On May 3rd Council passed the following motion put forth by Mayor Iveson:
1. That subject to confirming cost and available funding, the priority for LRT construction be approved as follows:
(a) Valley Line, Downtown to Lewis Estates (LW-1, LW-2, LW-3)
(b) Metro Line, NAIT to Blatchford (HNW-1, including potential upgrades near Kingsway Mall & NAIT)
2. That the following three LRT design projects be prioritized for further work with the
Phase 1 Federal Transit Stimulus funding (alphabetically listed):
(a) Capital Line, Century Park to Ellerslie (HSW-1 to update preliminary engineering)
(b) Downtown Connector, University to Bonnie Doon (LE-1 for concept planning)
(c) Metro Line, North Blatchford to Campbell Road (HNW-2, HNW-3 for preliminary engineering)
You can view the agenda, reports as well as the minutes here
This is great news for Edmonton and Ward 1 residents! The 27 km Valley Line (SE to W LRT) links communities running from Mill Woods to Lewis Farms through downtown, and also provides access to major institutional, recreational, commercial, residential, and employment centres. Expanding the LRT system is a key feature of Edmonton’s Transportation Master Plan. I spoke often of this important piece of infrastructure during my campaign with residents who are were eager to see it completed and am happy to report that we have made significant progress in both the design and construction aspect of the line, as well as the timeline for which we can expect completion.
Learn more about the Valley Line LRT here
Initial estimates for the southeast portion of the line suggest the projected daily ridership to be about 28,000-33,000 passengers, increasing to 49,000 by 2044. While we don’t yet have figures on ridership for the west leg of the line for 2019 (the 2044 projected numbers for ridership on the west leg were around 51,000), we can assume that number will be as high, if not higher, due in large part to the facilities it will serve. West Edmonton Mall employs around 1,500 admin staff (West Edmonton Mall Property Inc.-West Edmonton Mall, Fantasyland Hotel, WEM Inn) in addition to around 12,000-15,000 retail staff. This number can increase to 20,000 employees during peak periods with 32.2 million visitors per year or 90,000 and 200,000 shoppers daily, depending on the day and season.
The Misericordia Hospital employs around 2,700 staff members, in addition to 450 staff who work at the Covenant Health Villa Caritas (directly adjacent to Misericordia Hospital.) With high parking fees and low inventory, this would be a great alternative to commuting everyday by car.
The line is an urban style low-floor LRT that will integrate directly into existing communities. The City is working to coordinate neighborhood rehabilitation with the construction of the LRT to minimize costs and impacts to surrounding areas. Transit oriented development (TOD) is urban development that is planned and integrated with an LRT stop/station or transit centre at its core, with housing, shopping and jobs concentrated in a walkable and bikeable community.
Modeling and Signalling System:
To understand impacts of the Valley Line LRT on the road network and predict intersection performance, an integrated LRT-Traffic simulation model was developed: The model is based on information from the Edmonton Region Transportation Model (RTM.) RTM is an integrated system of traffic modeling used to forecast all vehicle travel patterns in Edmonton. It uses current patterns as well as population, employment, and student enrollment growth to predict traffic. The integrated LRT-Traffic Model simulation was carried out for the 2019 (the original opening year during planning phase in anticipation of EXPO) and 2044 planning horizons to assess the operations along the Valley Line LRT corridor, by simulating the LRT interacting with traffic.
Modeling shows that as Edmonton continues to grow and develop, so will congestion along identified LRT corridors, regardless of LRT. Major intersections along the LRT corridor are already experiencing congestion for portions of the peak-hours. Even though the LRT is planned to manage growing traffic demand, the intersections along the corridor will have more congestion than exists today during peak hours. The system is designed to be flexible so that the City can adjust priority levels as needed to accommodate multiple transportation modes.
For more details of anticipated operation of intersections along the LRT corridor for opening day and for 2044, please refer to the Transportation Committee report Item 6.1 (Valley Line LRT Phase 1 Intersection Performance Estimates) here
Co-authored by Kasey Machin and Andrew Knack