Ottawa councillors heard the public’s concerns Thursday as they look to narrow their search for a western light rail route.
More than 300 residents packed into Ottawa’s city council chambers for a light rail open house that night.
It came a few days after the city announced its preferred option for the next phase of construction, a railway along a short section of National Capital Commission land next to the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.
Many residents along the proposed route said they’re concerned about noise, vibration, access to the river and a loss of green space.
Reducing John A. Macdonald Parkway is one of the public's ideas
Some of those who live alongside the parkway, which is near the Ottawa River in the western part of the city, said they could think of a compromise — taking out two lanes of what’s currently four lanes of parkway for the rail line.
"The parkway, it doesn't have anything to do with the park… it's two highways," said Elizabeth Majewski.
"Maybe it's not such a critical thing to avoid the train there, because it doesn't change much."
Cathy Rogers also lives in the area and said she’d prefer to take out two lanes of highway, but replace them with green space and put the train underground.
"In this neighbourhood where we are already subject to so much development, this is not people saying ‘Not in my backyard,’" she said.
"This is people saying that if there are so many people coming to our neighbourhood, we are going to need every blade of grass we’ve got because people need to get out of their buildings and feel some open space."
City vote scheduled for June 5
The hope would be that people moving to light rail would take hundreds of cars off the road, easing the congestion that would come with subtracting two lanes of traffic.
The NCC has been steadfast in their opposition to light rail along the Ottawa River and said Wednesday they were surprised the city would choose a preferred route right now.
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said the city has six routes it will consider when the transit committee meets to vote on June 5.
Construction on this LRT line from Tunney’s Pasture to Lincoln Fields isn’t scheduled to start for another ten years, after the completion of the Confederation Line.A look at the city's preferred route for expanding the LRT to Ottawa's west end, and how it fits with the O-Train and planned Confederation Line.
View LRT western expansion in a larger map