Asking Questions about The Way We Move

It’s been said – and rightly so – that no city can build its way out of congestion.

I would hazard a guess, though, that those of you who have noticed the sheer volume of construction taking place on city streets might wonder if we’re not attempting to do just that!

While it is certainly true that we have been spending a lot of time and effort on improving our transportation infrastructure, I assure you that it is all part of a much larger vision.

Given the impact of a booming population and the resulting strain on our current system, the City has developed plans to deal with the issue. The Way Ahead, the overall strategic plan and The Way We Move, specifically addressing transportation issues, have led us to one conclusion: we must find a way to move people, as well as goods and services, around the city more effectively and more efficiently.

A big piece of the puzzle involves shifting modes of transportation. This means getting away from the use of single passenger vehicles (costly in terms of wear on roads, time and environment) and creating a system where commuters make better use of public transit, carpooling, biking and walking.

We are trying to make this possible by expanding the LRT system into residential areas, creating dedicated transit lanes and improving bus service, and creating a network for cyclists and pedestrians.

Century Park Station

What else, though, could we do to shift the way people think about transportation in Edmonton? How can we better encourage the use of alternate modes so we can reduce congestion, create a sustainable transportation system and in the end, improve the quality of life for all Edmontonians?

Winter Walk

I want hear your thoughts and ideas! I will be responding to your questions and discussion points directly here on the blog from November 3 at 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on November 4. Looking forward to the conversation.

UPDATE: Thank you for the great response. I’m doing my best to answer all your questions. The dedicated Q&A portion has come to a close, but stay tuned because some of your questions and comments will become the subject of future blog posts.

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About the Author
Bob Boutilier
Bob Boutilier has a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Engineering from the Royal Military College in Kingston. His experience includes 22 years with the military and working with Toronto's Transit Commission before becoming the General Manager of Transportation with the City of Edmonton in 2007.
82 Comments
  1. […] ETS boss Bob Boutilier is hosting a Q&A on the Transforming Edmonton blog: #yeg #yegtransit transformingedmonton.ca/index.php/2010/11/02/asking-questions-about-the-way-we-move/ – view page – cached Tweets about this link […]

  2. Daniel
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for doing this.

    I would like to inquire with you about future/present LRT Stations and their respective park’n’rides. Why is Transportation still planning for small park’n’ride facilities at the end of the line? (elaboration below)

    If the intention is to get people using the LRT in the long-run, why would the City and the Transportation Department keep planning for small parking facilities at the ends of the LRT lines? If we look at the ends of the lines LRT lines (Century Park & Clareview) the parking facilities are greatly insufficient. What happens is once the parking facilities are full, then people either park in private parking around the station (property manager for Boston Pizza at Century park says they get 50-60 cars a day parked in their parking and it is a similar scenario up in Clareview).

    Either that, or people just end up driving after all. The same is true at the park’n’ride in Sherwood Park for the express transit to downtown/UofA (I used to do it myself…;) ) where people park in front of businesses, up and down public roads and in the residential neighborhood simply because the County didn’t build the parkade high enough. Given the nature of the end of the line, it’s critical to plan for lots of parking (build up if space is limited and factor that into LRT capital costs) because the end of the line draws on all kinds of people that don’t get efficient transit access.

    The reason for this question is I’ve notived the trend is being continued with the planned Lewis Estates LRT station where it has between 350-800 planned stalls. That site will draw from Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, the southwest, the deep west, the country folks, and of course the Lewis Estates/Grange/Secord and all the residential neighborhoods around there as well. That site needs at least 3,000 stalls realistically, if we want to divert all people to the LRT in the long run. Why that this not be planned? People just won’t take ETS to the LRT station if it adds another 10-30 minutes to their commute which is realistically what will happen. Why doesn’t Transportation plan based on reality, rather than on theory?

    Regards,
    Daniel

  3. Daniella
    6 years ago

    I agree with above commenter Daniel. The vast majority of people drive to the LRT station. I do this. Bus service from deep within residential areas is vastly insufficient for people to take a bus to the LRT station, in most places. Even if this improves in the future, many people will continue to opt for parking at the LRT because it is more convenient, and lends itself to a busy lifestyle (get off the LRT, jump in your car, and run errands, etc. on the way home).

    We need more parking spaces. It’s evident now, and as the LRT expands and more and more people start to see it as a viable option for their transportation needs, we will need even more parking spaces. If we know this already, we aren’t we planning for it sufficiently?

    Another thing to address: bike lanes. Especially in high-traffic areas, where riding on the road is downright scary.

    Thanks so much for soliciting and responding to questions.

  4. Kristin
    6 years ago

    Edmonton really needs more bike lanes/multi use corridors. Right now I commute to the far west end of the city from downtown and there isn’t a single route for cyclists. I ride on the street, but I am a seasoned bike commuter, if I was a new to the city I’d be terrified to try that, and the way it is set up certainly doesn’t encourage cycling.

    In addition, it seems all the buses from the center of the city terminate at Jasper Place – when the routes were originally introduced I’m sure this was sufficient, but now the city extends far beyond Jasper Place, right out to the Henday. Having to get off a west traveling bus and transfer to a different west traveling bus is extremely inefficient. Current routes that terminate at Jasper Place (7 and 3 and 120 come to mind) should continue to at least the Wal-Mart at the far west end of the city.

    The city’s current attitude seems to be “wait until there is so much demand we’re forced to adapt by tacking on ad-hoc and poorly thought out kludges” rather than “build it and they will come” to bikes and buses.

  5. Darren Proulx
    6 years ago

    Hello Bob,

    Why does ETS tend to design bus routes that meander through neighbourhoods? Has ETS considered replacing or supplementing these routes with high frequency direct routes between stations. For example you could have 3 bus routes that leave clareview station and arrive at north gate station. One route could go down 144th ave, 137th ave, and 153th ave. If ETS has considered these options, what is the reasoning for discrediting direct routes? I know I personally wouldn’t mind walking a few blocks for a high frequency direct bus route.

    Another concern that I have is that I used the 181 and 381 routes to clareview station and in many cases my bus would arrive right when the train was departing the LRT station. This becomes irritating especially at night time when the next train comes in 15 minutes. I have complained about this numerous times, and the problem has not been fixed. My question for you is how are bus schedules designed, and can transfer times be more closely scrutinized?

    Another concern I have is with with the LRT operators disembarking the train at the employee platform at the maintenance yards. I realize that this is convenient for operations, however this is not convenient for passengers, as I have missed my transfer due to this. Has ETS considered alternatives involving the operator disembarking at clareview, and transfering possibly with a bus route that would go by the yards?

    My last concern is in regards to late night transit. I believe that the 5 hours that ETS service is not offered could be easily serviced with hourly(even half hour) route frequencies that travel directly between ETS stations. This way people can at least get somewhere in the city in the late/early hours if they don’t have a car or money for a cab. What is the reasoning for not offering late night service?

    Also what plans are there to designate dedicated bike paths sooner rather than later? Bike infrastructure is severely lacking and dedicated lanes are needed in order to ensure safety as I know I have been almost hit by vehicles due to their ignorance.

    Thank you for your time.

    Darren Proulx

  6. Mike Brink
    6 years ago

    HI Bob.

