Sports Community Calls for Bank Street O-Train Subway

The Ottawa sports podcast community are raising their voices in unison calling for the city to start planning the Bank Street O-Train Subway concept which would run north/south through the corridor from Billings Bridge to Parliament Station. The recent discussions of the Ottawa Senators moving downtown with a new arena and the RedBlacks with Lansdowne 2.0 has Ottawans talking O-Train. In addition to this, the city has approved a large number of high rise towers which is going to lead to significant densification in the city core.

Matt Robinson of Tall Can Audio Podcast is major podcast for Ottawa’s sporting community. He says “the commute to downtown on Bank Street is really unpleasant for people who work in the core. Sports can’t be the only reason for O-Train. The existing gridlock and traffic means now is the time to start planning. O-Train underneath Bank Street would mean people would be far more likely to visit the downtown. Having the subway every 4 or 5 minutes means people will use the train year round.”

The Tall Can Audio Podcast host states “when we invest in Bank Street O-Train we need to make it free on game day for hockey, football, and soccer because it’s reasonable to be concerned with the traffic. I think the more cars we get off Bank Street is a huge plus for everyone in the core. When concerts and sports games or multiple teams are playing on the same day it’s going to be a mess. As far as our sports teams would be concerned, Bank Street O-Train would be a grand slam win for them when it comes to their long term viability. Anyway we can make it easier to get to and from games is good for the franchises and fans and for the city.”

Josh Lemoine, host of The Stepover Podcast, says he’s “happy to support the Bank Street subway project, which would be incredible not just for teams, but for the entire city of Ottawa.” The podcast is dedicated to Atlético Soccer Club and all soccer in the nations Capital.

“Setting aside the many benefits to the city as a whole, a rail tunnel under Bank Street would be a game changer for Lansdowne. Having a reliable rail would be make attending sports and other large events at Lansdowne easier, less time-consuming and less stressful for thousands of residents. Giving fans a better way to get to games and makes any sports franchise much more viable.”

Especially if we then take space from cars on Bank Street, I could see dedicated bike lanes, expanded sidewalks, more spacious patios, more vibrant communities along the length of the tunnel.”

The Sens Talk Podcast is a staple for Ottawa Senators hockey fans and Redblacks fans. The 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.”

Rebecca Bromwich who is seeking to dethrone Capital Ward incumbent Shawn Menard in Ottawa’s upcoming municipal elections has said “Lansdowne 2.0 is amplifying Bank Street O-Train discussions” and believes a “robust transit system would benefit Capital Ward.” Candidate Bromwich says “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.”

Candidate Brandon Russell for Somerset says “Bank Street is one of the most influential areas in our city. It has restaurants, retail shopping, night clubs, and pubs, and plenty of community activities all year. We also have lots of residential densification happening in the core. Residents of Somerset Ward view Bank Street as key part of our community.”

“My policy is that I’m a huge supporter of Bank Street O-Train, we need to start discussions right away on this file” says Candidate Russell and “we need to work together as a community through public hearings to understand what can be improved going forward on the Bank Street O-Train file and learn from past mistakes associated with Confederation Line 1 so we don’t repeat them.”

Gloucester-Southgate 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 it take 20 or 25 years to get built, it needs to be built now.”

“The city of Ottawa-Gatineau population has surpassed 1.4 million people this year and you know what we are going to hit 1.6 million people soon. The city needs to move forward on the plan now, not later” says candidate Aria Alavi.

Alavi also believes “the public has to be part of the debate on deciding if it’s a surface line or tunnel. I prefer the tunnel. 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.”

Former Ottawa Senators executive Brian Crombie says the Bank Street O-Train concept “would be spectacular for Ottawa having a North/South rail transit on the main line of the city” and he points out “almost all major sports venues in North America usually have a form of transit that goes with it.”

In a previous interview Councillor Riley Brockington from River Ward 16 said 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 “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.”

Capital Ward incumbent Shawn Menard in a previous story said “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.”

