Blog: Green Line Update
On Monday, my Council colleagues and I approved the 46 km alignment and 28 station locations for the full Green Line LRT. When completed, the Green Line will deliver high-quality rapid transit from 160 Av in the north to Seton in the southeast, servicing several Ward 7 communities along the way. Far from being just a new train line, the Green Line is a city-shaping project that will provide improved community amenities, spur redevelopment of tired sites along Centre St, boost local businesses, and spur streetscape improvements. Council’s decision sets a long-term vision for the Green Line and allows City staff to refine the finer details of how the Green Line will integrate into our communities.
9 Av N Station
Council also accepted the recommendation from City staff to remove two stations from the alignment, including the 9 Av N station in Crescent Heights. Local residents wrote to my office with their thoughts on the 9 Av N station, expressing positions both for and against it. The Crescent Heights Community Association reiterated this lack of consensus by taking no formal position on the station. What all Crescent Heights resident did agree on was the need to improve Centre St N. Residents noted that Centre is unsafe, unattractive, missing out on quality development, and divides the Crescent Heights community in two. Regardless of the 9 Av N station, these issues must be addressed.
To ensure Centre St N improvements are part of the Green Line, I brought forward a motion to Council to implement the community’s vision for Centre St N as identified through engagement. That means a safer, more attractive, and more successful Centre St N. Because construction is taking place along Centre St N anyway, particularly around the 16 Av N station, this vision can be implemented more cost-effectively. Additional funding is also available from the Main Streets initiative, through redevelopment along Centre, and with funds that were placed on hold for Centre St repair. Council unanimously supported this motion, with a report on scope and funding specifics due in 2018.
Crescent Heights residents also wanted to ensure that, in the absence of the 9 Av N station, bus service along Centre St N continues. City staff confirmed that the Route 3 will continue to provide quality local access along Centre. They also indicated that the 300 and 301 will continue to run along Centre St N, at least until the Green Line extends much further into the north.
Earlier this year, Council also approved the first stage of the Green Line from Shepherd in the southeast to 16 Av N in the north. Key drivers behind this staging are the location of the train storage/maintenance yard in Shepherd and the tunnel from 16 Av to the Beltline. The underground alignment was supported by all Ward 7 community associations the Green Line travels through, business organisations, and major Centre City landowners. Though it comes at a higher cost initially, the underground alignment sets a solid foundation for continuous expansion and is essential for building the Green Line right in the first place. It is my hope that, by the time the first stage opens, we will have already started construction on extending the line further to serve more communities. This is the approach that Calgary took with the Red Line and the Blue Line, and it resulted in one of the top performing LRT systems in North America today.
Finally, Council was also keen to keep an eye on the costs of the Green Line. Setting the full alignment allows the City to make a formal funding request to the Government of Alberta. Securing the support of the Province is essential to starting construction of the Green Line on-time in 2020. City staff also confirmed that the City’s debt capacity can support the Green Line into the future. However, the Green Line will consume a significant amount of the City’s debt capacity. This means we need to look very carefully at whether and how to fund other mega-projects competing for limited City funds. Council must make major funding decisions based on ensuring the highest public return on investment. The Green Line will create substantial public benefits and should set the standard for evaluating other priorities.
Thank you to all Ward 7 residents who participated in the Green Line process to date. Further engagement lies ahead, but, today, we are one step closer to realising the incredible vision of the Green Line.
If you have any questions about the recent decisions on the Green Line LRT, feel free to contact my office at 403.268.1796 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Categories: Blog, Green Line LRT