In 2009 the NCC launched a study (together with City of Ottawa and Gatineau) to recommend how to improve the quality and efficiency of transit across the Ottawa River. This was of particular interest to Sandy Hill because as many as 150 STO buses per hour in rush hour travelled south on King Edward Ave and then west along Rideau St, significantly reducing quality of life in these areas. A better integrated inter-provincial transit system has the potential to take the vast majority of these buses off these roadways. It also has the potential to reduce the volume of cars commuting through Sandy Hill to and from the Macdonald-Cartier bridge. The Sandy Hill transportation representative was an active participant in the PCG (Public Consultation Group) guiding this study.
The first phase of this study which was completed in the fall of 2009 involved consulting various community groups on what they saw as the issues and priorities to be addressed in improving inter-provincial transit in this region. In February 2010 a brief presentation was made to the PCG group outlining a list of possible transit improvements in the short, medium, and longer term. Of particular interest to PCG group members was the longer term potential “infrastructure” options. Six different alternatives were tabled which included the following options:
- Bringing STO buses across a (current unused rail-based) Prince of Wales bridge (which would need to be substantially altered for buses) and transferring passengers to the new Ottawa LRT system at Bayview (after it is operational in 2019).
- The reverse of (1)…Once Ottawa has a North-South LRT running (post 2018) to extend it‟s northern terminus across the Prince of Wales bridge to Gatineau where STO passengers would transfer from buses to the LRT.
- Like (2) except this North-South LRT with every other north-south train crossing the bridge to Gatineau alternating with the next north-south train which would merge onto the Ottawa east-west LRT line and continue through downtown Ottawa.
- Implementation of a loop based rail system between Gatineau and Ottawa downtown which would probably use the Portage bridge and Alexandra bridges.
- An alternating Ottawa LRT line…this time the east-west line…. from Blair station where every other train would turn north at Bayview to cross the Prince of Wales bridge into Gatineau where Gatineau passengers would transfer to STO buses there. This would alternate with regular Ottawa east-west LRTs which would travel the full east-west line from Blair to the Ottawa far western terminus.
- Extending Ottawa’s downtown tunnel with a branch that travels north under lowertown to cross the river into Gatineau. Ottawa’s future north-south LRT would (after travelling through Ottawa downtown) branch off north to serve downtown Gatineau.
What was not made available to the public was any kind of data or analysis that could was used to evaluate between the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options. Information such as anticipated ridership analysis, capital costs, operating costs, etc was not available.
Study documents were posted by the NCC for some years between 2013 and 2015 after which time they were removed from public availability on the internet. The final study report has been stored elsewhere and can be accessed at this link: Interprovincial Transit Study 2013
During 2018, plans were announced that many of the STO buses that were travelling on Rideau and Wellington streets would use new routings after Stage 1 of Ottawa’s LRT became operational. These changes would have STO buses travelling on portions of Albert and Slater streets and on the Mackenizie King bridge instead of Rideau and Wellington.
As of 2021 the City of Gatineau was proposing an LRT system running from Aylmer to Place du Portage and crossing over into Ottawa on the Portage Bridge. On the Ottawa side two options were considered an underground option under Sparks street to intersect with the Ottawa Stage 1 LRT vs an on-the-surface option along Wellington Street with some reduction of car lanes on Wellington. A decision was made to further pursue the surface option along Wellington. As of 2022 The Province of Quebec agreed to fund this project and was actively seeking a co-funding decision from the federal government.
Also in 2021 a decision was made to repurpose the unused Prince of Wales rail bridge to an active transportation connection and funding was received from upper level governments to open the project to the public in 2022.
Last Updated: 25-Jan-2022