North-central LRT routes through downtown up for debate

City councillors will look over the options today for linking the two ends of a future LRT line through the downtown core.

Transportation committee looks at possible routes for Green Line across river, through core

City council’s transportation committee will debate Wednesday the best way for a future LRT line to snake its way through downtown Calgary.

The Green Line will eventually run from Harvest Hills in north-central Calgary through the core out to the southeast community of Seton.

There are several options for getting the train from Centre Street, over or under the Bow River, through the downtown core along Second Street S.W., and past the CP Rail tracks to 10th Avenue.

  • Option 1: Cross the river using the Centre Street bridge, then tunnel under the downtown. 
  • Option 2: Tunnel below Centre Street, cross the river on a new bridge then tunnel under the downtown.
  • Option 3: An elevated train line above Plus-15 walkways on Second Street S.W. through downtown, cross the Bow on a new bridge, and enter a tunnel below Centre Street.
  • Option 4: An all-tunnel route running four kilometres underground from 10th Avenue south emerging at 24th Avenue north.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he wants to know more about the elevated line, but he concedes a more expensive underground line would likely be best for the city's future growth.

“It’s the most expensive, but it's not unbelievably more expensive than the other ones. You know, it's a difference of about four or five hundred million, not a billion dollars, which is still a lot of money,” he said.

“So council will have to grapple with that. Again, we don't have the money today but it's helpful for us to think hard about what we would like to build once we get the money.”

The committee doesn't need to pick a preferred option this week, but could narrow the list before calling for a detailed report to come back this fall.

Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell says she is not committed to any one option yet, but she is not keen on the elevated track idea.

"We've got a narrow carriageway in Eau Claire so it would look more like Chicago than Vancouver, and that really harms the street," she said.

"I need more information."

It has already been decided that the Green Line will use low-floor train cars that are boarded at street level. 

A map of existing and planned LRT routes in Calgary. (Calgary Transit)

On mobile? Here's a link to the city document outlining the options for the north-central LRT route through the core. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.