    Two questions:

    Has the city considered supporting a car-sharing program company like Zipcar with a similar amount as the car-pooling web site the city supported a couple years ago? It’s one think that’s missing from our current transportation tool box, and one that would help a lot more people to avoid owning a car or a second car. Providing parking spots in city lots or even on the street to a car-share operator would be a great low cost way to support development of this option in Edmonton.

    Has the City considered redesigning the ETS system to eliminate the transit centres and timed transfer system, at least in mature areas? With more and more LRT stations, many will be well placed to intercept one or two buses, and LRT doesn’t time-transfer anyway, while the vase majority of riders transfer to the LRT, not to other buses. Without long layovers for timed transfers, buses would be faster and more efficient (fewer buses could provide the same frequency), and the land that transit centres currently occupy could be redeveloped. Kingsway transit centre, which is planned for a total rebuild, is one that could be eliminated with little loss. I notice that there are lots of buses that are already disconnected from timed transfers on major routes. I live on the tail end of the #8 where there is a bus every 7 minutes, so half of them don’t meet the timed transfers, but that’s OK since everyone wants the LRT anyway.

  7. Nicholas Wickenden
    6 years ago

    Dear Bob,

    This may not be the best place for the following comment, but it’s
    the only e-mail address I could find, and perhaps you would be
    kind enough to forward the message to whoever should receive it.

    I’ve been noticing announcements of “disruption” of LRT services
    due to engineering works. That sounds pretty serious.

    Reading further, I find that all that is happening is a reduction of
    service to a 20-minute headway during specific hours. Hardly
    cause for alarm.

    “Curtailment” could well be the word you want. There are various
    other ways to rephrase the announcement to convey what’s
    actually going on.

    Might I encourage your announcement writer to recheck his/her
    dictionary and choose the wording that works best?

    A small point in relation to an admirably run system that I use
    regularly with gratitude to all who keep it going (well, most of it;
    the escalators do seem to break down rather often, but that’s
    another question).

    Thanks for your assistance,

    Nicholas

  8. Anon
    6 years ago

    Have you ever considered something like the U-Pass but for everyone in the city? Give every tax-paying Edmontonian a bus pass (yes an increase in taxes but most people who can’t afford the raise already take public transit and spend that money on passes anyways).

    Considering the huge success of the U-pass with the University of Alberta, Grant MacEwan, and NAIT; it seems like it would be a great idea. Most students now take transit even when they could drive because they are paying for transit anyways, why wouldn’t Edmontonians think the same way?

    Instead of having ETS lose money, only making part of the money back through fares, why not have the entire city pay for a pass, so people aren’t struggling to afford transit tickets. Part of what makes the U-pass so great is the idea that everyone pays for it, reducing the cost, making it affordable for everyone!

    Just a thought.

  9. Christine
    6 years ago

    Dear Bob,
    My question is in regards to the new transit center on 17th st. I live in that area and I am perplexed as to why there are no buses from my area to that new transit center. Currently I have to go to Millgate then on to downtown. Since I am only 5 minutes away from that new terminal, I am perplexed as to why there are no routes that go there. How are new routes planned and rolled out?

  10. Zenovia
    6 years ago

    One of the biggest reasons that our family does not use the transit system regularly is because it takes FOREVER to get somewhere. I was absolutely thrilled when we went to Europe this summer and were able to get around the City of Barcelona within 15-20 minutes. The same could be said in Holland, although Amsterdam is much smaller than Edmonton. Amsterdam however , is a great place to see how bicycles are used. A city of 1 million people own 1.5 million bikes and they have totally dedicated bike lanes everywhere. That being said, I once needed my kids to take a bus to school. The school was straight down the avenue and is a 7 minute morning drive. The bus required a transfer and would have taken 40 minutes???? Also, the total cost for three of us was around $7.00. This is not efficient and this is why on those few days that this happened (my vehicle was out of commission) I called a taxi. 7 minutes, 8 dollars. The extra money was worth it not to use transit.

    So, firstly, expand LRT and underground options. Second, dedicated bike lanes and parking for bicycles at LRT stations and lastly, buses from the residential areas to the LRT stops that you don’t have to wait 45 minutes for. I use my vehicle because transit is too frustrating and time consuming.

  11. Scott Matheson
    6 years ago

    Hi Mr. Boutilier,

    Only one question!

    1. Late-night service. Each additional hour of late-night transit service means nearly 10% fewer impaired driving charges, according to a recent Cornell study. (EPS spends a lot of officer-hours on impaired cases: there were nearly 6,000 impaired charges or suspensions in 2008– a 10 or 20% reduction would be a big savings for the City.) When your department reports to Council on service expansions, do you include these kinds of benefits? If not, why not?

    2. Compliments: releasing transit data to Google Maps was a great idea; the recent LRT planning reports to Council have been thoughtful and well-designed; you’ve been doing a great job trying to keep the master plan in pace with the developments re: the airport, the arena, &c, without wading into any of the political battles. Keep up the good work. Thanks!

    -scott matheson

  12. John K
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob,
    What is the total estimated cost of the West LRT, Downtown Connector, and SE LRT line including property acquisition, engineering, construction, fleet costs, and the new maintenance facility?

    Do you realistically expect the federal and provincial governments to pick up two-thirds of the total cost especially with the federal stimulus program ending and the bulk of Green TRIP funding going to the NAIT line extension?

  13. James
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob,

    I am just wonder why transit centers which are not services by the LRT are not instead serviced by express buses? I think it would be a much more efficient way to connect areas that do not yet have an LRT (primarily on an E/W axis). I would like to see buses that proceed E/W and stop only at transit centers and connect to the LRT network. I think it is a huge mistake that the biggest tourist destination in the City (WEM) is the hardest point to get to on ETS. I think this express service should run the full length of ETS operating hours at the frequency of the LRT.

  14. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    LRT Parking Lots (Daniel) –
    Having small parking lots at the end of LRT lines is a bad idea for the reasons you stated. The objective is to encourage people who travel into the City to get out of their cars at the outer boundary & onto the public transit system.
    The current parking lots at Century Park, Clareview, etc meet some of the demand for this option; however, they are not intended to be major facilities. Regional Transit parking lots (approximately 2500 parking stalls) are being planned for the Transporation Utility Corridor (TUC) provincial lands adjacent to the Anthony Henday Drive. For example, Heritage Valley in the south side of the City & a location near St Albert are sites in the TUC for Regional facilities. However, there is still a need for some smaller sites within the City for residents who still prefer to use a car for part of their journey. As bus service improves (frequency, routing, etc), these citizens may shift to public transit at their doorstep & reduce the need for this form of parking.

  15. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    LRT Parking & Bike Lanes (Daniella) –
    Your comments support the views of Daniel on parking. Until all aspects of public transit are at a level to meet the expectations of users (frequency, routing, etc), some will choose to use the car for part of the daily commute. In planning the LRT, the intent is to locate Regional Transit parking lots at major entry points into the City.
    When the complete LRT network is finished, those lots (2500+ parking spaces) will be in place.
    I use the bus (5-minute) ride & the LRT (15-minute) ride everday for my commute. I do not drive a car to work, ever. However, I can understand the need for people to have control over their travel time. The residential LRT parking lots (600-1200 parking spaces) can provide some of the convenience that you mention for non-daily commute needs. However, the larger Regional lots are needed for those who regularly commute to / from work in the City.

