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Edmonton Proposes $5-billion LRT Expansion Plan

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#1
The giant transit plan release party continues... Flaherty accused the cities for not having plans in place to release the money... well... now the GTAH, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Montreal all have theirs. Show us the money.

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$5B LRT expansion proposed for south, northwest, northeast Edmonton
Last Updated: Friday, January 18, 2008 | 11:37 AM MT
CBC News

After three decades of slow-paced growth, Edmonton's LRT system could be on the track for a $5-billion-dollar expansion extending across the capital region
The city's newly-hired transportation manager, Bob Boutilier, laid out his vision for light rail transit in a report released Thursday.

The plan goes to a city council committee Jan. 22.
"Council has made it clear to me they want to see things happen quickly," Boutilier said in an interview with CBC Friday. "We had been a leader 25 years ago in LRT. We've fallen behind and you see the results with traffic."
Edmonton's LRT system, first begun in 1978, only covers 12.3 kilometres, snaking from the northeast, through downtown, then across the river south to the University of Alberta.
A new leg, extending 7.5 kilometres further south, will open in 2010.

Boutilier's plan proposes:
  • A new northwest line from downtown to the NAIT campus, eventually linking Edmonton to the city of St. Albert.
  • Extending the south LRT line to beyond Anthony Henday Drive to Heritage Valley, possibly with a further link to the Edmonton International Airport.
  • Expanding the northeast line to the Gorman East area, then to the city of Fort Saskatchewan.

Plans for a new west-end LRT line are not part of the current proposal but Boutilier is promising to report back to council in April on a plan to serve that part of the city.
Boutilier says with the rapid growth of the entire Edmonton region, now is the time to consider expanding the LRT to link the city with other communities outside its border.
"LRT is basically the ribbon of steel that ties the capital region together," he said.
Edmonton taxpayers will not be expected pay the full cost the work, he said, adding he hopes the federal and provincial governments will cover most of the pricetag as part of their environmental initiatives.
The first stages of the expansion could come as early as the end of this year, with work beginning on the line to the NAIT campus, he said.
It would be at least 10 years before LRT reaches area outside the city's borders.
 
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Mayor wants three new LRT lines
Hopes project can be built within five years
Susan Ruttan, The Edmonton Journal
Published: 2:01 am

EDMONTON - Mayor Stephen Mandel wants to see light-rail transit expansion completed along three routes within the next three to five years.
"I see no reason why it can't be," Mandel said Thursday. "I'd also like to see construction started on a line to Mill Woods, with a plan in place to deliver LRT to the west end, once they decide on a route."

A NEW CITY REPORT OUTLINES PROPOSED ROUTES FOR THE THREE LINES. THEY ARE:

- The south LRT from the Century Park station, due to open in 2010, along 111th Street to Anthony Henday Drive, then west along Henday to 127th Street. There will be a station and 1,000-car park-and-ride near that intersection, then the LRT will continue south for two more stops.
Coun. Bryan Anderson, chairman of council's transportation and public works committee, said there are plans for a south MacEwan campus and a hospital along 127th Street, where the LRT will run.
- The northeast line from the Clareview station along the CN Rail right-of-way to a station and park-and-ride at 153rd Avenue.
- The NAIT line from Churchill station to 105th Avenue, then west to Mac-Ewan campus, north to the Royal Alexandra Hospital and up to NAIT.
Council will be asked to approve these routes at its meeting Jan. 30.
Though the routes have no funding yet from senior governments, Anderson thinks both the Alberta and federal governments may be ready to put new money into rapid transit.
"This expanded LRT plan must capture the attention of the province," he said. "There must be investment."
The British Columbia government this week pledged $10.3 billion to fund four new rapid transit lines in Vancouver.
Mandel won't guess what building the three extensions will cost. He said council plans to discuss taking on more debt, and the new LRT plans will be part of that discussion.
He said he's prepared to close some roads, if necessary, in order to allow LRT lines to be built.
A separate city report says that Kingsway Garden Mall objects to the city's plan to put its NAIT transit centre on the northern corner of the mall grounds. The site was to serve both as an LRT station and a bus centre.
One alternative, the report states, would be to put the LRT station on 106th Street north of Princess Elizabeth Avenue, rather than on mall property. If that happens, the current bus centre at the south end of the mall would stay where it is.
NAIT officials favour building an underground LRT station in the middle of its campus.
Anderson said questions remain about where the LRT line will go north of NAIT, or whether the City Centre Airport will remain an airport. Until those are answered, it may be hard to pick a permanent site for the NAIT station.
The first stage of the NAIT line will be to build an LRT tunnel under 101st Street at 105th Avenue, a tunnel that will pass under the site of a new Epcor building planned for 101st Street.
The city report says building the LRT tunnel at the same time as the Epcor building will be cheaper than waiting until afterward. Cost of the LRT tunnel is estimated at up to $80 million.
The NAIT line will eventually go to St. Albert, the northeast line eventually to Fort Saskatchewan, and the south line eventually to the airport.
sruttan@thejournal.canwest.com
 
