Dewi's Trains,
Trams & Trolleys

Ottawa:
my 1997 Transitway photos


The Transitway is Ottawa's version of rapid transit, based on buses rather than on steel-wheeled rail vehicles. The local government was, until the end of 2000, the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton: hence the transit system is called "O-C Transpo". These are photos I took during the summer of 1997: when Transitway service was extended to Kanata over bus-only lanes on Highway 417, I used all-day passes to ride and video-tape the system as it was at that time. It has since expanded greatly.  

Comments/corrections to: Dewi Williams

Warning: most pictures are as-scanned.
All photos are frames captured from 8mm video tape, and the resolution shows this.
 
image ALBERT1
Albert st. at the Bank st. bus stop This is used by Transitway buses and others. It is at the curb/kerb, not at a "bulb". Perfectly normal bus stop, with a Transitway bus heading west.
Photo ALBERT1 on 06/05/1997
image ALBERT2
Bus stop sign at Albert st. (one-way street heading West, which, with eastbound Slater st., forms the downtown link between the pieces of transitway. This bus stop sign is in the Transitway style, different from the normal O-C Transpo sign. It also appears in the picture "albert1" on the extreme left of that picture. Routes 95, 96, 97 form the backbone transitway service.
Photo ALBERT2 on 06/05/1997
image BULB1
Some towns have "bus bays" where a bus pulls in, out of the traffic lanes, to make a stop. Ottawa has "Bus Bulbs" in the downtown area, where the sidewalk is extended out to the second lane to make a platform for the bus stop.
Photo BULB1 on 06/05/1997
image BULB2
"Bus Bulb" on Slater St. in downtown Ottawa
Photo BULB2 on 06/05/1997
image BWAY2
Transitway ditch. At this point, the transitway is in a cutting a.k.a. "the ditch" :-) The first bus is a 95 Transitway bus to Orleans, followed by peak hour express buses that run on the streets in the suburbs & take the transitway to downtown. The surprising thing is that the right-of-way for the transitway is not much wider than the traffic lanes. Where: Transitway (busway) near Westboro station, looking West.
Photo BWAY2 on 06/05/1997
image BWAY3
Transitway ditch looking East, This picture is taken in the opposite direction to BWAY2, looking east, at the point where the traffic lanes start to widen in preparation for Westboro station. At the left is an access road for buses to enter and leave the transitway, leading to the upper level of the station. Where: near Westboro station, Ottawa When: May 1, 1997, at end of morning rush hour.
Photo BWAY3 on 01/05/1997
image BWAY4
Eastbound bus entering Transitway near Westboro station. In background is the bridge from which I took previous photos. You can also see houses quite close to transitway. Where: taken from near Westboro station, looking Northwest.
Photo BWAY4 on 01/05/1997
image BWAY5
View from platform 2 of Westboro station, looking west. Transitway bus 95 approaching, in the stopping lane. Westboro station has 4 platforms: 2 at street level and 2 in the ditch. Where: Westboro station
Photo BWAY5 on 01/05/1997
image BWAY6
Transitway, South of Loncoln Fields station Not all the Transitway is in the limestone ditch. This shows the route just south of the main interchange station, Lincoln Fields. The R-O-W is rather wide at this point! Pedestrian bridge overhead. Where: Lincoln Fields, Ottawa, Canada
Photo BWAY6 on 01/05/1997
image LANES1
At rush hours, two lanes in each direction are used for buses.
Photo LANES1 on 06/05/1997
image DTOWN4
Bus-only street in downtown Ottawa. All four lanes are used only by buses and Transitway service vehicles.
Photo DTOWN4 on 06/05/1997
image DTOWN12
Voyager inter-city bus followed by Transitway articulated bus turning out of bus-only street.
Photo DTOWN12 on 06/05/1997
image JAIL
Transitway bus near old gaol/jail Picture taken from the bus stop 2B of the previous pic. The bus has come down the slope from the Mackenzie King bridge over the Rideau Canal and is entering the bus-only street that forms the end of the Transitway. The blank wall in the background and the building beyond it are part of the old jail/gaol, which is now a youth hostel. The area looks a bit scruffy at present but when the bridge repairs are complete, it should look better again.
