City prepared to 'explore' light rail link to Ottawa airport

The city says it's prepared to "explore the feasibility" of a light rail link to the Ottawa airport after the Transportation Master Plan tabled last month didn't include one.

But any link "cannot compromise" peak LRT service in Barrhaven, Riverside South, mayor says

Airport link to be studied

9 years ago
Duration 2:36
Mayor Jim Watson said the city will look into the feasability of a link between the light rail system at the Ottawa Airport.

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.

Mayor Jim Watson says city councillors and staff will be meeting with Mark Laroche, president of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, to discuss a possible light rail link to the airport. (CBC)

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.


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