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I thought I would start this thread after requesting we add the number of entrances, fare gates and fare machines to the "Station Facts". 

When my partner and I went to BC last September, we noticed that many Skytrain stations (particularly the Canada Line) were quite congested due to the lack of entrances and fare gates. Over the Holidays, I found DailyHive Vanocuver articles listing the number of fare gates per station and thought it would be great for O-Train Fans. 


I find that the O-Train network has plenty of fare gates and fare machines at all stations. This is one aspect that was very well done IMO. 

Another great aspect that I have yet to see anywhere else (I confess that I haven't traveled much in my life) is the double elevators everywhere that does not have other redundancy built in (such as the ramp at uOttawa), other than the "historic" elevator at Blair. 

In terms of entrances and vertical circulation, it all seems pretty adequate thus far as far as I can tell. The only exception might be Parliament's two elevators down from street level to the concourse. An additional two would be beneficial. 


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I copy pasted my post from SSP and it looks a little wonky. The Stage 2 replay ends at "This is a concern on our type of system where we have low level platforms and it is a short step down to track l

I received clarification from the City of Ottawa's Stage 2 Team regarding the Lincoln Fields configuration. 

Lyon station's integration of double elevators on either end of the spacious, designed-for-the-future mezzanine level works very well. Like Lyon Station, Rideau station has double elevators from the s

I'd argue the eastbound platform at uOttawa is maybe the "worst" in terms of flow on the network. If you are coming from the west-end (Barrhaven, Kanata, etc.), Rideau Centre and other places west, you have only one, tight staircase to get off the platform, facing traffic in the other direction too. Then, you have to go through the gates, back up the ramp or stairs outside the station and access wherever you want to go on Campus.

The number of fare gates seems adequate for uOttawa station as a whole, but getting on the east platform can be awful, especially at busier time. Ironically, the emergency exit underpass on the south end of the platform would be the perfect way to offset some of those difficulties, but it seems like it will never be used as such. I think the staircase is limited by the actual configuration and space available at uOttawa, but can probably help explain why a good part of the door issues happen at this station.

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uOttawa is one of only two stations I haven’t visited since Line 1 opened. The other being Cyrville, and I doubt there are any circulation issues over there ?.

uOttawa, being one of the busiest stations, circulation issues on the eastbound platform should have been a reasonably predictable issue. I understand that with the budget and space available, configuration options were limited however, one thing that could have been done within a similar budget is a second underpass at the south end of the platform connecting to Marion.

As you’ve suggested, opening up the emergency exit, either as an exit only (hard to control) or with three faregates on the south end of each platform, could help with the congestion issues.

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I find most stations have good flow through. Parliament Station empties quite easily when trains arrive and disembark passengers.

I do find that the elevators being located away from the main entrances is a bit of a two edged sword. I can understand that creating a shaft straight down from street level to concourse may have presented issues with underground utilities, garages and so forth. However I have seen enough people at the stair / escalator only entrances looking confused as to how to get down (with strollers, wheelchairs or mobility aids) that having had the elevators positioned in the regular entrances would have prevented. Look at Lyon Station, the regular entrances also integrate the elevators.

Rideau Station (Rideau Centre and Rideau/Sussex entrance) is also in the same boat. Again, based on the layout that even the escalators don't travel in a straight line from mall or surface to the concourse shows that a straight down shaft would have been very difficult.

Just look at Montreal's Metro. They have been escalator/stair only for many years. Recently they have been adding elevators but it is an engineering nightmare, and in many cases, requires several elevators to get down from street to mid-level, then another from the mid-level to the concourse, then another to the platforms.

Some stations with elevators don't even have elevators to the surface. For example, Bonaventure has elevators between the concourse to the platform, but none to the surface. Berri-UQAM has elevators from concourse, to Orange Line and I believe now to the Green Line. Nothing to the Yellow Line so far, which would likely require 2-3 elevators to reach, from the green platforms. If you look at it in more depth, to get from street level at Berri-UQAM to the Yellow line platform, it could take potentially 4-5 elevators to reach.

We are lucky that despite location, and engineering challenges, all our underground stations have complete elevator access from street to platform. It may not be the prettiest solutions but this stuff is rarely pretty when building in existing locations.

