Armed with its latest plans for western light rail expansion, the city held its first open house on the idea of burying part of the line under the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway on Monday night.
After months of disagreement between the city and National Capital Commission, which needed to approve use of its land for phase two of the city’s $2.5 billion planned light rail expansion, the two organizations announced plans to rebuild the parkway earlier this month.
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The proposal, which needs to be approved by the NCC’s board of directors, would rework the parkway to move traffic lanes closer together and build a fully buried rail line directly underneath.
"The ability to put it under the parkway lanes, to stack it if you will, the roof of the tunnel becomes the roadway," said Bay councillor Mark Taylor.
Some of the people who would be living near the proposed extension said they like the idea.
"I think what they are doing is very positive. I like the new plan that they’ve come up with because I find it addresses so much of the issues," said Teddy Diduch.
Noise, vibration concerns
However, several people from a church-based retirement home overlooking the parkway came to raise their concerns about noise and vibrations from the trains.
“We’ve already been told by the senior project manager that this means there will be ground vibrations,” said Christina O’Neil, executive director of Unitarian House.
"What we are really concerned (about) is the damage that could be done to our home,” said Elizabeth Bowen, who lives there.
“Unitarian House is our community, it's our home and the proposed transitway route would go right through our front yard."
Taylor said the city will use every engineering tool at its disposal to make sure they get all the benefits of having light rail nearby without vibrations or other side effects.
He said the city will hold another open house in April.