Transit

Our commuter-focused transit network leaves much to be desired for counterflow, off-peak, and casual passengers. Most downtown commuters have shifted to remote and hybrid work arrangements. Transit must adapt its service goals to the new reality instead of relying on the hope most downtown commuters will return.

With a climate emergency declared by the city, rising gas prices, and the effects of car ownership on a city’s built environment, public transit should be an attractive and realistic alternative to driving.

Let’s reimagine a local-focused transit network that is convenient, cost-effective, and safe. A transit network that is competitive, innovative, and future-proof. A transit service we can rely on and be proud of.

A bus travels on a residential street in front of some townhouses.

Local-focused network

By shifting the focus to local services, supplemented by an effective commuter network, using transit within our community can be easier. Barrhaven can support good local route design, with two rapid transit hubs to anchor service, a strong street network, and many pathways for convenient access to bus stops.

Objectives:

  • A “Barrhaven loop” connecting Fallowfield and Marketplace stations with major commercial areas and neighbourhoods, so you no longer have to transfer to cross the Transitway
  • Easier access to Fallowfield Station for residents east of Crestway Drive
  • Strengthen connections with nearby employment areas, businesses, and schools north of the Greenbelt
  • Ensure a smooth transition to Stage 2 LRT by reviewing connections to Baseline (to be renamed to Algonquin) and Limebank stations
  • Annual rider surveys to ensure OC Transpo’s objectives match customer demands
Front curbside corner of an OC Transpo bus, showing a card behind the windshield indicating the correct fare.

Fair fares

Fare-free transit is not a realistic solution, at least not right now. I support a more inclusive subsidised fare program and a change to the fare structure to promote transit as a budget-friendly means of travel, especially for occasional passengers. An innovative fare structure will eliminate the worry of not using your monthly pass’s full value or the possibility of paying for more than a monthly pass in single fares.

Objectives:

  • Daily and monthly fare caps (ie. you’re no longer charged once a certain dollar amount in single fares for the day and/or month is reached), replacing day and monthly passes
  • Extending the transfer window to accommodate longer journeys in our larger city
Blurred shot of an OC Transpo light rail train departing.

Light rail transit

I am not against the LRT coming to Barrhaven. However, I can’t support the project’s current form.

Stage 2 LRT (what’s under construction now) is scheduled to be completed in 2026, assuming no further delays. If we’re following a similar timeline as from Stage 1 to 2, this means there will be three years before contract negotiations begin for the Stage 3 project.

I want to use that time to get a better deal for the city. A project partner that has experience building LRT and related infrastructure, a contract that allows better accountability and transparency from all involved parties, a train depot not located in the middle of a residential area (current plan has it at Greenbank/Highbury Park), and a project that applies lessons learned from stages 1 and 2 for both bus and train operations.

There is still a collective trauma of sorts from that first winter, and unfortunately, major issues still happen at a frequency that’s not negligible. It’s why small issues, typical of systems with many moving parts, are scrutinised heavily and end up in the news.

A complete LRT that includes Barrhaven makes sense, but it must be done right. We cannot afford to have another city-building opportunity devolve into a joke, nor should it end up in another judicial review. We have the gift of time and experience for Stage 3. Let’s not waste that opportunity and give the city a better deal.

A barren, underused parking lot.

Fallowfield Park and Ride

Ottawa’s largest park and ride is our ward’s greatest development opportunity. We have the chance to transform underused surface parking into a transit-oriented, mid-density, mixed-use gateway community. It will optimise land use on 20 acres of prime Barrhaven real estate, grow our tax base, and provide opportunities for affordable and subsidised housing by a transit hub.

Existing parking capacity would be preserved in a new parking garage, which could be funded through a land sale or lease and shared with nearby future businesses and amenities when park and ride use is lower. New amenities and businesses for the community would be within walking distance for residents just south of Fallowfield Road!

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