Calgary mulls downtown Green Line LRT route options

Five options are being considered for getting the Green Line through the heart of downtown Calgary. A city council committee had a look at the concepts which will be put to Calgarians in public consultations in 2016.

Over, under or through, Calgarians will have a say

An artist conception of one of the options Calgary city council is considering for the new Green Line LRT route. (City of Calgary)

They know the Green Line will travel through downtown on Second St. S.W. but Calgary city council just doesn't know yet whether the C-Train will be elevated, in a tunnel or with sections on the road.

Five options for the downtown portion of the $5 billion Green Line were presented to council's transportation and transit committee Friday.

Committee chairman Councillor Shane Keating says Calgarians will be consulted in 2016 about the various options.

Calgary city council is looking at several options for a new Green Line LRT route but says the public will have lots of opportunity to weigh in. (City of Calgary)

He personally hasn't been impressed by the look or concept of an elevated train line through the heart of the city.  

Keating thought it might wreck the streetscape but after visiting cities like Vancouver, Seattle and Portland to look at their transit lines, he's asking Calgarians to keep an open mind.

"We did see some fairly nice and attractive elevated runways, kind of the Peace Bridge look and those sorts of things," Keating said.

"I think we have to assess what's out there, what can be done, what the cost is ... and that's the big thing right now."

The federal government has committed $1.5 billion and city council has approved $520 million so far but it will discuss a long-term proposal to put another billion dollars toward the project on Monday.

A city councillor says the Green Line LRT megaproject should be a priority for federal infrastructure funds announced Tuesday. (City of Calgary)

The provincial government hasn't committed funds yet.

Council has directed Mayor Naheed Nenshi to send a formal request to the Notley government.

The alignment for the southeast leg was given the thumbs up by council in November.

The mega-project will see a new C-Train line stretch 40 kilometres across the city, from North Pointe to the southeast community of Seton.

The northern part of the line will run on Centre Street but the downtown link to connect the north end and the southeast portion has yet to be settled.

It's a complicated piece of geography.

The options include using the century-old Centre Street Bridge or building a new span over the Bow to the west of it.

Also to be determined, whether it should be an elevated line through downtown or in a tunnel which could include an underground station or two before reaching 10th Ave. and heading east towards Inglewood.