So What Is The Green Line?

Calgary Transit has established their 30 year Route Ahead plan which is a strategic guide for operations and investment and will help plan for future capital projects. Up until recently, there were two major projects competing for attention and funding separately, the North Central LRT and the SETWAY/South East LRT.
In November 2013, Calgary City Council voted to create a dedicated fund that would allow the North Central and South East Transit Corridors to move ahead under a combined program. This program will include the Downtown region and the North Central and South East Transit Corridors. The combined corridors are now known as the Green Line.

The Green Line

Key points about the Green Line:

Calgary Urban Structure

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Image courtesy of City of Calgary

  • 270,000 Calgarians currently live and work along the corridor.
  • The Downtown Core represents 25% of the total number of jobs in Calgary
  • The Green Line will eventually bring 40 kms of new LRT track to the existing 53 kms of track…nearly doubling the size of the network.
  • The Green Line will greatly expand the rapid transit service into and out of Calgary’s Centre City.
  • The Green Line will serve three new major employment hubs in Calgary: Quarry Park, Seton and Aurora Business Park
  • The Green Line will serve many of the planned community development and intensification opportunities in Calgary.

Green Line Project Status

Green Line SE

  • Project is currently envisioned as 3 stages:
    Green Line SE Ridership and Travel Times
    Current Daily Ridership: 3,500 riders daily
    Current Average Travel Time Seton – Downtown: 69 minutes.
    Stage 1

    Projected Ridership: 15,000 riders daily
    Projected Average Travel Time Seton – Downtown: 56 minutes.  
    Stage 3

    Projected Ridership: 70,000 riders daily
    Projected Average Travel Time Seton – Downtown: 35 minutes.
    • Stage 1 – Construction of Transitway: 4th Street SE to Douglas Glen. A significant portion of Stage 1 is to be funded through City Council’s decision to commit $52 Million of funding room to the project over the next ten years however additional funds to complete the project are yet to be secured. Stage 1 construction is estimated to be complete by 2021.
    • Stage 2 – Construction of LRT from Downtown to Quarry Park. (20 year time horizon)
    • Stage 3 – Construction of LRT from Quarry Park to Seton. (30 year time horizon)
  • 80-85% of the land for the Right of Way has been acquired by the City of Calgary.
  • 90% of infrastructure for the transitway in Stage 1 can be reused for LRT conversion.
  • The bulk of construction activity for Stage 1 of the Green Line SE will begin in Fall 2017. In the interim, the Green Line SE project team has undertaken a review of the exisiting BRT Route 302 corridor to determine where small investments can be made to improve the customer expereince. As a result, several “early works” projects have been identified and will be implemented between now and 2017 thanks to the $520 million Green Line Fund. These “early works” projects are as follows:
    • Widen 52nd Street SE from 130th Avenue to Stoney Trail from four to six lanes to implement transit-only lanes.
    • Relocate bus routes from Deerfoot Trail SE to 114 Avenue SE using 40th Street SE plus 530 metres of new roadway.
    • Widen 130th Avenue SE from 48th Street SE to 52nd Street SE from four to six lanes to implement transit-only lanes.
    • Widen Ogden Road SE from Millican Road to 69th Avenue SE from two to four lanes to provide two transit-only curb lanes (this project will be reviewed against alternative alignment options prior to proceeding).
    • Construct transit queue jumps at various locations.
    • Reprioritize signals and install transit signal priorities at various locations.
  • As part of the Green Line SE Corridor Review, there are three segments of the corridor where changes have been proposed for the original alignment option. The initial community consultation for the alignment options took place over the course of March, 2015 and a final alignment recommendation will be made to Calgary City Council before the end of 2015. Information on further community consultation opportunities will be made available on the official project website at www.calgary.ca/greenline.

The three areas up for review are as follows:

View the Green Line SE Staging Plan

 

  • Two new videos have been created to provide a better prospective of the Green Line SE. One video provides a quick fly-over of the Green Line SE and the second video provides a more in-depth look of what the Green Line SE will mean for Calgarians. Check them out!

Green Line SE Fly-Over Video

Video Courtesy of the City of Calgary

Green Line SE In-depth Overview

Video courtesy of Cllr. Shane Keating: http://shanekeating.ca/the-issues/setway-green-line-lrt/

 

Green Line N

  • Current daily ridership along the corridor is 35,000 weekday riders. This is slightly higher than the current daily ridership of the West LRT.
  • This project is planned to be phased in a similar fashion to the South East Corridor. Funding has been set aside for transitway improvements and is estimated to be complete by 2021. LRT construction is dependent on funding but will most likely occur in the 20 to 30 year time horizon.
  • Over the last few years, a comprehensive alignment study has been underway for the Green Line N. The alignment study has been broken down into two sections:
1. The alignment for the LRT north of 24th Ave N
The final two options that were considered for this alignment were Centre Street N and Edmonton Trail. Based on community workshops and open houses, the feedback that the City of Calgary received indicated that 23% of respondents favoured an Edmonton Trial alignment and 77% of respondents favoured a Centre Street alignment. After factoring in various other considerations, the final recommended alignment option for this section of the Green Line N was presented to, and approved by, Calgary City Council in January, 2015. The recommended alignment option is for a surface alignment and can be further broken down into the following segments:
(a) 24th Avenue to McKnight Blvd Segment - This segment of the route had a number of constraints with the two largest ones being the narrow width of the right-of-way and the consideration for grade separation at McKnight Boulevard. To accommodate these constraints, a “narrow alignment option” was selected for this segment of the route. The narrow alignment option provides for one traffic lane in each direction on Centre Street N with the LRT in the middle of the roadway. The LRT will be grade separated at McKnight Blvd meaning that it will pass either under or over McKnight Blvd to maximize east-west traffic flow at that intersection.
(b) McKnight Blvd to Beddington Blvd Segment - This segment of the route had relatively few constraints as the right-of-way for Centre Street N remains wide throughout the segment. As a result, a “wide alignment option” was selected for this segment. The wide alignment option provides for two driving lanes in each direction of Centre Street N with LRT in the middle of the roadway.
(c) Beddington Blvd to Beddington Trail Segment - This segment of the route also had a number of constraints that also included the narrow width of the right-of-way as well as the pre-existing residential nature of this street. As a result an alignment option that will retain the on-street parking but require land purchases to widen the right-of-way has been selected for this segment. Further investigation will be made on the best ways to minimize community impact through the selection of this option.
(d) Beddington Trail to North Pointe Segment - This segment of the route has always been designed with LRT in mind. As a result, a large grass median already exists along Harvest Hills Blvd that will be converted to the LRT right-of-way.

