Half trains through the fall
Don’t expect full service on the LRT any time soon. Plus, what the city can do to make future flooding less severe.
And a hearty happy birthday to my sister. Who is celebrating her [REDACTED] birthday today. Happy birthday kid!
Today we’ve got the latest on the plans for the LRT in the fall (not inspiring) how we can mitigate bad floods in the future (seems expensive) and a house of the week that has one really, really great feature.
Let’s get to it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Wednesday: 25 🌡️ 16 | 🌦
Thursday: 28 🌡️ 18 | 🌦
Friday: 22 🌡️ 14 | ⛈️
Half trains are here to stay
What happened: Partial LRT service will continue for the foreseeable future, as OC Transpo said it intends to keep running single-car trains into the fall. At the same time, the city will continue express buses from the stations at either end to downtown.
The Shuttle Express buses are a rebrand of the R1 express buses that were unveiled during the 28-day LRT shutdown. The buses will run every 10 minutes during morning and evening rush hour, transit boss Renée Amilcar said in a memo. The buses run from Tunney’s Pasture and Blair to the main stops downtown.
Faster than the train: Because of the slowdowns to the trains to keep them from breaking more axles, the city expects the express bus to be about five minutes faster coming from the east end, CTV reported. Depending on traffic, the bus may be slightly slower coming from the west.
How long? For the moment, the city intends to keep half-train service indefinitely. The city said it is possible for service to return back to the designed double trains if ridership demands it, but they expect the single cars along with buses to be able to handle ridership levels.
What’s next: At long last, the city’s analysis into what caused the August 2021 derailment will be released. Unfortunately, it won’t be made public until a transit commission meeting in mid-October. But, finally, we’ll know what caused the train to run off the tracks more than two years ago, and has caused so many headaches since.
Also at city hall…
Recreational hunger games: Monday was the opening of swim registration, and many parents reported problems with the city’s new, supposedly improved, signup system. Coun. Ariel Troster was one of many who ran into technical errors when trying to sign up. The site went down for about 40 minutes due to an unknown issue, according to CTV.
If other parents trying to register kids for swimming are getting this error message, I am in the same boat. Staff are aware of the problem and trying to fix it.
— ArielTroster (she/her) (@ArielTroster)
Aug 15, 2023
The Lookout’s view: Taking a step back, the problem isn’t really technical. Sure, the registration system can’t handle all the signups on the first day, but a city with an adequate number of rec programs for kids wouldn’t need parents to race to be first in line to make sure their kids get any spot at all. A city with enough activity spaces wouldn’t need Ticketmaster-grade signup technology so kids could learn to swim.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
🔌 20: The number of years it’s been since the great blackout of 2003. [CBC]
📈 3.3%: The inflation rate for July, up 0.5 percentage points from June’s 2.8 percent. Forecasters expect another interest rate hike could be in the works for next month. [CTV]
🍞 $75,000: The amount the Caldwell Family Centre needs to raise so it doesn’t have to cut services at its community centre or food banks. [CTV]
⚖️ The provincial coroner’s office announced it will hold an inquest into the death of an officer and a cadet at Kingston’s Royal Military College last year. Unlike the ongoing military investigation, this will allow the families the ability to participate in the process. [CBC]
🚨 A man was killed by a dump truck in Kanata yesterday in what police said is being investigated as a workplace injury. [CTV]
🔥 In Findlay Creek an under-construction townhouse caught fire overnight and was severely damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown. [CTV]
🌪️ Homes in Barrhaven damaged by the twin tornadoes are eligible for a municipal tax break. [Barrhaven Independent]
Can we flood proof the city? (Sorta!)
Sachi/Ottawa Lookout Reader
What happened: Last week’s massive storm pushed the storm water system in this city past its limits, so what can we do to prepare for other huge downpours in the future? One way is to turn much of the city into a sponge, CBC reported.
Green roofs, rain gardens and vegetated swales (which you could describe as a grassy gutter) are all ways to reduce the amount of water that goes directly into storm drains, and lessens flood risk.
Sprawl city: Another way to combat flooding is to stop sprawling outward. Built up areas, particularly asphalt roads, parking lots and roofs, don’t absorb any water. Instead they keep it on the surface where it has to be funnelled into the storm water system. As we saw, if there isn’t enough capacity, the water just rises and rises.
Green strategies work differently, by absorbing the water and slowly releasing it, it gives the city’s stormwater system a chance to keep up with a deluge.
Insurance troubles: Some residents are worried their homes will no longer be insurable after yet another flood. Residents of an Elmvale neighbourhood are concerned after they've been flooded by backed up sewers multiple times over the past several years, CTV reported. The local councillor said much of the problem is because of outdated sewer infrastructure in the area.
Knock-on effects: It’s not just houses that were flooded. The city’s new Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel, which came online in 2020, was so overwhelmed it sent 316 million litres of raw sewage into the Ottawa River, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The tunnel is designed to hold 43 million litres, and was built after jammed sewer gates spilled 764 million litres into the river. Now the question becomes if it needs to be made even larger.
HOUSE OF THE WEEK
Two words: Indoor pool. Another two: Yellow exterior. But seriously, an indoor pool There’s that and much more in this Beacon Hill home — a fairly new roof, windows, and so on. But! Indoor pool. One, uh, caveat: the house is being sold as-is, and there are no photos on the listing of the pool itself. But! Indoor pool.
🪧 Ontario elementary and secondary teachers’s unions are planning strike votes in the coming months, as talks on a new contract with the provincial government have dragged on. [The Canadian Press]
🪖 A veteran of the Second World War, and a girl he saved during the liberation of the Netherlands were reunited for the first time in 79 years. [CTV]
🐝 Beekeepers say a $1.4-million program isn’t enough to keep their hives alive as they struggle to adapt to a changing climate which has caused a “catastrophic crisis.” [CBC]
🏳️🌈 Capital Pride is asking both the city and the province to provide more funding for security as hate crimes against LGBTQ2S+ increase in the city. [CTV]
🗳️ The Ontario Liberal Party will hold one of its five leadership debates Nov. 8 in Ottawa. [The Canadian Press]
Registration for the Cleaning the Capital fall campaign has opened, where you can volunteer to help tidy our city. [City of Ottawa]
This baker turned her passion into a business she’s quite proud of. (And the treats are to die for.)
He may be cute, but I’m not sure I’d pet this particular Centretown critter. [Reddit]
The third photo in this set, of the Museum of Nature at night, is really exceptional. [Reddit]
Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.
Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
Capital Eats is written by our food editor Ralf Joneikies.
Bianca Batalha’s bakery started life differently. Where once customers may have seen it just for custom birthday cakes, Bianca has turned it into a must-stop destination either on your trip to or from Aylmer.
She offers a variety of sweet and savoury treats including the frozen Brazilian staple pao de quiejo. This is an addictive cheese bread made with cassava flour and ideal for anyone on a gluten-free diet. Pop them in the oven for 30 minutes and you’ve got a delicious and unique crowd pleaser for your next dinner party.
🏈 The Redblacks are having a poor season, giving up big plays is a big reason. [Ottawa Sun]
🏀 Ottawa BlackJacks guard Kadre Gray was named the Canadian elite Basketball League’s Canadian Player of the Year. [Ottawa Sun]
We’ll admit, this week’s quiz question was a bit of a trick. We wanted to know what the average rent for an apartment in the city was for June, not for last month. Congrats to Adam, Chantal, Safia, Debbie, and Chantal who knew it was $2,134.
Do you know where today’s Ottawa Guesser is? The first five people to respond get their names mentioned in the newsletter.
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