Mandel pushes separate LRT line to Mill Woods
Mayor Stephen Mandel is backing plans to design a dedicated LRT route that will extend from the downtown core to Mill Woods.
City council will debate a transportation department proposal this week to hire a consultant at a cost of $1.5 million to start planning the city’s secondary north-south line.
Mandel says building the additional light-rail transit line makes more sense than extending the future Century Park station route to head straight east into Mill Woods.
"We can’t keep funnelling people to one location … We’re going to have a million people going into one station and that just doesn’t work," he said.
The transportation department’s proposal says the consultant will build off previous studies completed on a now-scrapped rapid bus route from downtown to Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, and then south along 75 Street.
While the department’s report warns that the route will "impact long-term traffic requirements" along 75 Street, the mayor says he won’t support taking the line underground to avoid clogging up the roadway.
"It brings back memories that you can only do about six feet for the price of six miles," he said, referring to the costly LRT line that tunnelled beneath Jasper Avenue. "I don’t believe it’s an effective use of taxpayer dollars."
Mandel has also strongly opposed the department’s preferred west-end route to West Edmonton Mall, calling it a "huge mistake." The route, to be discussed by council in April or May, would stretch along 87 Avenue and tunnel under houses near the river before connecting with the University of Alberta.