City Must Put Western LRT into Underground Tunnel: Partially Buried Trains Won’t Save Parkway Greenspace
The City of Ottawa must ensure that the Light Rail Transit (LRT) it proposes for the Western Parkway is moved to an underground tunnel, said Lesley Taylor, president of the community group Underground Solution. “The City of Ottawa’s proposed trenched LRT route will drastically reduce access to the parkland of the Ottawa River Parkway and impede the use of bike and walking paths,” said Taylor. “While our community favours efficient transit to the Western suburbs, we will not sacrifice Canadians’ open access to, and use of, the green space on the historic Parkway, which is a national treasure.”
The City will unveil measures June 13 that it claims will “mitigate” the dramatically negative impacts of its shortsighted Western Parkway LRT plan. With the apparent support of Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi counselor Katherine Hobbs, the City’s plan would see two trains hurtle in opposite directions, in a trench, through the peaceful green space between Dominion and Cleary Avenues every two to five minutes.
“Deep train trenches, berms and other so-called ‘mitigation measures’ will not do the job,” Taylor said. “The Underground Solution is demanding that the City preserve the neighbourhoods and this green space for everyone by moving the LRT trains fully underground into a tunnel.”
The city’s proposal would destroy more than 1.2 km of irreplaceable public parkland enjoyed by thousands of Ottawa residents and visitors to our capital. The beautiful Westboro-McKellar Woodland Path is used daily for fitness and recreation, including walking, cycling, snowshoeing, birding and cross-country skiing. Seniors with walkers, mothers with baby strollers, and other Ottawans will find it much more difficult to enter what is now the most accessible stretch of Parkway parkland west of Tunney’s Pasture.