Although we're told it will be running full-speed this spring, an unfortunate fact that we all, at some point, have to come to terms with is that our current Metro Line is a bit of a joke - one that Tristin Hopper things should be called Herpes Al-Qaeda.
And while the signalling system that Thales under-delivered is causing the line to run slowly on line-of-sight, the biggest failing of the line is the massive, congestion-causing misstep of running through the intersection near Kingsway that has been reported to cause up to 16 minute wait times. This is due to the train crossing a busy intersection, at-grade, superseding light cycles and interrupting traffic flow in a major way.
This information is nothing new, but now we are on the cusp of making another mistake, and we need to avoid that.
The agenda for the upcoming April 13th Transportation Committee Meeting has been released, and one of the items present is a report on grade-separation for the Northwest corner of the Metro Line LRT. Attached to the report is a rough design for potential grade separation plans.
This is in reference to the intersection of Princess Elizabeth Ave NW and 106st at the North side of Kingsway Mall. Currently, the temporary NAIT station is on the north side of Princess Elizabeth Ave (with a three-car-length station). The permanent NAIT station will reside on the former airport grounds and be a five-car-station, built at the same time as these proposals.
These two grade-separated proposals would allow for zero traffic impact along Princess Elizabeth Ave and 106st for the life of the Metro line. The tradeoffs are cost, and the temporary NAIT stop would be out of service while construction on aligning the new grade separation occurs. The cost, and the time where NAIT would need to be replaced with bus service varies based on the type of grade separation
Option 1 - Elevated
NAIT Station out of Service: 6-12 months
Option 2 - Underground
NAIT Station out of Service: Minimum 12 Months
The time for grade separation is now
The Valley line has come in $500MM under budget. We have the option of moving some money around and funding quality infrastructure that will last and be something for our city to be proud of (not many people complain about the Capital Line's performance from Claireview to Health Sciences) or we can pinch a couple pennies, make a mediocre system that doesn't encourage ridership (Google Transit currently recommends buses to NAIT instead of the Metro Line) and make our city a national joke while we're at it.
I don't know about you, but I'd like to be proud of Edmonton. Let's not half-ass this. We've done enough of that.
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