Dwight Williams is a local community writer and social thought leader who was the first Ottawan to come up with the Bank Street O-Train Tunnel idea some 20 years ago - “I formed my opinion as a result of riding the bus routes then operating on Bank Street about 2 decades ago.”

Dwight goes on to say, “I think they’ve (Ottawans) embraced the idea for their own reasons, independently of anything I’ve ever said or written on the subject.”

Sports & entertainment events in the core of Ottawa were a factor in helping Dwight develop his thoughts on the subject - “some of those weekend occasions would involve sports events at Lansdowne. Football games, or maybe the 67’s (junior OHL hockey club) in winter” says Williams

Williams also stated “Between the Lansdowne events - whatever they might be - and regular weekday traffic, it seemed as if Bank Street might benefit from having an LRT line” and “traffic patterns persisted outside of pandemic times. And will likely resume with the pandemic’s (COID19) end”

Lansdowne Stadium depending on the event has hosted between
50,000 people for the 1988 Grey Cup Football Game and 44,000 for The Rolling Stones concert. Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group’s Chris Hofley, Senior Communications Leader in a previous interview stated “with the number of people who visit Lansdowne every year, OSEG is in favour of better, cheaper and more environmentally responsible ways to support the number of people who come to Lansdowne in general.”

College Ward 8 candidate Laine Johnson states “trying to get to and from Lansdowne is always challenging and getting worse, and its going to become an issue for all Ottawans. I think we can be responsible and connected to each other. The current system is not serving the Bank Street communities properly. We are excited for a faster mode of transportation through the Bank corridor. I would certainly support rail investment as a transportation mode in Bank Street; it’s about working on a collaborative approach and building our city. I’m happy to work with other wards if they can help me with our specific needs in College Ward. I think 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.”

Ward 23 Kanata South candidate Erin Coffin believes we should “finish the existing project of Orleans to Kanata first. I’m not against Bank Street. I think if there is a way to connect our communities to the core, where you don’t need a car, people will adapt and use it. If I could easily take my children from Kanata South to downtown using Confederation Line 1 and hop on another line to visit the museums or a football game, I would do that. I think Bank Street O-Train can make connecting communities doable.”

“I want to finish what we started first with Confederation Line 1; but I’m not against bringing anything forward if we can pull off Bank Street” says Erin Coffin.

When asked about the provincial and federal government commitments to public rail transit funding, candidate Coffin states the “city could examine if it has the capacity to finish both Confederation Line 1 and Bank Street at the same time. If not, let’s finish what we started first. In the meantime, let’s go see what resources we have access to from the federal & provincial governments because I know they believe in public rail transit as well.”

Ward 18 Alta-Vista candidate Marty Carr understands how “frustrating Bank Street congestion is” and says Bank Street O-Train is an issue in Ottawa because “Billings Bridge has been designated a protected major transit hub in the city and there would be benefit for Billings Bridge and Bank Street and Riverside Drive area.”

Candidate Carr says that “currently there is lots of congestion on Bank Street and Lansdowne 2.0 is coming quick which is going to complicate the traffic issue; we need a city council that is prepared to discuss these issues.”

Ottawa Mayoral candidate Ade Olumide says “Bank Street O-Train should be top of the agenda, I’m aware it’s a very hot issue. We need a holistic approach to future transit planning, we need to look at the entire system, Bank Street is a very important piece of the puzzle. Bank Street is a real problem from a traffic point of view. It takes too long to go anywhere on that corridor. I think there lots of good ideas coming forward on the Bank issue from the community and I’m pro transit. We want to increase ridership on existing lines, any idea that does this like Bank Street, is a good idea. I would want us to be a like London for our longer term vision in regards to our rail transit network, the issue is always money though. If we can get people out of their cars to O-Train stations it would be better, we need to move people around using the LRT system” says the Mayoral candidate Ade Olumide.

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

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Clinton Desveaux

Clinton Desveaux

Social Thought Leader, Left Handed Guitar, Photographer and Talk Jock