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Improving Transit between Ottawa and Gatineau - Ideas and Thoughts


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Lots of discussions have taken place recently to plan for a better link between the two cities.

The improvements that the STO will bring with the opening of the Confederation Line to serve the stations directly is a good step forward.

A lot more needs to be done however.

What we need most is a rail link between Gatineau and Ottawa. The OC Transpo and STO buses encounter enough bottleneck crossing Portage and Chaudiere bridges during peak periods. All that could be avoided by using the Prince of Wales bridge conveniently located by Bayview and also conveniently located near the existing STO Rapibus. The track does extend more or less to just across from Terraces de la Chaudiere. They could have a passing track on the Gatineau side just after crossing the bridge, and you could have 2 or 3 trains operating as a shuttle back and forth. Grabbing passengers from both sides.

This would be similar to the Yellow Line on the Montreal Metro. 3 stops, mainly serving as a shuttle between Montreal and Longueuil.

Here's a theoretical path using the tracks already there. The trains could either cross and go right to Terraces de la Chaudiere, or continue straight to the north and serve the Rapibus Taché-UQO station. I bet something could be put together for a similar price or maybe even less than building a new inter-provincial bridge someplace.

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In addition to the old 8 and 40, there were also peak hour extensions of routes 49 (old route 149) that was numbered 49, and 48 (old 148) that was numbered 48, these routes are about as local as you c

The thing is who is going to want to take the 400 from Labrosse, all the way to UQO area, transfer, take the train to Bayview, transfer, and then go downtown.

They should of created some form of BRT to get them into the city, and out of the city quick. In New York, the Lincoln tunnel and the PATH Bus terminal do exactly that, buses go into the Lincoln tunnel and it enters directly into a bus terminal where they drop everyone off, buses turn around and go back to New Jersey. Not one bus travels Manhattan roads. 

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The path is very interesting as it exists as a separate system mainly intended to get people under the river. If we considered such a system we could use super long trains at a more moderate frequency (think Montreal Yellow Line), going into Central Ottawa. 

In the future, another nice option to consider if we see more big riverside developments might be a gondola like in London/ Portland/ NYC

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The POW bridge isn't in a very good location to be the transit crossing, but it might be okay as a transit crossing (especially a secondary one).  The big problem is the bridge is too far west. 

For Ottawa residents travelling to Gatineau, it is okay for those west of (or close to) the Trillium Line, but for anyone east of it, the POW bridge is a significant detour, so an alternate route would be needed.

For Gatineau residents travelling  to Ottawa,  Bayview is not a destination that many people will be travelling to (even after the LeBreton Flats Redevelopment), so a transfer to the Confederation Line would be necessary.  Since most people transferring would be travelling in the same direction as people in western Ottawa travelling to downtown, it would unduly burden the Confederation line (I read estimates of an extra four to six thousand pphpd, but can't find a firm reference).  This would require Ottawa to purchase and run extra trains solely for the purpose of transporting STO customers (which OC Transpo receives no money for).  With the current setup, most STO riders don't need to transfer to OC Transpo, and since the stops are downtown, those who do, take up space vacated by an OC Transpo customer, so it doesn't cost OC Transpo much, and the quid pro quo of STO accepting OC TRanspo customers saves them money in service to Gatineau.

As for comparison's to Montreal's yellow line, they are similar, but there are a few key differences:

  • Berri-UQAM station is at least on the outer edge of Monreal's downtown and home to UQAM, which is a common destination for many riders.
  • A higher fare is required to transfer from RTL to STM, so some of the extra costs are covered.
  • Both systems are in the same province, so provincial funding is the same.
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38 minutes ago, Roger1818 said:

This would require Ottawa to purchase and run extra trains solely for the purpose of transporting STO customers (which OC Transpo receives no money for).

There are agreements between OC Transpo and the STO for things like this (such as existing bus transfers) and those could always be modified to better suit inter-provincial rail transit across the PoW bridge.

These kinds of things are why people feel that there should be a federal agency to manage inter-provincial connections because otherwise there will always be one side who isn't willing to do the things that would improve transit in the NCR as a whole versus just "their side".

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A general question: Would anyone happen to know anything about the history of the old route 8 (now 44) and the old route 40 (now 293)? Both of these routes traveled from the south end of the city into Gatineau. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but is Gatineau a common commuting destination for people living in the south end?

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1 hour ago, occheetos said:

There are agreements between OC Transpo and the STO for things like this (such as existing bus transfers) and those could always be modified to better suit inter-provincial rail transit across the PoW bridge.

These kinds of things are why people feel that there should be a federal agency to manage inter-provincial connections because otherwise there will always be one side who isn't willing to do the things that would improve transit in the NCR as a whole versus just "their side".

Not sure if the STO would gain enough by not having to extend routes across the river to cover the cost of the extra trains OC Transpo would have to buy. 

Even if they did, it doesn't change the fact that the Confederation Line would be significantly closer to its ultimate capacity if we diverted  all Ottawa bound riders from Gatineau to Bayview Station.  This old Key Messages document indicates that if you include Gatineau traffic, by 2031 the ridership capacity required would be 24,000 pphpd (the ultimate capacity of the line).  It isn't clear what they mean by "Gatineau traffic," but current projections are 18,000 pphpd by 2031, so I suspect it may include diversions via the POW bridge.

