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Calgary committee puts 12 Avenue underground Green Line option back on table

Calgary committee approves $1.95 B underground alignment under the Bow River into downtown

Pictured is a rendering of an underground Green Line station planned for the Beltline area.

Courtesy/ City of Calgary

Pictured is a rendering of an underground Green Line station planned for the Beltline area.

Calgary's Green Line's living up to its costly budget as councillors warm up to going all out on the "city shaping" project.

On Wednesday, the Transportation and Transit committee meeting agenda’s goal was to update council on the Green Line project’s achievements in the past quarter and approve the most expensive option to get the train across the Bow River - by tunneling under it.

But conversation was derailed slightly by the appetite to discuss another detail: considering 12 Avenue underground alignment through the Beltline.

Although several councillors, including the Transportation and Transit meeting chair Shane Keating, underlined concerns about overspending in the core, the motion passed.

“Every time we talk about another project, we’re saying, skip the outlying areas work on the density in the core, so they can go five or six blocks,” said Keating, noting he may be overly biased on the topic. “But those who have to go a distance, well, they’re on their own…we’re not willing to say there are other needs in the city.”

But Woolley noted his motion wasn’t about making a final decision on the underground option.

“We need to be conscious of the mobility challenges of us not looking at this,” said Woolley. “By having an at-grade as well as underground option for 12 Avenue we can have a better look at the transportation challenges.”

That motion passed.

“As with the downtown alignment, it’s critical the city makes the right decision for today and for tomorrow,” said Peter Oliver, president of the Beltline Neighbourhood Association. His group was happy to see council respond to concerns and get an analysis of the underground 12 Avenue option back on the table.

“Getting the alignment wrong in the Beltline has the potential to negatively impact other travel modes…through the Centre City including Macleod Trail, which so many Calgarians depend on to get Downtown,” said Oliver.

In the meeting that dragged on for over eight hours, the committee also made a milestone decision: to agree that the $1.95 billion under-the-bow option is in the city’s best interest.  

Final say will go to council on Oct. 3.

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