Edmonton

Edmonton city administration maps out future of LRT

The future of Edmonton’s LRT network has been fully mapped out by city administration, but it will be a long time before you can catch one of those trains.

In all, $9.5-billion worth of future LRT lines was ranked in order of priority

A concept image of the west extension of the Valley LRT Line. (City of Edmonton)

The future of Edmonton's LRT network has been fully mapped out by city administration, but it will be a long time before you can catch one of those trains.

Staff have ranked roughly $9.5-billion worth of future LRT in order of priority, starting with the west Valley Line extension to Lewis Farms.

Rob Gibbard, director of capital planning in transportation infrastructure, said their rankings were based on technical data, including population and projected ridership, as well as funding availability and project readiness.

"It adds the most ridership from all of the other segments to the system overall," Gibbard said. "It really comes down to an underserved, potentially, market of the city that appears to have a great desire to use LRT."

Administration's top five list:

  1. Valley Line, downtown to Lewis Farms;
  2. Metro Line, NAIT to Blatchford;
  3. Capital Line, Century Park to Ellerslie;
  4. Festival Line, University to Bonnie Doon;
  5. Metro Line, Blatchford to Castle Downs.

Last week, councillors asked whether the city should move ahead with the west leg of the Valley Line, or go back to the drawing board on the last stop on the Metro Line, which has been causing major traffic delays since it opened in September.

Those rankings were evaluated based on their best strategic fit. There were no timelines for the future lines included in the report.

The top five lines also includes an extension of the Capital Line to Ellerslie Road, a line through Old Strathcona that would connect the university to Bonnie Doon, and the extension of the Metro Line all the way to Castle Downs.

Gibbard said the technical rankings will be an important reference for council's debate, which may be more political.

"We've tried to keep it a very unbiased approach," he said.

The lowest-rated line will carry riders to the Edmonton International Airport, which means it will be the last line to be built.

Councillors will debate the priorities at a transportation committee meeting next week.

Once the city has a better idea about how much money will be available from recently announced federal and provincial transit funding, administration will report back with a detailed funding plan for the new lines.

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