IN THE SPOT­LIGHT

Read­ers asked, Metro an­swered: We get you up to speed on Ed­mon­ton is­sues most im­por­tant to you

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Front Page -

Metro ex­am­ines some of the main is­sues dis­cussed dur­ing the 2017 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions and those of top in­ter­est to you. You can also go to metronews.ca for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on each ward and links to can­di­dates’ web­sites. Elec­tion day is Oct. 16. KAsHmALA FIdA meTro ed­mon­Ton

Whether it’s bus or LRT, city coun­cil has made no­table changes to how Ed­mon­to­ni­ans use tran­sit to move around the city — and those de­ci­sions are shap­ing up to be a ma­jor force in Mon­day’s elec­tion.

Metro did an on­line poll to ask read­ers which elec­tion is­sues you wanted to know more about, and the top an­swer, by far, was pub­lic tran­sit.

Tran­sit reared its head in al­most every coun­cil­lor and may­oral can­di­date fo­rum.

Ac­cord­ing to Twit­ter Canada, Ed­mon­to­ni­ans have tweeted about tran­sit in re­gard to the elec­tion about 2,130 times — twice the num­ber of times infill, the next most pop­u­lar topic, was men­tioned.

So here’s a back­grounder on the de­bate about tran­sit to help you make a de­ci­sion about where a can­di­date stands on tran­sit.

One of the big­gest con­cerns for bus riders this year was the new tran­sit strat­egy the city in­tro­duced in July, which will see more high-fre­quency routes in the core, at the ex­pense of lo­cal bus routes in the sub­urbs.

The changes have been ap­plauded by those who say bus­ing will now be eas­ier for peo­ple liv­ing cen­trally, but crit­ics have won­dered what this means for se­niors and those with dis­abil­i­ties.

“I feel like city coun­cil is treat­ing tran­sit users like a cost-ef­fec­tive­ness study and not a pub­lic ser­vice as it should be,” rider Jared Pachan told Metro back in July.

Pachan was a fre­quent user of the 103 route, that no longer runs on week­ends and evenings.

Mean­while, LRT con­struc­tion in the city con­tin­ues, with rip­ple ef­fects for both tran­sit riders and driv­ers.

Some new LRT ser­vices have been slow to get up to speed, there’s a lack of park­ing at park and rides at Cen­tury Park or Clairview, mak­ing the ser­vice dif­fi­cult to use.

Val­ley Line LRT

The long-awaited new Val­ley Line LRT was planned to make the com­mute eas­ier for peo­ple trav­el­ling be­tween down­town and the south side.

Coun­cil ap­proved $1.8 bil­lion for the 13-kilo­me­tre in­fra­struc­ture project in 2012, a price tag which in­cludes main­te­nance for the next 30 years.

Some may­oral can­di­dates have raised con­cerns. Steve Shewchuk called it too ex­pen­sive and Carla Frost, who has a farm­ing back­ground, said peo­ple in her po­si­tion would not find LRT use­ful.

Oth­ers, in­clud­ing in­cum­bent Mayor Don Ive­son, have come out in favour of tran­sit, with plans to ex­pand the net­work.

San­deep Agrawal, direc­tor of the ur­ban and re­gional plan­ning pro­gram at the Univer­sity of Al­berta, notes that LRT is­sues like noise and dis­rup­tion are only tem­po­rary.

“I think with the new LRT com­ing in, it will have some im­pact on our cul­tural val­ues as Ed­mon­to­ni­ans and hope­fully it will take us off our cars and sort of push us into us­ing more pub­lic tran­sit,” he said.

tran­sIt

Kevin Tuong/ed­mon­Ton Free­lance

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