Anti-southwest BRT meeting draws hundreds

Roughly 1,000 Calgary residents showed up to a town hall meeting Thursday evening to send a message about the southwest bus rapid transit (BRT) project: Thanks, but no thanks.

Some residents turned away as venue capacity exceeded at Thursday evening meeting

About 1,000 people showed up to voice their concerns over a new transit plan for southwest Calgary. (CBC)

Roughly 1,000 Calgary residents showed up to a town hall meeting Thursday evening to send a message about the southwest bus rapid transit (BRT) project: Thanks, but no thanks.

Rick Donkers is with the organizing group, Ready to Engage.

Rick Donkers is with Ready to Engage, a group that is opposed to the city's southwest BRT project. (CBC)

"We are not happy with the level of communication from the City of Calgary when it comes to the southwest transitway and BRT and so we organized a little get together for people and a few people came out," Donkers said.

The BRT is a 22 kilometre bus route from Woodbine to the downtown core.

It's designed to take some pressure off of the south leg of the LRT by increasing bus usage. Some of the plan includes dedicated bus lanes to reduce traffic congestion in peak times.

"What we fear is greater congestion and gridlock and it doesn't have any solutions for the causeway," Donkers explained.

"We also have safety concerns when you start putting dedicated bus lines."

Hans Vossert has lived in the southwest for 43 years.

Hans Vossert has lived in southwest Calgary for 43 years. (CBC)

"It looks like somebody is trying to shove something down somebody's throat here," Vossert said.

"I think a lot of people are concerned about what is going on and how it is going to happen."

The city says it has consulted people in the affected communities for eight years now and has been transparent with the project plans.

Resident William Miles says given that the original plans were put out in 2010 and with the recently approved ring road, what's the rush?

William Miles says what's the rush? (CBC)

"In my mind it strikes me as being a little bit premature. I think there needs to be a second look taken at this particular proposal to run this through," Miles said.

"It seems to me that the city … is moving ahead without potentially due consultation or review of the plans that were put forward back in 2010."

Fellow resident Jeannette Hykaway is a little less diplomatic.

Jeannette Hykaway is dead against the plan. (CBC)

"I am really angry because I really feel that they are doing an injustice to the communities that are here," Hykaway told CBC News.

"The access is already crazy, [the BRT project] is only going to make it worse."

The city's transportation manager, Mac Logan, has said the project will connect large groups of transit users from Rockyview hospital and Mount Royal University to the downtown core and to the rapidly expanding suburbs in the south.

A BRT meeting Thursday attracted hundreds. (CBC)

Hykaway is not sold.

"I don't want to see any change, let's wait for the ring road to come in and see what happens with that."


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