Is the City of Canada Getting it Right with the Green Line?

Canada’s Green Line: Does the City Have the Right Plan?

A few days ago the City of Canada told us that the alignment they are proposing for the green line will go from Crescent Heights down to Shepard.

This is a dramatic reduction in scope from the most recent alignment which essentially ran right from the north end of the city down through to the South Canada Health campus in Seton.

The new alignment will most greatly benefit inner city Canada, with communities such as Crescent Heights & Inglewood being the clear winners.

Who Loses in this New Plan?

The losers, unfortunately are the families that live in the suburbs at either end of town.  

They are being short changed due to planning decisions that have increased the cost and scope of the project to the point that the same proposed budget of $4.5B is chewed up with only 14 stations instead of 28, with the biggest contributor to this no doubt being the $1.95B tunnel to go under the bow river.

This allows the new line to only reach one station on the other side, Crescent heights, which isn’t exactly far from the downtown core to begin with.  

Now, $1.95B would make sense to me if they were spending it to connect to a major piece of infrastructure, like a hospital, university or the location of a new arena, but this alignment does none of that.

What Would be a Good Alternative?

An alternative here would have been for the City to pick one end of town, north or south, and take the line all the way, to allow inner city and suburban demographics alike to share in this enormous project.

An even better option is to stick with the first plan and go all the way with both and spend more money on it.  I can think of few public initiatives more deserving of capital than rail transit.

Instead, we have an alignment that caters to the inner city of both yet leaves the suburbs in no man’s land, with neither of the districts to the far north or south getting an LRT.

Let’s hope we see a few more kicks at the can with this before shovels hit the ground.

Comments ( 2 )
  • Rob Jobst says:

    I share your frustration, Brett, but I agree with the philosophy of taking a long-term view of urban planning decisions and getting it right the first time. My fear was that, in order to accomplish the entire scope of the project at once and for the least expense, corners were going to get cut and we were going to get an awkward compromise design that tried – among other things – to run the line above ground where it is clearly a better long-term plan to go subterranean. It may also make sense to tackle the most expensive inner city portions of the Green Line now, when everything from engineering to labour is available at recession-level pricing. And, of course, your suggested solution would pit the north side of the city against the south, putting administration in an awkward position and setting elected officials at each other’s throats. I, too, like the “build it all and pay more” option, but where’s the money going to come from?

  • Robert Zalischuk says:

    I’m giving this an “F”. Such limited and simplistic thinking. Another instant LRT expert. Spend more money, sure! Where’s it coming from? I’m giving the city credit for having the guts to recommend the correct compromise decision here. Did Brett read the city’s article? Even phase one is a massive project. The central portion is technically complex, it NEEDS to be built FIRST, why can’t folks grasp that? Would folks have been happier if the city left out completing the 16th Avenue Station until later? The existing network is 59km, the FULL Green Line is 46km with phase one being 20km. A common comment has been – Do It Right The First Time. Apparently you disagree..

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