By Mike Foster
An information blitz is underway to make sure that University of Ottawa OC Transpo users are fully prepared when the Transitway bus lane between Laurier Avenue and Lees station closes on April 24, 2016, effectively shutting down Campus station for two years.
University of Ottawa and OC Transpo officials are advising students to plan their trips to the main campus by using the OC Transpo travel planner, and to check regular updates on the University’s Facilities website. Students can also sign up to receive OC Transpo live transit updates.
Buses are currently broadcasting messages and displaying signs about the altered routes. OC Transpo staff are visiting more than 500 classrooms on campus during the week of April 4 to 8. They will also board buses at Laurier station on exam days between April 24 and April 27 to let students know that this is the last stop for uOttawa.
As part of ongoing Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction, Campus station will close on April 24 and the Transitway between Laurier Avenue and Lees Station will be shut down until spring 2018.
This week (April 6), the University sent an email to students and professors to remind them that to get to the University, OC Transpo users will have to get off the bus at Laurier station or at the corner of King Edward Avenue and Templeton Street. Professors were informed that to help explain the changes, they could obtain OC Transpo brochures from the Timetable and Exams Office to hand out to students.
Students are also being warned to be extra careful, given the changes in their travel patterns and routines. Laurier Avenue and King Edward Avenue in particular are expected to see an increase in bus and pedestrian traffic.
Construction to build the LRT by 2018 means that the University of Ottawa will be enduring some medium-term pain for long-term gain.
The good news is that once the LRT is up and running in May 2018, the University will be connected to the east and west ends of the city by high-speed transit, with two stops on the Confederation Line: at uOttawa (Campus) Station and Lees Station.
The downside is that during construction some uOttawa students could see their bus travel times increase by up to four minutes, and could have farther to walk to get to class. About 60% of University of Ottawa students rely on public transit.
Facilities posts regular updates, which currently include the following key points:
- Campus station will be closed from April 24 to spring 2018
- Students travelling to the main campus on buses should get off at Laurier station, and at King Edward Avenue and Templeton Street. There will also be a stop on Laurier at Cumberland for routes using King Edward
- Most buses will use Nicholas Street instead of the Transitway, which could mean longer bus rides than normal, depending on traffic conditions
- Afternoon trips on west-end express routes will start at the Mackenzie King Station (Rideau Centre)
- Bus routes 95 and 98 will use King Edward Avenue to get to Lees Station
Daniel Spence, uOttawa’s sustainable transportation manager, said the University has been holding monthly meetings with representatives from the rail line implementation office, which includes City of Ottawa officials and Rideau Transit Group.
“OC Transpo considers students as important clients and they have been very proactive in responding when the University has raised concerns,” said Spence.