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LRT Expansion Planning

If the City/TransEd can pull off a Valley Line that doesn't get hiccups at intersections and other lights and runs as smoothly as the Capital Line, I would be more open to street-level LRT on Whyte. I still think underground is the best option, but if it can be done well here, I wouldn't be against it. Time will tell, but my reticence is because of the long track record of poor planning on the LRT and around the city as a whole. Even the Metro Line feels slow once you leave MacEwan and it has all of the barriers and protections the Capital Line does. The City can say it will time it perfectly so as to not cause any stopping at lights, but I'll believe it when I see it.
 
I've witnessed how disrupted street level trains can get in entertainment/nightlife areas elsewhere... that's definitely something worth noting for Whyte Ave.
Amsterdam being a very good example.
 
I very recently got to observe the train system first hand in Los Angeles and it gave me a much bigger sense of hope for our train system here in Edmonton. For a region the size of Los Angeles they only have 101 stations and only now are finishing a station at LAX. In comparison for the size of Edmonton region we have 29 stops/stations which will grow by 19 more stops in the next few years and have plans of another 15 in planning stages.
Considering that we have yet to officially plan for an airport station I think we are fairly lucky here in the greater Edmonton area.
 
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And there's BRT connecting with Los Angeles and Las Vegas, connecting with the LA Metro.
 
To add to this, with the amount of drunk party-goers and jaywalkers around, a street-level LRT would be a disaster.
Yes, Whyte Ave is already a busy area with a lot happening between cars (both commuters going through the area and people traveling to the area needing parking) and pedestrians. Adding something more into the mix would not be good. I also feel it would turn into a disaster.
 
In order to be worth it from an efficiency / time perspective on LRT, it wouldn't be worth it to build at grade in my opinion, unless cars were completely removed from the equation (which just isn't realistic at the moment). Until there are high quality rapid transit connections down this corridor, removing vehicles isn't realistic. The one thing could be encouraging vehicles to take parallel routes like Argyle however, in my opinion, LRT will have to be grade separated (ideally underground) to make a case for itself. Otherwise BRT is a better solution.
 
Even a train that goes at 30 km/h will be faster than the car traffic there.
So is walking.

Putting an LRT on Whyte is trying to solve a problem that isn't currently there. The bus is pretty serviceable from 75 Street to the university with minimal wait times. In addition, commuters (outside of students and healthcare employees - even most university employees got moved downtown) don't need to take that line anymore since they can take Valley Line directly downtown and connect there if required. It might even be faster for students to go to the connector and catch the capital back the other way. Someone should test that.

The other problem with Whyte is that it is the only W/E corridor to the hospital. It makes it challenging to service everything east of 99th Street if you reduce it from two lanes both ways to one. Until the City figures out the problem with the railyard, the problem won't go away. BRT with light priority (even at all crossings) is probably the only near-term solution. I'm a proponent of rapid transit, but the business case has to be there, and I don't see it for Whyte Ave. At least not before anything else that would ever be built across the City for tram/LRT, etc.
 
So is walking.

Putting an LRT on Whyte is trying to solve a problem that isn't currently there. The bus is pretty serviceable from 75 Street to the university with minimal wait times. In addition, commuters (outside of students and healthcare employees - even most university employees got moved downtown) don't need to take that line anymore since they can take Valley Line directly downtown and connect there if required. It might even be faster for students to go to the connector and catch the capital back the other way. Someone should test that.

The other problem with Whyte is that it is the only W/E corridor to the hospital. It makes it challenging to service everything east of 99th Street if you reduce it from two lanes both ways to one. Until the City figures out the problem with the railyard, the problem won't go away. BRT with light priority (even at all crossings) is probably the only near-term solution. I'm a proponent of rapid transit, but the business case has to be there, and I don't see it for Whyte Ave. At least not before anything else that would ever be built across the City for tram/LRT, etc.
An actual tram / modern streetcar could work on Whyte
Rather than low floor lrt
 
I wonder what the feasibility of converting the Capital and Metro Lines to Automated Light Metro (along the lines of REM or Skytrain) would look like. The biggest costs would probably be the elimination of all at-grade crossings and purchasing the necessary rolling stock. Would the price be unreasonable or is this something that could happen in the future (not imminently but within the next 30-40 years)
 

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