To further the discussion, I agree that Rideau (Rideau Centre entrance) and Parliament Stations should have had more elevators from concourse to the street exits. Two doesn't quite cut it at the busiest times, and i would have rather seen 4. Lyon Station is sufficient with 2 elevators per entrance.

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Lyon station's integration of double elevators on either end of the spacious, designed-for-the-future mezzanine level works very well. Like Lyon Station, Rideau station has double elevators from the street (Rideau Centre entrance and ScotiaBank pavilion), however, breaking the mezzanine into easterly and westerly components with a large break in between (which allows for the cathedral-like vaulted look of the central part of the station), means that vertical circulation can't work as well as at Lyon. For example, even though both east and west platforms at Rideau station each have two elevators, breaking the mezzanine level into two sections means that if an elevator is broken on one side of the station, say eastbound from the Rideau Centre access, the only way for a mobility-challenged individual to reach the platform is to descend by elevator to the westbound platform, then ascend via the second easterly elevator on the westbound platform, and, hopefully, descend again to the eastbound platform via the easterly elevator to that platform.

Parliament station is different. Though planners identified it as likely to be the busiest station on the line, only two elevators from the street to the mezzanine level were constructed (a point noted with some consternation by many Twitter posters). This is interesting because (I've done the actual measurements myself) the Parliament station train platforms are the only ones of the three underground station platforms to already have been built fully out; by my measurements the current finished station platforms are ever so slightly longer than 120m/400f. Though it takes a bit of calculation (as Parliament station's mezzanine does not extend as far east or west as the train platforms beneath it and the eastern, unused, part of the platform is partly enclosed by a staff area) I've also measured  how far the train platforms extend in an easterly direction from underneath the eastern side of the vault housing the long escalator/stairs that run between the mezzanine level and the lower level of Heritage Place. I might stand corrected but the currently completed train platforms extend far enough to the east, past the World Exchange Centre's parking ramps, to have allowed for a second set of two elevators to be placed on the south side of Queen Street, east of O'Connor and in front of World Exchange Plaza. This didn't happen, however, and one also can find 2012 reference to five Memorandums of Understanding among the City and property owners adjacent to the DOTT. These Memorandums are not public documents, however, and so it's pretty much impossible to know (I'm speculating a bit) what was in the Memorandum between the City and World Exchange Plaza. Doubtless money plays a key role in what looks to have been a change of plans at some point during the construction process. Online press references from 2012 also mention the second major street exit from Parliament station as located in front of World Exchange Plaza, in a similar configuration to the elevators now in place on the west side of O'Connor. The current exit, through Heritage Place, is listed in 2012 as a "potential" third exit. The end result is only two elevators to the street at the busiest station on the line. Vertical access between the mezzanine and train platforms, however, is equal to Lyon station and superior to Rideau station.

I've visited over 40 subway/metro/LRT systems around the world. Despite all the teething difficulties the Confederation Line continues to experience (and which I believe will be pretty much fully resolved in time) it's still the metro with the best overall vertical access I've seen. There could be more down escalators (and that was the intention as is evident in early architectural renderings of system stations such as Hurdman--the potential to convert several double-wide staircases into a down escalator and still plenty wide staircase exists) but all-in-all the Confederation line, when all systems are working, is the most accessible metro I've been on.


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  • 1 month later...

A few improvements are being looked at for Blair Station (by most likely to least likely):

  • Reorganization of the bus routes by destination;
  • New elevator(s) for the north side, replacing the 1989 original;
  • Removal and replacement of bus shelters with canopies (similar to Tunney's and Hurdman);
  • Addition set of stairs from the rail platform level down to the north bus platform (fare paid zone) using a service corridor currently closed to customers.

All of these changes would bring great improvement to the flow of passengers, the first three being essential. The third set of stairs however, considering the price, probable timelines and the fact that it will only be a major transfer station for another 4 years will likely not happen IMO.

More on CBC:




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Good changes and direction. Hope to see the legacy elevator replaced. And the bus platform could benefit from removal of the shelters and the installation of a cantilevered canopy. ( Might be a nice addition visually if done right ).

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We took the train this morning and got off at Parliament for the first time at rush-hour (our usual station is Lyon).  

I remember discussions months ago, before the line opened, and maybe a little bit after, pointing out that vertical circulation from platform level at Parliament was at both ends, due to the concourse configuration (entrances in the middle, fare paid zone towards the ends), which allowed a wider platform area in the middle. This was touted as superior to Lyon's vertical circulation which is spread out over the platform level, again due to its concourse configuration (entrances at both ends, fare paid area in the middle). At the time, I agreed with this assessment. 

