I have plenty of reasons to take issue with Edmonton's LRT strategy, but this is not one of them. Starting with the 1992 extension to the University and 2006 to Health Sciences, the goal was to bring all of the city's major educational institutions and hospitals (as well as many major shopping centres) onto the LRT network. While it may have meant that other areas of the city did not get LRT, linking these major community facilities to the network was absolutely the right decision and the city was correct to prioritize this over other goals.Bang on.
I've never really understood our strategy other than wanting to connect major destinations (a good thing) but ignoring or discounting areas with significant density and demand 10 years ago.
What's interesting is that we have seen the Lower Mainland, with its SkyTrain network, follow a similar path in recent years. While the technology is very different, the system started out with a simple line mainly connecting downtown and major sporting facilities/exhibition site (sound familiar?) Expansion to the south took place and then eventually a second line was added, whose route was heavily criticized (critics suggested Glen Clark drew the Millennium Line route on the back of a cocktail napkin, and chose to have a terminus station between Glen Drive and Clark Drive for obvious reasons). Again, sounds like Edmonton with the Metro Line.
But with the Millennium Line, Canada Line and now the upcoming Broadway extension, Vancouver is pursuing a similar strategy to Edmonton--bring shopping centres, colleges, and hospitals onto the network (the Broadway extension adds another hospital, VGH) and let densification/redevelopment follow. We are seeing this now with the redevelopment of the Oakridge mall site and the construction of new towers along the Broadway extension.