Green Line LRT | ?m | ?s | Calgary Transit

Surrealplaces

Administrator
Staff member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
7,927
Reaction score
21,667
Location
Calgary
This thread has been created to discuss the project as it moves through the funding/planning and construction phases.

Green Line Stats:

- Will add 40 km of track to Calgary's existing 53 km LRT network
- 27 proposed stations
- 4 interchange stations with the proposed RouteAhead Rapid Transit Network (96th Ave N, 16th Ave N, 7th Ave S, Quarry Park)
- Low floor LRVs have been proposed as the preferred technology
- It is estimated almost 300,000k Calgarians live along the proposed route
- The route will serve 8 major employment centres in the city.
- Totally project cost estimated at $4.6 Billion
- Depending on additional funding, construction may begin as early as summer 2017

Green Line Advocacy:

Community advocacy has been a big factor in trying to secure funding for the Green Line. The LRT on the Green Foundation has played an instrumental role in this advocacy and is a good place to start for people who are interested in helping out to try and get this project built in its entirety. Their website can be found here:

http://www.lrtonthegreen.ca

Current Green Line Funding Status: (As of July 30, 2015)

Municipal: $52 million x 10 years for a total of $520 million
Provincial: None announced
Federal: Up to $1.53 billion from the newly created Public Transit Fund

Total Funding: $2.05 billion

Project Summary:


Green Line Flyover:

[YOUTUBE]H73e025ty1o[/YOUTUBE]

Green Line Map:

 

Oddball

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
1,131
Reaction score
1,069
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-green-line-provincial-funding-1.3494505

The city is hoping to see some sort of commitment from the province in next month's budget (not news). Who knows if that's going to happen with the state of the province's finances, but encouragingly the city looks to be prepared to start work on the Green Line project without any funding commitments from the province (news to me). In the event the province won't commit, the Green Line would be built in phases with the South East begin leg given priority over the North (news to me). Which isn't surprising given that the exact nature route through downtown has yet to be established.

The article also states that the city wants to start construction in late 2018. Which is a bit of a bummer, compared to a 2017 start. Given how long Calgarians have had to wait for new lines to be established in the past, two and a half years isn't so bad. I just hope that there are no attempts to go back to the silly dedicated bus-way plans before putting in light rail. It's trains or bust!
 

Habanero

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
398
Reaction score
385
Location
Calgary
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-green-line-provincial-funding-1.3494505

The city is hoping to see some sort of commitment from the province in next month's budget (not news). Who knows if that's going to happen with the state of the province's finances, but encouragingly the city looks to be prepared to start work on the Green Line project without any funding commitments from the province (news to me). In the event the province won't commit, the Green Line would be built in phases with the South East begin leg given priority over the North (news to me). Which isn't surprising given that the exact nature route through downtown has yet to be established.

The article also states that the city wants to start construction in late 2018. Which is a bit of a bummer, compared to a 2017 start. Given how long Calgarians have had to wait for new lines to be established in the past, two and a half years isn't so bad. I just hope that there are no attempts to go back to the silly dedicated bus-way plans before putting in light rail. It's trains or bust!
The city starting the Green Line without support from the province is news to me also. I hope the province does commit though, the cities pay a huge chunk of tax into the province, and it would be nice to see more of that come back to the city. That's the main reason I voted for the NDP.
 

Oddball

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
1,131
Reaction score
1,069
I'm going to leave my personal political leanings and expectations out of this and simply state that there is probably a solid case to be made for either side of the argument. If the government opts not to contribute additional funding at this time, it is probably prudent given the anticipated budgetary short fall. If on the other hand they decide to fund the project, the job creation, cheap cost of borrowing and expansionary economic policy arguments have merit as well. I'd probably be singing a different tune if I knew provincial funding could push the time table up from 2018 to 2017 though.

The Green Line currently sits number 2 on my city infrastructure priority list. The SW leg of the ring road has to get done regardless of the cost. I say this as a generally fiscally conservative person. If the province has to choose where it puts its money, the Ring Road has to win out. My recurring nightmare right now is that the project is somehow bungled and the 7 year time limit for the project is exceeded. Then I presume we're hit by a giant meteorite from which lava giants emerge and intermittently destroy and enslave us. It's a very rational fear of mine.
 