    The City has an Active Transportation Plan that includes cycling. My wife & I are recreational riders in our neighbourhood. We also are not willing to travel on major collector or arterial roads due to the hazards of heavy traffic & the actions of a few bad drivers. The current focus is to develop as much off-road trail capability as possible for bikers & walkers. However, it is becoming evident that connecting the entire bike network in the City will require bike lanes on some streets.

  16. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Bike Lanes & Bus Service (Kristin) –
    You are correct that is significant room for improvement in the cycling options in the City. The Active Transportation Plan does show what has to be done & how it can be accomplished. The issue is timing & finances. As new LRT lines are built, road rehabilitation conducted & new residential areas approved, trail systems for bikers & walkers are being added.

    It is unfortunate that the way some things are resolved gives the impression that the City is waiting until a problem exists rather than being proactive to prevent it. A good example is the state of the neighbourhoods. A lack of funding & focus on keeping them in a good-state-of-repair now requires major rehabilitation projects in order to catch up. Currently, the overall condition is continuing to fall even with the recent work. It will be several years before we hit a point where the rate of deterioration is offest by the reconstruction & funding is adequate to meet this need.
    In the case of the LRT, the City is trying to do what you said – build it & they will come. Century Park LRT is a good example when the usage went to packed trains & a full parking lot within weeks of opening.

  17. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    $3.4B capital budget for the LRT project (Lewis Estates to Mill Woods)

    Within the Provincial Green TRIP Fund, there is still several hundred million dollars remaining that is expected to be directed to the Edmonton LRT network in additon to the NAIT contribution. As well, the Federal government has contributed to other rail transit systems in Canada (Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver) prior to the sitmulus funding program. The current contribution of $75M towards the $625M cost of NAIT is a good start but there is obviously room for more, especially when you view the funds going to other major Canadian cities.

    Staff were directed to prepare the plan & explain how it could be done. Negotiations for funding from other levels of government was a political question that I am unable to answer. There have been statements made by prominent politicians at all levels of governments in support of public transit.

  18. David
    6 years ago

    Eliminating Bottle Necks:

    One of my pet peeves is the presence of three parking meters at the nearside of 100 Street/102 Avenue EB. When parking is allowed at these meters all traffic has only one lane to either proceed EB or make a right turn. As there are numerous buses having to turn right to go south on McDougall Hill, and there are often pedestrian stragglers crossing at the crosswalk, all other EB traffic is blocked until right turning vehicles have made the turn. If those parking meters were eliminated then the curb lane can function as a right turn lane freeing up the other lane for vehicles continuing EB. This is but one example of bottle necks within the city that could quickly be resolved. I welcome your thoughts.

  19. Leendert van den Berg
    6 years ago

    To previous posters Daniel and Daniella with questions about limited park-and-ride: although only a small minority of LRT riders drive to LRT stations and use park and ride, we are currently subsidizing these users to the tune of $500 to $1000 per parking stall per year. Construction of a parkade has a capital cost of roughly $30,000 per stall. This money must come from somewhere, and currently comes at a cost of reduced transit service. At a minimum, we should be operating these lots on a cost-recovery basis.
    Bob, are you in favour of some form of cost recovery for park-and-ride facilities?

    Over the past few years, the city administration has advocated for further LRT expansion toward Heritage Valley and Gorman, which are planned to include large park-and-ride lots. A significant portion of this infrastructure at the edge of the city is more beneficial for the surrounding communities than for residents of Edmonton.
    What motivates the city transportation department to favour LRT construction at the fringe of the city, rather than expansion of LRT closer to the city core? Does this type of development ingratiate Edmonton with provincial funding decisions makers or are there other reasons?
    One of the arguments that I have come across for building the extensions onto the existing LRT line is to provide an opportunity for the city to build new walkable TOD communities.
    Do you believe that a TOD meshes with large surface parking lots surrounding stations?
    Would you consider the area surrounding Clareview station a TOD success or would you have done things differently if you were in charge at the time?
    Would you agree that providing large surface parking lots at LRT stations actually encourages the development of more neighbourhoods that are car dependent?

  20. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Yes, there was some interest in a Zipcar-type of program involving a major educational insitution. However, the City’s focus has remained with the carpool initiative that will be renewed for several more years due to the success.

    Future parking initiatives to encourage better choices may involve the creation of special no-cost spaces for SMART cars (small) & motorcycle / scooters.

    As the LRT netowrk expands, the feeder bus routes are being adjusted. Given the LRT routing, it is possible that the number “waiting” buses will be reduced when the LRT covers those areas. I have the experience of waiting up to 15 minutes for my bus departure in the PM peak at Century Park LRT station. However, I plan this time to cover disruptions & ensure that I make my connection. In this case, I have only one bus choice.

    As part of the NAIT LRT plan, the Kingsway Bus Transit Centre will be moved to a site adjacent to the new Kingsway / Royal Alex LRT station. This provides diect access across the two modes of public transit.

  21. Gerald
    6 years ago

    Hello Bob,
    Why does the city not prioritize the south connector line through Old Strathcona? It is an existing TOD, and would have a large ridership especially during regular down times (evenings and weekends). I understand that the city is using the LRT to redevelop neighborhoods, but a balance between redeveloping neighborhoods and taking the LRT to an area that is already hugely popular would seem a better compromise.

  22. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Response was provided below on the blog site.

  23. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    See below on blog site for response.

  24. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    My response is later on this blog site.

  25. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Good points on communications that will be passed to those who prepare the announcements. (Right Ben?)

    Much of the work that has caused “curtailment” is a result of improvements to the entire LRT line. An elctrificaiton upgrade is being competed on the northeast line to enable 5-car trains. We are currently limited to a mix of 3- & 4-car trains. As well, stimulus funding from the Federal government is allowing for the signal upgrades on the same line for 5-car trains & the expansion at stations on the south line to handle 5-car trains. By the end of March 2011, the entire line is capable of handing 5-car trains at all times. Unfortuantely, the City does not have sufficient cars to achieve this level of service during peak-hour operations until new cars arrive in 2012. However, off-peak service for special events can be supported with 5-car trains.

    The escalators bug me whenever they fail, usually for me at Century Park LRT during rush-hour. My blackberry has key-stress from the rapid messages that I send to the staff who get these things fixed. Yes, we are working on a better way to get the failure rate reduced & response times improved.

  26. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Yes, the U-Pass has been a major success. However, as you stated, expanding any discount program does result in further pressure on the tax rate to cover the operating costs of ETS or other City service that usually collects a fee (recreation centers, libraies, etc).

    At this point, there is no plan to expand programs such as the U-Pass to all citizens. However, in the future, there are options for providing some relief. With a smart card for public transit, riders can benefit from variable rates (time of day, day of the week, etc) or loyalty plans where a free ride is a reward after a certain level of usage.

  27. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    I had the same experience when I used the subway system in Toronto everyday for my work commute & travel to shows, games, etc. My car sat in an underground residential parking lot for 10 years with little use except for travel outside Toronto. I wish more people had your experience of how a shift in transportaiton choices does occur if you build it right.

