City prepared to 'explore' light rail link to Ottawa airport
But any link "cannot compromise" peak LRT service in Barrhaven, Riverside South, mayor says
The city says it's prepared to "explore the feasibility" of a light rail link to the Ottawa airport after its Transportation Master Plan tabled last month didn't include one.
In an email to councillors, Mayor Jim Watson wrote that the city "is prepared to expand the scope" of an environmental assessment to determine whether a link to the airport is feasible.
The environmental assessment, funded by the city, would get underway if the master plan is approved by council.
But the mayor added that any link to the airport "cannot compromise" peak light rail service for Barrhaven and Riverside South.
Airport link would slow O-Train, deputy city manager says
When the master plan was tabled last month, city deputy manager Nancy Schepers said a direct link to the airport would jeopardize the city's goal of commuters boarding an O-Train every eight minutes.
"We're much better off to serve the ridership in the south-eastern community which are regular riders, every day, than trying to split the service and go into the airport," Schepers said at the time.
Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, said he's prepared to work with the city plan.
"The debate is not over yet," he said at the time. "There may be possibilities where a better connection to light rail, maybe a spur, is not announced at this time but maybe there is room for improvement on that plan."
Laroche had said possibilities include a shuttle service connecting the terminal to the O-Train.
In the email Watson wrote to councillors, he said Laroche will be meeting with the city over the coming weeks to discuss the issue.
The master plan tabled last month proposes extending the O-Train with five additional stations at Gladstone, Walkley, South Keys, Leitrim and Bowesville.
It narrowly misses the airport by one and half kilometres.
The decision comes at a time when Toronto is building a rail connection to its airport, and Montreal is also planning one.