Calgary Herald

Tram eyed as link for West LRT, MRU area


There may well be desire to add streetcars to the buses and trains that make up Calgary’s current public transporta­tion outfit, but likely it’ll be decades yet before that actually occurs.

Still, a report sizing up the feasibilit­y of exactly that — a streetcar running between the West LRT and Mount Royal University and Currie Barracks area — will land on the table at the city’s Transporta­tion and Transit Committee this week.

City councillor­s Brian Pincott and Shane Keating wouldn’t expect to see the option taken seriously for roughly 20 years, but future needs shouldn’t be ignored for the 19 in between, so city administra­tion was directed to give it a look.

“We have to improve transit not just to Mount Royal, but also to this amazing developing node of commercial and residentia­l that’s all going to be within a five-minute walk of Mount Royal,” Pincott said, who represents the area on council.

“In 10 years, that little area of Mount Royal, Currie Barracks and the business park across the street is probably going to have in the neighbourh­ood of 30,000 people living there, and in the neighbourh­ood of 25,000 jobs and currently, we have marginal transit there.”

Administra­tion’s study determined “that the most feasible option for a WLRT to MRU rail connection would be a low-floor mixed traffic streetcar type service aligned on 37 St. S.W. connecting to the WLRT at 25A St. via 17 Ave. S.W.”

Pincott said years back he pitched for the West LRT to run there rather than the West side of Sarcee Tr. and he still feels LRT would be the better route.

He said a streetcar looks to him like a second-best option.

It would also be a far more costeffect­ive option, he said, and easier to integrate into existing communitie­s.

Keating said while it looks like a decent alternativ­e on paper it’s low on the list of priorities.

“At this point, what we’re trying to do is complete the basic network for an LRT system,” he said.

“There may be certain areas that would work well with the streetcar mentality but we’re looking at trying to get the Green Line finished.

“Once that basic system is done, then you connect it all with BRTs and streetcars.”

The Green Line will stretch across the city from North Pointe to Seton and was initially projected to cost $4.5- to $5-billion.

The federal government has pledged $1.5 billion in funding for the Green Line, city council approved $1.56 billion over 30 years and the NDP government has not made any financial commitment, though Keating has said one’s expected this month.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada