With Monday’s Green Line Committee meeting approaching, the LRT on the Green Foundation is asking Councillors to look beyond the current debate swirling around Stage 1 and provide an answer to a question Calgarians have been asking for the last three years. Since May of 2017 when it was first announced that the Green Line would need to be delivered via a staged approach, a decision on the path the project will take once construction of Stage 1 begins has taken a back seat to the work being done to finalize the alignment through the centre city.
“For three years Calgarians living and working in communities outside of the Stage 1 boundaries have been waiting to learn the direction Green Line will take once construction between 16th Ave N and Shepard begins,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “With Council now in a position to give the green light to a project that represents a $4.9 billion investment and create 20,000 jobs we hope they remember that this is just the end of the first chapter in the Green Line story and not the end of the story itself. Now is the time to provide clear direction on what comes next.”
As part of its written submission to the Green Line Committee, the LRT on the Green Foundation has asked that Council target a Green Line extension north to 96th Ave N and south to McKenzie Towne as the aspirational Stage 2 plan for the line. In addition the Foundation has asked that an updated cost estimate be provided for the proposed Stage 2 plan and that Council direct City of Calgary staff to create a package of early works projects based off the plan including, but not limited to, land acquisition as well as identifying opportunities for the creation of transitway segments and grade separation to further enhance the BRT along the Centre Street/Harvest Hills Boulevard corridor and report back by the end of this year. It’s hoped this timeline will help position the project for COVID stimulus funding that may become available.
“The Stage 1 plan that will be considered on Monday includes many positive additions over the plan that was put forward in 2017 such as the 9th Ave N station, the multi-use pathway crossing of the Bow River and BRT improvements along Centre Street. The creation of 20,000 desperately needed jobs is also an important bonus. Given all of this we feel Council should be able to look past the nay-sayers who want to delay the project and approve the Stage 1 plan while also setting the path towards building the next stage. When it comes to Green Line now is the time for Council to take two steps forward, not one backwards.” concluded Binks.
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