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Public Consultation on the Structuring System in Gatineau's West End - Q & A

Completion of the study

1. Why have there been several studies since 2010?
2. What is the difference between the opportunity study completed in 2017 and the additional study?
3. Is the study objective?
4. Is the consulting firm working on the additional study the same as the one that worked on the opportunity study completed in 2017?

Scenarios and corridors

5. Why is the reference scenario among the options being studied? How is it different from the current system?
6. Which corridors were retained and why?
7. What is a structuring transit system?

Transportation modes

8. Which transportation modes are planned?
9. EWill the vehicles be hybrid or electric? Will they be universally accessible?
10. What is BRT? A tram? LRT?
11. Are links with the Rapibus from Gatineau's east end and Ottawa's O-Train being considered?
12. Has the Mayor of Gatineau's scenario been retained? What will happen if the chosen scenario is different?

Planned service

13. Is the STO planning to offer better service for its riders? What will happen with the evening and weekend service?

Criteria considered

14. Does the STO plan to encourage intermodal transportation, for instance by allowing passengers to board with their bikes?
15. Is the STO taking the needs of families and students into account?
16. Is the STO taking the already existing living environments into account? Does it have the objective to contribute to revitalizing the main streets?
17. Is the quality of life of residents in Val-Tétreau, which is affected by the noise caused by bus traffic, being taken into consideration?
18. How does the STO plan to reach the City of Gatineau's objectives in terms of sustainable development?
19. Will the STO set GHG emission reduction targets for itself in the development of public transit?
20. Is reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) an objective targeted by the new system?
21. Will the project make it possible to add new bicycle paths along Aylmer Road and/or in the Aylmer sector?
22. Will the consultation results be taken into account in this study?
23. Will there be expropriations for this project?


Financing and cost effectiveness

24. How is this study being funded?
25. Will the project be financially viable? Will it pay for itself through fares from new riders?

Completion of the study

1. Why have there been several studies since 2010?

In 2010, the study started as a feasibility study.

In 2013, the study parameters were modified to continue as an opportunity study. Completed in 2017, this study concluded that the tram was an option that should be examined in more detail in a longer term vision for the development of the Gatineau-Ottawa metropolitan area.

In 2018, the STO granted a mandate to expand on the previous study. This additional study, which will be completed in 2020, consists of the following 4 phases:

  1. Identify all needs and constraints;
  2. Identify the long list of possible solutions and assess them to retain 5;
  3. Assess the performance of the 5 solutions chosen to identify the best solution;
  4. Determine the details of the chosen solution.

2. What is the difference between the opportunity study completed in 2017 and the additional study?

The purpose of the study started in 2013 and completed in 2017 was to assess whether a structuring link in the west was a real need. It concluded that the combined use of the Allumettières and Aylmer/Taché axes was necessary. However, an increase in the volume of buses would risk saturation of the system in the long term.

To expand on and update this study and to better align the STO's public transit system with Ottawa's, an additional study was launched in 2018. The objectives of this study are to:

  1. Determine the mode(s) that will be implemented: tram or BRT (bus rapid transit);
  2. Refine the corridors taken;
  3. Define the optimal alignment with the Rapibus from Gatineau's east end and Ottawa's light rail;
  4. Define the specific locations of the different stations;
  5. Identify the preferred interprovincial bridge.

    3. Is the study objective?

    The study is based on technical considerations and follows the methodology used for conducting opportunity studies. A technical committee comprised of members of the STO and its partners is ensuring that the study is objective. The study will provide a recommendation based on the recommended technical solution.

    4. Is the consulting firm working on the additional study the same as the one that worked on the opportunity study completed in 2017?

    The opportunity study completed in 2017 was done by the Roche-Genivar consortium, and the firm that is conducting the additional study is WSP (formerly Genivar). However, the work teams are made up of different people.

