CALGARY (660 NEWS) — The conversation over the new LRT will continue when the Green Line Committee of Council will be provided with an update on Monday.
City administration will provide details on Stage 1 of the route which will include:
- A surface alignment on Centre Street N and a surface station at 16 Avenue N
- A bridge over the river
- Addition of 9 Avenue N Station in Crescent Heights
- A Below-grade station/portal at 2 Avenue S.W. to be integrated in Eau Claire Market redevelopment site
- 7 Avenue underground station
- An underground alignment on 11 Avenue in the Beltline and an underground station at 4 Street S.E.
- BRT improvements
They will also discuss maximizing ridership, connecting people to the core, Beltline and Entertainment district, and future expansion into the north and south of Calgary.
General Manager of Green Line Michael Thompson says they are working to provide the best value for Calgarians.
“This updated alignment provides a high-quality transit system while addressing previous concerns about budget, construction risk and customer experience,” Thompson said.
He added that transit, like the LRT, will help the city grow and be attractive to businesses moving into the downtown core and benefit the city long term.
Questions have been raised in recent months about the viability or need for going ahead with the $5 billion-dollar project. On May 7, Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas raised concern about downtown office vacancies post-pandemic, and the so-called new reality of the economic future of our city.
“It’s human nature to take what is inevitably a short-term or medium-term pandemic, or issue and project it out 70 or 100 years which is what the green line is going to be built for,” said Urban Transit Researcher Willem Klumpenhouwer.
Another concern was the transit line’s use in the future. At a time, when there’s so much talk about people continuing to work from home, would the line generate enough revenue?
“Even during the pandemic, people still had to use public transit, there’s still a decent amount of ridership,” said Klumpenhouwer.
Another issue that has surfaced is the way the Green Line conversations have been going
One homeowner said his main concern is the bridge of Prince’s Island saying it would displace all the wildlife there for several years due to construction.
“I’m not happy about the current alignment. In 2017, when they proposed their alignment, they promised to preserve and protect the public access, to protect the wetlands here and really to give Calgary the transportation it needs. I feel like Calgary has fallen short on a few of those promises.”
Despite supporting the Green Line he said he’s concerned about the impacts on property value, adding an underground tunnel would be a better proposal than this current one.
He believes the committee needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better solution.
Meanwhile, Camie Leard with the Crescent Heights Village BIA said the alignment for Centre Street is good long-term. While the association supports the Green Line, Leard said businesses in the area need to be compensated.
“They’ve obviously gone through and are still going through the impact of the COVID closures. To ask them to then undergo construction closures and disruptions, that’s an unprecedented ask for the city.”
She said any parking that is removed due to the Green Line needs to be replaced nearby so businesses don’t lose potential customers.
Meantime the Calgary Alliance plans to hold a socially distanced rally at 9:30 Monday morning to show its support for the project.
Stage 1 will be crucial in helping the city out of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, by creating around 20,000 jobs during construction.
The meeting will be held online and the public will be able to speak by contacting the City Clerk’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-With files from Taylor Braat, CityNews.