The city and the National Capital Commission have finally agreed on plans for the second phase of light rail in Ottawa, which will see the western track fully buried under a reconstructed and realigned Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.
The solution came about following a 100-day review process and meets the NCC's conditions and the city's cost requirements, according to a media release issued Friday morning during a news conference.
If approved by the city and the NCC, the plan would see the following:
- Existing lanes of traffic on the parkway would be closer together and directly above the fully buried rail line to create a new "stacked" transportation corridor, maximizing green space and the waterfront.
- Lands and landscaping elements would be restored.
- A park of national significance would be developed along the shoreline.
- The mature forest would be retained and enhanced.
- Pathway additions and enhancements would be created, with two new crossings under the parkway into the future linear park.
- An eventual reduction of nearly 500,000 bus trips annually on the parkway.
- A 38-per-cent increase in usable shoreline parkland.
The agreement will be up before the NCC's board of directors at its next public meeting, and the city will hold an open house for public feedback on March 30.
For months, the city and the NCC had been in public disagreement about the location of the western Confederation Line track.
The city had wanted to partially bury the route along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, but the NCC had wanted no obstruction of the waterfront. The NCC had asked the city to bury the route along the parkway in a tunnel or use different land altogether.
In November, Mayor Jim Watson and John Baird, who was then the MP responsible for the NCC, pledged to work constructively on a solution.