Photo JAIL on 06/05/1997
image DTOWN7
Downtown end of South-West Transitway This is the connection between the south-west Transitway and the streets of downtown Ottawa. The Transitway, 2 lanes, runs end-on into a short street (4 lanes) that is reserved for buses only, and thus forms part of the Transitway. There are no roads, lanes or pathways that open into that stretch of street. Photo taken from the sidewalk of the bus-only street, looking South. In the background, on the other side of the traffic lights, is the Transitway proper. In the foreground you can see the four lanes, each marked for buses only, of the street. On the left is the University of Ottawa (one of two here: U of O is bilingual, Carleton U is English).
Photo DTOWN7 on 16/07/1997
image DTOWN8
Transitway route sign The route sign at one of the two stops where the Transitway debouches onto the downtown streets. (The other stop is for the formal Transitway routes, 95/96/97) Notice that it doesn't list all the routes for Kanata and Goulbourn: there are too many to show. All Kanata routes (60 to about 66) run along the Transitway and then diverge to different communities within Kanata. Similarly for Goulbourn. The Hull destination is also interesting, as it is across the Ottawa river in Quebec. However, there are many federal buildings located there so OC-Transpo buses run to there, and the Hull buses run into Ottawa. The light blue diagonal stripe at the top left of the sign actually has a sort of star in it: it indicates that all-night buses stop at this stop.
Photo DTOWN8 on 06/05/1997
image DTOWN10
End of the bus-only street. The bus shown is about to enter the normal down-town streets (in fact, it's about to use the Mackenzie King bridge to cross the Rideau Canal. The bridge is under repair, so the traffic lanes do funny things at the present time.) On the left, the U of Ottawa: in front of it, one of two bus-stops on the street.. One stop is for Transtiway buses, the other, for local. And of course there are all the signs about the terrible things that will happen if you drive your car onto the Transitway.
Photo DTOWN10 on 06/05/1997
image DTOWN11
Voyageur coach/intercity bus on Transitway The Transitway is used by the Voyageur company's long-distance buses/coaches/road oaches. This one arrived in Ottawa via the Transitway, dropped off passengers at the stop here (bus-only street) and is about to go on to the Voyageur station.
Photo DTOWN11 on 16/07/1997
image BIKE1
Bike path near Iris station on the Transitway. This bike path parallels the Transitway between Queensway and Iris stations: signs painted on the bikepath itself warn of imminent stop signs and traffic lights.
Photo BIKE1 on 16/06/1997
image IRIS1
Bicycle path and Transitway near Iris St. with Queensway station in background.
Photo IRIS1 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS12
Iris st. crosses the Transitway (or vice versa). This is the non-Transitway-style bus stop on Iris itself.
Photo IRIS12 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS2
Iris station on Transitway This is probably the smallest station on the Transitway. At this point, the Transitway crosses Iris street (or, to quote the road signs, "Rue Iris Street") on the flat: in railway terms, a level crossing or grade crossing, with traffic lights. Unknown whether the lights give priority to buses or not. Iris is not heavily trafficked: it has a speed limit of 40km/h, in a quiet residential area. This shows the whole stop on the northbound "platform". It is indeed posted as "Platform 1A" with genuine Transitway style signs, and T'ransitway architecture in the shelter. At the crossing, the Transitway is littered with several different styles of signs warning other drivers not to drive onto the T'way (later photo of this).
Photo IRIS2 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS3
No Entry signs Part of the clutter of "no entry" signs, with penalty for disobedience ($55).
Photo IRIS3 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS7
Iris station on Transitway The northbound platform at Iris. The bus in the pic was a rush-hour service (can't remember the number) which came along Iris, then turned onto the Transitway for a fast trip downtown.
Photo IRIS7 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS8
Sign: Keep Off Another of the "keep off" signs. This one is at Iris, but they appear at many points on the
Photo IRIS8 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS9
Iris station on Transitway General view of Iris station, looking south. Iris street crosses L to R (or R to L). In the Right foreground you can see the bicycle path which parallels the Transitway at this point.
Photo IRIS9 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS10
Iris "station", seen from Iris Street.
Photo IRIS10 on 06/05/1997
image IRIS11
Transitway signs at Iris station On the left, sign in general highway-sign style. On the right, sign in style used consistently by OC Transpo for Transitway.
Photo IRIS11 on 06/05/1997
image LFIELD3
Lincoln Fields station has some platforms on the Transitway itself, plus other platforms at the side for other bus routes. This shows the south-bound Transitway platform.
