The city believes a partial underground light-rail line along Richmond Road is the best option for the western extension of the light-rail project.

Construction wouldn't begin for another 10 years, after the completion of the Confederation Line.

"I like the idea of the Richmond Underground," said Bay Ward Coun. Mark Taylor. "I think it works."

In detail, the seven-kilometre Richmond Underground line would include:

  • Converting the existing Transitway into a dual-track LRT line from Tunney's Pasture to an expanded Dominion Station (2.5 kilometres).
  • Then run in a shallow trench, one to two metres below ground level, along the former CP Rail line south of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and north of Rochester Field, continuing west parallel to Skead Street.
  • Continue west along rail bed in shallow trench off the parkway, gradually deepening into open-air station at Cleary Avenue (1.2 kilometres).
  • Enter portal, turn slightly south to continue west underneath Richmond Road to just west of Woodroffe Avenue (900 metres).
  • Take slight south turn underneath Byron Linear Park where an open-air station in an open trench will be built around Harcourt Avenue, about 480 metres west of Woodroffe.
  • Continue west under linear park, moving back under Richmond Road, then turning slightly south before emerging from portal in Pinecrest Creek corridor south of Richmond Road and east of parkway, 580 metres west of the New Orchard station, then run 460 metres southwest to Lincoln Fields.
  • South of Lincoln Fields, line to continue for 2.7 kilometres gnerally following existing southwest Transitway to Baseline.
  • Iris station to be converted to handle LRT, Queensway station to be closed.

At a media conference Monday, the city said it came up with the proposal after hearing concerns about the potential loss of greenspace, particularly at the Byron Linear Park and in park space along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

The city had looked at 18 possible options in total, ruling out all Carling Avenue options because they were too impractical, inconvenient and costly.

The Richmond Underground proposal is estimated to cost about $900 million, according to the city, give or take 25 per cent.

A public open house about the proposal is scheduled for this Thursday at City Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The board of the National Capital Commission is also expected to discuss the proposal this week.

A report with the city's final recommended route is scheduled to be heard by the transportation committee on June 5 before moving to city council.