    Scenarios and corridors

    5. Why is the reference scenario among the options being studied? How is it different from the current system?

    The reference scenario is an improvement of the current bus system. The bus routes are redistributed on the main east-west axes, including Allumettières, to reduce the pressure on the Aylmer/Taché reserved lane. Reserved lanes and priority measures at traffic lights have been added at the main congestion points, but no structuring measures.

    This scenario is included in the options being studied in order to determine how any smaller scale measures would be able to address the objectives set and whether it is justified to consider larger scale solutions. Analysing this scenario is part of the methodology for conducting opportunity studies. In addition, this scenario serves as the basis for comparison with the other scenarios.

    6. Which corridors were retained and why?

    The opportunity study completed in 2017 concluded that a combination of structuring measures for the 2 axes below were necessary to provide efficient service in the city's west end:

    • Allumettières (with a variation via Plateau);
    • Aylmer/Alexandre-Taché axis.

    Because of the geographic distribution of the population, a single axis would not be enough to meet all the needs and ensure adequate performance. The options for the possible scenarios were developed based on these 2 axes. 

    Lucerne and Pink were examined in the last study. However, these axes are not geographically central and serve sectors that should see little growth in the future. They were not retained because the Allumettières and Aylmer-Taché scenarios presented better potential.

    7. What is a structuring transit system?

    The features desired in a structuring mode are the following:

    • Frequent, quality service;
    • A close link between mobility planning and land use planning;
    • Dedicated reserved lanes along all routes, with priority measures at intersections;
    • A system with the potential to offer a high trip capacity;
    • Travel times that are reliable and competitive compared with driving alone;
    • A resilient system that can adapt to various contingencies;
    • Integration with active modes.

    Transportation modes

    8. Which transportation modes are planned?

    The anticipated ridership allows for 3 options to be considered:

    • A rail mode: tram along both axes
    • A bus mode: bus rapid transit (BRT) along both axes
    • A combination of modes: tram along one axis and BRT along the other axis

    9. Will the vehicles be hybrid or electric? Will they be universally accessible?

    For this project, all modes (tram and/or BRT) will be electric and designed to meet the principles of universal accessibility.

    All new buses purchased by the STO since 2015 have been hybrid buses, and starting in 2025, once the technology has been tested for Quebec, they will be 100% electric. The fleet will be 100% electric by 2041.

    Finally, all new buses purchased by the STO since 2009 have been universally accessible (equipped with ramps). The fleet will be 100% universally accessible by 2025.

    10. What is BRT? A tram? LRT?

     
    BRT (bus rapid transit) is primarily a transportation project. It can use conventional, articulated or bi-articulated buses. Gatineau's Rapibus is an example. BRT generally requires building a right-of-way and reserved lanes. The transportation system is dedicated (feeders) or accessible for all routes. The lanes are often physically separated from automobiles (curbs, grade-separated) but the intersections can be shared with traffic signal priority.

    The tram is primarily an urban project. It is one of the 2 modes being considered in this study. It requires complete reconstruction of the buried infrastructures, quality urban redevelopment and a dedicated transportation system. The lanes are not physically separated from automobiles and it has level crossings at intersections with absolute priority.

    LRT (light rail transit) is a semi-urban project. Ottawa's O-Train is an example. It is a completely dedicated transportation system, the lanes are always physically separated from automobiles (barriers) and it has intersection crossings with its own right-of-way.

    11. Are links with the Rapibus from Gatineau's east end and Ottawa's O-Train being considered?

    One of the objectives of the study is that the public transit system in the city's west end be able to connect with the Rapibus to make travel easier between all sectors in Gatineau.

    Furthermore, this is a vital transportation system for our region and its success depends partially on efficient travel between Gatineau and Ottawa. To ensure an interprovincial connection, the transportation system must cross over to Ontario and connect with Ottawa's light rail.

    It is essential to align well with these 2 existing structuring public transit modes and to complement them in order to improve regional connectivity.