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1 hour ago, occheetos said:

A general question: Would anyone happen to know anything about the history of the old route 8 (now 44) and the old route 40 (now 293)? Both of these routes traveled from the south end of the city into Gatineau. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but is Gatineau a common commuting destination for people living in the south end?

My guess is that they thought it would make sense for North/South routes to continue further north to Gatineau.  They also probably chose shorter routes, which would tend to be the North/South ones.

If you look back at old system maps (link provided by  kmcamp on the Skyscraper page), route 8 (as we know it) wasn't created until 1985 (shortly after the transitway opened).

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/4/2018 at 12:55 PM, occheetos said:

A general question: Would anyone happen to know anything about the history of the old route 8 (now 44) and the old route 40 (now 293)? Both of these routes traveled from the south end of the city into Gatineau. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but is Gatineau a common commuting destination for people living in the south end?

 

On 9/4/2018 at 2:50 PM, Roger1818 said:

My guess is that they thought it would make sense for North/South routes to continue further north to Gatineau.  They also probably chose shorter routes, which would tend to be the North/South ones.

If you look back at old system maps (link provided by  kmcamp on the Skyscraper page), route 8 (as we know it) wasn't created until 1985 (shortly after the transitway opened).

In addition to the old 8 and 40, there were also peak hour extensions of routes 49 (old route 149) that was numbered 49, and 48 (old 148) that was numbered 48, these routes are about as local as you can get, and only served Alta Vista. There were also other express routes that served Alta Vista/ Ottawa South to downtown,(40,41,42, 43,44, 45, 46, 47, 48,49). Some of these routes still exist today as 200 series routes, but the majority were cancelled a while ago.

There were and still are a lot of government workers that live in Ottawa South, especially in Alta Vista and some parts of South Key/Greenboro, so that could be one reason why there used to be such good connectivity to downtown and Gatineau. Like the 48 and 49 were not really north to south routes, they just had a lot of people who would ride them to Gatineau during rush hour. 

 

Consult this system map from 1993: http://madgic.library.carleton.ca/deposit/maps/OCTranspo/PDF/SystemMap1993.pdf

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Interesting topic. I remember there being some ideas a few years ago about a shuttle service or some sort of service loop that would cross back and forth between downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. Something like circling Wellington and crossing Portage to Maisonneuve, then looping back via the Alexandria Bridge down Mackenzie and back to Wellington. I think there was an idea to have shuttles running in both directions. Obviously transfers would be needed but definitely a rapid connection between one side to another with regular high frequency service. Haven't heard about it again in several years.

I think there was also another idea again in the past few years of a aerial gondola lift that would cross the river from one side to another. No news on that since as well.

While people would prefer some sort of service that offers continuing service to Gatineau, and the same from Gatineau to Ottawa, rather than a short line shuttle service, anything is better than nothing. Look at other cities, Montreal have the Yellow Line on the Metro to go to Longueuil. People take buses to Longueuil terminus and transfer to the Metro for essentially three stops to downtown Montreal and continue from there on another line or bus route.

And I think we also forget that there is A LOT of people who get off at Lebreton, walk over to the #8 route stop and take that as a shuttle to Terraces de la Chaudiere and Place du Portage. Same in the evening in the reverse direction. When this already happens and the line ups waiting for the bus to arrive can extend quite a bit, why not formalize or offer a more solid link with some sort of dedicated shuttle route (tunnel, overhead aerial gondola, or the rail bridge at Prince of Wales.

Simple solution, a shuttle that goes back and forth from Bayview to Terraces de la Chaudiere in Gatineau. There is only one track but it can be twinned at both ends of the bridge. Let's say it takes 30-45 seconds to cross one side of the bridge to the other, you could have quite decent frequency by having the tracks twinned, so as soon as it crosses it has it's own track, while the other train leaving can pass and then make use of the bridge. You could probably have 3-4 trains running simultaneously.

Anyways, just ideas to put out there and some food for thought.

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  • 1 year later...
On 2018-09-04 at 12:10 PM, Roger1818 said:

The POW bridge isn't in a very good location to be the transit crossing, but it might be okay as a transit crossing (especially a secondary one).  The big problem is the bridge is too far west. 

Just as a side note, after spending considerable amount of time "riding the rails," the concept that the POW bridge is too far west is not true anymore.  With Bayview station now open, it is just a few minutes to downtown, uOttawa, Carleton.  I do not think anyone really expected that is would shrink the size of the city so much.

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  • 1 year later...

IMO to improve service, They should create special 85 trips that run between Gatineau and Pimisi, similar to how the 17 runs midday between Lyon and Gatineau. Better yet, instead of making Routes 15, 17 the old "180" for people transferring from Blair or Rideau, they should see if they can just extend some eastbound routes to Gatineau like the 39 or even some Connexion Routes. Atlas, I think OC would never do this today like they did in the past, but certainly what I can say is the current way of they're doing it is not ideal given the problems with the 85 vs the old 44 (and older 8/88) and that fact west end people can maintain a no-transfer trip on the 61, 63, 66 or 75 unlike those in the east end who will have to transfer to a 15 at Blair, 15 or 17 at Rideau or Lyon, or 61, 63, 66, 75 and 85 at Pimisi.

Edited by Loud-Invero
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