Relocate the Dominion LRT Station

The location and track alignment of the Dominion LRT station in the City of Ottawa presentations of April 25 and June 17, 2013 show the proposed Dominion LRT station at the foot of Berkley and Dominion Avenues on the grassy area and footpath from Dominion to Scott Street. This alignment would force the destruction of a grove of trees that are a sound buffer from Parkway noise for The Barclay condominium (94 apartments) and the Plaza Towers apartment building (190 apartments). In addition, this wooded area is on the path from the office building at 495 Richmond Road to the Dominion station and is used as part of the walking, bicycling, snowshoeing and skiing path from Scott Street to Cleary Avenue and beyond on the southern side of the Parkway.

Proposed alternative Dominion station location

Proposed alternative Dominion station location (Click to enlarge)

We are proposing that the station be moved some 50 metres north into the existing Transitway trench. This alignment would save the grove of trees and could be easily accomodated by slight curves in the track which are well within the capacity of the Alston Citadis trains that have been chosen for the Ottawa LRT system. In addition, the City’s drawings show the station on top of a major trunk water main serving western Ottawa and Kanata as well as sewer and gas lines in this area. It is completely unnecesary to add some 50 metres of expensive excavation in the hard limestone rock at this location when the existing Transitway trench is already there. It is certainly inadvisable to excavate on top of the trunk water main which is only 4.3 metres underground at this location. Apparently some City staff and/or Delcan consulting staff have said Alstom trains cannot curve around this location. However, the City of Ottawa’s promotional video (at minute 6:00) show a Citadis train negotiating a much tighter curve on a European street than would be required here. Further, Alstom’s specifications for the Citadis show a minimum turning radius of 20 metres, while the main Ottawa LRT line is using some 50 metre radius turns, and this particular change in alignment would require only a 100 metre radius turn in a section where trains are moving slower into or out of a station.


Proposed alternative Dominion station location. (Click to enlarge) Note the savings in excavation, avoidance of the trunk water main and the ease of curving around the grove of trees to the immediate west.


A drawing showing an alternative alignment with a 100 metre radius curve taking the track from the exit from the existing Transitway trench around the existing grove of trees to the westward alignment following the Ottawa River Parkway. (Click to enlarge)

14 Responses to Relocate the Dominion LRT Station

  1. David James says:

    This idea introduces a completely unnecessary S-bend into the system, with all the resulting wheel squeal that will create. And let’s be serious about the limestone: as far as rocks go, it’s soft, not hard. That’s why they keep having to cover ever more of the trench walls in concrete. Somehow I doubt they’ll risk hitting the water main.

    I’ve looked at this carefully and by my estimation the line would remain almost entirely north/west of the main path through the woods; in effect that path would likely become the base for a path connecting the path along the trench to the east with a path following the south side of the tracks.

    Had the Transitway been continued westwards rather than using the Parkway, the current Dominion station and the intersection of the Parkway would never have been built. Instead, it would have gone through the edge of the woods as currently proposed for LRT. Indeed, the very location of the Parkway intersection (and subsequently Dominion Station) was chosen so as to allow the Transitway to be extended in the future without affecting operations in the short term as you’ll note that the Transitway doesn’t start rising out of the trench to the Parkway until it makes the [north]westward turn into the station area.

  2. Bob Thomson says:

    Depends on what you define as unnecessary. If you don’t value the sound buffer value of the woodlot that will be destroyed by the current City proposed alignment, then maybe you’d call it unnecessary. If you don’t care about a parkland that has value to our community, then ditto. See the evaluation of the woodlot by a botanist at Those of us who live there and want the LRT Dominion station, want it done right, and that includes preserving parkland, trees and our sound buffer.

    As for your contention that the City’s proposed alignment “would remain almost entirely north/west of the main path through the woods”, you clearly haven’t looked at the City’s drawings and proposed alignment. I have a Google maps view of the alignment and the woods that shows this very clearly. It’s at The woodlot is clearly toast if the City’s alignment is approved in the final design stage. I have heard from several sources now that this concern has been noted and changes are likely. You haven’t commented on the fact that THE main trunk water main serving Ottawa West and Kanata is located 4.3 metres under the proposed station location, a factor that will be much more expensive to relocate than 50 metres of limestone excavation and filling in the existing Transitway trench as one official at the June 17th open house apparently said was proposed.