    Over 30 years ago, Edmonton was a leader in LRT in North America. But there was an abrupt stop. Calgary continued to expand resulting in that City having 4 times the track, equipment & ridership associated with the LRT.

    I am lucky that I live on a bus route that requires a 5-minute commute to the Century Lark LRT station. However, I do know the other frustration when missing a late day return bus trip from the LRT station that csuses me to wait 30 minutes for the next bus.

    Changes are occuring with the expansiion of the LRT & better feeder bus services to the stations. The plans are ready & the need is being supported by the public.

  28. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    I have never seen the information that you provided.

    I will use it in future submissions. Staff (Ben) will get the details.

    There is support for late-night service to cover everything from major events to late night entertainment travel to people travelling on nights shits. However, it continues to be a cost issue.

  29. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    The selection of a route for the entire LRT line considers a number of issues (travel time, land-use, costs, environment, etc). Thus, local benefits may be offset by the overall impact on the line. In this case, staff did ridership projections, construction scenarios, travel times, etc along a number of alternative routes including Strathcona. In the end, the best overall corridor was the one that was recommended to Council.

    While the southeast LRT line did not pass through the Srathcona business area, future plans included a connection that would provide a ciculation route covering the downtown core & an east-west route through Strathcona. Staff realized that the future expanded City core included the downtown, university / hospital district & Strathcona area.

  30. Rob McLauchlin
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob,
    I went to the meeting yesterday on plans for the downtown section of the LRT. I was surprised to find that the location of the easternmost station downtown had already been determined, apparently as part of the southeast planning process. I attended a meeting of the Riverdale Community League on Monday, Nov. 1 and no one present, including League President Bill Moore-Kilgannon had any idea of plans for the easternmost downtown station. The only way we even found that planning was going on was when I asked a member of a drilling crew at the foot of 95 Street who was doing preliminary site exploration.
    There needs to be more discussion of the location of this LRT station, with the people involved.

  31. Jodine Chase
    6 years ago

    I attended the open house last night for the downtown connector line and was surprised and frustrated to realize the Quarters station site has already been chosen. I understand the recommended site was the only one presented at recent statekholder meetings held with downtown groups to review other proposed station sites.

    The Quarters station is at the very western edge of the Quarters development in the area planned for lower density mixed housing and commercial. The site is one block from the Winspear entrance to the Churchill LRT. The high-density portion of the Quarters is at 95 and Jasper and east and I believe it is short-sighted to locate the Quarters station where it is currently planned. I also believe the consultation on this station site has been completely inadequate.

    I live half a block from where the SE LRT is planned to be underground at 95 St. and Cameron Avenue, and I don’t think our community has been adequately involved in planning or consultation. I don’t think our community has been formally involve at all. Worse, SE LRT consultation document illustrations for the Sept. 14 meetings announced on your website on Sept. 9, specifically excluded this portion of the line from the area to be discussed. (Frame 14 of the presentation)

    I am asking transit and Quarters district planners to please conduct adequate consultation with stakeholders affected by the portion of the LRT line that is between 97 St. and the river. This would include the community of Riverdale, the residents of apartments, housing coops and condos directly on the LRT line (most of whom are within Riverdale’s community boundaries), the two church congregations at 95 St. and Grierson Hill, and especially the property owners and residents of the two properties identified as required for this project.

    I also would like to see detailed plans for how vehicle, bike, bus and pedestrian traffic disruption is going to be managed when the intersections of 95 St. and Grierson Hill, 95 St. and Rowland Road, and 95 St. and Jasper Avenue are torn up for the underground portion of this project.

  32. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Agreed, curtailment isn’t the best word choice. Our future announcements will use more casual language to improve the readability. Thanks for your comments Nicholas.

  33. TJ
    6 years ago

    Hey Bob,
    What are the plans for the Gorman LRT extension and the addition of another Park and Ride lot? I thought this was ready for implementation until funds got transferred to the NAIT line? There is a lot of expansion and development going on in the North East of Edmonton and i think that it would be viable for the city to accelerate on getting this line up and running. I use the Clareview Park and Ride daily and if i do not show up by 7:45 am i do not get a spot. I think that’s ridicules, however with the addition of the Gorman line, i believe this problem can resolve itself if a big enough park and lot is built. By the way, what size of lot is projected to be built at the Gorman location?
    Thanks for doing this!

  34. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the link Scott. I’ll flag this report for the appropriate people here in Transportation so we can read through it.

  35. Mark
    6 years ago

    I often travel 97 St (111 – 118 Ave) and enjoy the beautiful elms. Damage to the median trees from road salts deposited during snow clearing is obviously greater than to boulevard trees – can this be minimised?
    Can curbs could be built in a way that reduces snow load on soil?
    Thanks for considering this,

  36. 6 years ago

    Hmm, I obviously need to brush up on html… Here’s what I meant to write:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for taking on this forum.

    I’d like to ask you about the Administration’s plans for the 2009 Bicycle Transportation Plan [http://www.edmonton.ca/transportation/cycling_walking/bicycle-transportation-plan.aspx] implementation.

    Last year, Council voted in favour of getting the Transportation Department to prepare the 2011 – 2022 Capital Priorities Plan with a guideline of 5% of the Transportation Capital Budget (not including LRT) toward Active Transportation Projects (cycling, walking, skateboarding, inline skating, etc.). The planned network of on-street cycling facilities would comprise of “400 km of routes in a grid with approximately 3.2 km spacing, so that cyclists are never more than a 5 minute bike ride from a route. These on-street cycling routes will include a variety of facility types, including bike lanes, shared-use pathways, and sharrows” (Transportation Master Plan Progress Measures [http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_wide_initiatives/implementing-the-transportation-master-plan.aspx], p. 18 ).

    As of June 2010, the TMP Progress Report stated that “while none of the network is yet built, significant construction is anticipated for 2010” (p.18).

    Can you give an update on any progress over the past 4 months? What additions can cyclists expect to see by this time next year?

    Anna Vesala
    Executive Director
    Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society
    http://www.edmontonbikes.ca

  37. 6 years ago

    I think it’s great that the LRT has finally become a priority in this city. By my understanding, a significant portion of the south LRT budget (I think I heard 30%) was devoted to relocating existing infrastructure. As the city inevitably grows, the roads that are being constructed at the outskirts today will one day be part of central Edmonton. What is being done in the planning of new neighbourhoods to ensure that we won’t have to spend significant amounts of money tearing down what is being built today when these areas grow enough to merit rapid transit connections of their own?

    Secondly, is the city interested in reopening the subject of a high-speed rail link with Calgary in the wake of the City Centre Airport closure?

    Thanks for your transparency in addressing us directly.

    Mikkel Paulson
    Leader
    Pirate Party of Canada

  38. Peter Nietresta
    6 years ago

    Bob, I find providing routine feedback to ETS to be ineffective. Seems like you never know if someone got the message! Anyways…..can ETS get Transportation to re-time the light at 23 Ave and 111St eastbound to provide an advance green to traffic turning left onto 111st? Buses going into Century Park often have to wait for a few light changes and this causes delays and frustration. There is often just enough traffic going west to not allow for smooth turns into Century Park but there is not enough traffic to make an advance green problematic for westbound traffic.

