Go west. That’s the consensus of a new report plotting the next phase of LRT construction. The report heading to city councillors next week says the top priority would see LRT run from downtown to Lewis Estates.
“I’m pretty excited about the results of the report,” said ward one Coun. Andrew Knack who almost broke into a happy dance.
Based on technical criteria, extending the Valley Line makes the most sense. From downtown right out to Lewis Estates. Having West Edmonton Mall as a large employment centre helped.
“It turns out the west line had the highest ridership,” said Rob Gibbard, the director of transportation infrastructure. “So what that does for the city it gives us a bigger bang for the buck.”
“It just helps reinforce what I assumed would hopefully be the reality,” Knack added. “It’s encouraging through an unbiased third party analysis they feel the same way.”
Knack thinks new federal money could start the planning process almost right away, even as early as this summer.
“I thought for the longest time that we might not have been able to start the design work until 2019 and be ready for the end of 2020 to start building. That money is there. We’re going to build it anyways, so it makes a lot of sense to start the work earlier rather than later.”
Total cost is estimated at $1.6 billion. All in to go in every direction is more than $9 billion.
Rounding out the top three, are recommendations to extend the Metro Line from NAIT onto Blatchford but not beyond the Yellowhead. Third is extending the south LRT from Century Park to Ellerslie.
Council’s transportation committee will review the findings Wednesday.
You can read the report here then follow the links to items 6.1 and 6.2