Step one in a long awaited refurbishing of a more than forty year old LRT station is a bucket of blue paint. Coun. Tony Caterina said he’s even willing to chip in for that himself, but he’s more interested in the potential for federal funding for the rest of the project.
For the first time ever, older infrastructure is eligible for funding. That is one outcome from a council debate on setting priorities for transportation money from Ottawa.
Caterina convinced his colleagues and the administration to include rehab work on both Stadium and Coliseum stations in the list of projects to pursue. “These two would be extremely important to the city,” Caterina boasted. “I’m optimistic that this really is a start. It’s a start that should have happened years ago, but anyway it is a start.”
Both LRT projects would anchor infill housing at a couple of long term locations. For Coliseum Station it would be the proposed new housing on the 160 acres of Northlands, once the Vision 2020 plan goes ahead. For Stadium Station it would be on the Stadium Station Transit Oriented Development Project.
“Those are the two that I think are going to move ahead much faster than some of the other ones that are older projects, and I’ll be quite honest I believe that Northlands and the Stadium TOD will move much faster, and have moved much faster than Blatchford ever will.”
He said with out investment in the LRT, these developments won’t happen. “Trying to build out that TOD it’s going to make it awfully difficult to sell people on the fact that, that’s their station for use,” he said of the land across the tracks from Commonwealth. “The security features and on and on, everything about it, it’s not pleasant. It’s going to make the TOD that much harder.”
“It also contemplates access across the rail, the possibility of a new station at Stadium, closer to the Commonwealth Rec Centre, and leaving the existing station and parking for special events, which is great for overflow and Eskimo games, that sort of thing.”
Both the Coliseum, and Stadium stations are more than 40 years old, and look it, both in design and upkeep. Caterina worries about the access in the Coliseum station because of how you enter at street level, then descend into the basement only to come up again on the other side.
“Symbolically we’re painting the roof,” Caterina said of the plan for the Victoria Day long weekend. It needs it. The rest of the work will come years after that.