  39. Peter Nietresta
    6 years ago

    One more point after having read the blog above. Calgary is moving toward reducing the size of some of their park and ride lots to encourage TOD sites. I think it is a mistake to provide acres of “free” parking that takes away opportunities for high density development adjacent to LRT stations. Have some parking around LRT stations but charge for these stalls and provide efficient feeder service on ETS. We must also get cracking on bike lanes…there is a plan but execution did not really happen this summer. City staff at the LRT connector meeting also indicated that dedicated bike lanes on ALL of 102 Ave IN BOTH directions were not part of the plan – this is a problem since 102 Ave is identified as the main E/W cycling corridor downtown.

  40. Emma
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for providing this opportunity. My question is about Public Transit here in Edmonton. I will begin by describing my last two experiences with ETS.
    The last time I took the bus, I was trying to board one of three buses on the outskirts of west downtown, but had to wait until a bus that had enough room on it arrived- resulting in a cramped commute, and my arriving late to work.
    The last time I took the LRT-was to an eskimos game. I caught the LRT from the Corona station to the Stadium station. The LRT was pretty full, and all of the riders from the Corona Station filled it right up. This resulted in all of the riders from the Bay, Central and Churchill Stations to not being able to board.
    While this is currently frustrating, it provides a great opportunity to show potential users that this is a feasible way to get around, and perhaps increase their frequency of use of Public Transit here in Edmonton. If left as is, I am sure that these potential users will get themselves to their destinations without considering public transit as an option any further.
    So, my question is- are capacity issues/ opportunities being looked at, identified and improved?

    Much Thanks,

    Emma

  41. John K
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob,
    Mayor Mandel said during the election that the SE LRT could be built for $850 million (a figure confirmed by the Transportation Department).

    Does this mean it will cost $2.55 billion (the balance of the total $3.4 billion you cited above) to build what is in essence an urban street car line from Lewis Estates to Churchill Station?
    If so, why not go back to the previous plan of building a high speed transit line from Lewis Estates down 87 Avenue directly connecting to the existing line south of Health Sciences Station?
    Wouldn’t using the existing subway for West LRT avoid the need for duplicating expensive (and disruptive) rail infrastructure in the downtown?

    Finally, why not keep the SE LRT line underground in a cut and cover tunnel and have it terminate south of the Winspear where it could directly connect to the Churchill Station concourse level and the pedway network? Doing this would also avoid disrupting the Quarters Downtown plan as other posters have mentioned.

  42. Amedeo
    6 years ago

    Hi Bob. Thanks for taking the time to respond to comments this way.

    For a city that has seen as much sprawl as Edmonton, wouldn’t it make sense to impose a geographic boundary on new transit development? For example, if you declared a 40 year moratorium on bus and LRT line extensions beyond those already planned, and the city was willing to raise property taxes on any new developments outside of those areas, wouldn’t that a) allow you to concentrate the funds you’re already allotted on improving and increasing efficiency in the giant area you’re already servicing, and b) be a serious deterrent to further highly wasteful sprawl?

  43. 6 years ago

    Hi Bob,

    A lot of the new LRT development plans that I’ve seen, as well as the south extension, have put multiuse trails as an “optional, if it fits easily” piece of infrastructure.

    They terminate before the destination (the south extension trail stops at University Ave, dropping cyclists onto 114 St to make their way the rest of the way to campus, and the NAIT extension looks like it does a similar thing).

    They also zigzag back and forth across the train line. The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society has received numerous complaints about this. It’s similar to directing drivers to drive down residential roads that repeated cross the LRT line. It’s not a reasonable route for actually moving from one area of the city to another.

    Given that the LRT is a multi-billion dollar, long-term investment, it makes sense to spend the extra effort (and, if necessary, the small, extra cost) to do it right, and make an effective, contiguous multiuse trail.

    Otherwise many cyclists will abandon the trail (e.g. along the south extension), and just ride on the arterial roads, and we end up with underutilized trails, and neither car drivers nor cyclists are particularly pleased with the results.

    Can trails with rails be made into a much higher priority?

    Regards,
    Chris Chan
    President
    Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society

  44. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    You are absolutely correct about the need to stop the sprawl. In some ways that magic boundary is being created by the work of the Capital Region Board (membership of 25 municipalities including Edmonton) around urban centers where densities are expected to grow. The municipal services such as transit, water, waste, etc can be more efficiently used in these high concentration areas.

    I agree that LRT cannot go everywhere & there is a limit on the length of an LRT ride. At some point local commuter rail or intermunicipal bus service must bring people into the LRT system with funding support from other areas. The City’s principle is to build the LRT in advance of these “dedicated” urban centers or Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) inside Edmonton so that the transportation link is in place as an inducement for the developers to focus on these areas & increase the pace of smart / sustainable development.

    Some developers share your view about financing public transit in new developments. They provide full funding for up to two years for peak-hour service as an attraction for people to buy in the new neighbourhoods & to begin the growth of the user-base.

  45. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    You have hit the most significant barriers to the current LRT expansion plan – how do you deal with existing infrastructure (underground utilities, civic buildings, etc) & mature neighbourhoods?

    Over 30 years ago, Edmonton was the leader in LRT in North America. But there was a suddent stop as the northeast line for the Commonwealth Games was the last spike. Even though construction was stopped, planning did not continue to define LRT corridors & protect property. Calgary never stopped which resulted in four times the LRT capacity as Edmonton today.

    To avoid a repeat, the City has identified all the LRT corridors that the City would need out to 2040. There are still a few more Council meetings & debates to resolve the details on the routes (property impact, road modificaitons, etc) but the plans are proceeding, This means that the City can protect property, adjust development proposals, etc in order to reduce the need for expensive “relocation of existing infrastructure”. Some people ask why we plan something now when it will not be built for many years. As you identified, in this case, it is important to have the plans in place to make land-use decisions now that save money & disruptions later.

    High-speed rail remains open as the Province is stil very interested. As part of the LRT plan, City staff are working with the Province to ensure that the terminal station in the City enables passengers to have direct access to an LRT station ( as in Toronto between GO trains & TTC subway at Union Station).

  46. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Snow removal is a major issue for all citizens & represents over $50 million in annual costs. As part of the Way We Green initiative & a long-standing goal to be an environmental leader, the City has adopted a salt diet on the roads. While there is still a need to address specific areas with salt, the use is very restricted. Sanding is the preferred option. The City continues to refine the mix of sand & salt, & to select the best “granular design of sand / gravel” for use on the streets. In addition, over 50% of the material dropped on the roads in the winter is recycled at a local world-class facility where it is treated & put back into the City piles for the following year.

    Unfortunately, the snow removal causes the City to use right-of-way areas including grass. Thus, the load of snow & the dirty mix of gravel will continue to haunt some grass areas. Crews try to fix damaged areas in the Spring.

    I will pass your comments to my staff & the Parks Department (Ben will send) concerning the elms to determine what preventive actions can be taken. Trees are an important part of the City’s commitment to the environment.

