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Edmonton Proposes $5-billion LRT Expansion Plan

299 bloor call control.

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West LRT may go underground

Tunnel from 142nd Street best route for river crossing and link to U of A line: report


Gordon Kent, The Edmonton Journal

Published: 2:01 am
EDMONTON - The city's transportation department supports a $1.6-billion west-end LRT line that would tunnel under houses near the North Saskatchewan River to reduce neighbourhood disruption and visual impact.
The proposed route from Lewis Estates follows 87th Avenue, travels underground through part of Parkview near the 142nd Street traffic circle, and comes out of the riverbank near the Valley Zoo, according to a consultant's report.
The 10-kilometre line crosses the river on a "mid-level" bridge, goes under the opposite bank and reaches ground-level near the Cross Cancer Institute, before joining the existing south LRT at the Health Sciences station.
"The recommendation to council will be to approve this route for more detailed planning," transportation planning manager Brice Stephenson said Tuesday.
Further work would show where houses may need to be demolished and the best locations for stations, he said.
Open houses to gather public feedback are scheduled to be held in April.
The report rejects an alternative route that would use Whitemud Drive over the Quesnell Bridge, then follow Fox Drive and connect with the new South Campus station.
It determined the 87th Avenue alignment would carry up 13,500 more passengers a day, taking them downtown and to the University of Alberta campus from Lewis Estates up to 10 minutes faster.
As well, the cost to build the Whitemud line and buy LRT equipment would be almost $70 million higher. It would cost an extra $4 million a year to operate, with much of that money needed to run the larger number of LRT cars.
Coun. Bryan Anderson, who said the consultant's report is a valid recommendation, doesn't think building the project would be too expensive.
"Establish the most cost-effective routes, and then go to the federal and provincial governments ... and say 'We're heading into a 50-year mass transit plan, here it is, we need your assistance,' " he said.
"That is a considerable distance. It feeds a whole new side of the city ... now you need to go after the funding."
But Mayor Stephen Mandel has called the 87th Avenue route "a huge mistake." He says the large number of single-family houses west of 156th Street make it unsuitable for the high-density development that makes public transit more efficient.
Coun. Karen Leibovici supports the Whitemud-South Campus line, saying it would take west-end residents more directly to their destinations in the south.
If the city can entice drivers to take transit it would also help reduce traffic on the Quesnell Bridge, which will be jammed in 15 to 20 years despite a major overhaul due to start next year, she said.
"Why are we building something which isn't meeting the needs of commuters right now? The rationale keeps being everyone's going downtown. Well, you know what? We have significant employment centres at West Edmonton Mall ... and the northwest, southwest and southeast. That's where people are travelling."
Some residents on the west side of the river aren't enthusiastic about the proposed 87th Avenue route, which city planners have been studying since at least 2005.
Ray Jacobson, president of the Laurier Heights Community League, said the doubts in his area include the possibility that tunneling could one day be scrapped in favour of a long, unsightly bridge across the top of the valley.
"It's very much an overview recommendation. Our concern would be sometime in the future ... those parameters could change and we could see more dramatic changes to the neighbourhood."
gkent@thejournal.canwest.com




Option LRT-B is the preferred option.. and whomever did this map really wanted to play with his fonts.
 

Earlscourt_Lad

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Maybe I'm missing something, but extending it past the WEM doesn't seem to make much sense. Unless they're planning on large PArk and Ride lots out by that highway, otherwise it seems a lightly developed area.
 

299 bloor call control.

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Lewis Estates is planned to be the main transit hub for residential areas being built west of the highway. They're planning on building a new transit centre out there in the coming couple years and that will help relieve pressure on the WEM Transit Centre, which is incredibly congested. It also is planned to have a major park and ride facility, as the highway provides good connections to pretty much all the western suburbs. Not to mention the cost of extending it out past WEM is pretty much peanuts.
 

299 bloor call control.

