There are few changes to the latest Calgary Green Line path, as administration readies to present it to committee next week.
On June 1, the city’s Green Line committee will get the updated version. If approved, the final plan for the $4.9 billion transit project will go to council June 15.
Much of what’s there looks like the previous alignment proposed by the city’s Green Line team, except for a few well documented changes: A Centre Street N surface alignment, a bridge over the river, the addition of a 9 Avenue North transit station, a below grade station at 2 Avenue SW (to integrate into a new Eau Claire development) and BRT improvements to the north.
The line, as presented before, will go from Shephard to the Elbow River (Segment 1) and then Elbow River north to 16 Avenue.
“This updated alignment provides a high quality transit system while addressing previous concerns about budget, construction risk and customer experience,” said Michael Thompson, General Manager of Green Line.
“It helps us deliver the full Stage 1 route from 16 Avenue N to Shepard and deliver the best value for Calgarians.”
Tunnel is costly, prevents extension to ridership areas, critics say
Critics of the plan say that the tunnel is too costly and too risky through the downtown. They also say that it doesn’t reach the areas where the city will get most of the ridership – primarily because of the cost of the tunnel doesn’t allow it.
“They don’t have enough money to build the easiest piece of the line and the one that will probably make the whole thing work,” said Neil McKendrick, former Calgary Transit planning director, who is consulting for the greelineinfo.ca group.
“Let’s go where the trips are. Let’s figure out what we need to do in terms of capturing those trips.”
The group has a litany of reasons why the current alignment shouldn’t go through. The public has a chance to submit during Monday’s meeting.
Multiple scenarios, multiple factors in determining final path
Thompson said after dozens of evaluations using several alignments and including a broad range of factors, they landed on the current version.
“We’re bringing this recommendation forward because we think it provides the best investment,” said Thompson.
“It provides the highest ridership, it connects where people live to where they work, not only downtown, but other employment centres across the city. It allows us that jumping point to extend further to the north and to the south.”
The city has already opened the Request for Proposals on the new light rail vehicles and hopes to have the request for proposal for the segment 1 open by late July.
Should things stay on schedule, the first work on the actual line could begin in 2021.