    As for wheel squeal, Alstom’s specs for the Citadis say it’s minimum radius for turns is 20 metres. My proposed alignment (your S-curve) would require a minimum radius of 100 metres or 5 times the minimum. At the speeds expected for a train entering and leaving the Dominion station, unless you know something about the Citadis that’s not in Alstom’s specs, wheel squeal should not be a problem. A Delcan engineer told me on June 17th at City Hall that there are some 50 metre radius turns in the Confederation line now under construction. If you believe a 100 metre radius is going to create wheel squeal, then imagine what the neighbours near a 50 metre curve are going to say about this.

    I’m a Professional Engineer. I haven’t practised in this area, but I’m very certain that my proposed realignment is not only feasible, but necessary. I disagree strongly with your categorization of the s-curve as “completely unnecessary”.

    • David James says:

      If I were in your position, I wouldn’t come out with an accusation like “you clearly haven’t looked at the City’s drawings and proposed alignment” to someone who clearly has. I don’t appreciate nonsense like that. I most clearly have looked at them. I could just as easily level that accusation at you since you have not presented any evidence that you actually know where the former CPR corridor goes and you “clearly” have no understanding of the issues involved in setting an alignment. Granted, the City can probably take some blame for that as their outreach has been pathetic, but by the same token if you’re going to propose alternatives you should have an understanding of the constraints.

      “My S-curve” is not imaginary: you’ve taken the very large radius curve of the transitway/CPR corridor and turned it into three and maybe four curves, depending on which of your drawings I look at: one that curves west towards the Parkway (i.e. to follow the transitway out to the Parkway), a possible second immediately afterwards to turn into the station (that’s in your overwrite pictures, and together with the first that’s one S-curve), a third to turn out of the station and a fourth further west in Rochester Field to regain the former CPR alignment (these last two making an S-curve). You’ve laid out the radius of the curve exiting the station to the west at 100 m, but you haven’t done any of the other two or three you’ve introduced.

      Another problem with your diagram is you “clearly” do not know what length the platforms and station needs to be. We’re designing for 120 m stations, so you need to draw a design with at least 120 m of tangent track and preferably 150 m so any curves occur well beyond the platforms (David Hopper of Delcan will tell you the same thing). There just isn’t that kind of space at the current Dominion Station as it was designed for 55 m platforms. Looking at your hand drawing overlay of the Google Maps image, based on the placement of the curve and its origin the City would have to widen the trench cut on the north side, roughly opposite Berkley.

      Now I, unlike you, have actually taken the time and effort to figure out what is going on and what constraints the City faces. Here is what the line and station location are likely going to be:

      The red line represents the LRT line and the magenta lines represent the trackside platforms. I haven’t drawn the surface platforms, but you can assume about the same width again, depending on how the station accommodates stairs and elevators. The cyan lines represent the boundaries of the former CPR corridor where it isn’t obvious from the modern cadastral information. The red line I’ve drawn is basically the only line the City would choose to use. That’s because the transitway occupies the north half of the former CPR corridor at the Roosevelt ped bridge and because the line will have to pass north of Skead St further west, which itself was built on the south half of the former CPR corridor. The City has absolutely no reason to even want to depart from this alignment as it is the most efficient alignment possible with no extra curves. In my diagram you can see what the 50 m for the station is: it’s the length of the excavation as the line leaves the trench to continue following the former CPR corridor. All this talk of the station being placed on top of the water main and of excavating 50 m to the south is just imaginary.

      A secondary problem with your proposed station location (i.e. the current one) is that the City doesn’t own that land; Dominion is on NCC property and since they’re already being a bunch of pricks the City is quite right to keep its stations on its own property. The property line cuts across the transitway just east of Dominion Station where the turn into the station occurs.

      How can the water main be located 4.3 m under the proposed station location when the proposed station location is in the existing transitway trench, unless the water main is located that far below the transitway itself? Which I know it isn’t – it’s located a few metres to the south of the trench, running roughly along the south edge of the former CPR corridor. At most we’d be looking at a sidewalk built on the loop between Berkley and Dominion ending up above the water main; the LRT level is definitely not going to be on top of the water main.

