A few hundred people braved the chilly Saturday winds and rain to show their support for the preservation of the almost 40 year old Cloverdale Footbridge Saturday afternoon.
Kristine Kowalchuk is the founder of ‘Save the Footbridge.’ She tells 630CHED that the city’s plan to tear out the footbridge and replace it with a rail bridge that includes pedestrian access below, is ill considered, and that city hall’s rationale of reusing an existing corridor is flawed.
“You can’t call them the same thing. In fact, the Environmental Impact Assessment that was performed for the Valley Line makes very clear that the city considers the Valley Line the construction of a new transportation corridor. So, for them to say that running the train through here that they’re using an existing corridor, it actually is contradicted by the Environmental Impact Assessment itself.”
Kowalchuk says our population density neither brings in the tax base, nor justifies the cost to bury the LRT, and that a far better solution would be to layer a point to point Bus Rapid Transit system atop of the current bus collector routes. She points to cities like New York where Brooklyn has moved to a BRT system to avoid the high costs of rail.
“Really this is not about improving LRT this is about improving public transit. And if we let go of this idea of LRT and look at what is truly cost effective and would work well for Edmonton, I really think BRT would make a lot of sense.”
She says adopting a BRT solution would deliver more than just financial savings.
“It wouldn’t involve any new river crossings whatsoever. It wouldn’t involve a tunnel through the unstable Grierson Hill riverbank. We’d be making use of existing roadways and because is so much less expensive we could do it well. We could have heated bus shelters across the city, and there wouldn’t be this long construction time either. We could have this almost immediately.”
To show the city that there is support for the preservation of the footbridge Kowalchuk has launched an online petition.