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City of Calgary launches open houses, unveils possible designs for Green Line LRT project

Tied Arch Bridge Main Span Option. The city said it has a design that stands out more due to a longer span over the Bow River with a support arch that extends above the bridge structure. Supplied: City of Calgary

The City of Calgary is hosting its first open house information session for Stage 1 of the Green Line LRT project on Wednesday, giving Calgarians an opportunity to see what the transit expansion might look like in their neighbourhoods.

The updated route for the first phase of the project through the downtown core and across the Bow River was presented to the Green Line Committee in January.

READ MORE: City of Calgary reveals updated plan for stage one of Green Line LRT

Work on the updated line began in July after city administration was told the project was likely to cost about 10 per cent more than the original $4.9 billion budget.

According to the city, the updated route addresses construction risk, cost and customer experience concerns.

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The changes include:

  • A surface running LRT on Centre Street North with a surface station at 16 Avenue North
  • A bridge over the Bow River
  • A surface running LRT station at 2 Avenue S.W. in Eau Claire
  • An underground station at 7 Avenue
  • An underground alignment along 11 Avenue in the Beltline, with underground stations at 4 Street S.E. and Centre Street South
  • 21 kilometres of BRT improvements along Centre Street North

In February, the Green Line committee voted to extend the timeline on the updated Stage 1 alignment to April, to give the city more time for engagement with impacted communities and stakeholder organizations.

The first open house is scheduled for Wednesday night between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, at 111 12 Avenue S.E.

“We will be sharing new information to help Calgarians better understand what the updated Stage 1 alignment might look like, and we would like to hear feedback and answer questions they might have about the changes we’ve made,” Green Line senior manager of planning Graham Gerylo said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the city released images of what the Green Line could look like, including four bridge concepts to cross the Bow River and Prince’s Island Park.

Bridge over Bow River

Constant Depth Viaduct option. It includes a regular separation of bridge pillars that doesn't change going over the Bow River. Supplied: City of Calgary
Trestle Bridge Viaduct Option. The city said it has a unique pillar design that allows for smaller bridge structure thickness. Supplied: City of Calgary
Tied Arch Bridge Main Span Option. The city said it has a design that stands out more due to a longer span over the Bow River with a support arch that extends above the bridge structure. Supplied: City of Calgary
Cable Stayed Bridge Option. According to the city, the design stands out with a vertical pillar above the bridge structure with cables to provide support. Supplied: City of Calgary

The updated Green Line plan nixed a tunnel under the Bow River and the tunnel to 16 Avenue North.

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The Green Line will still travel under the downtown with an underground alignment on 11 Avenue in the Beltline, surfacing around 7 Street S.E. but the tunnelling will not be as deep, the city said.

The train will cross over Prince’s Island and Memorial Drive via a bridge and then it will travel at ground level on Centre Street.

Centre Street LRT Path

Early rendering of the Green Line path on Centre Street N.
Early rendering of the Green Line path on Centre Street N. Supplied: City of Calgary

Originally, the Green Line was planned to travel underground through Crescent Heights.

According to the city, the line will reduce vehicle capacity on Centre Street and because it will take up two traffic lanes, the wider traffic network will be impacted.

16 Avenue N Station

An early rendering of the 16 Avenue North station. Supplied: City of Calgary

A surface station at 16 Ave North is among the new changes to the realigned Green Line LRT project.

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Original plans had the station at 16 Ave North underground.

2 Avenue Station

An early rendering of the 2nd Avenue station. Supplied: City of Calgary

Once the Green Line travels through a shallower tunnel through the downtown core, the realignment has trains emerging at a surface station at 2 Avenue and 2 Street S.W.

The changes near Eau Claire and Chinatown were points of concern for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi following the realignment presentation in January.

“The bit around Eau Claire and Chinatown is super tricky, but the good news about it is that there’s one major redevelopment being proposed and a large area that would be open for future development. So there may be an opportunity to work with the adjoining landowners and try figure out those tricky bits.” Nenshi said.

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

Other Open Houses

The city has multiple open houses planned throughout March with more events being considered for April.

Those events include:

  • Thursday, March 5: White Diamond Conference Centre, 130 3 Avenue S.E., 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 7: Eau Claire Sheraton Hotel, 255 Barclay Parade S.W., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 8: Crescent Heights Community Association, 1101 2 Street N.E., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

City administration has been directed to report back to the Green Line Committee on April 23 with the recommendation for the updated Stage 1 route with summarized feedback from Calgarians. The meeting will also include a public hearing for more feedback from residents.

“It’s important to us to continue working with stakeholders and Calgarians as we move this important project forward, to help them better understand the changes we are recommending, to hear their perspectives and answer questions that they might have,” Gerylo said.

Once completed, the Green Line will add 46 kilometres of track to the city’s LRT system, connecting communities between Keystone and Seton to the downtown core.

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