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Calgary should focus on BRT instead of LRT in light of Green Line uncertainty: councillors

Calgary Transit launched three new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines on Nov. 19, 2018.
Calgary Transit launched three new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines on Nov. 19, 2018. Global News

Several Calgary city councillors say in light of continued uncertainty around the Green Line LRT expansion, the city should shift its focus to expanding the Bus Rapid Transit system instead.

Following the UCP’s first budget, tabled two weeks ago, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the future of the Green Line was “in jeopardy,” but that’s not where the troubles started with the contentious infrastructure project.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2019: Deferred provincial funding puts Calgary’s Green Line LRT ‘in jeopardy’

The new CTrain route was meant to provide better access in the city’s north heading south, but the plans have been altered and the Phase 1 route shortened. Then with the latest budget, the money coming from the province was significantly reduced, putting further stress on the situation.

Click to play video 'Alberta Budget 2019: Nenshi says budget puts Green Line in jeopardy' Alberta Budget 2019: Nenshi says budget puts Green Line in jeopardy
Alberta Budget 2019: Nenshi says budget puts Green Line in jeopardy – Oct 24, 2019

Now, three councillors are saying the city should swap out the LRT for buses to get people across the city.

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“I’d like to think that we would be able to do a full BRT solution with the money that we have on the table,” Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek said Monday.

Gondek also posted a lengthy statement on her Facebook page over the weekend outlining why she thought this was the right solution to this transit issue.

“Frankly, we need a solution in the north so I proposed something,” Gondek said.

“We just never talk about the north because we call it Phase 2 and tuck it away. I would be open to talking about a BRT network for now in the north, an LRT down to the south until we can get the money we need to do LRT in the north.

“It’s not ideal, but at least we get something.”

READ MORE: Calgary, Edmonton LRT projects could be cancelled with 90 days’ notice, changed by minister

Ward 2 Councillor Joe Magliocca echoed Gondek’s comments saying expanding BRT to the areas that need transit access would be a cheaper option.

“We’re not talking billions of dollars (for BRT), we’re only talking hundreds of millions of dollars versus the LRT,” Magliocca said Monday.

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“Right now we just don’t have the capital, we don’t have the money to do it. Our next step is: let’s build a BRT that would accommodate to move hundreds of thousands of people at a reduced cost.”

Sean Chu, councillor for Ward 4, said it’s time to think about swapping out metal wheels for rubber ones to get people around the city effectively.

“If the goal is to move people, (BRT) will move people now, today,” he said.

“Some people say ‘BRT is not the Green Line.’ The goal is moving people, BRT will move people too. One is rubber wheels, one’s metal.”