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#3

Hipster Duck

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One of the great things about Edmonton's LRT system is the downtown tunnel which could act like a conduit for multiple LRT lines, much like the Market street tunnel in San Fran. The downtown subway used to be criticized by Edmontonians as lavish and wasteful*, but it might just be their version of the Bloor viaduct.


*Edmontonians also used to bitch about how construction of the tunnel under Jasper Avenue killed downtown. Yeah, a transit improvement "killed" the vibrancy of the downtown core and the opening of the world's largest mall with self-contained entertainment zones, etc., had nothing to do with it.
 
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#5
I have yet to ride Edmonton's LRT, though I did see it from the VIA train I was riding through town 2 years ago!

That tunnel makes sense if it does become the core of a multi-branch system. While Edmonton was first off the mark in North America with the modern LRT, it never got very far, with only a minor extension to U of A (and now the south extension to the old Heritage Mall).

$5 Billion will make for an impressive LRT system. $5 Billion in Toronto would get you nothing less than completion of the Sheppard Line to Scarborough Centre (and likey even to Downsview), and Phase I of the DRL from Spadina to Pape.
 

junctionist

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#6
Is there already a plan for substantial transit investment in Calgary? It's odd that there's no mention of that Alberta city when it comes to announced spending in the billions.
 

Ummagumma66

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#7
Calgary just opened its newest LRT station, McKnight-Westwinds in December, another station, Crowfoot-Centennial is set to open in Dec 2008, the City is attempting to redevelop the 7 Ave Corridor (the Transit Mall), which is proceeding slowly to say the least, the west LRT is in the final stages of planning, and hopefully will start later this year, the are plans for a south-east LRT and a North LRT but both are in the early stages of the planning phase.
Map of the proposed WLRT

NLRT

SELRT

(these images are from the Skyscraperpage, Calgary construction forum.)
but no real big announcement has been made of late regarding transit, perhaps in the coming days.....
 
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#8
Edmonton LRT expansion...

299 Bloor and all: Interesting Edmonton transit expansion info-I wonder if anyone agrees with me that the West Edmonton Mall-is arguably one of the key attractions in that area-having LRT serving it directly would be a good move! LI MIKE
 
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#9
considering it alone employs about 10,000 people, attracts over 15-million visitors annually, and is on the brink of another expansion to add more mixed uses to the site, yes, it does need a LRT connection. The problem is how they're going to connect it to the existing system, a question surrounded by controversy. The planners prefer a direct route from the mall via 87th ave to Health Sciences Station, so that it would be a West Ed-University-Downtown route. However, this route runs through one of the wealthiest areas in the city, and would also require a new, probably massive, bridge structure across the river. The other proposed route would take a more indirect route to the downtown first. Though it would probably have less opposition, there also would be fewer riders, and the WEM-Downtown/University travel time would not be of any advantage.

Luckily, the city has a very pro-LRT mayor/council/transportation department, and will likely push ahead with the planner-recommended route by the end of the year.
 
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The W Edmonton Mall-is it still the World's Largest Mall?

