March 12, 2021 was the one-year anniversary of City Council’s declaration of a local State of Emergency - our reaction to an emerging pandemic that we knew virtually nothing about. Our approach to Covid has changed considerably, and while some restrictions linger, it feels like we are close to returning to a more normal way of life.
Which means we can focus again on city-building! Please join my Virtual Community Meeting on March 23 at 6:30 pm. We will start with a presentation on the Bus Network Redesign from City Administration, who will also be available to answer your questions. Then we will move on to some other topics based on your feedback to this blog.
With that in mind, here are a number of things that will impact our community that we should talk about.
Bus Network Redesign
On April 25, Edmonton Transit will be launching a completely new bus route system. New routes with new numbers will be used. The new bus network is designed to modernize Edmonton’s transit system. The routes are more direct and have less overlap. For those of you that use transit, it is really important that you look at the new routes and plan your transit trip. In addition, ETS will be loading a trip planner generator in the coming days. Please use this tool to help navigate your way through the new system.
Part of this plan means that some districts will lose fixed route service and newer neighbourhoods will not get fixed routes. Instead, ETS will be providing “On Demand” service as a pilot project, which will allow riders to beckon a bus or to book a recurring pick-up or drop-off.
The new Bus Network Redesign represents a significant change to the transit system. Representatives of ETS will join me at the March 23 Community Meeting - please join us for more details! If you are unable to join the meeting, please click here for more information on the Bus Network Redesign.
Construction of Terwillegar Drive begins this spring, and will continue for the next 2-3 years along Terwillegar Drive. Two lanes in each direction will remain open from 6:00 am - 10:00 pm on Terwillegar. The crossing roads will be fully open during the morning and afternoon rush hours but may have periodic lane closures during the day. Work on Whitemud Drive and at Anthony Henday Drive will take place in 2023-2025. I will share more details during the March 23 meeting.
Ward 9 Mobility Network
One of the goals of the Terwillegar Drive project is to provide a multi-mode corridor that accommodates more vehicle traffic for commuters and goods and services, but it is also intended to improve transit service and support active transportation modes.
We have seen other improvements to our road system - 2019 saw roughly 15 road projects south of Anthony Henday. How do you feel about active transportation connectivity? Where are the pinch points or missing links in the multi-use trail system?
City and Provincial Budgets
The recent Provincial budget has implications for the City’s budget, both positive and negative. 3-year funding for the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) will go down 25% - but 2021 funding will actually increase (MSI is primarily used by the City to renew, refurbish and maintain existing infrastructure). Funding is generally available for the LRT extension from Century Park south to Heritage Valley, although specific details are not yet clear. Funding was announced for the new hospital in south Edmonton that is scheduled for completion in 2030. This will be a significant employment node for southwest Edmonton, among other advantages. The provincial budget does significantly reduce funding to the University of Alberta. More information on the provincial budget and the impacts on Edmonton can be found here.
Energy Transition Strategy
City Administration continues to move forward on a number of initiatives all aimed at reducing the consumption of hydrocarbons that result in greenhouse gas emissions. The stated goal is to work towards limiting the rise of global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is a wide-ranging discussion, from the potential of nuclear power to the potential for carbon sequestration. Among other considerations, there are many organizations willing to invest significant capital in pursuit of energy transition strategies and actions - capital investments we may want to capitalize on.
An outline of the City’s Energy Transition Strategy can be found here. An update on The Energy Transition Strategy and Action Plan is scheduled to be presented to Executive Committee on April 12th.
It seems that this winter has been better than average when it comes to snow clearing, but that does not mean that the City continues to experience real challenges in developing an approach to get our streets clear and drivable in a reasonable amount of time. For southwest Edmonton, a considerable part of the problem is that our service yard is on Gateway Boulevard and 66Ave. That’s a long way from Ward 9. I made a motion that Administration establish a smaller service yard in Ambleside (next to the EcoStation) that would permit much faster service. I appreciate hearing your insights coming out of this winter.
March 23 Meeting
As mentioned I will be hosting a virtual Community Meeting on March 23rd at 6:30 pm. Details can be found on the Facebook event page here or CLICK Here on Tuesday, March 23rd next week to join the meeting.
We will dig more into some of the topics above, but there won’t be time in one meeting to cover it all, and there may be other matters you would like to discuss. I encourage you to comment on this post, send your thoughts to [email protected] or call 780-496-8130.