On March 21st, City Council will be given a detailed analysis on the options for grade separation at key intersections along the West Valley Line LRT route. When we first raised the idea of separating the LRT from traffic a few years ago, it was done based on substantial feedback from people who wanted to minimize the traffic impact at key intersections.
The City uses an LRT crossing assessment framework that considers four factors when analyzing value of grade separation at key intersections:
- Accessibility – How the various transportation modes link between one another and with adjacent developments
- Network Operations – How the surrounding and broader transportation network is impacted
- Urban Design and Social Environment – How the surrounding communities and stakeholders are impacted
- Feasibility and Construction – Feasibility, cost and risk assessments.
Originally the only options being considered were having the LRT go above or below 149th Street.
As the process to evaluate that intersection continued, there were suggestions brought forward to look at having 149th Street go under Stony Plain Road (SPR). Of the three options, I thought that would have been the best because the purpose of the low-floor LRT is to help activate the street by bringing more people on to the street. Having the LRT go above or below SPR does not help with the revitalization efforts already underway. At the time that option was unveiled, we did not yet know how much property would need to be acquired. After learning how much would be needed, I’m not as inclined to support that option as I feel it could have a negative impact on the area.
While the City Administration was analyzing those first three options, the Stony Plain Road Business Association brought forward a suggestion to turn SPR into a one-way road west of 149th Street. The thinking behind this is most of the commuter traffic uses 100th Avenue and the eastbound traffic lane on SPR only begins at Mayfield Common. Early analysis suggests this could have a positive impact on congestion. The additional question we will have to answer is how does it compare to the other options. If it is comparable to the other options, this would likely be the way to go as there would be no additional land acquisition and it would save us $100-$200 million dollars.
During the LRT Network Expansion Plan I put forward a motion (item 6.6) to have the detailed analysis of that option also come forward as part of the March 21st discussion. We have preliminary design work that provides two possibilities for the one-way option down SPR. While I wait for detailed design work, I am optimistic that a balanced approach can provide accessibility for business owners, commuters, and citizens actively enjoying the area.
This additional information and recommendations for both 149 Street and 156 Street will be included in our Valley Line West LRT Crossing Assessments and Concept Plan Amendments report, which will be presented to City Council on March 21st. The meeting Agenda and Reports will be available on the afternoon of Thursday March 15, 2018. I look forward to exploring all options utilizing the information from this report. It is crucial that council does our due diligence before making key decisions regarding our transit network plan.
Everyone is welcome to attend the to City Council Public Hearing on March 21st and for those wishing to speak, you can do so by calling the City Clerk’s office at (780) 496-8178 or register online.
For more detailed information and my thoughts on the West Valley Line LRT, please refer to my previous posts on transportation. As always, I appreciate your feedback so feel free to contact me anytime to discuss your thoughts.
Written by A.Knack and K. Machin