  47. Roberta
    6 years ago

    Multi-use trails are not the be-all and end-all of transportation cycling in Edmonton. We need to also concentrate on giving greater priority to cycling as a transportation form – and not necessarily through bike lanes, either, which have their own well-known and often fatal inadequacies. Some low cost, immediate suggestions:
    a. reducing the speed of vehicular traffic. Speed limits of 30 k m/hr in residential areas and 40 km/hr on arterials would significantly improve safety, plus also make cycling more time-competitive to driving
    b. identifying and allowing better connections between the many many fragmented cycling routes in the city (trails and otherwise)
    c. enforcing traffic laws for cyclists and motorists especially regarding yielding and safe passing
    d. requiring all commercial areas to supply safe and adequate bike parking for both customers and employees (not in the same place, preferably)
    e. reiterating the message that roads are for more than cars.
    f. educating drivers, pedestrians and cyclists about the laws on sidewalk cycling, overtaking, and jaywalking
    g. supporting cycling education – starting with the employees of the transportation department

  48. Frank
    6 years ago

    It is really a frustration to see all the dirt (instead of sand) that are put on the road every winter. It gives the City a dirty appearance until they are cleaned off the roads in April/May. Can we not use clean sand that can be recycled instead?

  49. Calvin
    6 years ago

    Edmonton would have to be rebuilt in order for this to be possible. Look at other great cities with their systems already in place, because they were thinking about the future ahead of time! Underground/overheads is where its at and yeah a rail system that covers the whole city, not just one major route dead center that covers W-E, N-S…

    Sorry, but Edmonton is a lost cause.

  50. Jodine Chase
    6 years ago

    Are you still responding to comments and questions, Bob? I’m disappointed that there hasn’t been a response yet to the concerns expressed about the Quarters LRT stop and concerns about construction between there and the river.

  51. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Yes, my intent is to respond to all inquiries. Yesterday created some other challenges.

  52. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Sorry to hear your view of the situation. You are correct that a focus on public transit 30 years age would have eliminated many of the challenges that exist today. However, credit does go to the early Edmonton LRT planners & Council who decided to at least put the LRT underground in the downtown core while other cities stayed above ground. It is interesting to note that Calgary must now look at a tunnel option for the downtown core as the continued expansion of the system in that City cannot be addressed by the existing surface route.

    In both the West & Southeast LRT routes, you will see the use of tunnels & elevated structures in order to deal with unique challenges – railway crossings, major roadways, etc. However, the focus is on the least expensive option of staying on the surface to get more track out of a limited budget.

    The route selecton through the city centre reflected the projected needs of public transit to get people to the City core, hospital, educational instituions, etc. The decision on the routes involved public input as well as transportation & land-use studies.

    There may be challenges now that could have been avoided through work in the past but I don’t believe Edmonton is lost.

  53. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Yes, the bicycle option has often been at the back of the line after cars, trucks, public transit & sidewalks. Despite the presence of various bicycle plans over the years, cycling did not receive significant attention.

    That has changed with strong support on Council, the inclusion of cycling as part of the strategic plan (The Way We Move), more attention to green / sustainable initiatives, etc. Staff have shown me the many pieces of the trail network & identified where connections need to be made. While those improvements are being done, there is still a need to build the trail connections when new LRT lines, bridges, etc are constructed even if the connections to the rest of the cycling network are not completed.

    My wife & I are recreational bike users who enjoy the trail system near are home in Twin Brooks. We adventured to adjoining communities but you are correct that the bike signs end at points without connections. Thus, we end up back on the road system.

    As part of the improvements to the trail system, I have asked staff to consider it in terms of a transportaiton corridor. There is a need for signage that “brands” the system, identifies route names, gives distances & maps at critical points on the trail, etc. This approach also leads to defining critical bike routes that need attention during the winter months to provide options similar to public transit & major roadways that enable people to get to major destinations such as the university, downtown, work centers, etc.

    While this work continues, the only real success will be the appearance of more cycling options in 2011.

  54. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    The “dirty” snow smudge is a real problem. In addition to the material put on the road by the City in the winter, other items including garbage, dirt from vehciles, oil droppings, etc contribute to the mess.

    Unfortunately, there is a need to have the right type of product on the road to prevent skidding & assist vehicles stopping. Sand similar to what is found on clean, white beaches does not have sufficient grip to do the job. The “dirt” mix used by the City improves the surface conditions for vehciles. This is even more important as less salt is used within the City in an effort to respect the impact on the environment.

    The City recyles road material collected by the street sweepers in the Spring. Over 50% of that material is reused during the next winter season.

  55. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    You have provided a great checklist of what needs to be done to improve the cycling experience.

    The residential speed test (40 kph) is nearing the end of the year-long assessment & is going to Council in early 2011. The overall safety benefits to pedestrians, bikes, etc are questions associated with that test & are part of the Report.

    There are many disconnections. The City is working on connecting the network to create a similar approach as with arterial & collector roads. We need complete routes that enable people to get to the major destinations.

    The Office Of Traffic Safety will include the bicycle issues as part of their programs. (Ben will advise) As well, during my regular meetings with the Police Chief, I will raise the issue.

    While we can’t dictate common sense, the efforts of empoyees to educate their employer can help. The benefits of cycling – fitness, corporate image, etc – should be highlihgted.

    I recently reviewed the video at the City Web Site on biking safety that provides that message from both Transportation & EPS. Bicyles have a right to the roadway.

    I would be interested in hearing more about the education of the Transportation staff. For me, my daily commute is soley on public transit with some walking. I never drive a car. I also know that there are some very dedicated bikers in Transportation Planning.

  56. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    John I know you are very passionate about the LRT & the many engineering challenges & opportunities that exist.

    The $3.4B is an estimate for the three parts (West, Downtown & Southeast) of the single low-floor LRT line that runs from Lewis Estates to Millwoods. It includes infrastructure, land purchases, LRT trains & a maintenance facility.

    The connection downtown allows the surface level low-floor LRT Library Station to provide a direct pedway / escalator & stair connection to the high-floor LRT Churchill station. This is similar to other LRT & subway lines that cross in a network (Yonge-University-Spadina & Bloor-Danforth subway lines in Toronto).

    The issue with tunneling remains largely a cost-benefit issue. Surface travel is preferred due to reduced costs.

  57. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Although I have only experienced two “no-go” situations with packed Edmonton LRT trains during the AM peak service out of Century Park, I know from experiences during my public transit commute in Toronto that a bus “drive-by” when it is full especially in rainy / snowy weather can ruin your day.

    In 2010, ETS staff eliminated a number of non-service activities & initiated other administrative changes to create an additional $1M for bus service. Some of those changes are occuring now with full implementation by January 2011. As part of the 2011 operating budget, ETS will be seeking additional funding to increase service capacity to deal with bus crowding & frequency issues. These issues are well-known.

    I had stated that I would be happy & fearful on the first day that Century Park LRT opened – happy to see the service but fearful that we would be at capacity quickly. The parking lot (1200 stalls) was full every day within a week & full trains occured almost immediately during the AM peak hours.

    Currently, ETS is restricted to a mix of 3- & 4-car trains along the entire line. However, construction is nearing completion to create 5-car platforms along the south leg & to upgrade signals / electrification systems along the north leg. By the end of March 2011, 5-car trains will be able to run along the entire line. Unfortunately, we do not have enough cars during high-frequency peak hours to do that pending the arrival of 10 new cars in 2012. However, during special events after that date , 5-car trains will be used in off-peak hours.

