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Underground City in Ottawa


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With the arrival of the Confederation Line, new connections between buildings have been built in Ottawa's downtown core.

At Parliament, the station is connected to the Sunlife Financial Centre and to the Heritage Place (and WINNERS).

At Lyon, the station is connected to the vast underground concourse of Place de Ville (which includes the Delta and Marriott hotels).

At Rideau, the station is connected to the Rideau Centre, and through it all the additional buildings and venues attached.

St-Laurent Station is connected (as before) to the St. Laurent Shopping Centre.

This is a good start and allows people the opportunity to go for example from their space in Place de Ville to the Rideau Centre without having to step foot outside. Much more can be done and should be done however, this is a start but more buildings need to connect into this new underground network or city.

If we look at Montreal's RESO, it is arguably the biggest underground network in the world, with alot of the downtown business district connected. I have walked many times the RESO, starting at Peel station, passing through various builidings to arrive at the Eaton Centre. Continuing on past Place Ville Marie to the Gare Central and then Place Bonaventure. Heading off to Square Victoria, then to the Palais de Congress and Station Place d'Armes. Moving on through the Desjardins and Hyatt centres, to finally arrive at Place des Arts station and arts venue. When walking this entire circuit, most is underground but there are parts that it returns to street level and a few occasions that it is a floor or two above street level to once again descend below. In most cases this walk can take 30-45 minutes depending on how fast you go and which intersections and branches of the network you take. You pass through or go near 6 metro stations as well, that help anchor this RESO network.

Ottawa has connections forming, and we need to help encourage this growth to have something similar. As it is, the downtown is already built up with underground parking and buildings that will remain for a while to come. Connecting many of them to this new network would be expensive and a challenge from a physical and layout standpoint. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

To start, I would love to see the World Exchange Plaza connect to Parliament Station.

A connection to Lyon station through Place de Ville, to Constitution Square and to the Minto Place beyond would also be great.

Keep in mind, as in Montreal, buildings can network and connect to one another to create a pedestrian right of way, they don't need to connect directly to the station, as doing so would be more difficult to realize and wouldn't make much sense.

What are your thoughts? What do you hope to see develop? Have you heard any news of new connections, building refits to connect or new developments that will integrate? Let us know below.

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