News / Edmonton

Edmonton previews Metro line as business groups worry about delays and headaches

Groups are concerned about the business climate after social media comments suggesting people avoid the entire Kingsway area.

The MacEwan LRT station is the first new stop on the Metro line.

Metro File

The MacEwan LRT station is the first new stop on the Metro line.

Before it’s maiden voyage with the public this coming weekend, the city took reporters on the much-delayed Metro Line Thursday morning.

When service launches early Sunday morning, the first train on the line will pull out from Health Sciences station, before snaking through the downtown and then up to NAIT. The overlapping trains means commuters will need to be cautious when boarding trains to ensure they’re getting on the right one.

At Churchill Station, the trains for the new line will diverge headed north through MacEwan and Kingsway stations before arriving at the final NAIT stop.

Dorian Wandzura, the city’s General Manager of Transportation, said while the line includes only three new stations “LRT building is city building,” and the extension is only the beginning of a plan to greatly expand the LRT.

The new MacEwan and Kingsway stations are open air and clad in timber decking, which was chosen by the city after receiving positive community feedback.

Connecting these two stations the LRT follows a quiet right of way through a residential community next to a pedestrian-cycle path before crossing the Kingsway at 104th street.

After leaving Kingsway station, the LRT hugs 106th street north to 118th Ave where it crosses one of two intersections that were first revealed as major problems at city council on Wednesday. Both the crossing at Princess Elizabeth and 111th Avenue and 106 Avenue are expected to produce major delays.

Wandzura explained that the estimated delays of 10 - 16 minutes are only at a few intersections during peak hours, and said during most of the day, motorists should not have to worry about those kinds of delays, especially “if people do begin to consider alternative routes while transit signals come online and things return to normal.”

Local business groups expressed worry that delays and headaches the new line is bringing will cause shoppers to stay away

“It is imperative that we not hinder the business climate in the Kingsway District. We have seen a disturbing trend in social media with comments suggesting to avoid the entire Kingsway area” explained Ellie Sasseville, the district’s executive director. “This is not a message our BRZ would like to see in the public and we need to focus on a solution.”

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