Ottawa – On Wednesday, September 2nd, the City’s Transportation Committee received an update on how the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) might connect an electric tramway system to Ottawa. The new system would reduce STO bus traffic in Ottawa by between 30 and 70 per cent while improving access to destinations on both sides of the Ottawa River and reducing the dependency on cars.
The proposed expansion would connect Gatineau with downtown Ottawa via the Portage Bridge. From there, two corridor options are being assessed: one at grade on Wellington Street and one through a tunnel under Sparks Street. The Wellington Street option includes two options for vehicular traffic: one where traffic is maintained along the entire length of the street, and one that would prohibit traffic between Bank and Elgin streets. Sixty per cent of respondents to an STO survey about the options preferred the tunnel under Sparks Street and considered it the most realistic and viable option that best meets travel needs.
There are logistical issues that need to be resolved with each option, including questions about underground utilities, planned cycling facilities, traffic impacts and concessions from the federal government. The STO study timeline anticipates Council will consider a recommendation from City staff about how to integrate the tramway into Ottawa in November.
Recommendations from today’s Transportation Committee meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, September 9.