Photo LFIELD3 on 06/05/1997
image LFIELD4
Lincoln Fields Transitway station Lincoln Fields is a main interchange station, with "main-line" transitway platforms and platforms for other routes, both through routes and those terminating there. It's adjacent to Carling Avenue, a main east-west street in west-end Ottawa, and close to Lincoln Fields shopping centre, which is where it got its name. But the owners of the shoppping centre didn't want any connection to the bus station! So, to shops from the bus, you have to go upstairs, along a long corridor to the street at Carling Ave, along the Carling Av bridge over the transitway, and through the shopping centre parking lot. The station is also at the start of the Ottawa River Parkway, which the buses share with cars for the first few km. This pic shows the main-line plstforms, looking north. The shot is taken from the bridge that carries Carling Ave over the Transitway. In left foreground, there's a car on the access road to the Parkway. The bus in R foreground has come west from downtown, and has curved south to follow the Transitway to the current end of the line at Baseline (pronounced Base Line - one visitor to Ottawa had trouble getting directions because she pronounced it to rhyme with Vaseline). In the background to right of centre you can see a bus waiting to turn off the parkway into the station. Also of course the high-rise apartment blocks in the area, which made it a good place for a station. The other platforms are off to the right.
Photo LFIELD4 on 06/05/1997
image LFIELD5
Lincoln fields: local plaforms We have turned slightly right from the previous pic, to show access to the local platforms from the T'way. The bus on the right is looping from the drop-off platforms for terminating local buses, around the whole station to the departure platforms. You can see the extent of the pedestrian bridges. They get hot and sweltery in summer, and cold as (enter own metaphor here) in winter.
Photo LFIELD5 on 06/05/1997
image LFIELD6
Transitway service vehicle Slightly further right again, showing one of the (several) local platforms: the bus is at an arrival (drop-off) point. The van is a Transitway service vehicle: they pull up to stations and a crew leaps and and washes the glass, or cleans up the garbage, or whatever, then jumps back in and disappears in a cloud of dust. The bridge in foreground leads to Carling Ave.
Photo LFIELD6 on 06/05/1997
image LFIELD8
Lincoln Fields at street level Turning even further to the right, we see Carling Ave, looking east. At left is the pedestrian bridge we saw in previous shot. At bottom left is tiny fragment of a Transitway bus passing under Carling to get to main-line platforms on its way downtown. The bus in centre is at a kiss-and-ride bay on Carling. My claim to fame is that I enabled drivers coming from the West to get there. There used to be "No U-turn" signs all along here, which mean that if you drove in heading east, you couldn't drop anybody off at the entrance to the station. I managed to get to John Bonsall, General Manager and spoke to him about it, and lo! you were allowed to make U-turns near the station.
Photo LFIELD8 on 06/05/1997
image PARK1
Transitway Park-and-Ride The Park-and-Ride facility at the Kanata end of the Transitway. It's not strictly Transitway, but operationally it's treated as though it were. The routes do not end here: they run on a few hundred metres to "Town Centre", which is becoming less and less like a town centre now that Kanata City Council have moved their offices to a new site. All buses from Kanata to Ottawa pull into the P&R, then take the special access ramp to Highway 417, which was originally known as the Queensway in the section that runs through Ottawa (it now runs from slightly West to Kanata through Ottawa towards Montreal). Where it runs across the Greenbelt between Kanata and the built-up area of Nepean & Ottawa, there are bus-only lanes at the side. This photo shows the sign(s) which are intended to entice motorists into the facility (they seem to work: the parking is near-capacity on work days). It's named after the late Eva James, a genuinely respected councillor.
Photo PARK1 on 06/05/1997
image PARK2
Transitway Park & Ride This is the on-site sign for the Kanata park-and-ride facility, in the standard T'way style. "Eagleson" because it is on Eagelson Road.
Photo PARK2 on 06/05/1997
image PARK3
ransitway access sign This sign is used on streets near to Transitway access point. It's to help bus drivers know how to get on the Transitway! I was on a bus on the first day the Transitway opened. A cold winter day, with a storm (blizzard). What a day to choose! They powers that be could at least have chosed a spring, summer or autumnal day. Anyway, I was sitting at the front of the bus, and we were flagged down by a bus coming towards us. Both drivers opened their windows, and the other driver asked our driver "Pardon me, my dear fellow-employee, but could you kindly direct me to the Transitway entrance?" or at least it was something like that. After that sort of day, a few signs appeared.