      Finally, telling me you’re a Professional Engineer doesn’t impress me one bit. I’ve found that engineers who do that tend not to be very good engineers as they try to hind behind their credentials.

  3. Bob Thomson says:

    I responded to your comment to the woodlot evaluation posting before I read your comment above. As I said there, “OK let’s calm this down a bit. I created this site to encourage dialogue, not diatribe. I apologize if I have offended you, just as you have offended me by putting me into the category of NIMBYs and calling my assertions ‘incoherent nonsense’.” Followers of this “dialogue” can find my response at:

    I have made my point with links to the City drawings which show the Dominion LRT station at the foot of Berkley and Dominion despite your repeated assertions that it will be in the existing trench. You note above that “We’re designing for 120 m stations, so you need to draw a design with at least 120 m of tangent track and preferably 150 m so any curves occur well beyond the platforms”. From this I might assume you may work for one of the consulting firms doing this work or for the City. I may be wrong. If you have access to information that Nancy Schepers doesn’t on the Dominion station location, you might let her know. She wouldn’t then have said in her report that they’ll be looking into moving it north.

    I had noted earlier that I am a retired professional civil engineer. Although I have not practised in this specific area, I do have a decent technical understanding of infrastructure design, soil mechanics and construction, and I do not appreciate your implication that I may not be a good engineer. I can spell too, I don’t confuse “hide” and “hind”.

    I do not intend to spend any more time responding to you. If you’d like to have a conversation over coffee, I’d be happy to talk to you.

    • David James says:

      You’re taking the City’s artistic representations as some kind of accurate portrayal of what will be. The graphic artists often to a good job, but they sometimes make simplifications that don’t match up with reality.

      Let’s take this image again, because it’s a case-in-point:

      Note where the curve/loop is vis-à-vis the background. Imagine that instead of being a curve it was in fact a street running parallel to the transitway, i.e. towards Roosevelt and ultimately Scott. On their image, such an extension would readily pass the northernmost house on Roosevelt, and the Fendor site too. BUT IN REALITY, such an imaginary extension would HIT that house. Ergo, this image has moved the curve/loop NORTH towards the transitway trench – and from the perspective of a graphic artist trying to force together elements that won’t go together that’s a pretty natural thing for them to have done. In that same image of theirs, note the line of fenceposts in the background extending west from near the Roosevelt ped bridge. We know those posts separate the pathway from Roosevelt, and at that point the pathway is against the trench. In the station as they’ve drawn it, that pathway runs straight into a sidewalk on the south side of the station and the north side of the loop (i.e. no curves in the path). Now go back to the Google image and see where that places the station. Also compare the real-life perspective from the current position of the loop with that of the City’s image: . To get the perspective in the City’s image, the loop would have to be in the grass that currently lies north of the loop, with the station in or in line with the trench. Here’s a single image comparison of the two perspectives which proves my point pretty clearly: they shifted the loop north, and even gave it more curvature than it has now (the perspective of the City’s image is from a few metres further to the north (and west) than I could get with the Streetview imagery – their perspective is probably from a couple metres up the current path leading off Dominion to the station, which is behind and to the left of the Streetview perspective – but the background houses are far enough away in both to prove the point that they shifted the loop).

      There’s multiple pieces of evidence here supporting my contention that the graphic imagery has moved the loop north rather than the station south. And like I said, they don’t always get things accurate: they’ve even thrown in a gratuitous shot of a very bulky Metropole well to the south of the trench when from that location the Metropole would appear quite small and quite close to the trench – if it weren’t screened by the seven-storey apartment block behind the Newport/Donna’s (which is also depicted in the wrong place, also being too far south).

      I can’t emphasize this point enough: you’ve taken the City’s graphic representations and drawn conclusions about the location of the station without first considering whether the depiction is even plausible. The idea that the station would be built in the grass north of the loop on top of the water main is pure fiction.

      My Google image tracing of the line does not in fact make a northward “move” of the station compared to the City’s images, but it does eliminate the simplification and apparent distortion of the City’s drawings vis-à-vis the current situation as mine is superimposed on the current situation. Now in fairness to the City and the graphic artists, moving the loop northwards is probably a good idea when all is said and done… but it does have the unwanted side effect of making it look like the station is being placed south out of the trench, especially if presented without explanation or comment (at which the City excels).