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Edmonton's first LRV as part of their 26-car Siemens SD-160 (high-floor variation with restyled front) arrived last week. It's looking hella sweet... pics courtesy of A.Wong from etspe.ca





Being towed back to Clareview


Money shot of 1038.



At Clareview



Old and new together:


Incidentally the same U2 (1018) I took a picture of this morning while it was still in the blue wrap.

At D.L. MacDonald
 

simply Dan

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From the Siemens North American website:

The new vehicles will use the Siemens SD-160 design, which is based on the SD-100 design used for San Diego, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Carshells will be manufactured at Siemens' Carson, Calif., facility, with final assembly and testing in Sacramento. The SD-160 features a three-phase a.c. propulsion system with regenerative braking, which enables surplus energy generated during braking to be fed back into the overhead catenary, contributing to energy savings and lowering the overall environmental impact.
 

Kitsune

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Those SD-160s front ends look very very different then what I was accustomed to seeing when I lived in Calgary, but thats Edmonton for ya, can never have anything similiar to Calgary, and vice versa! ;)
 

299 bloor call control.

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Residents fume over LRT's 'path of destruction'
NAIT leg would see six apartment blocks destroyed
Paula SimonsThe Edmonton Journal
Thursday, May 15, 2008

CREDIT: Arnold Lim/Edmonton JournalThe Churchhill LRT station."I support north LRT, but this is nuts," says Warren Champion. "Of any alignment I've looked at across North America, this is the most bizarre I've seen."
Late on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, about 60 concerned community members gathered in the basement of the Polish Hall on 104th Street, just north of the Prince of Wales Armouries.
They're here to learn about the city's proposed new route for a northern LRT spur line, which would run from Churchill Station to the NAIT campus.
In December, planners were proposing to run the LRT north down 105th Street, and reroute cars to 106th St.
Now, they have a different vision, one that looks darned odd on a map.
They want to curve the track to run alongside the back lane that runs between 105th and 106th streets, then cut diagonally through the park in front of the Prince of Wales Armouries, to end up on 104th Street.
At a minimum, this route would require the city to purchase or expropriate, and then demolish, at least six walk-up apartment buildings, with a total of 111 rental units.
For Champion, the president of the Central McDougall community league, the route is unacceptable. Not only would it divide his community and destroy more than a hundred units of affordable housing, it would also, he says, destroy green space and discourage new infill development.
"The city is now following the path of greatest destruction," says Lorne Billingsley-Smith, a property owner whose office and warehouse building would need to be demolished under the current planned route.
Yet there's no doubt the city's transportation engineers face a huge challenge. They have to get the LRT out of the ground as quickly as possible and up to Grant MacEwan and the Royal Alexandra Hospital, while weaving their way past a school, an Epcor substation, an ambulance station, the McDougall Landing housing development and the historic armouries site.
Intuitively, the most logical route for the line is straight down 104th Street, right between the Victoria School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the armouries, which house the city archives. But city planners say that straightforward routing won't work. Because of the way the line would come out of the ground west of the new Epcor Tower, the 104th Street route would require the train to turn too tightly. Even if the cars could just make the turn, they say, they would have to slow down tremendously, causing a lot of wheel squealing and unnecessary wear on trains and tracks.
Planners also want the line further west, to build a station as close as possible to the MacEwan campus.
In the circumstances, the proposed line may be the best available compromise. But like many compromises, it leaves many people unhappy.
Champion and Billingsley-Smith say they have an answer to those arguments. If the train stays underground longer, they say, then it can make a more gradual turn onto 104th Street. They're proposing what they call a "cut-and-cover" strategy. Instead of a deep and expensive tunnel, they suggest the city could lay the rail line just below grade, and cover it over with a "green" roof. That way, the city would save the cost of buying up so many properties and make the whole area more attractive as a site for higher-density, tax-revenue-generating infill development. Admittedly, that would mean the LRT station would be a block or so further east of Grant MacEwan, but, they argue, it wouldn't be far enough away to be a huge inconvenience for students.
It's an attractive suggestion. But it's hard to know just how realistic it is. At the end of the day, the city's top priorities have to be to get this line built as quickly and inexpensively as possible, and to build stations where they can serve the greatest number of riders. It's hard to know whether the added time and money it would take to run the line below grade, up 104th Street, would really be worth it. Similarly, if we want college students to ride the train, we have to put the station someplace practical. If we really want to get this line built efficiently, to serve the whole city, we may have to sacrifice a few aging walk-ups, which are already coming to the end of their natural lives.
Still, as badly as we want to kick-start LRT development, and as valuable as a NAIT line would be, we have to be careful that we don't rush this decision, or short-circuit this debate.
Central McDougall is one of the city's least affluent areas, with a large population of new Canadians who may not speak much English or have experience or confidence in dealing with government bureaucracy. At the same time, Central McDougall and the former industrial lands known as the North Edge are a part of the city ripe for redevelopment. It is vitally important that the people whose lives, homes, and businesses are going to be affected by this new alignment have a chance to make their views heard. It's equally important that we plot the smartest possible route for this LRT link, if we want to encourage the most advantageous urban infill development.
City planners only announced their proposed new alignment this week. The LRT open house this Friday -- followed by a July 8 public hearing -- doesn't leave a lot of time for an inner-city community to respond to a proposal that will transform the neighbourhood.
Maybe the city's chosen alignment is the best option. But at the very least, we need to take into consideration all its costs and consequences -- and not just the economic ones.
psimons@thejournal.canwest.com
ROUTE TO NAIT
WHAT'S NEW?
- Line runs between 106th and 105th Streets.
- Station next to Royal Alexandra Hospital.
- Traffic lanes on Kingsway to be shifted south.
- Temporary station south of Princess Elizabeth Avenue.
WHAT'S NEXT?
- This Friday: NAIT LRT open house 10 a.m. to noon at Kingsway Garden Mall.
- July 8: Public hearing before city council
For more information, go to www.edmontonjournal.ca/LRT projects.
 

