These are uncertain times in Calgary. The pandemic and the collapse in oil and gas markets have left us wondering what our future holds. We’re faced with a choice: invest in our future, or retreat to our past?
Renderings showing much needed streetscaping improvements for 16 Ave N. (Source: City of Calgary).
Very soon council will be asked to invest in improved mobility, in the Green Line. Council will be asked to approve a revised Stage One plan that will finally begin to deliver improved transit services for the north and for all of Calgary. I support this plan. It’s the first step to achieving transportation and community improvements for North Central Calgary. It’s an investment in our future.
For years Centre Street has been the most highly transited bus corridor in the city. We recognize the greatest hurdle to adding much needed capacity up Centre Street is crossing the Bow River. Now, thanks to a $3 Billion funding commitment and a new bridge, the Green Line makes crossing the river and connecting the north a reality. If we don’t seize this opportunity now, if we lose this precious funding, then I fear this opportunity will not return for a long, long time.
Our overall goal is connected LRT service through downtown all the way up Centre Street and along Harvest Hills Boulevard. I believe this is far more likely to happen with Stage One’s commitment to the north literally poured in concrete across the Bow up to 16th Avenue. It will happen over time, station by station, as incremental funding comes available. This has been the pattern for almost every other CTrain extension, and there’s every reason to believe the Green Line will follow suit.
The proposed new alignment will bring BRT improvements north past 16 Avenue N beyond the 2017 Council approved Stage 1 (Source: City of Calgary).
While Stage One will not yet deliver the entire train we need, it does commit to BRT improvements along the way, including priority signals, bus lanes, and improved bus shelters. It will also improve service reliability by letting BRT and express buses travel on a dedicated right of way from 13th Avenue all the way to downtown. I believe this bundle of BRT improvements is a critical part of the Stage One proposal and must be included.
Northern communities have watched for decades as other areas of Calgary receive infrastructure and transit investments. Finally, after 2 years of consultation, the new North Hill Plan offers hope for investment and community improvements around Edmonton Trail, Centre Street, and 4th Street. Foundational to the North Hill Plan is an assumption that the Green line is built to support it. This investment in community redevelopment is significantly impaired without the transit and mobility options that the Green Line will bring.
The latest drawings show much-needed streetscaping improvements for Centre Street North. (Source: City of Calgary)
The Green Line has been planned for years, with input from countless residents, businesses, and elected representatives alike. It’s time to realize our return on years of investment from Calgarians. Let’s move forward.
About the author
Greg Miller is a resident of North Central Calgary and a long-time advocate for mobility choice. Twitter: @GregGinYYC.
For more info on the Green Line visit the City of Calgary's Green Line engagement page>>.