Edmonton's Stony Plain Road to be narrowed

Edmonton's Stony Plain Road will be narrowed to make way for the western leg of the planned LRT line.

Traffic lanes on Edmonton's Stony Plain Road will be reduced to make way for the western leg of the planned LRT line.

City council voted Wednesday to reduce the downtown road to one lane in each direction, from two each way, once the light-rail transit line is built.

Communities along the route were concerned earlier this month that the busy street would be widened. That could have forced the demolition of some homes and businesses along the route, residents said.

Coun. Kim Krushell, who voted in favour of the narrowing, said the whole point of the LRT is to reduce car traffic, so one lane each way makes sense.

"We are going to have to make a choice here and our citizens can't have everything. They can't have lots of road capacity at the same time they have LRT," Krushell said.

"We are probably going to have some more traffic, but at the same time we are not going to go expropriate whole communities within the downtown to accommodate more traffic.

"That doesn't work and we know it from looking at other cities."

Called shortsighted

Coun. Karen Leibovici, however, doesn't agree with council's decision. She said it's shortsighted to take other road options off the table.

"If you look at the projected population over the next 30 to 40 years, at some point in time we are going to have to provide more capacity, I think."

Council members said if it turns out there is constant gridlock on Stony Plain, they might reconsider the road widening option.

The city plans to have the west LRT leg running by 2017.

The LRT route will travel along Stony Plain Road and 104th Avenue from 156th Street to Grant MacEwan University.