_ (Via City of Ottawa) _ ** ** Ottawa ** ** – Today, after several months of discussion, Mayors Jim Watson and Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin announced an agreement between Ottawa and Gatineau that will better integrate the regional transit network. The Mayors were joined by Councillors Gilles Carpentier, Chair of the STO, and Stephen Blais, Chair of the Ottawa Transit Commission.
This agreement, a first in the history of the two cities, will help ensure efficient connections between the two transit systems when the O-Train’s Confederation Line begins service. It will also help achieve the two cities’ transit objectives and meet the needs of users on both sides of the Ottawa River. In addition to addressing the City of Ottawa’s long-standing concern over the volume of bus traffic on certain downtown arteries, the new service will help reduce travel times for a significant portion of Gatineau transit users who commute to Ottawa each morning.
Allowing STO buses to access Albert and Slater streets will bring many transit users closer to their workplace. Moreover, direct connections to the O-Train network at Lyon and Parliament stations will help improve access for users whose destinations are located further west or east in downtown.
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Map of STO routes downtown (STO)[/caption]
The agreement also provides an ongoing commitment to optimizing interprovincial trips more generally, such as by revisiting OC Transpo operations in Gatineau and by studying how to optimize OC Transpo and STO services on both sides of the River. ** ** Commitment to joint planning of interprovincial travel ** ** In addition to new downtown Ottawa service, O-Train integration and optimized interprovincial travel, the bi-lateral agreement creates of a joint planning and coordination group, which will facilitate collaboration and dialogue on future studies and large-scale transportation projects. The two cities have committed to establishing this group within the next 60 days. An announcement regarding its composition and mandate will be made in due course. The group’s main objective will be to ensure better integration of development plans related to transportation, especially plans that impact both sides of the Ottawa River. ** ** Integration of STO services with the O-Train Confederation Line ** ** ** ** ** ** With the O-Train Confederation Line’s underground tunnel servicing the downtown core, Albert and Slater streets will no longer be major transit corridors and there will be a significant reduction in bus traffic.
Thanks to collaborative efforts between both transit agencies, the following changes to STO service in Ottawa’s downtown will be implemented once O-Train service begins:
* STO routes will be relocated away from Wellington and Rideau streets between Bank and Waller streets. * All STO routes into downtown Ottawa will connect with the O-Train Confederation Line at Lyon Station. * STO’s all-day routes and a limited number of peak-only routes will continue via Slater and Albert streets to the Mackenzie King Bridge and Laurier Avenue and Waller Street. * The majority of STO’s peak-only routes will loop via Bank Street to increase connectivity between the STO and OC Transpo bus route networks, in addition to allowing for a second connection with the O-Train at Parliament Station. * STO buses will use either the Portage, Alexandra or Macdonald-Cartier bridges to enter or exit Ottawa’s downtown core, based on what is most appropriate for each trip.