street O-Train discussions” and believes a “robust transit system would benefit Capital Ward” and “we need to think like the great cities of the world, we are the capital of Canada and we should act like it when it comes to our transit plans.”
Alta Vista Ward candidate Marty Carr said “Billings Bridge has been designated a protected major transit hub in the city and there would be benefits for Billings Bridge and Bank Street and Riverside Drive area.”
As the city of Ottawa has approved a massive number of towers in the Bank Street communities with rumours of many more coming forward for approval, there is going to be significant densification and congestion in the downtown core, “expansion needs to be done with the affected residents in mind, in a responsible manner” MPP Collard says.
The Ottawa-Vanier MPP is someone who is known to care about the city of Ottawa Gatineau as a whole and said she believes “that transit expansion is beneficial for our city.”
When residents throughout Ottawa started to publicly call for Bank Street O-Train discussions in late 2020 to move forward, downtown MPP Joel Harden declared he wanted to “see it done in a proper and accountable way” and that “debate on Bank Street O-Train needs to continue” and “the problems on Confederation Line 1 were not helpful for advocates of rail transit.” Harden pointed that he was “constantly humbled by the knowledge that is in our community on this issue for Bank Street.”
Capital Ward councillor Shawn Menard previously stated “we need an alternative form of efficient transportation along Bank Street in the core. It (the Bank Street O-Train Tunnel) would improve the congestion that can occur, emissions, and local economic development.”
Meanwhile American television pop culture icon and well known lawyer Exavier Pope stepped into the Bank Street O-Train discussions saying, “Ottawa has a race problem” linking to a recent story about Bank Street O-Train plans and racist code words. See tweet embedded in story below. Exavier is someone who has been paying close attention to race issues in Ottawa for a year now and occasionally tweets about stories related to demonstrations in the core of Ottawa.
Former Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien has jumped back in the discussions challenging current Mayor Jim Watson to respond to Bank Street communities demanding O-Train. O’Brien said “I still like it and hope it gets supported. What say you? (Mayor Jim Watson)”
As Lansdowne 2.0 moves forward, countless residential towers being constructed, and rumours of a redeveloped Billings Bridge Shopping Centre about to be unveiled to the public with significant new residential units - pressure will mount on all 3 levels of government to do something about traffic congestion & emissions in the Bank Street communities.
The provincial Ontario government of Premier Doug Ford announced a budget with $61.1 billion for funding public rail transit projects. The money will be available to spend over 10 years. The money can be used for “major subway construction” according to the Progressive Conservative government budget statements upon release of the budget, an Issues Advisor for the Ministry of Transportation told me some of it can be used as “funding for City of Ottawa projects such as the Ottawa LRT”. So the question remains, can the Ottawa Bank Street O-Train Tunnel get into the Transit Master Plan?
Prime Minister Trudeau announced last year the government of Canada will spend an additional $14.9 billion over the next eight years on public rail transit projects across the country. The government of Canada’s long term plan is the creation of a permanent transit fund of $3 billion per year starting in 2026. Prime Minister Trudeau stated when we invest in public rail “transit infrastructure, we are supporting good middle class jobs, creating better commutes, fighting climate change, and helping make life easier and more affordable for Canadians.”
Ottawa Gatineau’s population has surpassed 1.4 million, and expected to reach 1.6 million by 2032. With existing rail network being completed to Stittsville in the West, and Cumberland in the east; the city attention will most likely turn to the inner core for future O-Train expansion - that could be good news for the Bank Street Communities.
- ** UPDATED Monday June 20 9:33 AM Ottawa Time ***
Staffer at MPP Collard’s office says they want to also emphasis the need for “An affordable and efficient public transit system is what we need to strive to achieve to be environmentally responsible”
Clinton P. Desveaux is an accredited writer and or contributor for Troy Media Newspapers & Magazines, Medium, The Hill Times, The Centretown Buzz, City News Radio Network. For additional stories on Bank Street O-Train see links below:
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