By Dani-Elle Dubé
An electric tramway connecting Ottawa and Gatineau residents could be a possibility if city council gets on board.
On Wednesday, councillors will look at several options as to where and how they can connect western Gatineau residents and commuters to the downtowns of Gatineau and Ottawa, which is being proposed by the Société de transportde l’Outaouais (STO).
According to documents submitted by John Manconi, general manager of the City of Ottawa’s transportation services, there are more than 200,000 interprovincial crossings daily, including around 25 per cent on public transit.
“This demand is expected to grow over the next 15 years as Gatineau’s population continues to increase,” Manconi writes. “These numbers indicate that there is a need for increased public transit services.”
But insert a new transit facility in Ottawa’s downtown core is complicated, he says, because of the area’s historical context, being a capital city, competing needs and limited rights-of-way.
A study is currently being undertaken by the NCC, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Quebec Ministry of Transportation, the City of Gatineau and the City of Ottawa to come up with a plan.
Manconi explains there are two rapid transit corridors in Gatineau that are identified that are required: along Boulevard des Allumettières/Plateau and along CChemin de Aylmer and Boulevard Alexandre Taché.
So the technology choices are either: all-tram or a hybrid (where on of the corridors would be tram and the other would be rapid bus).
That means the STO tramway would cross into Ottawa at the Portage Bridge. From there , on the Ottawa side, two corridor options are being assessed.
The first is along Wellington Street on the surface, with three stations. This would also include two sub-options with traffic maintained along the entire length and without traffic between Bank Street and Elgin Street.
The second being a Sparks Street tunnel with two stations.
While metals continued to worked out and explored, it’s an idea councillors Catherine McKenney and Matthew Fleury are on board with, both going on record in the documents to voice their support of the connection.
City council will hear more details at Wednesday morning’s meeting over teleconference.