The Future of Mass Transit in our City

LRT2.JPG

On Tuesday January 23, a motion that I developed related to the future of mass transit in our city will be debated and voted on at City Council.

The notice of motion concerns Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, and the need for comparative capital cost estimates related to the build out of our transit network respective to both BRT and LRT.

While the motion is specific to the Valley Line LRT extension to West Edmonton, the information to be gleaned from this report will help to inform all future mass transit decisions in our city.

As a new City Councillor, I believe that it is incredibly important for us to have all of the facts and data required to make informed decisions about the future of our transit network.

We need a transit system that gets us the best value for our money, that considers how many Edmontonians can use a transit system, and we need to know how future mass transit impacts other commuters.

My intent with this motion is not to stall or filibuster future transit development for our city - rather, I want this information to allow us to be decisive in our action going forward.

Edmontonians expect City Council to make decisions on the future of our transit system based on facts and data, not intuition.

During the recent election campaign, many Ward 9 residents expressed concern that the Councils of the day did not have all pertinent information in front of them when LRT planning decisions were made.  Unfortunately, difficulties associated with the Metro Line have led to a level of distrust related to the future expansion of our mass transit system.

I am confident that with answers to the the questions asked in my motion, we can have the facts to ensure that mistakes made in the past will not be repeated.  We need to remember that not all of the advantage and benefits of LRT can be expressed in dollars; however, the answers to my questions combined with the information contained in the other reports due in mid-March will lead to a full debate of the different multi-transit modes available to us, in the context of the benefits they provide for the costs they incur.

Please have a read of my motion wording for yourself, and stay tuned on Tuesday for what I hope will be a successful vote for my motion.

Valley Line Motion to Council Jan 23, 2018

That Administration provide a report on the Valley Line LRT extension to West Edmonton including comparative capital cost estimates for mass transit as follows;

  1. Current West LRT capital cost budget broken down into key components (rail and rail bed, stations / platforms, catenary system, signal system, vehicles);
  2. Order of magnitude capital cost estimates for Bus Rapid Transit service from downtown to Lewis Farms, assuming a dedicated right of way along the same route as current LRT planning, broken down into key components (rail and rail bed, stations / platforms, catenary system, signal system, vehicles);
  3. Comparative capital cost estimates, for LRT and BRT (order of magnitude), broken down by current alignment segments as follows:
    1. Downtown to 142 Street;
    2. 142 Street to 156 Street;
    3. 156 Street to West Edmonton Mall;
    4. West Edmonton Mall to Lewis Farms.
  4. A summary of system operating and maintenance costs for each methodology, including maintenance and life cycle costs;
  5. System comparisons for each methodology (passenger capacity per hour per vehicle, travel times or travel speeds for each mode etc);
  6. Summary of expected vehicle queue times at key intersections along the West LRT alignment assuming no grade separations;
  7. Summary of known experiences of other cities that have employed BRT (eg. Ottawa’s rationale for moving from BRT to LRT);
  8. Estimate of property tax revenue increases related to Transit Oriented Developments that will be realized by implementing either LRT or BRT.