Southwest ring road not a good investment, say Calgary councillors

Several Calgary city councillors are starting to question whether the southwest ring road should be built.

Druh Farrell, Gian-Carlo Carra, Brian Pincott and Evan Woolley say north-S.E. LRT would be better use of money

'The money's not spent yet and I think we need to challenge our assumptions,' says Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell. (CBC)

Several Calgary city councillors are starting to question whether the southwest ring road should be built.

Couns. Druh Farrell, Gian-Carlo Carra, Brian Pincott and Evan Woolley voiced their qualms Wednesday at a city committee meeting, suggesting the $5 billion cost of completing Calgary's ring road is too high and that the provincial money would be better used on other priorities.

"It's not built yet, the money's not spent yet and I think we need to challenge our assumptions," said Farrell, who represents Ward 7. "We've progressed as a city and made some significant changes in policy and this doesn't fit, it really doesn't."

The councillors say a north-southeast LRT line across the city would be a better use of the money.

Farrell says the ring road would only encourage more growth and would also force the city to pay $133 million to connect roads in the area.

This is the second time this week that Calgary councillors have expressed concern over potential effects of the southwest ring road.

Councillors introduced a motion on Monday to study the effect the road would have on nearby residential communities.

Their concern is that commuters will come off the southwest section of the ring road and look for shortcuts through established neighbourhoods, particularly since the new route comes relatively close to the city's core.

"Perhaps people in Tuscany will be accessing the core via Bow Trail. Perhaps people from Braeside will be coming up from the south and going down Richmond Road or 17th Avenue," said Pootmans. "It's those types of traffic flows that are going to impact a lot of existing communities."

However, other councillors said Wednesday morning the long-proposed road is definitely needed to help Calgarians get around and avoid congested city roads.

City officials say without it, other upgrades to roads like Sarcee Trail, 14th Street and Crowchild Trail would be needed.

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