The City of Ottawa has provided a sneak peek inside one of the Light Rail stations slated to open on the Confederation Line later this year, at the same time reaffirming the current timetable for the project remains on track.
Mayor Jim Watson was joined Friday by a cluster of politicians, including Interim Ontario Liberal leader and Ottawa South MPP John Fraser and Ottawa South MP David McGuinty, as OC Transpo staff lead members of the news media on a tour of the Blair Station, the eastern terminus of the 12.5-kilometre Confederation Line
“There’s no change. We’re still holding firm on the November 2 handover date and then we’d have fare service by the end of the month.”
The Rideau Transit Group (RTG) consortium building the $2.1-billion system was to have handed it over to the city this past May 24. But construction delays at the Rideau Station caused by the June 2016 sinkhole and difficulties sorting out essential computerised systems forced that date to be moved back to November 2. Watson says he is confident the target will be met.
“There’s no change. We’re still holding firm on the November 2 handover date and then we’d have fare service by the end of the month of November. Our staff have said that RTG have not given them any reason to push that date backwards. If they do, obviously you’re going to know well before October 2.”
The Blair Station is one of 13 along the Confederation Line as it stretches west to Tunney’s Pasture. It expects to handle as many as 8,000 people an hour during peak periods as it will be a transfer point for people arriving by bus from more easterly points as they catch the train heading into the downtown. By the same token, many train riders travelling east will disembark at Blair and switch to the bus as they continue their trip.
To help guide them, overhead digital signs will display real-time information about train arrivals which are to be every five minutes or less during peak periods.
There will be public art at every station: at Blair, a hanging installation of glass rectangles yields an array of colours. In-floor heating on platforms and overhead heating and glass walls should provide comfort when the weather turns cold and windy.
Stairs have runnels or narrow channels along the side that will allow cyclists using the train to simply roll their bikes up or down a staircase.
Pay stations will allow passengers to load up a Presto card on the spot, buy a single ticket, or if there’s a problem, conduct a video call with customer service staff.
The blind and visually-impaired will be able to take advantage of raised lettering and brail on the pay stations as well as tactile tiles in the floor for guidance.