LRT reopening delayed at least another week
More problems with the LRT have been discovered, meaning the trains are closed for at least another week. Plus, a storm that knocked out power for thousands.
Well, it was too good to be true. There won’t be any LRT service returning today, as more issues have been found with the track. It’s not great. What can you say at this point? Ideally, these short-term fixes keep the train running until we get a permanent solution more than a year from now, but even that seems hard to imagine given how badly the system has performed.
Hopefully we get some good news about the train this week, but it’s hard to be positive at this point.
Let’s get to it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Monday: 21 🌡️ 10 | 🌦
Tuesday: 23 🌡️ 11 | ☀️
Wednesday: 25 🌡️ 14 | ☀️
😎 Long weekend: Next weekend in Colonel John By Day, with Monday, Aug. 7 a statutory holiday.
LRT restart delayed, councillors call for free transit
What happened: The LRT won’t be restarted for at least a week, the city announced at a Friday afternoon press conference. Extra work needs to be done to the tracks before trains can run safely.
Restraining rails: The city discovered during tests last week that the wheels were making contact with restraining rails at 16 parts of the track. Those restraining rails are meant to keep a train from derailing when something goes wrong. But under normal circumstances, they should not be making contact, and may be putting extra pressure on the trains’ vulnerable wheel hubs and axles.
The city said the rails only need to be moved one or two millimetres to get them into compliance. It will take time to adjust them all properly, and OC Transpo then needs to run test trains to make sure the fixes have worked.
Transit boss Renée Amilcar said they estimated it would take 10 days from last Friday to get the system running again meaning service could return next week
Giving up: People across the city are losing faith in the LRT. Riders told CBC they’d lost track of when the trains could run again because shutdowns are so common. “My confidence is really, really low.… It's like the interruptions are part of the service,” one rider told the broadcaster.
Compensation? Head of the transit commission, Coun. Glen Gower, said they’re looking at compensating riders but it’s “complicated.” The trouble is the huge deficit of $39 million OC Transpo is already running.
“We rely on fares for a large portion of the transit service. We budget about $8 million a month, so we need to make sure if there's any kind of compensation that there's a source that that money can come from,” Gower told CBC.
But despite that other councillors said the only way to get the public back onside with transit is to offer it free for a time.
2/2: It’s obvious that we will need to work to rebuild the trust of our ridership. I will ask my colleagues to consider a period of free transit to compensate for the problems this has caused.
— Laine Johnson (@laine_johnson1)
Jul 28, 2023
Zoom out: Over in Metro Vancouver, after a 123-day transit strike that just ended TransLink, the transit operator, announced free transit for the entire month of August, according to CityNews.
Express service: In an attempt to further improve replacement bus service, a new express bus from Blair will run direct downtown. The buses will run every 15 minutes from Blair to the three downtown stations of Rideau, Parliament, and Lyon. In the morning it will only run westbound from Blair to the core, in the afternoon it will run eastbound from downtown to Blair, OC Transpo said. Regular R1 buses will also run to every station.
Coming next: Today, Amilcar will announce the results of the risk assessment they’ve done on the return plan, and will maybe have a more precise restart date.
How much faith do you have the train will be fixed in the next week?
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
😷 39 million: The number of COVID rapid tests the federal government has in stockpiles, without the demand from the provinces to get rid of them. [The Canadian Press]
⚖️ $300 million: The size of the class-action lawsuit against the convoy organizers, who are trying to have the case thrown out because they said it infringes on their rights to free expression. [CBC]
🚨 $1,141: The size of a fine a man in Gatineau received for driving 90 km/h through a 40 km/h zone. [CTV]
🏠 500,000: The expected national shortfall in housing in the next two years. A TD report said the primary problem is the massive expansion in immigration with not enough homes being built. [Urbanized]
Severe storm knocks out power for days
Another storm: Hundreds of customers were without power Sunday, after another severe storm swept through the city knocking down trees and downing power lines, CTV reported. High winds, heavy rain, and even hail fell in the short storm Friday. Initially, some 40,000 customers were without power.
