Barrhaven Bullet' a quick route to rail transit
Coun. Jan Harder reveals proposal developed in 1998
By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, City Hall Bureau
Last Updated: 5th October 2009, 6:20pm
An artist's drawing of the 'Barrhaven Bullet' commuter rail service that was proposed in 1998.
The Barrhaven Bullet may be just the rail line to get commuters from the south-west end of the city to downtown.
With the possibility of an electric heavy rail transit option for commuters, Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder says it’s time to renew an 11-year-old rail transit plan proposed by UniRail Canada Inc. to run a heavy rail commuter line from Barrhaven to downtown using existing rail lines.
Harder wants the city to head back to the table and talk with VIA, the company that operates the rail corridor between Barrhaven and Ottawa’s central VIA station.
“I think it should be looked at,” said Harder. “It’s the perfect line.”
Harder said that the cost of building light rail transit (LRT) is too much and now is the ideal time to renew the effort to convince VIA that the 18.5 km Barrhaven to Ottawa rail corridor can work.
“(LRT) cost overruns are so prohibitive that the public won’t be able to tolerate it,” said Harder, who refers to the potential line as the Barrhaven Bullet.
The 1998 report, which was tabled before the Ottawa-Carleton regional government, suggested it would require a small capital investment and could get rolling right away. The average speed between the proposed 10 transit stations along the route — including ones at Billings Bridge, the Merivale and Colonnade business parks and the Walkley transit station — would be 50 km/h, it would generate almost 4,000 rides per day and take less than 20 minutes to get from Barrhaven to the VIA station.
“The CN Barrhaven-Ottawa station corridor when compared with other options indicates a greater potential to attract new ridership to the rail transit service as well as establishing integration with existing transitway corridors and services,” says the report.
Council colleague Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Steve Desroches supports Harder’s idea.
“It’s an opportunity we shouldn’t pass over,” said Desroches, who among other councillors is surprised by an option to build an electric heavy rail transit line that the city will bring to council next month. He is now questioning the city’s commitment to build LRT.
With a VIA station already located in Barrhaven, Desroches would also like to explore the opportunity to help VIA fill any empty seats with commuters on its regularly scheduled operations from Barrhaven to downtown.
“The timeline to bring LRT to Barrhaven is such that using the existing rail corridor is an opportunity to bring commuter rail to Barrhaven,” he said.