(a) 24th Ave to McKnight
Narrow Alignment Cross Section
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Image courtesy of City of Calgary

(b) McKnight to Beddington Blvd
Wide Alignment Cross Section
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Image courtesy of City of Calgary

(c) Beddington Blvd to Beddington Trail
Narrow Alignment with On-Street Parking Cross Section
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Image courtesy of City of Calgary

(d) Beddington Trail to North Pointe
Alignment in Existing Right of Way
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Image courtesy of City of Calgary

2. The alignment to connect the Green Line N LRT at 24th Ave N with the Green Line SE LRT
This alignment study is currently underway and a final recommendation is expected to be made to the City of Calgary’s Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit by December, 2015. Opportunities for community engagement will exist later in 2015 and will be posted on the official project website at www.calgary.ca/greenline. Five different alignment options will be studied for this section of the Green Line. It is important to note that the current travel time for the BRT service between North Pointe and Downtown is 40 minutes meaning that no matter what option is selected, there will be a measurable improvement in travel times. One of the five options, Option A1 was recently introduced for study by Councillors and as a result, no design information has been released. Option A1 is a proposal to have the LRT remain on the surface of Centre Street between 16th Ave N and the Centre Street Bridge (similar to Option A) however a new bridge structure would then be created next to the Centre Street Bridge to connect the LRT to 2nd Street SW around Eau Claire.
Summary of Construction Cost Estimates (Four Centre City Options)
Construction Cost Estimate for Centre City Segment (10 Ave S to 24 Ave N) Construction Cost Estimate for Full Green Line North Project (10 Ave S to North Pointe) Travel Time Estimate (10 Ave S to North Pointe)
Option A*: use the existing Centre Street bridge $600 Million $1.1 Billion 33-35 minutes
Option B: new bridge west of Centre Street bridge $800 Million $1.3 Billion 30-32 minutes
Option C: new bridge west of Centre Street bridge, remain elevated $800 Million $1.3 Billion 30-32 minutes
Option D: tunnel from 24 Ave N to 10 Ave S $1.3 Billion $1.8 Billion 28-30 minutes
*Option A1 was recently introduced by Councillors and therefore no cost estimates are available
NC LRT Centre City Option A Plan View

NC LRT Centre City Option A
Plan View

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Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

NC LRT Centre City Option A Profile View

NC LRT Centre City Option A
Profile View

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Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

 

NC LRT Centre City Option B Plan View

NC LRT Centre City Option B
Plan View
Click to Enlarge
Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

NC LRT Centre City Option B Profile View

NC LRT Centre City Option B
Profile View
Click to Enlarge
Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

 

NC LRT Centre City Option C Plan View

NC LRT Centre City Option C
Plan View
Click to Enlarge
Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

NC LRT Centre City Option C Profile View

NC LRT Centre City Option C
Profile View
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Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

 

NC LRT Centre City Option D Plan View

NC LRT Centre City Option D
Plan View
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Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

NC LRT Centre City Option D Profile View

NC LRT Centre City Option D
Profile View
Click to Enlarge
Image Courtesy of the City of Calgary

 

Green Line Transitway

Although the Green Line will eventually take the form of LRT, limited funding has prompted the City of Calgary to introduce an intermediate step to the project that will transition the corridor from the existing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service and LRT. This intermediate step is called the Green Line Transitway.

  • Example of transitway in operation in Winnipeg

    Example of transitway in operation in Winnipeg

    A transitway involves the construction of a transit right-of-way that can be either separate from traffic or dedicated lanes used by transit vehicles and includes the construction of stations.

  • Because a transitway does not require tracks or traction power, construction of a transitway is significantly cheaper than LRT.
  • Transitways have been put to use in cities such as Ottawa, Winnipeg and the Greater Toronto Area as cost effective alternatives to LRT.
  • Around 90% of infrastructure for the transitway can be reused for LRT conversion.

Several of the key advantages to the Green Line Transitway are as follows:

    1. Allows for improved travel times and an improved customer experience along the Green Line Corridor.
    2. Build ridership along the Green Line Corridor beyond what is possible with regular BRT service
    3. Allows the City of Calgary to construct LRT ready infrastructure (such as bridges and station areas) that will reduce the cost of LRT conversion in the future.
    4. Creates permanent high level transit infrastructure along the Green Line Corridor that will help stimulate community investment and redevelopment.
Transitway Transition Diagram

Diagram showing the conversion of Transitway to LRT along the Green Line SE
Click to enlarge
Image courtesy of the City of Calgary

 

Explore the Green Line

Explore the Green Line using the interactive map or explore the Green Line in detail