The iconic streetcar that tracks across the Edmonton river valley from downtown to near the Arts Barns in Old Strathcona will be getting an 800-metre extension.
“It will cross Gateway Boulevard and 83 Avenue and then end just on the north side of Whyte Avenue between 102 and 101 streets,” said Chris Ashdown, president of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society.
The group, which operates the High Level Streetcar, says it’s been working on this expansion since 2011.
“Being a complicated project, and so many other things happening in Old Strathcona, we’ve finally got our development permit — it was issued yesterday — and we’re hoping to do construction this summer,” Ashdown said.
Last year, about 90,000 people rode the streetcar. Ashdown believes it could see 100,000 riders this year.
“When we first proposed the project, we were anticipating about a 10 or 15 per cent increase in the number passengers, but we’ve already doubled that since 2011.
“So, we do anticipate more people coming on the streetcar because we will be more visible.”
The society heard from people who wanted to see the streetcar more out in the open.
“Being down in the new location, we’ll be in the centre of Old Strathcona — very visible,” Ashdown said.
“Streetcars actually ran on Whyte Avenue back in the day so we’ll be bringing streetcars back to Whyte Avenue.”
Along with the addition, a multi-use path will be built to run alongside the track.
After construction wraps up, the track extension may be operational before the end of streetcar season in October.
WATCH BELOW (Sept. 29, 2017): Global Edmonton meteorologist Jesse Beyer takes the controls of the High Level streetcar for this special fall weather forecast.
— With files from 630 CHED