Councillor alarmed by push for south LRT extension
Coun. Dave Loken said having to potentially wait 20-30 years for a new LRT line in his ward is "not acceptable".
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With a new hospital planned for south Edmonton renewing calls to speed up LRT construction in the south, one city councillor is worried about the change in the city's priorities.
City staff told council Tuesday that all six LRT expansion projects are on time and on budget, but council has designated the Valley Line LRT West and the Metro Line LRT (downtown to NAIT) as construction priorities. They will set additional priorities next year.
But Ward 3 Coun. Dave Loken is concerned the Metro Line LRT Northwest extension, which would connect Blatchford to the future City of St. Albert Park and Ride, will become less of a priority as a result.
“I'd been led to believe that the northwest LRT was going to the priority all along here and now that's changed,” Loken said.
Loken said he was alarmed to learn it would be 20 to 30 years before construction of that LRT line is completed.
“Thirty years to wait for LRT is just not acceptable,” he said.
“We have a huge chunk of our city not being served by LRT … we have just as many reasons up in the north to justify why we need it up there,” he added.
The northwest extension is currently in the design phase, as are the Valley Line LRT West and the Capital Line LRT South Extension. Of the other lines, the downtown circulator is in the concept phase, the Valley Line LRT Stage 1 Southeast is being built and the Metro Line LRT – Downtown to NAIT is in the "operate" phase, meaning it's functional, with more work to be done.
“The station that’s at NAIT right now is just a temporary station,” said Guy Boston, the city’s branch manager of LRT delivery. “The permanent one has yet to be located and that’s what this work is all about: determining the alignment, the final NAIT station, how we cross Princess Elizabeth (and more).”
“There’s a lot of work to do in getting them all done and they’re all happening concurrently.”
Council will vote on a motion next week for administration to look at land-use issues regarding the proposed new hospital and how that might affect LRT priorities.