Despite university protest, OC Transpo to proceed with planned date
The City of Ottawa Transit Commission announced that OC Transpo’s Campus Station will close on April 24, three days before the University of Ottawa’s spring exam period ends. The announcement was made on Feb. 17 at city hall.
The Commission announced that the transitway will close between Laurier Avenue and Lees Station—which closed in mid December of 2015—to continue light rail transit (LRT) construction. Campus Station will close while the uOttawa LRT stop on the Confederation Line is being built.
Daniel Spence, sustainable transportation manager at the university, said that after much negotiation with the City, the closure will go ahead as planned on April 24.
“From what I understand the university has taken it to the highest levels, which I assume is the mayor’s office,” said Spence of the university’s attempt to delay construction until after the exam period.
He said the reason given by the City was that the cost would be too high, due to the tight timelines the Transit Commission has to maintain.
“Basically it was going to cost millions of dollars to back it off for another week. It was not possible to just back it off three days because OC Transpo never makes service alterations midweek,” said Spence.
In an interview with the Fulcrum during the recent Student Federation of the University of Ottawa elections, incoming and current vice-president of university affairs Vanessa Dorimain said she anticipated the closure of Campus Station as one her greatest challenges next year. She said planned to continue the ongoing discussions with the City about the closure’s effects on U of O students.
To lessen the impact on commuters, Spence said students can use the OC Transpo travel planner for routes and says it will be updated mid-March to reflect the changes to the transit system.
Spence also said a bus stop near the intersection of Laurier Avenue and Cumberland Street for buses travelling via King Edward Street will be added to reduce the congestion at Laurier Station.
The Transit Commission’s updated presentation on the LRT construction details the closure, saying most bus services between Laurier Avenue and Lees Station will use Nicholas Street, and routes 85, 95 and 98 will use King Edward Avenue and Laurier Avenue “to maintain good transit connections for Sandy Hill and uOttawa main campus”.
This won’t be the first change in commute for U of O students this school year. Light rail construction caused the closure of the lower level of Lees station, and transit between Hurdman and Lees was halted. Also, the 18, 85 and 95 had their routes altered.
Detailed information about station closures and route maps are available on the OC Transpo website, in addition to the travel planner. Construction on campus’ LRT stop is scheduled for completion by Fall 2017.