Getting off at Parliament today, my view on this has changed; 

  • When you get off at Lyon, a set of stairs or escalators can be easily accessed a few steps away, no matter what section of the train you disembark from. It helps that the platform level includes an extra set of stairs, compared to Parliament (3 vs 2, both have 2 escalators). From the concourse level, everyone heads towards the same (mirror image) exit hallways. 
  • When you get off at Lyon, a set of stairs or escalators can be easily accessed a few steps away, no matter what section of the train you disembark from. It helps that the platform level includes an extra set of stairs, compared to Parliament (3 vs 2, both have 2 escalators). From the concourse level, everyone heads towards the same (mirror image) exit hallways. 

  • At Parliament, everyone converges towards one end or the other towards the narrow escalators, causing a bottleneck. With the exit positions at concourse level, everyone is zig-zagging around towards their destination. Smaller corridors and fewer exit options make for a congested walk up. 

There isn't much to be done at platform level however, it solidifies my opinion that Parliament needs at least one more exit, preferably on the east end, through the staff area, into the World Exchange Plaza (by-passing the centre concourse area). The entrance should include double escalators, stairs and an extra set of elevators. At the very least stairs and a set of elevators. 

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Very good points @J.OT13. I agree, the vertical circulation at Lyon is by far my favorite, the access to the stairs, especially from the place de Ville side is significantly better. As you arrive closer to the middle of the train rather than the ends. The station as a whole is just more roomy and less cramped. While I do like the other two underground stations, Lyon was the best designed. 

Rideau having the concourse clear cut divided in the middle, necessitating a trip down to the platforms to reach the other side is bad design. Once you know where to go and where you should be it isn't a big deal but for people not intimately familiar with the station, it is annoying, and you can easily end up on the wrong side if you don't pay attention or take the escalators where the directional signs are most prominent.

Parliament, I do love the mosaic ceiling artwork and the platform divider piece, but running to the very end of the concourse to reach the trains is annoying. You frequently miss the train and you don't see if it is there already until you fully reach the platform. (A fact that could be helped with more Next Train time displays more spread out).

On a sidenote, the smell at Parliament is quite potent today, enough for me to comment about it here. Most days for me it is detectable but not worth my effort to write about, but today.... jeez... it's really kicking. Luckily by the platforms it is less bad but still.

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I agree for Rideau. And when you get off the train, you're rushed to get up to platform level, so you don't have time to stop and look at the signage. The single elevator from concourse to platform can also cause an accessibility issue; if the elevator going east is out of service, a person would have to go down to the westbound platform and take the other elevator up to the second concourse and take the eastbound elevator down. Quite challenging for a person with disabilities. 

I honestly did not notice the smell at Parliament yesterday, but the smell at Rideau is quite jarring when the train doors open. 

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I don't use Parliament / Lyon often enough to comment about circulation, but I can agree with Rideau. Especially when an escalator is down and means people have to go up and down the same spot. Today the escalator on the westbound platform towards William St which is "fortunate" as less traffic is bound for that exit than the Rideau Centre one.

I am curious why Parliament was so "constrained" in the configuration when it could have been in the length or laid further south, when Lyon is so much better. Staircases are too tight, and at the platform circulation is average.

Today the smell at Rideau was mild, but some people have said my nose completely miss the mark for those things, so don't take my perspective as the absolute truth. ?

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I seem to recall once time using Rideau Station - the up escalator (the longest transit escalator in Canada) was out, and the down escalator was still functional. I was surprised that they didn't change the direction of the down escalator (to up) considering the epic climb. 

I've also noticed that, at the very few spot we have double escalators, you have to stay on the left (UK style) instead of the right. That seems strange to me, and it impacts the flow of people in a negative way IMO. 

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I've been thinking a lot about Lincoln Fields, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how critical it truly is. Not only will it be a major bus-rail transfer, but thousands will be transferring between spurs. 

I posted this last month. The information came from Shane's (O-Train Fans) interview with Pat Scrimgeour. It demonstrates how important Lincoln Fields will be the Confederation Line's operations.