      And this is where this argument of “clarity” came from. I would say it is you who have not looked at the City’s images clearly because you didn’t spot the northward move of the loop like I did, so it’s just insulting to go and accuse me of not looking at them closely or clearly.

      With respect to relocating the station as per this image:

      Your image still doesn’t have room for the 120 m platforms, never mind any tangent track beyond it. The magenta lines are 120 m in length, and you need 15 m either side of that of straight track. I know this because David Hopper once told me so a few years ago, not because I work for any of the consulting firms (and on this point, if I did, being a local, you can bet that the mistake in the position of the loop would not have been made, or would have been caught…). So I’m not sure how you propose to shift the station into the current Dominion Station area unless what you’re proposing is for the station to be more-or-less centred on the Roosevelt bridge (which brings the station far closer to residents of Workman than the proposed location is to residents of Berkley and Dominion), in which case you’ve just added a double S-curve along the line where trains are underway to dodge the woodlot. For that to work without undo wheel noise, you’ll need at least 50 m of tangent track between each curve, as that’s the length of each railcar, which again you don’t have depicted in your drawing.

      To the extent that the City may investigate moving the station north, it will be north (really west) from where I have depicted it, not north from where you think the City is going to put it (i.e. abutting the current location of the Berkley-Dominion loop in the grass). I also doubt that Nancy Scheppers is so intimately familiar with the area to even realize there’s an error in the City’s own graphics. However, what should be clear by now is that any such move out of the trench and to the north or west would require widening the trench on the north side as the cutting for the current station is not long enough and not oriented in the right direction to accommodate the longer area needed for a rail station.

      And if it was up to me, this station would be moved westwards a couple hundred metres anyway, into the area behind where the newest condo tower (Upper West) is being built, placing it much closer to the Parkway. One of the reasons to do that is because Westboro Station should be moved to Churchill, and a new station inserted at Island Park.

      “I can spell too, I don’t confuse ‘hide’ and ‘hind’.” Cute. One minor word error: “hide behind” became “hind behind” as I had started typing the next word before completing the previous one. Even to claim this represents some kind of “confusion” on my part reflects your mindset – you couldn’t figure out that what had happened was a rather obvious accident of typing rather than actual confusion of the words. Just like you couldn’t figure out the graphic artists had shifted the loop, likely by accident. At any rate, I’ll take a minor error in typing compared to a gross error of confusing where the station will be.

  4. David James says:

    Btw, you might want to peruse the latest City report to Transportation Committee:
    (then select the PDF document at right)
    Scroll down to page 15 and you will find the following image:

    As you can see, in this image they fixed the loop as it has been moved back to the south where it is now. Note how the loop now lines up with the last house on Roosevelt, whereas in the earlier versions it didn’t?

    So I was right, and you were wrong. It’s that simple. And you owe me an apology or two.

  5. Bob Thomson says:

    So let me get this straight. A lot of concerned citizens speak to the consultants, lobby the City and the NCC and successfully get them to change the alignment (and the drawings) as part of the ongoing political and environmental impact assessment process that will go on and on until the western LRT is built, and as a result I owe you an apology! Clearly you and I live in different realities and I’m not convinced yours is grounded in a full understanding of what is happening here. I’m open to being convinced otherwise, and my offer to have a conversation still stands, but only if you promise not to throw coffee in my face.

    • David James says:

      How many times do I have to repeat myself before you finally see the obvious? It is you who is not grounded in reality and doesn’t have a full understanding of what is going on here.

      Did you not read the other long post I made which I note you haven’t “approved”? I went through it all with painstaking detail. I even provided a street level comparison:

      Whoever drew the earlier images of Dominion Station made a mistake in which they placed the loop between Dominion and Berkley too far north. If you look at all the elements in those images in total – instead of getting fixated on the idea of the station being south of the trench – that’s the only conclusion a reasonable person would come to because the positioning of that loop with respect to all the other elements simply does not match up with current reality. The latest image has fixed that mistake.

