MPPs Weigh In on Ottawa Bank Street O-Train Tunnel Concept
City Council candidates are ramping up discussion and or demands for the Ottawa Bank Street O-Train Tunnel running from Parliament Station to Billings Bridge. Various city MPPs are also weighing on the concept.
The Ottawa Senators are moving into the downtown northern portion of the core with a new arena being built. The redeveloped Lansdowne 2.0 with the Redblacks are in the southern portion of the core. In addition there is going to be a series of new residential high rise tower developments happening throughout Bank Street. For example, the old Greyhound bus terminal is going to have serious densification. The same applies to the Glebe, Centretown, Billings Bridge, and Old Ottawa South communities.
Residents throughout the city view Bank Street O-Train Tunnel as the solution to deal with increased traffic congestion, and associated problems that come with it such as noise pollution and climate changing emissions. Some polls show support in excess of 50% support for Bank Street O-Train as Stage 4 for the next expansion of the O-Train network.
Gloucester-Southgate Ward 10 candidate Aria Alavi says “Bank Street O-Train has to be top of the agenda on day 1 of the next city council. I’m 100% in support of the Bank Street O-Train. I don’t want to see to it take 20 or 25 years to get built, it needs to be built now.” Candidate Alavi also says “we have winter in Ottawa and heavy rain other times, and we can’t just make cars go away, the tunnel makes the most sense.”
When asked for comment on Bank Street O-Train discussions happening among city residents, Ottawa South MPP John Fraser responded the city has to “draw whatever lessons are learned from the Commission of Inquiry currently underway.” Fraser is referencing the Confederation Line 1 commuter rail running 50 km’s from Cumberland in the east to Stittsville in the west. The associated service & maintenance issues that initially caused much frustration are currently being studied by the city, province, and all associated parties involved to ensure those mistakes are not repeated going forward.
Ward 14 Somerset candidate Brandon Russell points out “between Lansdowne 2.0 in south core, and Sens in north core, it reinforces the need for Bank St O-Train. We can’t wait 10 or 20 years. Today is a great new hockey game for our city, we need to ensure we have a plan for congestion.”
When MPP Lucille Collard for Ottawa-Vanier was directly asked to comment on Bank Street O-Train concept, she responded it “would significantly contribute to getting cars off of our roads and to make our city more accessible.”
Capital Ward candidate Rebecca Bromwich says “Lansdowne 2.0 is amplifying Bank Street O-Train discussions” and “we need to better understand the route and how it will be developed” and “we need a real plan to deal with the growing densification and traffic congestion in Capital Ward and O-Train can be part of the solution” and “Bank Street O-Train line is an ongoing and important discussion since 2020 in Capital Ward.”
In a previous interview Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard 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.”
MPP Joel Harden has said If the city is going to have an electric Bank Street O-Train Tunnel “I want to see it done in a proper and accountable way” and “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.”
Councillor Riley Brockington from River Ward 16 states “what we have now is completely dysfunctional, it’s a traffic disaster, Bank Street is gridlocked, public transit in large quantities can’t get to Lansdowne” and he says “we (city council) asked staff to review Bank Street options, we can’t get people to and from Lansdowne efficiently, maybe running an LRT down Bank Street is part of a solution, people don’t want to be tied up in traffic.”
College Ward 8 candidate Laine Johnson believes “Bank Street has an essential need and for climate & congestion reasons Bank makes a lot of sense for the next rail investment. We really need to complete Confederation Line 1 before we embark on Bank Street though.”
The Sens Talk Podcast host Brandon Plant points out “if you are talking about people going to games in the downtown core at LeBreton Flats for the Senators or Redblacks at Lansdowne 2.0, Bank Street LRT would be huge, it’s a major street in the city.”
The Podcast host wants “the teams to work with OC-Transpo if there is a plan to move forward, to get it to work, we want the train network to work, the core can’t handle the congestion on Bank Street, it would be huge because you are making it easy for people to go to games, and people will go. I live in the core, it’s a mess right now with the traffic.”