The cost of building a park-and-ride in Heritage Valley, which will replace the one at Century Park in the next couple of years, has increased by almost $1 million.
The original approved budget was $30 million. It now has a projected budget of $30.9 million, although staff are trying to make some minor planning adjustments to bring the cost down.
Councillor Michael Walters is looking at all aspects of getting buses from there, to the LRT and has been pressing staff to make sure they think of everything so nothing goes wrong for the rider.
“We’re going to put these big express buses, moving people from Heritage Valley to Century Park (LRT station),” he told Global News. “It’s not going to be a great experience unless that road is widened and unless the buses have some sort of priority on the road.”
Widening of Ellerslie Road from two to four lanes, between 127 Street and 135 Street, is funded, and is part of the 135 St / Anthony Henday Drive Ramp project which is under construction. It’s all part of a new feeder road off the Henday and heading south as part of the hospital planned by the Notley government.
However Walters wants to see more road widening on Ellerslie.
While the design work for the widening from 127 Street to to 114 Street is also funded and underway, council still has to approve funding for the final construction. That will be discussed in budget deliberations in the fall.
Walters stressed that it’s not enough to ensure the park-and-ride is constructed, the city also needs to make sure there are transit priority measures put in place, that the road is widened and they ensure there are feeder buses from the south neighbourhoods to Heritage Valley as well.
Transit priority measures include advance lights so buses can get a jump start at intersections. Walters doesn’t want to see anything that will clog things up.
“It’s an important interchange for traffic flow in that whole area. That’s a priority for us and a priority for the province now and so because there are so many moving parts, part of our job is making sure they’re all being treated with the appropriate attention.”
The park-and-ride is slated to open in late 2019 or early 2020.