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Councillors vote against proposal to raise portion of Valley LRT Line
Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:41PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 18, 2017 7:51PM MDT
Councillors on Edmonton’s Executive Committee voted against a proposal to raise a section of the Valley LRT Line as it passes Bonnie Doon.
A report looked at different options for handling traffic on busy intersections along the LRT line, and one of those options was to raise a section of the LRT line above road level.
The proposal was to raise the line between 90 Avenue and just south of Whyte (82 Avenue).
On Tuesday, some councillors were pointing to lengthy delays the Capital Line caused near NAIT and the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
“I just want to make sure that the rest of the LRT line, the Valley Line, whether it goes south or eventually west, doesn’t have those kinds of problems,” Councillor Michael Oshry said. “Or if they do, at least we know about it ahead of time because we did the appropriate work.”
The proposal was slated to cost between $125 million and $220 million on top of the cost of the south leg of the Valley LRT Line, set for $1.8 billion.
A year and a half ago, councillors ordered a report on the pros and cons of raised rail crossings, in an effort to avoid repeating mistakes made with the Metro LRT Line – where some drivers had to wait 10 minutes to get through a major intersection early on.
“Our experience with the Capital Line hasn’t been great obviously, and I think a lot of it was to do with the fact that we didn’t do enough work on traffic studies and how to mitigate traffic problems,” Oshry said.
In the end, the committee voted against the proposal, only accepting the report as information.
“People should assume that putting the train in is not going to affect travel patterns all across the south east,” Mayor Don Iveson said.
The current plan for traffic around the Valley LRT Line uses a partial priority system for the LRT, meaning the signaling priority for trains will change depending on traffic in the area.
“The trains still have priority, but they will wait sometimes,” Iveson said.
The City said the LRT is the equivalent of a six lane traffic artery into the heart of the city, and commuters opting for public transit should lighten the load on surrounding roads, but it will likely only affect north-south traffic.
“Whyte Avenue is the major east-west road for the entire region trying to get to the University of Alberta,” Councillor Bryan Anderson said.
Anderson said he has been assured that any major traffic congestion issues on Whyte Avenue in the future, are already happening these days.
With files from Jeremy Thompson