Invest in Solutions...

Elect R.J. for Mayor

More Background - Proposal J

The South, North, and West LRT projects have been called the largest and costliest transport infrastructure projects ever proposed for the city of Edmonton. Unfortunately, the alternatives have not been widely outlined or advertised. Why is no one actively discussing what other things could be bought with the billions of dollars that have been earmarked for LRT?

Many kilometers of elevated, multi-use pedestrian, bike, wheelchair, and/or Segway paths that are unheated but sheltered from rain and snow could be built throughout city neighbourhoods for the same amount of money it costs to build each kilometer of LRT line.  Using a "rough" estimate of $400 a square foot for construction one kilometer of elevated 12 foot wide path could be constructed for 16 million dollars. Edmontonians could have had 42 km of sheltered 12 foot wide transportation corridors constructed for the same amount of money that was spent to get the 7 km of the south LRT expansion built.  Junior and senior high students, adults committed to exercise, and low income earners would then have had the option of being able to make use of more operationally frugal systems like bicycles, Segways and YikeBikes. Of course, not everyone will be able to use bicycles, Segways or Yikebikes. But then, not everyone will be able to readily access a few LRT stations either. 

One 25 km sheltered path has the potential to reach all the way from 180 Ave in North Edmonton through the center of the city to Elerslie Road in South Edmonton. Another 25km sheltered path could reach from the western edge of Westview Village through the centre of the city to Highway 216 East of the refineries.

With billions of dollars in play it is even possible to consider combining a Bixi type sharing system to reduce the capital cost exposure of those of more limited means. Ideally, purchasing substantial numbers of YikeBikes or Segways for use in a Bixi type rental system might be leveraged to encourage manufacturers to set up related component assembly or design facilities in Edmonton.

In addition, a more scalable CPT system capable of being deployed quicker into and through all neighbourhoods in Edmonton needs to be seriously explored. Scalability promises to enable smaller size CPT lines to connect down-line with higher volume lines in a manner that would reduce the intrusiveness of public transit in mature neighborhoods.

If LRT tracking is the “answer” to high density urban transportation then it should be built in Oliver, the highest density neighborhood in the city, before being pressed into serving outlying suburbs like Lewis Estates.

On the other hand, Edmontonians may be better off trying to reduced transit costs permanently by modifying zoning to encouraging people to live closer to where they work. This would reduce the need to build interchanges, concrete bus lanes, and supply evermore LRT track and rolling stock.

Edmontonians also need to address the fairness inherent in charging many junior and senior high school students higher monthly rates to use buses and LRT to get to and from school than the subsidized fares that are charged to college and university students.

There are many questions to that need to be discussed and addressed!

Recent Proposal