Two of the neighbourhoods most affected by the construction of Confederation line are Hintonburg and Mechanicsville. It is through these neighbourhoods that buses must detour as a result of the transitway being closed between Tunney’s Pasture and Bayview station. “They [the residents] were apprehensive about the development. They didn’t have a lot of faith in the development process, they were concerned about noise and time. That being said, they see the value of having LRT,” said Lorrie Marlow of the Mechanicsville Community Association about the community’s reaction to the plans for the new line.
For this community, the closure of the Trillium line is a disappointment because it means more buses will be in the area and for longer than originally planned. “The community of Mechanicsville has been very patient in waiting for the busses to get off of Scott Street. There had been talk of Scott turning into a main street and the delay is quite disappointing,” Marlow said.
Jeff Leiper, the councillor for the area discussed similar reactions from the constituency. The first stage of detours needed for the construction of Confederation line began in late 2015 with the closure of the transitway from Tunney’s Pasture to Bayview station. This detour pushed thousands of buses off of the transitway and put them onto Scott Street. The first stage of detours was very contentious said Coun. Leiper. He and the residents of Hintonburg and Mechanicsville were very concerned about the impacts that those buses would have. “The buses run about 15 feet away from the residences on Scott Street. You open the front door and the buses are right there,” he said.
"Lately there has been a lot of construction and that has been the primary cause for delays getting to the O-Train. At Greenboro you have to walk all the way down then back up to the station and it takes about 10 extra minutes. Oftentimes I find I miss it when I’m just walking down to get it"- Carleton student Crystal Oag
The community had asked for several years that the city look at alternatives to running the buses down Scott Street. Initially it was felt that the decision was made without nearly enough deference to what the community was seeking said Coun. Leiper. The residents were concerned about noise, vibration, and access to side streets and residences. While the city ultimately decided to run the buses along Scott Street, they did take certain steps to help alleviate these issues. They put in a bike lane to help move buses out further from residences, they adjusted the timing of traffic lights, they moved empty buses onto a different route, performed road maintenance, and even gave residents the option of having a tall cedar fence put up to block noise, explained Coun. Leiper.
“Today the buses are certainly there, but it has not had the quality of life impact that we were concerned about. By and large life goes on in that stretch of Hintonburg much as it did before,” he said.
As part of stage two of the LRT construction the transitway will be shut down from Tunney’s Pasture through Dominion station. This will require a detour through another neighbourhood. Initial concerns with the stage two detour have been minimal, due in part to the success of the Scott Street detour. “We’ve lived through it and I’m pretty confident that the city can do a lot to mitigate the impact of running those buses in close proximity to those residences,” said the councillor.
At peak times, Trillium line stations such as Carling can be so busy that commuters get left behind by overcrowded trains.
With regards to the 16- month closure of the Trillium line, Coun. Leiper said that it will be Carleton students who feel the greatest impact. The No. 107 bus that will replace the O-Train is going to run down Preston Street, according to Coun. Leiper and he said that Carleton students are probably going to see 10 minutes added onto their trip as a result of the closure. This added time will be a result of longer wait times, especially on off peak periods, and more traffic congestion along Preston.
Coun. Leiper believes that despite the growing pains, expanded LRT is going to be beneficial to the neighbourhood. Confederation line will be accessible and convenient for those who take it, but even those who don’t take it will be positively impacted by faster service and less congestion on the remaining local buses. Vehicle traffic will also be reduced, especially near the employment centre that is Tunney’s Pasture. The hope is that by providing Confederation line as a transit option, more people will be willing to leave their cars at home and commute by train, alleviating congestion in the neighbourhood.
Crystal Oag is a Carleton student who is concerned about the inconveniences that will result from the closure of the 16-month closure of the Trillium line.
As a Carleton student, Crystal Oag is among the group of people who will be most affected by the 16-month closure of the Trillium line. Oag lives in South Keys, which puts her very close to Greenboro station and all of the transit options it offers. However, Trillium line is the only route that goes directly to Carleton’s campus. As a regular O-Train user, Oag has seen the issues with the Trillium line.
The O-Train frustrates commuters in a number of ways. At peak times it is often overcrowded, sometimes to the point of leaving riders behind. It can also be difficult to time catching the train because it doesn’t arrive or depart at set times.
“Lately there has been a lot of construction and that has been the primary cause for delays getting to the O-Train. At Greenboro you have to walk all the way down then back up to the station and it takes about 10 extra minutes. Oftentimes I find I miss it when I’m just walking down to get it,” Oag said.