Now that the City of Calgary’s Green Line team has brought forward their recommendation for the alignment of Phase 1 through the downtown core, there is still lots to do before Council gives the final OK in March. The Green Line team will be going into the community to get feedback on the changes with affected groups, and will do pop-ups across the Green Line route. There has also been an increase in questions to all Councillor Offices around the Green Line, and these are just some of the common ones we have answered. The Green Line team has done a lot of work to keep the extension under budget, and lower the risks involved building it, and this is why they have made this final recommendation to Council. I still want to hear from you on this so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org #ward4 #yycgreenline #yyccc
Why build the Green Line now?
Building the Green Line is our next step towards completing Calgary’s transit network as described in Route Ahead: A Strategic Plan for Transit in Calgary. Along with the new MAX bus rapid transit lines Calgarian will have fast, frequent and reliable transit service that strategically connects communities, employment hubs (including those outside downtown like Quarry Park) and key destinations across the city.
The Green Line is vital to keeping Calgarians on the move in the future and has added benefits that contribute to Calgary’s economic recovery and resiliency. Benefits include creation of approximately 20,000 jobs to build Stage 1, connecting people to employment hubs including the downtown core, industrial centre, and Quarry Park, improving mobility by creating capacity for growth, and reducing congestion of Deerfoot Trail and the Red Line south for example.
Why did The City have to review Stage 1?
In the summer of 2019, the Green Line team advised Council about the need to re-evaluate Stage 1 for the a few key reasons:
Project budget: Cost estimates were exceeding Green Line’s funding of $4.9 billion by approximately 10%.
Construction risk: The proposed tunnel under the river was increasing construction cost and risks, and pushing the depth of the tunnel and stations to approximately 8-storeys deep.
Customer experience: the 8-storey deep tunnel and stations would impact user experience making stations less convenient, comfortable and easy to navigate which would impact the rider experience.
Why build 16 Avenue N to Shepard, why not look at other options?
The Council approved first stage of Green Line construction from 16 Avenue N to Shepard builds the core of the project while preparing for the future. Stage 1 will be the longest and most complex LRT line ever built in Calgary, at a single time.
The Stage 1 alignment was selected after considering several different staging options. This option met key criteria including: strategic network connections and future expandability, LRT ridership, operating costs, social/environment/economic benefits, transit oriented development opportunities, and project readiness.
As part of our review in 2019, other options were evaluated including:
• Options that look to connect into Red & Blue Lines using the existing City Hall tunnel.
• Options to separate north and southeast LRT lines.
• Options for a shortened line that stops in the Beltline or Downtown Core (does not cross the Bow river).
• Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) options.
Through this review it was determined that the Stage 1 project provides the highest value system for Calgarians.
What’s going on with Green Line funding?
The approved budget for Green Line is $4.9 billion. This is divided between The City, Government of Alberta, and the Government of Canada. In the 2019 budget the Province changed their cash flow schedule for this project indicating more funds later in the construction phase.
The City is working closely with our funding partners to ensure the Green Line can be built on time and on budget.
If the LRT is surface on Centre Street, can we build 9 Avenue Station?
We’ve heard a lot of requests for the addition of a 9 Avenue station. It is not currently affordable to add this station, but we’re looking at opportunities for it to fit within our Stage 1 budget.
Will there be parking on Centre Street?
With the addition of the LRT on Centre Street, on-street parking along Centre Street will have to be removed. A parking strategy will be developed to determine other means of providing short-term parking.
What are the costs savings of going at-grade on Centre Street?
Previously our project cost estimates were coming in at approximately 10% over budget. The updates to the alignment, including segments with surface running LRT, bridge over the Bow River and shallow underground stations, now allow us to build the project within our approved budget.
How will a surface running LRT impact mobility on Centre Street?
The Green Line will use low-floor vehicles, which are different from the existing high floor-LRT vehicles used in Calgary. The low-floor vehicles will be designed to integrate with the community, have curb height platforms and will have better accessibility for all Calgarians. However, a surface running LRT on Centre Street will have impacts on mobility in the surrounding area. The LRT will remove two lanes of vehicular traffic.
The project team is currently working on solutions in the area. The team is working to identify design concepts that facilitate safe and efficient pedestrian and vehicular movement along the across the corridor and broader study area.
Will there be public realm improvements along Centre Street corridor?
The final design for Centre Street has not been determined yet. While the width of the corridor is constrained with limited space, we are looking at a number of urban design solutions to improve the public realm for pedestrians and businesses along the corridor. One of our design objectives in the area is to improve the pedestrian experience along and across Centre Street.
Why Centre Street?
The Centre Street alignment was selected through the North Central LRT (now Green Line North) review which looked at different routes including the Nose Creek valley and Edmonton Trail. At the time, we heard through community engagement it was important to ensure LRT service is accessible and close to where people live.
The Green Line will ultimately connect North Central Calgary with the downtown core and communities in southeast Calgary. By reaching 16 Avenue N as part of Stage 1, we are providing an important connection to the broader rapid transit network, and serving one of the most dense population areas across Calgary’s LRT network. In addition, by including 16 Avenue as part of Stage 1, this maximizes the ease of expandability to the north central once future funding becomes available.
How will the bridge impact the Bow River Pathway?
The Bow River Pathway is important to our city and would serve as a connection for people accessing the Green Line. Our planning team is exploring different bridge types and how they would interface with the pathway, and have set a design objective to provide continued functionality and experience along the river pathway.
How will this impact nearby properties?
The design details for the updated Stage 1 alignment are under development to confirm property requirements and have not been finalized. The updated Stage 1 alignment will have changes to property requirements, some properties previously identified may no longer be required, while new or revised property requirements may be identified. It is important to The City that our Green Line team have the opportunity to meet with property owners to discuss these requirements once they are known.
Property requirements will include residential and commercial properties to varying degrees from partial to full acquisition. Where opportunities exist, The City will be working with property owners to have station entrances integrated within private development.
What will the bridge look like and how will it be designed?
The City is looking at a number of different design options for the bridge, however a design process has not yet been decided. Right now, the team is exploring which bridge type are best suited for LRT use, and identifying the planning and design process and defining the role stakeholders and public have in the planning process.
How will the tunnel entrance (portal) downtown impact 2 Street SW?
The Green Line team is reviewing solutions and finalizing the location of the portal downtown. A key planning and design objective is to identify potential solutions for integrating the portal into the public realm and adjacent developments.