Silence&Motion

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,742
Reaction score
1,670
Location
Marda Loop
The Green Line currently sits number 2 on my city infrastructure priority list. The SW leg of the ring road has to get done regardless of the cost. I say this as a generally fiscally conservative person. If the province has to choose where it puts its money, the Ring Road has to win out. My recurring nightmare right now is that the project is somehow bungled and the 7 year time limit for the project is exceeded. Then I presume we're hit by a giant meteorite from which lava giants emerge and intermittently destroy and enslave us. It's a very rational fear of mine.
I'm new to the city, so I've got a lot to learn, but for the life of me, I can't understand the obsession with completing the ring road that I've observed in this city. How is building a massive highway between Sarcee Trail and Stoney Trail going to have a noticeable impact on traffic in the city (except for producing more sprawl and congestion in the SW). It almost seems like people just support the ring road because they can't bare the idea of an incomplete circle.

Put up against alternative transportation infrastructure like the Green Line, it makes even less sense to prioritize the ring road. The Green Line is going to provide added capacity to areas that already have high demand, taking cars off the Deerfoot, and it's going to encourage denser development rather than more sprawl.
 

Cowtown

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
976
Reaction score
1,391
Welcome to Calgary S&M. Personally I would choose the Green line also, but I can see why many people want that last section done. Part of it is just to have it finally finished, the other part is becuase travel from the NW to the South or South-west part of the city is really cumbersome. This is because of the native reserve and the reservoir. That final section would make a big difference.
 

Oddball

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
1,131
Reaction score
1,069
Hi Silence, Howdy! As we say.

When I say the SW leg of the ring road is my top priority, I only mean the section between the highways 22x and 8 through the reserve. The deal with the reserve was in the works for decades and cost a phenomenal amount of money. We simply can't afford to let the current agreement expire. With that in mind. I has to get done.

Otherwise, I'd be ok letting some of the other remaining parts of the Western third of the project cool for a few years in favour of progressing the Green Line. Though as someone who regularly commutes between the Deep SW, Silverado, and the northern parts of the SW and the NW, I can safely say the situation sucks right now. There are no express routes through the western half of the city, where as the east now has two with the eastern leg having been completed a few years ago. I also used to commute from the west side of town to the east during rush hours and the traffic was brutal. The interchange upgrades that will be coming along with the ring road project and going to give literal years of life back to the residents of the SW.

In addition as more and more people live on and beyond Signal and Coach Hills, there needs to be more routes off the hill. If you value your life, don't drive on Bow Trail passed Sarcee on a heavy winter's day.
 

Surrealplaces

Administrator
Staff member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
7,927
Reaction score
21,667
Location
Calgary
Agreed. While I'm all for transit, right now it will be nice to get that southwest portion done. The trip from the NW to SW is awkward and really time consuming. If we can just get that last portion done, then we can fully concentrate on transit projects.

I'm more and more pumped about the Green Line. So many cool opportunities ahead.
 

Silence&Motion

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,742
Reaction score
1,670
Location
Marda Loop
Thanks for the welcome, Oddball!

I'm just thinking of the $5 billion price tag (at least) for what seems like relatively small portion of residents (in relation to the Green line which will potentially cost less and serve the entire stretch of the city). Also it's been observed over and over again that building more road capacity increases rather than decreases traffic. The Bow trail, for example, will likely become heavily backed up as cars spill in from the north and south. There are always going to be bottlenecks. Building new freeways just shuffles them around.

In other words, I'm sure some people will find that their commute becomes faster, but if you looked at the average commute across the city, I doubt that $5 billion is going to make a noticeable difference. And that's a shame because there are probably a lot of other things we could do with $5 billion that would make a noticeable difference.
 

Oddball

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
1,131
Reaction score
1,069
I don't dispute the benefits that the Green Line will have for the city. I've personally written off ever living in certain parts of the city until the C-Train goes there. Parking is murder in Calgary. So I'd never dream of living in a part of town where driving is the only option. One quick ride along the northern stretch of the ring road and you get a sense of how populous it is. Were it it not for the fact that the land transfer agreement with the Tsuu T'ina reserve is time sensitive, I'd probably agree that pushing ahead with the Green Line should be a higher priority. There are two separate legs of the ring road left to be completed, the West and the South West. Only the SW portion is time sensitive so I'm ok if the final West portion is left to cool a little bit.

