Ottawa, ONT: City doing little in advance of safety report

26 Nov

The City of Ottawa has responded to Transport Canada’s concerns that an incident on November 6th, 2014 when a bus overran the stop line at the Fallowfield level crossing was indicative of a threat to safety. The City’s response has been to repaint the stop line and then wait for a safety review report expected within weeks. The report commissioned jointly with VIA Rail is likely to recommend a specific study of the case for grade-separation of one or more level crossings, including the Fallowfield crossing, in the Barrhaven area of the City.

But, until then, the existing controls to secure safety will remain unaltered. While this position is tenable in the short-term it is clear that there are concerns within the community that remain of the view that more should have already been done to prevent a recurrence of a bus or other vehicle entering a crossing closed to road traffic with fatal consequences.

Indeed, in 2001, Canadian National which at the time owned the railway right-of-way (it was sold to VIA Rail in 2010) made it clear that it considered the volume of road traffic over both the Fallowfield and Woodroffe level crossings and the resulting traffic moment (rail x road traffic) justified grade-separation. However, the then CAD110 million estimate for grade-separation was too high for the City of Ottawa to justify grade-separation.

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