Hipster Duck

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I actually agree with the residents in this case and think they have a fairly sensible solution that doesn't pander to the usual NIMBYism. That part of Edmonton is fairly densely populated and it does look like they would be demolishing a large number of residences in one of Edmonton's few existing urban neighbourhoods. They should probably just suck it up and keep it in a tunnel as far as 104th street. I can't tell from the map, but I hope they don't demolish that historic armoury/school-like thing at 108 Ave and 104 St.

I agree with the alignment to NAIT, though - the area around Avenue of the Nations probably has the most potential of any neighbourhood in Edmonton, even if it's sort of down-at-heel right now.
 

Hipster Duck

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PS: I also think that there is a double standard at play when the suburban residents of West Edmonton get a $1.4B tunnel under their bungalows while the poorer residents of Central-McDougall face the bulldozer.
 

Markster

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Everyone loves to look at the Spadina Extension as an example of how uniquely Toronto can screw up RT expansion, but fear not! Edmonton's NAIT expansion is plagued with its own problems!

NAIT LRT line’s construction problems much deeper than signal system, leaked report shows
July 7, 2015
EDMONTON - The much maligned NAIT LRT line, now 15 months behind schedule, ran into serious flaws in construction long before the city blamed Thales Canada and its signalling system for the delay.

According to a report obtained by the Journal and interviews with other sources, water has been pooling on the tracks, the guard rails protecting train wheels from wear have come loose and electrical conduits for the signalling and communications systems have been found blocked or filled with debris and water.

“They’re paying for a deluxe wonderful system and they’re getting a third tier system,” said a man familiar with construction on the $650 million line who leaked a report on deficiencies with the line to the Journal out of frustration.
The extension was supposed to open April 2014... and the clock is still ticking.
On the bright side, this is a 3.3 km, 3 station extension, for only $755-million!
 

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