North Calgary councillor touts BRT route as a fix for uncertain Green Line

Some councillors are calling for on the City of Calgary to drop plans for the Green Line LRT in favour of a bus rapid transit (BRT) route, in light of what they say is increasing uncertainty around funding for the project.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek says 'north-central Calgary has nothing' when it comes to transit options

An artist's rendering of a Green Line station. Coun. Jyoti Gondek is asking the city to build a BRT route in north Calgary while the region waits on the Green Line to be built. (City of Calgary)

Some councillors are calling on the City of Calgary set up a bus rapid transit (BRT) route in north Calgary in light of what they say is increasing uncertainty around funding for the Green Line LRT project.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek has been pushing for a transit solution for northern Calgary for some time.

She suggested a multi-modal approach, setting up a BRT for north Calgary right away while work continues on the Green Line in the south.

"Maybe we wait and do downtown right instead of trying to rush it right now," she said.

"If you look at the car and the number of transit options they have, they simply don't exist in the north … north-central Calgary has nothing."

Others look at a bus route as a permanent Green Line replacement.

Coun. Joe Magliocca, who has been vocally against the Green Line, says the city simply can't take the risk of pouring money into a project of that magnitude, especially with its current economically precarious situation.

"We just don't have the capital. We don't have the money to do it," he said. 

Magliocca is instead on board with using the money committed toward the Green Line so far to set up a BRT as soon as possible.

The city was expecting $555 million in provincial funding over the next four years but that number was slashed to just $75 million — an 86 per cent decrease — in October's provincial budget.

The former provincial government had pledged a total of $1.53 billion toward the $4.9-billion project in a signed agreement, matching amounts committed by the federal government and the city.

The current Alberta government has said the remainder of that money will come in future years and the transportation minister has voiced that he remains committed to the project.

However, the government has also proposed a bill that would let it pull all of that money with just 90 days' notice and without cause. 

City council's Green Line committee is expected to hear about possible next steps on Nov. 15. 

Construction on the southeast leg from Shepard Station to Victoria Park has already been delayed until 2021, as planners review the plan for the stretch from 16th Avenue North through downtown, to the Beltline and Ramsay. 

If completed, the full 46-kilometre Green Line track will have 28 stations and almost a quarter-million Calgarians are expected to use it daily. 

With files from Scott Dippel and the Calgary Homestretch


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