Photo PARK3 on 06/05/1997
image PARK4
Transitway Park & Ride shelter There are two bus-stops/stations on the site: one is fairly permanent-looking, and is the main stop. The other is just where buses leave the site to get on the Q'way access ramp, and is just a "normal" bus shelter. The main stop, here, has T'way bus-stop signage, and the shelter is in the bright red T'way colour. But the shelter does not have a curved roof, and indeed looks like the temporary shelters that were installed while the St.Laurent T'way station was being built. There's a phone booth just out of sight at the left. Around the back is a drop-off platform ("Kiss-and-ride") for car passengers. The bus is white, no red on it. I believe this is one of the buses that OC-Transpo leased from other cities because they needed buses in a hurry.
Photo PARK4 on 06/05/1997
image PARK7
Transitway Park & Ride signs There are all kinds of signs around warning people about what not to do.
Photo PARK7 on 06/05/1997
image PARK8
Another "thou shalt not".
Photo PARK8 on 06/05/1997
image PARK9
Eva James Park & Ride in Kanata: main platform for buses heading into Ottawa.
Photo PARK9 on 06/05/1997
image PARK10
Transitway Park & Ride This is the temporary-looking bus shelter at the hwy access ramp. You can see a few cars on the highway/freeway beyond.
Photo PARK10 on 06/05/1997
image PINECR1
Photo PINECR1 on 06/05/1997
image QUEEWAY2
From the Kanata park-and-ride station, buses enter the Queensway (Highway 417) on their own access ramp, and continue on a bus-only lane (there's a return bus-only lane for westbound buses, but it's on the wrong side of the highway for the park-and-ride). This photo shows - a bus on the park-and-ride access ramp - cars on the regular Eagleson Road access ramp - car traffic almost at a standstill on the highway - two access lanes: further up the hill, the regular entry lane merges with the traffic lanes, while the bus-only lane continues alongside the stalled traffic. - on the extreme left, going up a steeper hill, is Corkstown Road, the original road along here. Some cars can be seen using this as alternative to the heavily-trafficked hwy. 417 The yellow sign in the foreground of the bus is a candidate's sign for the coming election.
Photo QUEEWAY2 on 06/05/1997
image QUEEWAY3
This shows the scene a few minutes after the previous shot. The bus previously shown is now nearing the top of the hill, followed by an OC-Transpo service (repair) vehicle, with another bus on the access road from the park-and-ride. If you look very carefully indeed, at the top of Corkstown Road hill you will see a red fox crossing the road (to get to the other side).
Photo QUEEWAY3 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY1
Steps connecting the two levels of the Queensway Transitway station.
Photo QWAY1 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY4
Queensway station on Transitway Here we have a curious station. It is almost purely an interchange station, with very little local access - just a small footpath to a row of houses (Queensway Terrace). It is on two levels: the upper level has two platforms on the Queensway, alias Highway 417, the main east-west hwy through the Ottawa region on our side of the river (the Ottawa river). The lower level has two platforms on the transitway that heads south to Iris and Baseline stations. Here's the lower level, looking north. These platforms are built under the expressway, but they still have shelters in the usual T'way style (red steel framework and curverd glass top) which is just as well, because the girders of the overpass are much favoured by pigeons and gulls, so the shelters are covered in pigeon poop and feathers. It's a lonely place after the evening rush-hour.
Photo QWAY4 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY5
Photo QWAY5 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY9
Queensway station on Transitway - Upper level We are now on the upper level of Queensway station, standing on the Eastbound platform looking North across the expressway to see the Westbound platform. The bus lanes are separated from the normal traffic lanes by the solid concrete barriers you can see in the foreground. This was just after moring rush hour, and I was the only person on any platform.
Photo QWAY9 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY10
Taken from the same spot as the previous one, but looking West, standing on the upper level eastbound platform. Not a bus in sight, as the rush hour was over and just the 95, 97 and 99 routes would use this platform. During rush hour, all those routes that pick up in the suburbs and then use the Transitway to get downtown also stop here.
Photo QWAY10 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY12
Sign on the Eastbound platform (on the upper level) at the Queensway station.
Photo QWAY12 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY13
Queensway station on Transitway Among the panels displayed is this plan of the station. Sorry it's such a poor picture - I had great difficulty with reflections in the glass that covered it.
Photo QWAY13 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY14
Bus route maps These timetables & route maps are displayed at Transitway stations.
Photo QWAY14 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY15
see insert qway15.txt
Photo QWAY15 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY16
Cyclist at Iris Transitway station As well as the footpath exit from what is essentially an interchange station, there is also an exit from the lower level onto the bike path which runs alongside the Transitway here (see QWAY4) To me, it seems a very dangerous exit, with no warnings that bicyclists come zooming past at quite high speeds as the station is in a dip. Bikers also don't stick to the correct side (right side, here) of the path. This shot shows the second of a pair of cyclists as they shoot past; they take to the wrong side of the centre line because of the manhole cover in the right-hand lane. In the foreground you can see that the doorway (?archway?) of the exit debouches onto the bikepath lane, with no warning, no sidewalk.