  1. Trains heading west will split past Lincoln Fields, so a 3 minute frequency in the central section, Baseline and Moodie branches will be serviced every 6 minutes.
  2. In the morning rush-hour, all Baseline bound trains will leave from Trim, while half the Moodie bound trains will leave from Trim. The other half of Moodie bound trains will leave from Blair. So trains every 3 minutes to Blair and every 4.5 minutes to Trim.
  3. In the afternoon, all trains will head to Trim, so 3 minute frequency. 
  4. Outside rush hour, all trains would start at Trim and split at Lincoln Fields. 
  5. After 11 pm, Monday to Thursday, all trains from Trim will head to Baseline. Anyone heading to Moodie will transfer at Lincoln Fields to catch a "shuttle train" (similar to the Airport line). Frequency after 11 pm for both the main line and Moodie shuttle will run every 15 minutes.

If someone from Moodie wants to go to Algonquin, they have to transfer at Lincoln Fields. If someone from Barrhaven works at the DND Nortel campus, they have to transfer at Lincoln Fields. If a worker downtown is heading to Centrepoint but doesn't want to wait on a crowded platform for the Algonquin train, they could jump on a Moodie train and transfer at Lincoln Fields. During reduced service hours, everyone heading to and from the Moodie branch have to transfer. 

Achieving the proper configuration is paramount for the effective flow of passengers at Lincoln Fields. Thousands of daily riders depend on it. From what we've seen so far, we're headed on the right direction, but there have been some rumours that a new configurations is in the pipelines that will completely shatter the delicate balance of passenger flow. 

Here's a little graphic I made using paint. It shows the current configuration, with the logical train directions. The west track heads to Algonquin, the east track heads downtown and the centre track is the Moodie branch. By having the Moodie track in the middle, passengers can disembark at either side of the train and transfer to an Algonquin bound or Downtown bound train. We could program it so that during day time hours, doors only open towards the Algonquin bound platform to avoid confusion. In any case, we will need announcement telling people which side the doors will open at all stations (and at Lincoln Fields, which side to take for Downtown or Algonquin). 

The second image is what is rumoured. One side platform and a centre platform. Again, the west track is Algonquin bound, centre track is Moodie and the east track is Downtown. This configuration is only somewhat effective when Moodie ends at Lincoln Fields. Anyone heading from Moodie to Algonquin or vice-vesa will have to get off, get up the stairs and go back down to the other platform. I could have it reversed, but the same applies; if Moodie shares the Algonquin platform, than during night time hours, passengers will have to go up to the concourse and back down to the other platform to head downtown. Less than ideal and the possibility of missing your train, having to then wait another 15 minutes. 


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I received clarification from the City of Ottawa's Stage 2 Team regarding the Lincoln Fields configuration. 

Thank you for your email and interest in the stage 2 west extension project.

The design for Lincoln Fields that is being pursued is that of a centre platform and a side platform. This design decision doesn’t mean that everyone will always have to transfer, in fact, no one has to transfer up and over during peak, all eastbound trains go to downtown.  Westbound, every other train will head to Baseline or Moodie.  Customers may need to get off on the centre platform and wait for the next west bound train to continue to their final destination. During evening hours with a longer headway, Lincoln Fields to Moodie/Bayshore will operate as a shuttle from the single side platform requiring the up and over transfer for customers.  The only other times the side platform will be used are  in recovery mode from a service interruption, or when planned maintenance activities do not permit access to one of the tracks on the centre platform.

Lastly, the primary rationale that drove this design decision is that of safety. Yes, a center and a side platform is less convenient in those off hours where a passenger will have to get off the westbound train and go up and over to the “shuttle” track. However, this scheme allows a fence between the two adjoining tracks. The risk exists if there is no fence as passengers can be tempted to walk across the tracks to get from one platform to another and potentially be hit by an oncoming train. This is a concern on our type of system where we have low level platforms and it is a short step down to track level.

He included a site plan for the station:


As I understand it, the side platform will only be used late evenings and during service disruptions. Otherwise, the centre platform will be used exclusively. 

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I copy pasted my post from SSP and it looks a little wonky. The Stage 2 replay ends at "This is a concern on our type of system where we have low level platforms and it is a short step down to track level."

The Stage 2 teams reply included a site plan showing the station configuration. As I understand it, the side platform will only be used during late evenings. During day time hours, the centre platform will be used exclusively. The directions on the site plan are late evening I imagine. 




Edited by J.OT13
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