Richmond Road biz say bring on LRT

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/05/04/richmond-road-bizes-say-bring-on-lrt

Running LRT along Richmond Rd./Byron Ave./ Scott St. is “critical” to area businesses, if it’s the major corridor for the western link of Ottawa’s light rail system, says Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs.

While residents have expressed concern about “construction disruption,” Hobbs said having the primary route along Richmond is a “good thing, transportation-wise.”

On Thursday the city nixed Carling Ave. as its top choice, namely due to its exorbitant $600-million price tag.

Running LRT along Richmond/Byron/Scott is estimated at $200 million.

Eric Darwin from the Dalhousie Community Association also likes the Richmond route.

“I think that’s the one that will be chosen, I think that’s the one that’s sellable to the maximum number of people,” said Darwin.

“And it maximizes the development potential along it.”

If Carling remained the front runner, “that would’ve cut out the Westboro business area to rapid transit,” said Hobbs.

“I’m very much for the LRT in the north part, so it’s either Richmond or the (Ottawa River) Parkway from Dominion on.”

Keith Henry’s family has owned Tops Car Wash along Richmond Rd., just west of Woodroffe Ave, for 40 years.

The car wash been located there for 45 years.

While some customers live nearby, as does Henry, “we have people (come in) from all over the city,” he said.

Given the nature of the business, customers drive to his shop, located in a quiet area.

With LRT, “I don’t imagine it’s going to affect us very much,” said Henry.

“If they’re taking the buses off the road, that may not be a bad thing.”

During the construction phase along Richmond, starting at Golden Ave., “it’s obviously going to be an upheaval,” said Hobbs.

Two of the four car lanes would be used for rapid transit but there would still be car traffic, and the Byron Linear Park would remain, said Hobbs.

While some residents are concerned about construction and noise when LRT is completed, “it would not be detrimental. It’s a quiet train, it’s going to replace a lot of buses,” said Hobbs.

Meanwhile, the city’s cheapest option, at $80 million, is the Ottawa River Parkway, which is National Capital Commission property.

“Ottawa River Parkway corridor does not consitute the optimal solution for light rail in satisfying its capital building objectives,” said NCC VP of capital planning Francois Lapointe.

Next month an interim report on the western LRT corridor environmental assessment is expected, and the final report should be in next spring.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

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