Photo QWAY16 on 06/05/1997
image QWAY17
Queensway station on Transitway This shot is in the opposite direction and from the opposite side of Q'way station: we are looking north. It shows the cut-off lane where west-bound buses can leave the Transitway and curve onto Highway 417 (the Queensway). In the foreground, the bike path must cross the access lane, so there are stop signs and warnings - not that anybody obeys them. The bus in the background is a 95, going from Baseline to Place d'Orleans at the eastern end of Ottawa. It has just gone flying through the lower level of Queensway station.
Photo QWAY17 on 06/05/1997
image SIGN2
Transitway bus stop sign Note that Intercity buses (Voyageur) also have their logo on the sign.
Photo SIGN2 on 06/05/1997
image SIGN4
There is a speed limit of 50 km/h through the transitway stations (Adelaide has 40 km/h) but it isn't always obeyed! A curious feature is that at the end of the speed restriction, there isn't a sign that sets the new limit of 80km/h or 100km/h or whatever. Instead there's a sign that says "End of 50km/h". I suppose that allows the default speed limit to be changed without having to change individual signs. I don't know whether they actually do this, but it could be useful for bad weather. Note the bilingual sign.
Photo SIGN4 on 06/05/1997
image VOYAGE
Voyageur coach on Transitway Long-distance buses (coaches) are also allowed to use the transitway. The usual Montreal/Ottawa/Toronto company is Voyageur ("take the Voyageur" was at one a synonym for "go by coach"). The Voyageur sign even appears on the Transitway station signs. This one is at Westboro.
Photo VOYAGE on 06/05/1997
image WBORO1
Westboro station Street level view of platform 1 at Westboro. Scott street is on right of picture, local bus waiting at platform. In the background is another local (non-transitway) bus that has pulled out from platform 4, at the back of the station.
Photo WBORO1 on 06/05/1997
image WBORO13
Westboro station Buses heading East (into downtown). The bus at the platform is an articulated bus vehicle on a Transitway trunk route: 95/96/97. The passing bus is a 65: a peak-hour route from Kanata, which runs around the local streets (the 65 services my area of Kanata) then runs express to the Transitway along hwy 417 (freeway). All the 60s (6x) run from different areas of Kanata to downtown.
Photo WBORO13 on 06/05/1997
image WBORO16
Westboro station with westbound bus to illustrate specific points. Westboro is a "through" station on the main western branch of the Transitway: a simple unattended station. This shows a westbound bus stopped at the platform with another passing it. The pedestrian bridge forms part of the station. All stations follow the same style of grey concrete and red steelwork. All have curved glass in the roof of the shelters.
Photo WBORO16 on 06/05/1997
image WBORO17
Platform 3 at Westboro station (street level( with a local bus waiting. The route is 161: all of the 160 series are local routes (162 serves my area and others: connects us to the start point of the Transitway 97 route).
Photo WBORO17 on 06/05/1997
image WBORO18
Westboro station name sign All Transitway stations have the name clearly shown on the outside (and on the inside, too!) This again is Westboro, at street level.
Photo WBORO18 on 06/05/1997
image WBORO2
Westboro station looking East. Front bus is pulling away from platform into the passing lane (I don't know why!) and is emerging from under the pedestrian bridge of the station. (There are elevators from the bridge, at street level, to the platforms, as well as steps). Platform 3 of the station, at street level, is "around the corner" at the top left.
Photo WBORO2 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBO13
At Westboro station: one bus is stopped at the platform, while another that had no need to stop is in the passing lane (and advantage of bus rapid transit).
Photo WESTBO13 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBO14
Signage at Westboro station.
Photo WESTBO14 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBO15
Transitway service vehicle at Westboro station
Photo WESTBO15 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBO19
Local bus at the street-level stop at Westboro station. The Transitway ditch is to the left.
Photo WESTBO19 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBOR3
Westbound buses passing, at Westboro station
Photo WESTBOR3 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBOR4
Westboro station
Photo WESTBOR4 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBOR5
Eastbound buses passing at Westboro station
Photo WESTBOR5 on 06/05/1997
image WESTBOR9
Transitway service vehicle at Westboro station
Photo WESTBOR9 on 06/05/1997


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