      The City didn’t change the alignment one inch. It was never going to be anywhere but in the trench (and in line with it), except in your imagination. It was and still is going to be in the trench. To the extent the so-called “concerned citizens” had any effect, it was probably to get someone on the consulting team to look at the images more closely and realize their mistake of accidentally having drawn the loop too far north, and of fixing that.

      Again, apologize for accusing me of not reading maps and drawings clearly and admit your mistake that you failed to notice the City’s drawings contained an error in the placement of the loop between Berkley and Dominion. I don’t know why I’d want to have a conversation with someone who can’t see a mountain of evidence for what it is.

      And which is more plausible, anyway?
      1. The City intended to put the station in the trench all along, and the graphic artist made a mistake and moved the loop too far north; or
      2. The City intended to put the station south of the existing trench, adding extra curves to the line to access that station, interfering with a water main, and creating another problem when the line goes past Skead to the west.
      Which is more plausible? I’m pretty sure I know, having worked in the same office as a graphic artist once. But hey, you’re a retired professional engineer… maybe engineers like to make things needlessly complicated for themselves and everyone else.

  6. Bob Thomson says:

    Below I have outlined my reality. It is based on photos, discussions with politicians, City staff and consultants and 15 years of living on Dominion Avenue.

    It is not based on an Auto-CAD world and semantic imaginations of what graphic artists may or may not have done or meant, or whether graphic perspectives are accurate, or on your speculation of what the City may or may not do, or on other factors which seem to determine your reality, which I am not able to imagine, not being in your shoes or your head.

    On April 25th I took a photo at the City Hall open house. It is based on an aerial photo and I can’t see how you could possibly deny that the City at that time was showing the public where it proposed to put the station on the Berkley/Dominion curve. This is not a conceptual drawing, it is an aerial photo with superimposed markings. It does not show the station in the trench. One might argue that this was just a conceptual “drawing”, but there can be no argument that this public presentation shows it on the Berkley/Dominion curve. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first indication that we, the public, had of what their plans were for the location of the Dominion station. Since you have questioned my professional integrity, if you want to see the original City photo as opposed to mine, it can be found at

    In a Thursday June 13th meeting with Councillor Katherine Hobbs, she told me that the engineers had told her that the Dominion station would go at the Berkley/Dominion curve and that there was no way for the trains to curve away from the woodlot we want to protect. At the very same moment that I was talking to her in her office, her staff in the next room was sending out an email to constituents saying, amongst other things: “Dominion station will be relocated [my emphasis] over the existing trench and will be upgraded to a full station, improving access for Westboro, Westboro Beach and Richmond Road businesses”.

    In the City’s presentation dated June 13, 2013 outlining the “mitigations” proposed as a result of citizen input at the April 25th Open House, slides 12 and 13 show the Dominion station on the Berkley/Dominion curve. If I understand your argument, you seem to be saying that the graphics artists just got the location of the streets wrong and not the location of the station, which you insist they were always going to put in the existing trench, contrary to the statements from City and Delcan officials noted immediately below.

    At the City Open House on Monday June 17th, Ryan Van Spronsen, apparently an employee of Delcan, told an acquaintance of mine (whom will testify to this but I don’t wish to involve her publicly in your diatribe) that: “A new trench will be dug at the Dominion end turning south toward the Barclay and the existing trench will be filled in. This is in order to provide the train with a more gentle turn onto the proposed ‘old rail bed’ line.” When I spoke to Paul Croft, Senior Transportation Planner of Delcan’s Transportation Division, at the June 17th Open House, he confirmed my interpretation of the proposed Dominion station location (i.e. it’s on the existing Berkley/Dominion curve, right where your picture shows someone leaning on a post). He told me that it would not be technically difficult to move it north into the existing trench in order to avoid an alignment that would destroy the woodlot we wish to preserve. Vivi Chi, Planning Branch Manager, Transportation Planning, City of Ottawa also heard my concerns and requested copies of my marked up drawings so as to bring it up in the next stage of their planning.

