News / Calgary

Calgary student voices quashed in southwest BRT debacle

Student leaders will be meeting with people like Coun. Brian Pincott to talk about why the BRT is so important

Proposed bus-only lanes along 14 Street SW is causing a stir in communities, but local university students say they're waiting impatiently for better transit.

Helen Pike/ Metro

Proposed bus-only lanes along 14 Street SW is causing a stir in communities, but local university students say they're waiting impatiently for better transit.

It's not quite a fight of the classes, but when it comes to using the planned southwest Bus Rapid Transit route that would serve Mount Royal University, post-secondary students have a stake.

An out-of-the-blue lobby group, Ready to Engage, has stolen the spotlight in the last weeks, as their battle with city officials over age-old plans to plop dedicated bus-only lanes along 14 Street SW, heats up. And their loud voice is a concern to students who have been looking forward to the city's project for years.

Student leaders will be meeting with people like Coun. Brian Pincott to talk about why the BRT is so important on campus, especially those trying to get to classes from the southwest.

"I always dreamed there would be an easier way to get to university than spending two hours in the cold trying to get here," said VP external Madina Kanayeva with the Students' Association at Mount Royal University. "I'll be honest, it's my worry that they'll shut this down without thinking about and taking into consideration how it would help other people and how this would benefit the community."

Cordelia Snowden, a mature student at MRU said where Ready to Engage finds negatives she only sees positive. Listing factors like less congestion, increased safety when it comes to waiting for the bus and more students using transit instead of driving to school.

Robbie Nelson lives in Palliser which is one of the neighbourhoods adjacent to proposed changes, and he's also a student commuter, taking several buses to MRU in the morning. He's been waiting for the BRT since high school and said it's unclear why Ready to Engage is only coming into the picture now.

Nelson said the SW BRT could give a reliable connection for MRU students to the downtown core, but also help those trying to get to campus from the south.

"A few years ago with the west LRT line there was a lot of disappointment on campus with there not being an LRT connection," Nelson said. "While the bus line isn't an LRT it's a pretty good alternative all things considered."

Shifrah Gadamsetti, who drives to school, but fully supports the BRT, said she's looked at the communities kicking up a fuss and added they're missing the point.

"All these people in the community don't necessarily require a BRT, they have the access to vehicles, they have no problem affording multiple vehicles in a home. There's a lot broader context to observe in this."