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New LRT: Short-term pain for long-term gain

It’s the moment the people of Mill Woods have waited almost 30 years for.

It’s the moment the people of Mill Woods have waited almost 30 years for.

For those not “in the know,” Mill Woods was originally intended to have an LRT line serving it from its inception, but that line never materialized. Now finally, the city has begun the process of planning the long-awaited LRT line to Mill Woods.

So what are the options? Two of the options would branch off near either Corona or Grandin station and travel south along the High-level Bridge/Walterdale Bridge corridor into Old Strathcona. The line would then either follow the CPR right-of-way south or follow Whyte Avenue east toward Bonnie Doon and then head south toward MWTC.

For Shirley Lowe of the Old Strathcona Business Association, there are concerns about the two potential Old Strathcona routes. As far as having an LRT running east on Whyte Avenue, this is a non-starter for Lowe, unless the LRT technology used is much different from the technology used on the current LRT line.

She also expressed concern around the possibility using the High-level/Walterdale corridor would lead to the community being divided in two by the LRT. Overall, Lowe said she thinks the area already has adequate transit service, so having an LRT cutting through the heart of the district is not necessarily the most desirable option.

The two other proposals for the line would bypass Old Strathcona altogether, and instead serve communities further east such as Forrest Heights, Strathearn, Holyrood and Bonnie Doon.

Regardless of the route, the city will face a number of challenges building an LRT line through long-established neighbourhoods, but hopefully the short-term pain will lead to long-term gain for those along the new route.

– Brendan Van Alstine is a registered social worker and founding member of the Transit Riders’ Union of Edmonton. He relies exclusively on transit, his bicycle and walking for transp­ortation; edmontonletters@metronews.ca.

 
 
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