According to Hydro Ottawa, there were about 220 customers without power on Sunday, days after the storm. Another 400 or so were without power in Gatineau.
The city opened the Pinecrest Community Centre and Nepean Sportsplex to the public who needed electricity.
Damage: A swath of damage was reported through the city, along a similar path to the area damaged by last year’s derecho. Mooney’s Bay, Carlington, City View, and Westboro all saw damage from the storm.
NEW LOCAL JOBS
Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.
🚨 A man in his 80s was struck and killed by a heavy truck driver near Thurso, Que. The man was at the side of the road near an immobilized vehicle. [CBC]
🏥 The crisis of emergency rooms closing isn’t going to be getting any better, a local doctor said there is nothing tangible being done to fix it. [CBC]
🚨 The OPP is investigating the suspected drowning of a 66-year-old boater, after an empty boat was spotted on the open water near Deep River. [CTV]
🚧 The Queensway should reopen this morning, after crews installed a pedestrian bridge over the highway near Pinecrest to give access to the new LRT station on the north side of the 417. [CTV]
Your weekly guide
🎭 St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, until Aug. 5: Featuring A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest, and Alice in Wonderland on different dates. At the Kinsmen Amphitheatre, 101 Water St W, Prescott. Tickets $38 for adults.
🔥 Ottawa Busker Fest, Friday to Monday: A festival of street performers from across the globe music, performance and more. On Sparks Street across four stages. Free.
🎻 Ottawa Chamberfest, until Thursday: The world’s biggest chamber music festival wraps up this week. Mostly at the Carleton Dominon-Chalmers Centre at 355 Cooper St. Tickets start at $35.
🏃♀️ Canadian Track and Field League Championships, Saturday: The country’s best athletes compete in individual and team events. At the Terry Fox Athletic Facility, 2960 Riverside Dr. Tickets $10.
🚣♂️ Kaleidoscope Kayaking, until Aug. 19: Take a trip down the Rideau Canal in an LED-lit kayak, while the fireworks from the Les Grands Feux du Casino Lac-Leamy light up the sky. On the Rideau Canal. Tickets $89.
🎥 Capital Pop-up Cinema, Friday at dusk (8:45 pm-ish): A screening of The Neverending Story outdoors. Starts at dusk, at Beechwood Cemetery. Free.
⛏️ Public Archaeological Dig, Monday 8 am: All next week the NCC is hosting a public archaeological dig at the region's largest pre-contact site. Drop in at any time between 8 am and 5 pm. At Parc du Lac-Leamy, Parking at 80 Boul. Fournier. Free.
⛏️ Anishinàbe Odjìbikan Public Archaeological Dig, Monday 8 am: Just near the NCC dig, with the same parking spot, this one run by an Indigenous field archaeological school. Also free!
🏴 Glengarry Highland Games, Saturday and Sunday: The annual celebration of highland culture. Caber tossing, dance, food and more. In Maxville, Ont. Admission $30.
The Redblacks couldn’t pull off another miracle, losing to the Hamilton Ti-Cats 16-11, despite a late charge. [Ottawa Citizen]
Favourite waffle house and coffee shop Sharpfle Waffle has reopened in Hintonburg.
What’s the song that best represents Ontario? Here’s an argument that (correctly) suggests it’s Neil Young’s Helpless. [TVO]
The reopened River House’s new swimming area could become a real recreation hub for the city. [CBC]
Smith Falls’ Brooke Henderson finished second at the Amundi Evian Championship. [Sportsnet]
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Michel Lanoue/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Today’s photos come from reader Michel Lanoue, who took a trip to the re-opened NCC River House. Looks great!
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Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle, the answer was MONEY, as in all the money Loblaws is making.
Speaking of money, for this week’s Ottawa Quiz, we want to know how fast the man was going to get a fine of more than $1,100 in Gatineau. The first five people to write in with the correct answer will get their names mentioned in the next issue.
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