I'm not sure where you're moving from, but the train system is fairly young in Calgary. Our two extant lines began life in the early 1980s, but development was really slow through the later half of the 1980s and all through the 90s. The only station built in the 90s was Brentwood, but since 2001 there have been a tonne of improvements. The NW line has been extended 3 times, to Dalhousie in 2003, Crowfoot in 2009 and Tuscany in 2014. In 2001 the South Line was pushed down to Fish Creek then on to Somerset in 2004. The NE line was extended to Westwinds in 2007 and then to Saddletown in 2012. The entire West Line opened for business only in 2012. The last new line to come into the system was in 1987. That's a lot of progress in 15 years. The fact that we only have to wait for 2018 for the city to push forward unilaterally with the SE Line is nothing compared to what we're used to.

Compare that to the ring road project. It's been in the works in one form or another since the 1960s. The population of the greater Calgary area has exploded in that time. And yet, we've only really made great strides forward in the last 5 years.. The SW leg is set to be double the capacity of the rest of the system, because this is probably the only chance the city my get to build through the reserve. The cost is a big one up front to be sure, but we'll be amortizing the benefits for decades. Once the ring road is done and all the associated interchanges are done we will probably not have to add any new roads to the area for a very long time.

It's funny that you should mention Bow and Sarcee specifically. I lived in Coach Hill for 26 years. I've commuted to every quadrant for work or school at some point and driven that intersection countless times. It that has got to be one of the worst intersections in the city. People in the area have been dying for an interchange since the 90s. I used to take a 20 kilometer detour out of town just to avoid it when I worked in Saddle Ridge. Sarcee and Richmond and Sarcee and Highway 8/Glenmore are right up there too. It used to be worse. Sarcee and 17th and Glenmore and 37th used to be brutal too. It used to take a lot of fortitude to contemplate a drive to the SE. Once the South West Leg is done Sarcee and Bow will pretty much be the last lighted intersection standing. So with or without the full ring road's short order completion it's going to need to be upgraded. It will be interesting to see what they do becuase it is the most important thoroughfare into downtown on the West side of town. It doesn't just serve the area roughly congruous with Ward 6, but also residents in Bowness and West of COP. They can't quite use the same model they have where one road is given priority and the other is packed up with lights. There's a lot of land there, but it's mostly in a pretty funny shape. There's also the added complexity of it being at the bottom of a very steep hill.

Longer term, I forsee Bow Trail having to be re-imagined into more of a trenched in highway like Glenmore. It's been widened at least twice in the last 15 years and the West leg really eased the flow by removing both cars and busses, but since the city has a policy against express routes into downtown that's a long way out. Eventually the city's hand will be forced and the lights at Bow and 45th, 37th, 33rd and 26th will be phased out too.

The ring road won't only improve the lot of people living there. As I mentionned, I now find myself living in the deep south. Even in good traffic it takes about 30 minutes to reach the Trans-Canada to leave the city Westbound. Eastbound it's a quick jaunt thanks to the SE leg, but you'll learn pretty quick West is the way to go. That's where the pointy rocks are! :D Interestingly, it would also improve access to non-downtown areas centres like MRU/Currie and Rocky View Hospital.
 
Last edited:

Silence&Motion

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,742
Reaction score
1,670
Location
Marda Loop
The ring road has been in the works since the 1960s because it's a very 1960s way of planning a city. As I said, it's been shown time and time again in cities all over the world that building more highways just shuffles around and increases gridlock rather than getting rid of it. Traditional transportation planning resembles a whack-a-mole game where the construction/upgrade of one highway just leads to the need to construct/upgrade another, all the while pulling public resources away from other priorities and encouraging development on the fringes of the city rather than in the centre.

The solution is increased density in the existing city and offering as many transportation options as possible rather than just focusing on the car. I'd be quite happy seeing the land transfer agreement lapse. The history of defeated highway projects have tended to produce much better results than the history of completed highways.

For the record, I moved here from Toronto which has its own horror stories of trying to build highways around the outskirts of the city. They've never worked. Though Toronto's rapid transit system is a few decades older, it also essentially abandoned transit expansion in the 1990s (only one new station was built then as well) - despite the fact that the city was growing at an incredible rate. Both Toronto and Calgary have been relatively active in expanding their networks since the early 2000s, but they're really just playing catch up.
 

Top