  58. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the alert. I am on the bus everyday (AM & PM) on 111 Street.

    I will ensure that your message gets to the traffic control staff who assess intersection lights & timings. Buses waiting for several lights does not contribute to the image of efficient bus service. (Ben will forward)

    If things are not changed, there may be a good reason. In any case, if you do not see any change before the end of the year, contact me directly & I will update you on what is being done or not being done.

  59. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    The integration of transportation (transit) & land-use is now part of Edmonton’s future strtategy as both the Transportation & Planning&Development Departments work together on developments, major road changes, etc. In some cases the “park ‘n’ ride” lot is only a temporary use of land pending the arrival of a major building or community. These lots are not intended to block development even if it means building over the top of some of the permanent “local” lots. A fee for reserving a portion of the parking stalls is being implemented in early 2011 with the objective to at least gain revenue to cover the operating cost for the entire parking lot.

    I know part of the challenge with placing many forms of transportation on a cross-section of road is diffcult as there are minimum requirements for roads, LRT, sidewalks, bike trails, etc. Our plan calls for trails whenever possible along new road or LRT projects.

    I will re-visit the 102 Avenue issue based on your comments to ensure that nothing has been missed in the assessment. (Ben will arrange)

  60. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Preminary Engineering is almost completed. A temporary “park ‘n’ ride” lot would be considered depending on the timing of the construction. The ultimate plan is to extend the line past Gorman to get across the new Anthony Henday Road to a Regional Parking Lot what could hold over 25oo cars.

  61. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    I will have staff review your specific issues as they describe some shortcomings in your view. (Ben we need review with a response after the Blog is closed given the time constraints.)

    The City has done a lot of work to ensure adequate public consultation so I am surprised by your observations. However, I accept that you have a difference of opinion on the selection of site for the LRT station. After Ben has got the details, a response will be provided directly to you.

    I sent an earlier response about the delay; however, I have not been able to resolve issues before a response is prepared. I hope the late response will at least provide comment on each of your items.

  62. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    I will pass your comments to the public involvement team as the intent is not to surprise anyone with late or incomplete details. I will also ask staff about the status of the station given your view that there is a need for furhter consultation. (Ben arrange session.)

  63. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    I hope this late update helps.

    This is an area where options for the LRT stop are limited by technical restrictions. To position the LRT to the Southeast across the river, the LRT needs to turn and move down a steep grade to cross the river at a low enough level to reduce the impact on the river. This limits the location options for the LRT stop and the portal.

    Staff worked closely with the Quarters project. Given the technical restrictions, the location of the station has been placed as far east as possible. Vehicle access was required east of 96 Street, and vehicle access, pedestrian access, opportunities for the context of the station area were optimized to fit with the context of the Quarters plan.

    The area east of 96 Street moving south across the river is within the scope of the Southeast LRT project. There have been several public involvement opportunities for the project – and to clarify – the area east of 96 Street has been included as part of this. Though the LRT is underground in this area, there have been opportunities to comment and provide input on access and alignment impacts over the course of the year. I’ve asked staff to follow-up with you directly to clarify the process and the discussion points.

  64. Sandy
    6 years ago

    Hi there, I just wanted to reiterate the comments made by Darren Proulx. It seems that traditionally, Edmonton Transit has designed their system for a “captive audience”- that is people who have no other transportation options. As such, the design of the routes and operations don’t really seem to have that much respect for the value of the riders’ time. Items such as long departure intervals, mid-route operator changes, and excessively long timing points are very frustrating for people who need to get where they are going quickly, and can make it considerably slower than travel by automobile. Do you think an overall philosophy shift is needed at ETS?

    I also think service enhancements such as GPS real-time updates are going to be very important for improving the usability and effectiveness of the system for users, and I’m glad ETS is pursuing these. I look forward to the day when I can use my smartphone to tell me exactly when the next bus will arrive, instead of having to arrive at the stop least 5 minutes early, as I currently do, and not get caught standing in a snowstorm if the bus broke down and won’t arrive for another 45 minutes.. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  65. Mike Brink
    6 years ago

    Bob, Whole I don’t know enough about the carpool website that the City supports to comment on it’s success, Carpooling is a very different than car sharing. Car pooling is most effective for the kind of trips that transit is most useful for – regular trips at times when others are making the same trips, primarily for commute trips to major destinations.

    Car sharing, on the other hand, allows people who don’t use a car for those regular trips to access a car for the irregular trips where car-pooling or transit are not practical.

    I am the working member of a one car family, I normally bike to work, or use transit it bad weather. As my career develops, I more often have meetings during the day where biking or transit are not an option. So far, creative scheduling has allowed me to avoid a second car, but a carpool website con’t help at all.

    It’s good to hear that parking alternatives are being considered for smaller vehicles, but I suggest that rather than being free, (read shoup’s The high cost of free parking, if you haven’t already) smart-car sized spaces could be priced proportional to the space they occupy, so a smart car stall should be about half the cost of a standard stall.

  66. Mike Brink
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the answers so far, Bob.

    Currently, Traffic lights are times for automobile traffic. In some areas, particularly parts of downtown, pedestrian traffic is significantly heavier than vehicle traffic, yet pedestrians are forced to wait at nearly every light, sometimes while not a single car goes through. Could we please get more traffic lights timed for pedestrian and cyclists? I’m thinking particularly of 103 ave and 102 ave through downtown, where traffic is typically light, and shorter cycles would be good for pedestrians and timing lights for 3okm/hr rather than for 5o would be great for cyclists.

  67. […] are more than 65 comments on the Q&A post with Bob Boutilier. Lots of great information on transit/transportation in Edmonton, don’t miss it. His team is […]

  68. Ahmad Elsayed
    6 years ago

    I am very pleased to see a direct link developed between the people and the General Manager of Transportation. Thank you so much Bob for doing this. Keep up the great work.

    I live in the Northern most part of the City. It is very difficult sometimes to get to the downtown or south end during rush hours. Are there any plans to produce a whitemud like link from North to South.
    thanks

  69. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Hi Jodine – your questions are similar to some others that were made. I hope this helps:

    This is an area where options for the LRT stop are limited by technical restrictions. To position the LRT to the Southeast across the river, the LRT needs to turn and move down a steep grade to cross the river. This does not offer a stop location option east of 96 Street.

    Staff worked closely with the Quarters project team. Given the technical restrictions, the location of the station has been placed as far east as possible. Vehicle access was required east of 96 Street, and vehicle access, pedestrian access, opportunities for the context of the station area were optimized to fit with the context of the Quarters plan.

    The area east of 96 Street moving south across the river is within the scope of the Southeast LRT project. There have been several public involvement opportunities for the project – and to clarify – the area east of 96 Street has been included as part of this. Though the LRT is underground in this area, there have been opportunities to comment and provide input on access and alignment impacts over the course of the year.

    Ben

  70. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    The video Bob is describing about bike safety can be found here:

    http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/news/bike-safety-on-city-streets.aspx?doAutoPlay=true

  71. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    At this time, the intent is to use public transit as a way to reduce traffic congestion & new road construction. More people using public transit should assist those citizens who need to use the existing road network.