    12. Has the Mayor of Gatineau's scenario been retained? What will happen if the chosen scenario is different?

    The route proposed by the Mayor of Gatineau on June 20, 2018, has been included in the study and improved by the consultant (in particular concerning the Ottawa River crossing) and is one of the 5 scenarios that will be analysed during this study.
    However, this route is not definitive, and the study and consultation will help to determine the solution that will be chosen, among other things.

    Planned service

    13. Is the STO planning to offer better service for its riders? What will happen with the evening and weekend service?

    Every year the STO enhances its service for all Gatineau residents, including the sectors in east Gatineau, Buckingham and Masson-Angers. The service offered depends on demand and the resources available.

    The STO also wants to improve its evening and weekend service, in keeping with its service design and standards guide.

    Criteria considered

    14. Does the STO plan to encourage intermodal transportation, for instance by allowing passengers to board with their bikes?

    The STO encourages intermodal transportation. It would like to enable riders to walk or cycle to the stations, to park their bikes at stops or to board the public transit vehicle with them.

    15. Is the STO taking the needs of families and students into account?

    Serving academic areas and nearby services such as schools and libraries are elements that are being considered in the study.

    16. Is the STO taking the already existing living environments into account?

    Does it have the objective to contribute to revitalizing the main streets?
    The existing living environments are being considered in the analysis of the scenarios, as well as the sectors being developed, the sectors requiring urban revitalization and the urban development potential related to the project.

    17. Is the quality of life of residents in Val-Tétreau, which is affected by the noise caused by bus traffic, being taken into consideration?

    Annoyances such as the noise caused by the buses are elements that are being considered in the study.

    18. How does the STO plan to reach the City of Gatineau's objectives in terms of sustainable development?

    The STO would like to contribute to making sustainable development a priority in Gatineau, according to one of the directions in the city's land use and development plan. To do this, the STO would like to introduce a public transit system in Gatineau's west end that will make it possible to reduce dependence on the automobile and to increase the modal share of public transit.

    19. Will the STO set GHG emission reduction targets for itself in the development of public transit?

    The STO would like to set GHG emission reduction targets as part of its 2017-2025 strategic plan.

    20. Is reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) an objective targeted by the new system?

    Limiting environmental burdens, such as greenhouse gas emissions, is an objective targeted by the new system. Electrifying transportation will also have a major impact on reducing greenhouse gases.

    21. Will the project make it possible to add new bicycle paths along Aylmer Road and/or in the Aylmer sector?

    The STO would like to encourage bicycle use and is collaborating with Gatineau in this respect. 

    22. Will the consultation results be taken into account in this study?

    The contribution from citizens as part of the study is very important and relevant. A public consultation will therefore be held in June 2019. Sector consultations are also being organized as needed in the fall of 2019.

    The results of the public consultation of June 2019 will help to identify the elements that are important for respondents, which will influence the weight of the analysis criteria and the choices regarding the planning and the selection of options and variations.

    23. Will there be expropriations for this project?

    The purpose of the current study is to refine the corridors taken, consequently it is not yet known whether partial or total land expropriations will occur. The layouts (sidewalks, stations, bike path, vegetation) will not be the same for all the routes but could require compromises in some locations where space is more limited, such as reduced traffic lanes or parking spaces, partial land expropriations, etc.

    The residents in the neighbourhoods concerned will be consulted in the fall of 2019.

    Financing and cost effectiveness

    24. How is this study being funded?

    This study is being funded by contributions from the federal government (50%) and provincial government (40%) under the financial assistance program of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF).

    25. Will the project be financially viable? Will it pay for itself through fares from new riders?

    The cost-benefit analyses completed in the study will make it possible to determine whether the scenario is viable from a socio-economic standpoint. The benefits considered include the reduced travel time for riders (car and bus), decreased use of vehicles (car and bus), improved road safety and improved air quality. The system will not pay for itself through fares from new riders. If the project is financed, the funds will come primarily from grants from the Quebec government, the federal government (through grant programs administered by the Quebec government) and the City of Gatineau. Currently, passenger revenues represent 25% of the STO's operating budget.

     

     

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