Another idea for getting buses off Scott Street

Between 2015 and 2018, view the Scott Street / Albert corridor is going to be a nightmare of construction while the city builds three new LRT stations at Holland, Bayview, and LeBreton, then after 2018 the pain moves West to Westboro and Dominion. But almost worse than the construction are the hundreds of buses every hour that will have to find an alternative to the Transitway while it is being dug up for the trains. The city and the LRT builders favour Scott Street, but have yet to publish the exact details of their plan.

In the meantime, the NCC has let it be known that they are open to considering use of the Parkway as an alternative, so several citizen activists have developed their own ideas that they are shopping around.  It suggests that buses could exit the Trench West of Holland and head North across Tunney’s Pasture to the Transitway. But this would be a slow route, and I think the consultants are going to balk at the delays and awkward routing of sending ALL buses across there, as well as stranding Bayview Station from regular service by 95, 96, etc.

There are also two options put forward by Eric Darwin for mitigating the impact if buses go on Scott: 1) one by  Shifting buses to the centre of Scott/Albert, 2) another to the Northern edge.  All of these are helpful in their own way, but I wonder if we need to have such an “all or nothing” approach.

I have one more possible option that combined with Eric’s idea, could dramatically *reduce* the volume of Transitway traffic on Scott Street – particularly during rush hour.

So here’s my idea:

This plan might divert a large number of OC Transpo Transitway buses away from the Scott/Albert Corridor.

This plan might divert a large number of OC Transpo Transitway buses away from the Scott/Albert Corridor.

  1. Designate ALL suburban express buses and a significant portion of regular Transitway buses (say 1/3 to 2/3) during weekday rush periods as “Downtown Direct” or “Parkway North” routes.
  2. These buses would never enter the Transitway trench at all, but would bypass Dominion and go all the way downtown on the parkway. This would keep a huge volume of bus traffic off Scott Street entirely. We might need an extra stop near Dominion, and Westboro Station would lose some service, which would be negative factors.
  3. But we could serve Tunney’s employees who ride these “Direct” buses, by building a temporary “North Tunney’s Station” – two sets of shelters at the North end of Tunney’s Pasture near the lights at Goldenrod and the Parkway. (See it here on Google Maps / Streetview).
  4. To serve Bayview / O-Train, we could build another “O-Train / Bayview Path” station just past the Prince of Wales rail bridge (here on Google Streetview ). With connections to the new O-Train path, this would be a moderately easy 150-200m walk South to the Bayview O-Train platform. (Although you could also easily build an O-Train  platform closer to the bridge / river. Or even – and this is a bit crazy – GO ACROSS TO QUEBEC?!?!)…
  5.  From here, to get buses back up to the Albert / Slater route (and they really CAN’T use Wellington across downtown) they’d either need to use the proposed Preston extension – which is not great for people on that part of Albert. Another possible, but less direct option would be to build a N/S lane and intersection where the old Wellington alignment forks away from new Wellington / Portage Bridge crossing (here on Google Streetview ).
  6. Alternately EASTBOUND buses could use the old Wellington option, while WESTBOUND buses could use the Parkdale route and the old unused Parkway underpass. This would further cut the bus traffic on Albert and clean up the turns.

I’m no transit planner, so there are lots of possible holes and offsetting factors in this idea. But I haven’t heard it suggested, and it seems worth a look.

What do you think?

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