Several Calgary residents were concerned during the planning stages of the new billion-dollar Green Line LRT Project in regards to the lack of parking for the project, and traffic issues that it may cause.
The project is expected to begin construction in 2018, and is projected to be operational by 2024.
It has received $1.53 billion in funding from the Public Transit fund, a third of the $4-5 billion dollars of projected costs.
“Centre Street has been chosen,” said Joe Mueller, a planner for the City of Calgary.
“It was a council decision.”
The City of Calgary hosted an open house information session about the new project on Feb. 16, 2016 at Thornecliffe School.
Despite the new project being the largest infrastructure investment in Albertan history, some residents are not happy with the project.
“They’ve admitted that on this whole route here there is going to be very little parking available for people that are going to be driving in,” said Carol Klyn, a Calgary resident and retiree.
“This means that all the park and riders are going to be parking in the nearby communities and that is going to affect me very much.”
Jen Malzer, a civil engineer for the City of Calgary, said that there will be no station parking within five kilometres of the downtown, and transit will only provide parking for 10 per cent of the rest of the LRT ridership.
“We have parking restriction tools that we can work with, such as 2 hour zones or a permit parking community,” said Malzer. “We’ll definitely be looking to the communities to find the right tools.”
The session was also for residents to fill out surveys, so they could contribute in deciding where stations will be as well as different infrastructure options.
“We’re doing a multiple accounts evaluation, so we’re looking at all the different factors that influence the project, from costs to transportation factors reliability, ridership, environmental issues, sustainability, and environmental impact,” said Andy Paton, a technical lead for Green Line North.
“The way we’re doing it is we’re listing all this criteria, we’re coming up with metrics to try and measure the criteria and then we’re scoring them in a matrix.”
Some residents were concerned over having the LRT across centre street bridge, believing it was not possible.
The session provided options A-E to deal with the issue. One of the options proposed a tunnel that would run under the river.
“I have issues with aboveground,” said Candice Chow, a Calgary resident who attended the meeting. “We’ve seen what happened with 36 street NE, it’s a nightmare traffic wise, and I have to get across Centre Street all the time.”
“It’s going to push people into the residential areas,” said Klyn.
The meeting was one of the first held about this project, and is still in the early planning stages.
“I’m pro-greenline,” said Graham Terryberry. “It’s still in the planning stages so I wasn’t expecting many answers.”
Paton said that once the matrix data is gathered, the project details would need to be approved by City Council.
“Our goal is to have it council approved by October 2016,” said Paton.
Eventually City Council did approve the underground option in October of 2016; conditionally. Along with this decision comes a 2 billion dollar price tag just for the tunnel, and councillors fear the contributed money will not be enough.