Century Park LRT not easily accessible for Blue Quill residents

An aerial view of the area around the Century Park LRT Station in Edmonton. Global News

Frustration is growing in the Blue Quill neighbourhood where, just west of 111 Street, you can see the Century Park LRT Station is “just over there,” yet it takes at least a 10-minute walk to go all the way around the neighbourhood to eventually get to the train platform.

It’s only going to get worse when the Century Park apartment complex development gets going and 4,000 new residents are added to the area, according to area councillor Michael Walters.

“I’m trying to manage some expectations about that as well,” he said. “I don’t know what the answer is to create better access because the neighbourhood wasn’t designed for it.”

Blue Quill dates back to the late 1960s and early 70s, when access to public transit like LRT wasn’t thought of, said the city’s chief planner, Peter Ohm.

Walters and other members of the urban planning committee heard an overview Tuesday about how more emphasis on LRT planning will be absorbed into long-standing communities.

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The goal for Blue Quill is to add a pedestrian pathway but it won’t be easy.

The good news is a connection would reduce walk times to the Century Park LRT Station by up to 10 minutes, according to a report. The bad news is “there is no obvious location to provide this pedestrian link without impacting private property.”

That means some homeowners there will have to sell a piece of their lot.

“When we go in there with neighbourhood renewal and we put it on the table that we’d like to discuss enhanced opportunities for connectivity, we may find that there’s somebody that’s interested in doing that,” Ohm said. “But it’s not been my experience that people come forward and volunteer land as part of their lot, to provide that.”

So, “they’d be compensated,” Ohm said.

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Neighbourhood renewal for Blue Quill is tentatively scheduled for 2023-26. Public consultation isn’t supposed to begin before 2021, according to the report’s executive summary. The exact priority list for renewal hasn’t been set yet by the city.

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Residents started asking questions in earnest about LRT access ever since city council in June rezoned Century Park to restart that development which had been dormant for several years.

Walters said he wants to get better access for them but is hard pressed to find the winning solution.

“I was thinking more simply about just a pathway that they can use to get to the corner and over across, easier than having to walk all the way out and around.

“At the end of it all, the answer right now is to be determined.”

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