299B: Is the WE Mall still the World's largest shopping mall? Are there any links you can suggest to take a look-like a mall map? That would be appreciated! LI MIKE
 

Kitsune

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Calgary just opened its newest LRT station, McKnight-Westwinds in December, another station, Crowfoot-Centennial is set to open in Dec 2008, the City is attempting to redevelop the 7 Ave Corridor (the Transit Mall), which is proceeding slowly to say the least, the west LRT is in the final stages of planning, and hopefully will start later this year, the are plans for a south-east LRT and a North LRT but both are in the early stages of the planning phase.
Map of the proposed WLRT
(these images are from the Skyscraperpage, Calgary construction forum.)
but no real big announcement has been made of late regarding transit, perhaps in the coming days.....
I believe back in November they also annouced the funding for the design phase for the 8th avenue subway so that the 201 line can stop using the 7th ave line and leave it to the extended 202 ....
 
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#14
Mayor fighting LRT route plan

Transportation manager favours 87th Ave. to west end, but Mandel fears wholesale expropriations


Susan Ruttan, The Edmonton Journal

Published: 2:31 am
EDMONTON - The mayor and the city transportation manager appear set for a showdown over the route for a west-end LRT line.
The transportation manager Bob Boutilier said Wednesday he favours a route along 87th Avenue, with the LRT line crossing the river to connect with the south line on the University of Alberta campus.
Talks with groups along that route are to take place next week, he said.
But Mayor Stephen Mandel strongly opposes that route.
"I don't support that at all -- never have, never will," he said. "I think it's a huge mistake.
"Council is spending money on LRT to move people, and you go down 87th Avenue and past 156th Street it's all single-family residential houses. To start knocking all those down to put high-rises up is a total waste of money. I won't support it ... and neither will the neighbourhoods."
Mandel said he doesn't want to have a fight with the neighbourhoods along 87th Avenue.
"I'm very disappointed that Mr. Boutilier can't see the trees for the forest."
Mandel's preference is to run the LRT line along Stony Plain Road. "That's where you have great room for development."
Boutilier said the 87th Avenue route is the best one technically.
"I have been asked many times, what's my preference for LRT?" Boutilier said. "And it's always a straight line. The preference is to go across from the university to 87th."
If council prefers to put the line alongside the Quesnell Bridge instead, that can be done, Boutilier said.
City council Wednesday approved a motion to allow borrowing $170 million to help pay the $182-million cost of renovating and widening Quesnell Bridge. Council still has another month before tenders go out and has that time left to determine whether to borrow the money or see if there will be provincial money for the bridge.
Boutilier said if the LRT ends up going along the Quesnell, it won't be on the existing bridge but on an attached or separate bridge next to it.
He said some people along the possible west-end route are concerned.
"We're not at the point of saying, 'This house' and 'that particular street,' " he said. "We may want to go down the middle of the roadways."
The west LRT route is likely to come before council in April or May.
Council is setting a number of new LRT routes in hopes of getting money from senior governments to rapidly expand the system.
Boutilier told council that fixing the Quesnell Bridge is his department's top priority because Whitemud Drive is a critical route for moving goods and services. He said in future his department will not bring forward large road projects simply to serve commuters. Rapid transit and fixing existing roads will take precedence.
"If we continue to get more roads and interchanges, how are we going to get commuters onto the LRT system?" he said.
Mandel and Couns. Karen Leibovici and Ron Hayter voted against the bridge motion. Mandel said he's frustrated that the transportation department would bring a huge decision like the $170-million bridge borrowing before council at the last minute.
Coun. Kim Krushell defended Boutilier's department, pointing out that council took the funding assigned for the Quesnell repairs last fall to cover cost overruns on building the 23rd Avenue interchange.
© The Edmonton Journal 2008
The 87th Avenue route to West Edmonton Mall is the most logical route - it has been listed by planners as the fastest route with the greatest ridership potential. And for the first time ever, I'm disappointed in Mayor Mandel -- he seems all for LRT until it runs through his own upper-middle-class neighbourhood.