    The City has revised their drawings in Nancy Schepers’ presentation to the July 10th Transportation Committee. The City’s web site will sometimes not allow access to her report, but I posted it to the Western LRT web site on July 4th. The drawing on page 15 (Figure 13) is different from the drawing in their June 13th report. It may coincide with what your “reality” believed on June 13th or so, i.e. that it was in the existing trench, but it doesn’t coincide with my reality of concrete, verifiable City and Delcan statements on June 13th and 17th or the City’s aerial photo/drawing of April 13th. I stand by my evidence and I reject your categorization of it as “incoherent nonsense”.

    I didn’t approve your comment from 9pm last night because I didn’t see it amongst the 300+ emails that were in my in basket on return from a friend’s cottage. I have since approved it.

    I will not be apologizing. I’ve made my case and I believe it stands up to whatever scrutiny the “court of public opinion” might apply. I said earlier, I do not wish to continue with your diatribe. This time I mean it. I said initially “you clearly haven’t looked at the City’s drawings and proposed alignment” and I have apologized for offending you since you have looked at them. You insist that you saw different things from me in those drawings and have called my interpretation “incoherent nonsense”, you’ve questioned my professional integrity and you publicly called the NCC “a bunch of pricks”. This is not dialogue and I don’t intend to continue it. I will not be approving any more comments from you unless you change your tone and language and show you are capable of respect for opinions other than your own even if you disagree with them.

  7. Last house on the left says:

    I’m not even sure why they’d want to keep Dominion, from what I understood it was a stop-gap to help people get closer access to the transit way that lived closer to Woodroffe Road then Westboro station. with Cleary station that need is better taken care of. As it stands those poor trains will be stopping as frequently as the 2 (slight exaggeration, the 2 is in a class of its own for defining the term ‘milk run’).

    Since the parkway people got loud enough to get some astroturf over their section maybe Westboro should do the same and get the whole thing covered, drop Dominion from the station list entirely and just use the real station (Westboro Station) instead. I’m not very keen on having a 120m open air platform right next to my house either, especially with all the bars opening up along Richmond and what I imagine will be 24/7 train service with me between them and the train.

  8. Bob Thomson says:

    I don’t know where you live, but there are 7 relatively large apartment buildings close to the Dominion Transitway station and another 24-25 story building about to be built right there and another 2 tower 12 & 14 story project rejected by the OMB but being appealed at Roosevelt and the Transitway. The Dominion Transitway station serves all these people, as will the LRT station. It will have a greater surrounding density than the Cleary station, even if the plans for another 2 towers at Cleary and Richmond go ahead. The Dominion station will not be stop-gap, it will be necessary and hopefully the final design will be properly done so as to consider all neighbourhood concerns and needs.

    • Last house on the left says:

      Don’t get me wrong I appreciate Dominion as it currently is, but unless the city gets to put the train-capable version of it a little deeper into the NCC’s land(further west/south) its going to be a pretty tight fit and as you guys have mentioned several times its going to be practically next to this house’s property line if not consuming part of it. Even if it fits where they’re suggesting we’re left with a noisy open platform right next door, which brings me to a question that maybe you know the answer to: Will the trains have to announce their arrival and departure with a ringing bell as the North/South line’s trains do?

      If this station is going to be an open air platform those bells will carry pretty far and I can tell you as a rider of the North/South line I wouldn’t want to hear them going off every twice per train every 5-10 minutes at all hours of the day and guaranteed anyone with an open window within a half-klick will not be happy. The trains themselves are quieter then the buses and their blaring AC units but if those bells are still required then its a 50/50 on which is worse for annoying noise pollution.

      • I remember the old rail line ... says:

        I took a walk down that way in the late evening, and not to hijack the relocate the station topic, I agree that should there be a station, it needs to be covered … platform noise e.g. partyers from the pubs in the early morning (talked with some residents, yes, there are chases though backyards, fights), trains stopping and starting, and lights from the station through the night would certainly pollute the current atmosphere. I’d think commuters would also prefer shelter from the winter winds, blowing snow, from the west. Further off topic … about boarding trains at peak hours … I’m thinking it will be standing room only, if that … the LRT is not being built to service Westboro is my opinion, it’s just passing through.

  9. I remember the old rail line ... says:

    Hmmm … looks to me like the Dominion Station’s planned location is exactly where the old rail line did its curve southward. From what I’ve read above, LRT stations won’t be built on curves …

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