    While no new major north-south road is planned, there could be significant impacts on that corridor when Anthony Henday Drive (AHD) opens in the north. There was a similar change when the west leg of AHD opened. Travelling from my home in Twin Brooks to West Edmonton Mall or St Albert is more easily done using the AHD. Once the interchanges are completed on the west leg of AHD, this trip time will be reduced more.

  72. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Traffic signals in the downtown are timed to minimize delays for all vehicles. Speed and volume of all traffic (through & turning) are considered, & priority is given to public transit over automobile traffic, particularly on routes with bus lanes.

    It is not possible to coordinate traffic signals for pedestrians, as the block lengths vary, and there is great variation in walking speeds for pedestrians. Areas with the heaviest pedestrian demand may also relate to pedestrians that enter the sidewalk between intersections due to LRT stations, bus stops or major building accesses (ie the pedestrians are not travelling through multiple intersections)

    The City uses the following guidelines:

    – minimize the overall cycle time at intersections, which minimizes the wait time for pedestrians
    – ensure the use of longer walk signals where possible
    – ensure that “don’t walk” intervals recognize slower pedestrians
    – use of countdown signals in the downtown to better inform pedestrians of the available time to safely complete a crossing of the road

    Unfortunately, technology has not yet created a practical, affordable way to automate real-time behaviours at an intersection. I know the feeling of sitting at a red light in the downtown on a bus when there is no cross traffic. As a perdestrian, I spend extra time communting to-from City Hall near the AGA waiting for a light change when no cars are moving.

    As part of the Bicycle Plan, I expect staff will review the travel times / speeds of users along major bike trails / routes in order to create a network that functions more like a main roadway.

  73. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, I do the same thing by getting to my stop early & freezing when a snow disruption delays my AM bus.

    While expansion of the LRT network will provide those riders with a better travel time experience, there is a need to refrest the bus network. Staff will be improving the feeder bus routes to load up the LRT. In addition, express service is needed in those areas where there is a high demand for service but not enough to suport full LRT.

  74. Bob Boutilier
    6 years ago

    I have asked the Bicycle Team (Ben to get info) to provide the specific locations in 2010 on this blog as per your comments.

    Some significant changes to trails have occurred as a result of LRT expansion in the south & there have been a number of connectivity improvements across the City. Unfortunately, we have not done a good job of informing the citizens about these changes. Thus, I will have staff arrange a media update early in 2011 so I can ensure that the bicycle plan implementation (specific actions & locations) is described for 2011. (Ben to arrange)

  75. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    My co-worker Dean from the Parks Department has told me that although trees have a limited lifespan there are many factors that affect the health and longevity of a tree. They include; environmental factors such as bugs, pests, urban effects, location and weather elements.

    The City works hard to ensure that proper care goes into all city trees in the city. Sometimes, extra care is given to ensure that the road factors don’t impact the trees negatively too greatly.

    The City’s tree care and maintenance program includes pruning, fertilization, aeration (de-compaction) and watering to sustain and improve the condition of trees and specifically, at-risk trees.

    While alternatives are always being explored to reduce the impact to trees in the city, for now, the City will continue to provide this wonderful resource, our trees, the best care possible.

  76. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Hi Peter,

    As a follow up to Bob’s post, LRT Planners tell me that 102 Avenue is intended to be the main E/W cycling corridor through the downtown, and every effort is being made to provide a continuous route from east of 97 Street, through the downtown, through Railtown, and to the west.

  77. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Hi Rob,

    The Quarters LRT station is within the scope of the Southeast LRT project. There have been several public involvement activities for the project, including opportunities to comment and provide input on access and alignment impacts over the course of the year. Public workshops have been held in May 2010, as well as Open Houses in September 2010.

    Station locations had also been discussed during the Route Selection process (for more details, please visit the project history webpage:

    http://www.edmonton.ca/transportation/ets/lrt_projects/southeast-lrt-history.aspx).

    The project team will hold info sessions in November for Southeast LRT (dates will be confirmed soon). The recommended Concept Plan is being finalized for a presentation at a non-statutory public hearing at the Transportation and Public Works Committee on December 8.

  78. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Hi Christine,

    I’ve looked at your question with ETS staff and we’d like to help you out with an answer but first we would need more specific information like what bus stop # you use and at what time. From here, I assume your destination would be to head to the Meadowns Transit Centre (on 17 St) then downtown. With this information we can provide you with info about the best possible route to get downtown from your neighbourhood.

    If you’re not comfortable leaving this information online, I’d encourage you to follow up by calling 3-1-1. Thanks for your question Christine.

    Ben

  79. bob boutilier
    6 years ago

    The “meandering routes” are a reflection of ETS bus sevice standards (minimal walking distances, etc) & a desire to cover most of the City. With the arrival of the LRT in new areas, the intent is to provide quicker local feeder routes. After the LRT Network is completed, there will still be a need for a LRT-like service in other neighbourhoods. This means express service between bus transit centers with local feeder routes into those centers. The articulated buses next year will help.

    I have experienced the “close call” scenario. For me it is the arrival of the LRT to match with my PM bus home. If I miss it, there is a 30-minute wait. I have had to use an earlier train to get to the station at least 10 minutes before departure. Yes, on a great day I could get a direct walk-off the LRT onto the bus in minutes but not every day is a great day. I will have staff (Ben pass on) review the conneciton times for 181 & 318 as you describe to determine if there is a matching time & if it is being achieved.

    As the LRT service improves with 5-car trains & higher service frequency, it will be important to ensure that arrival times at the next station are not affected. At this point, I believe that the overall running time is impacted more by delays at stations or other events compared to the infrequent stop at the maintenance yard. I will ask staff to provide me with the number of drop-offs that occur in an average day.

    Late night service is a funding & ridership issue. It is not a matter of “if” it is about “when” this service will be implemented.

    On some of the other respones on this blog, I have described some bike items. While trails are important, auto drivers must be educated on the law that bikes have the same status as autos on the road. Given your comments & issues raised by others in this blog, I will arrange a major safety media event in the Spring to highlight the bike -auto issues (Ben to schedule)

  80. bob boutilier
    6 years ago

    With the LRT Network almost defined, it is clear that there will be other parts of the City that still need a bus service that is better than the local service but just below the LRT. That leads to the need for super-express, articulated buses that stop only at major locations. Local bus feeder routes load up these buses at the locations.

    Many of the ideas that you have suggested are already supported by ETS staff. However, there is a limit to the funding available for enhancing serivices. The major concern now is the over-crowding & inadequate frequency of bus service on existing routes. In 2010, ETS staff were able to drop some non-service related activities in order to create $1M of service improvements for the balance of 2010 with full implementation in 2011. During the 2011 Operating Budget debate, Council will consider options to reduce these current challenges further.

  81. Ben Mittelsteadt
    6 years ago

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your response. We had Transportation Operations check out the area you’re talking about. This area is a tow away zone from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Monday to Friday. Saturday’s there is 2hr parking and Sunday’s are open for parking. From our assessment, the parking meters don’t pose a significant problem during off-peak evening hours when they are available (on weekdays).

    That being said, if people are parking there illegally when the area is a tow away zone during peak weekday times, that’s a problem! I know that parking enforcement is very strict in the downtown core and people usually don’t get away with parking illegally.

    As a side note ~ the meters are available to provide the local businesses and condos with some after hour parking options.

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