More details about the Green Line’s movement through downtown and north of the Bow River went in front of Calgary’s Green Line committee on Wednesday.
The functional review of the LRT megaproject revealed slight tweaks to the underground path and some of the street-level effects of the BRT running up Centre Street N. to 16 Avenue N.
Committee members also heard about plans for the North Central BRT and mobility corridor that will run north of 16 Avenue N., paving the way for the Green Line’s extension northward.
The corridor will allow for a progression from buses to BRT to LRT to serve north Calgary, a move that Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek called a “big win.”
“It’s incredibly significant that, for all the decades that this functional planning was missed, we finally have it on the books and we can finally plan for what the rail line will look like and how it will convert from using buses to using rail over time,” Gondek told Global News.
Wednesday’s committee meeting came the day after the inaugural report from the Green Line Board was presented to the priorities and finance committee.
The Q1 2021 board report showed that the technical review initiated by the province on June 16, 2020, has been the biggest delay to beginning work on the $5-billion megaproject.
“We’re at the stage where we have discussed items raised by the province, and we’re focused on finalizing an updated business case that will be submitted in the coming weeks,” Green Line GM Michael Thompson said Tuesday.
Gondek said it was good news to hear that the city’s 17 recommendations approved on June 16, 2020, passed provincial muster.
“I think Calgarians who’ve been advocating for the Green Line had a sense of comfort yesterday, knowing that the province does agree with the plan that’s been put forward,” Gondek said Wednesday.
Some of the tweaks to the Green Line’s path through downtown include adjusting turns in the line to avoid conflicts with underground obstructions and reducing the number of affected property owners.
Stations like 4 Street S.E. and 7 Avenue S. were shifted slightly along the track to better facilitate Calgarians getting to the trains.
Public engagement revealed a preference for a bridge design that had minimum interference with vistas and did not place a pier in the Bow River.
Centre Street from the river to 16 Avenue N. will see the LRT run through the two centre lanes, with cars and buses on the outer curb lanes. Four more intersections will get traffic signals in that stretch to allow for safe east-west travel of pedestrians and vehicles.
But the width for sidewalks and public space will vary from two to three metres — something that concerns the Crescent Heights Community Association.
“We need sidewalks to be an adequate width and to consider how people will move along Centre Street,” Marie Semeniuk-Evans told the committee. “We need to provide a safe, comfortable and attractive space for people to move through.”
The Crescent Heights Village BIA voiced concerns about how changes to parking and loading areas could impact businesses.
“We appreciate that the team has recommended further consultations on many of these issues that we’re concerned about,” Cammy Laird said.
Green Line committee chair and Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating said the midweek presentations were “just publicizing the final details.”
“You don’t build a $4.9-billion project without looking at slight adjustments all the way through and that’s built into the contracts,” Keating told Global News.
“This will be saying we are done. We’re ready to move forward.”