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LRT Expansion Planning

No need -- absolutely not. Wait for 76th Avenue crossing.
Idk about that. If you’re sitting in Whyte remedy on a weekday morning like this one, you’ll likely see a bus pass on average every 2 minutes. That’s a need if I’ve ever seen one. Plus, a train down Whyte would be good for Sherwood Park students… “we’re gonna build a train, and we’re gonna make strathcona county pay for it!”
 
Idk about that. If you’re sitting in Whyte remedy on a weekday morning like this one, you’ll likely see a bus pass on average every 2 minutes. That’s a need if I’ve ever seen one. Plus, a train down Whyte would be good for Sherwood Park students… “we’re gonna build a train, and we’re gonna make strathcona county pay for it!”
When I took them, sometimes they would travel in convoys. Having three buses go by is great, but if they all come at once and you just miss them with nothing else for 15 minutes, that is not actually one bus every 5 minutes.
 
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.
The business case is definitely there for a cut-and-cover subway extension of one of the high-floor lines down Whyte Ave. Taking the bus during peak hours is a miserable experience with how crowded they are and how much they get stuck in traffic.
 
The business case is definitely there for a cut-and-cover subway extension of one of the high-floor lines down Whyte Ave. Taking the bus during peak hours is a miserable experience with how crowded they are and how much they get stuck in traffic.

I greatly prefer tunneling over cut-and-cover on Whyte Ave. With cut-and-cover there will be traffic disruptions that will affect everyone from U of A students to public transit to emergency services, and there will be disruptions/closures for numerous Whyte Ave businesses and events.
 
I greatly prefer tunneling over cut-and-cover on Whyte Ave. With cut-and-cover there will be traffic disruptions that will affect everyone from U of A students to public transit to emergency services, and there will be disruptions/closures for numerous Whyte Ave businesses and events.
When does this start getting on the cities radar? They are occupied through end of decade with some of the current projects but when do they start planning this so they have a project to go once Valley Line West, Metro Northwest, & Capital South are wrapped up. Would hope they at least get it on the planning books sometime in the second half of this decade but not so sure it will.
 
Cut-and-cover is disruptive for sure, but it's become something of a lost art as a result. You can make substantial savings using it as opposed to a TBM or other less disruptive methods and they can work faster. Auckland's CRL (City Rail Link) is currently using cut-and-cover closing Victoria and Albert St and their intersection to complete the tunnel.

Not saying that Edmonton should necessarily use cut-and-cover on this particular project but there are significant benefits to it as opposed to a TBM.
 
When does this start getting on the cities radar? They are occupied through end of decade with some of the current projects but when do they start planning this so they have a project to go once Valley Line West, Metro Northwest, & Capital South are wrapped up. Would hope they at least get it on the planning books sometime in the second half of this decade but not so sure it will.
My guess is that it has more to do with the High Level Bridge? Cause if that gets rebuilt to carrying LRT, then that’s probably what determines the whyte ave stuff. I’m guessing a good decade, before even planning would happen.

But the new whyte ave redesign looks like dedicated bus lanes are the play for the next while anyways. So we might never see rail serve whyte.
 
I greatly prefer tunneling over cut-and-cover on Whyte Ave. With cut-and-cover there will be traffic disruptions that will affect everyone from U of A students to public transit to emergency services, and there will be disruptions/closures for numerous Whyte Ave businesses and events.
I’d love for us to use the least disruptive tunnelling method, but we’ll never get the funding if we go that route. I think if we build out 76th Ave as an alternate route and carefully stage the project (do construction on Whyte Ave a few blocks at a time and one side of the road at a time, while using the parking lane as another driving lane), we could make cut-and-cover an easier pill to swallow for the city.
 
Cool map! I also want a subway under Whyte and here's my idea:

View attachment 518577
Ignore the 6 lines on the map just pay attention to the stations 😆

BRT will suffice for the time being but I believe the Whyte ave and 124th street metros are gonna happen one day.
This looks great! Are you able to share your larger map with the full proposed metro network?
 
My guess is that it has more to do with the High Level Bridge? Cause if that gets rebuilt to carrying LRT, then that’s probably what determines the whyte ave stuff. I’m guessing a good decade, before even planning would happen.

But the new whyte ave redesign looks like dedicated bus lanes are the play for the next while anyways. So we might never see rail serve whyte.
Council just approved High Level Bridge rehab that is set to begin this budget cycle. I can't see any plans to rebuild it for decades unless the City saw unprecedented growth beyond the UCPs already crazy estimates.

I think there are too many other higher priorities to deal with well ahead of building LRT or a tram down Whyte Ave, not to mention further densification that would need to happen. Whyte Ave these days isn't bustling off peak commuting hours on weekdays. It only takes a long time to go down Whyte on weekends, evenings and events by vehicle. That travel time can be mitigated by simply taking an alternate route.

I still don't know if there is enough of a compelling problem that exists today or even 10 years from now that needs solving. If it is simply vehicle volume, there are better long term solutions than a tram or LRT that may even exacerbate the issue. As others have said, you could go underground, but I don't see it happening in our lifetimes.

I think prioritized bus service is still the best option for getting people west and east, and significantly cheaper and less disruptive than LRT or a tram.
 
If you take busses from SHPK as I do to get to and from school on the 404, getting through the central sections of Whyte Ave is hell and easily adds 10-15 minutes to the trip each way if not more and even more on top of that if there's construction or an accident, it can turn an otherwise 20-30 minute commute into an hour plus each way and it's extremely unreliable. I have resorted to taking an earlier bus that always gets me to school about an hour early in order to avoid 8-9 O'clock rush that inevitably delays busses by 15+ minutes. Underground metro is the only way I see solving that issue without a MASSIVE road diet on Whyte Ave for at grade transit. BRT will hopefully make this better but it's not a permanent solution. This could be my personal bias as a daily user of this route but I think solving this should be higher priority than some might think.
 
If you take busses from SHPK as I do to get to and from school on the 404, getting through the central sections of Whyte Ave is hell and easily adds 10-15 minutes to the trip each way if not more and even more on top of that if there's construction or an accident, it can turn an otherwise 20-30 minute commute into an hour plus each way and it's extremely unreliable. I have resorted to taking an earlier bus that always gets me to school about an hour early in order to avoid 8-9 O'clock rush that inevitably delays busses by 15+ minutes. Underground metro is the only way I see solving that issue without a MASSIVE road diet on Whyte Ave for at grade transit. BRT will hopefully make this better but it's not a permanent solution. This could be my personal bias as a daily user of this route but I think solving this should be higher priority than some might think.
Is the amount of money that would cost worth 30 minutes savings twice a day during peak hours? That is all I'm getting at here. That is a lot of time for you, and in Edmonton in general, but that is acceptable in most major cities during rush hour. A jurisdictional review would be included in any business case.

If it was the only route to the university, I might agree it is a compelling business case, but people can now take valley line to central and transfer back south and save the time during rush hour. Council has to prioritize the things in their own wards plus other large City projects against a business case like this that has limited wins. If you build underground and take some buses off the road and some of the cars, you probably still have congestion during peak hours. How many problems does underground LRT here solve that aren't already mitigated by other things that exist? Admin would need at least three or four solid arguments for this to be considered, and even then, it'd be a tough sell to Council.

I love taking transit in others cities and do wish Edmonton had better transit. However, I'm also a realist, and unfortunately, Edmonton ignored transit for so long after the Capital line and let sprawl go that we find ourselves in the mess we're in now. Limited dollars and a ton of future infrastructure in the burbs that will be compared to stuff like this.
 

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