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Councillors propose scaled-back version of Green Line

Last Updated Jun 2, 2020 at 7:21 am MDT

Summary

The first phase of the Green Line project is expected to cost $4.9 billion.

Councillors are looking at a BRT system along Centre Street north as a temporary option.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – What does the future hold for Calgary’s Green Line LRT?

As the massive project heads toward a final decision on June 15, some councillors are suggesting scrapping the north portion of the line.

City councillors Jeff Davison, Jyoti Gondek, Ward Sutherland, and Peter Demong issued a joint statement Monday saying, for now, the Bow River crossing needs to be removed so the line can be built.

The current plans see the Green Line pass over Bow River and Prince’s Island Park then through downtown, but the councillors are suggesting ending the line in downtown and having a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along Centre Street north.

The committee previously looked at building the bridge over the Bow along with adding a station in Crescent Heights and running the train line down the middle of Centre Street North to 16 Ave.

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Some councillors believe in a post-COVID-19 world, the current plan to build two unfinished lines is on shaky ground.

“Finish one of those two lines first. finish the south piece it’s the one ready to go but still service the north with an enhanced BRT system which is not in place today so effectively we are making a much better network. so all north riders can connect to the south much easier than they can today,” said Davison.

The councillors new proposal will allow construction of the downtown portion of the line to start immediately, while the city takes more time to decide what to do over the bridge.

Dozens rallied in front of City Hall Monday morning in support of the project hoping it will stay on track.

The first stage of construction from 16 Ave. north to 126 Ave SE is expected to cost nearly $5 billion dollars with funding from all levels of government. It’s also anticipated to create thousands of jobs.

“If we say no to the Green Line development or delay it, we can be putting that investment at risk,” said Peter Oliver, organizer of Calgarians for Transit.

“I know a woman who lives in the NE and works at a care home in the south. She has to go bus, train, bus, bus and then back again,” said Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee with the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good. “That’s a ridiculous commute and we need to think carefully how we get people from one side of our city to the other.”

Construction is set to start in 2021 and once completed, the Green Line would add 28 stations running from 160 Ave in the north to Seton in the southeast.

The Green Line committee has until June 15 to vote on a plan for the project’s future before it’s brought to council for approval.

-With files from CityNews