The Metro Line is opening to public service on Sunday, September 6, 2015. This new LRT extension between downtown and NAIT has been a long time coming, and it’s bringing significant changes to Edmonton’s transportation system.
Because work on the advanced communication-based train control system is not complete the City is taking a staged approach to bringing the Metro Line into public service. While the initial service won’t be as fast or as frequent as it will be in the future there are several things people need to know about what Metro Line operations mean for Edmonton.
LRT Service Changes
First and foremost, there’s a new LRT! People can access new stations at MacEwan, Kingsway/Royal Alex and NAIT. The Metro Line joins the pre-existing Capital Line at Churchill Station, and the two lines share a single set of tracks between Churchill and Health Sciences/Jubilee. At first ETS is running the Metro Line all the way south to Century Park during peak periods, so passengers can change between the Capital Line and the Metro Line anywhere between those two stations. We created a Metro Line Operations Video to help explain.
Here are a couple of key points:
We’ll all adapt to Metro Line operations, but in the early days a little extra time and patience will help.
There’s no question: Metro Line operations are going to have significant traffic impacts. In an effort to be as transparent as possible we pulled together our most recent data to describe the worst case traffic scenario at peak morning and afternoon periods, which could see crossing gates lowered for up to four minutes and could have traffic backing up for several blocks. If historic traffic patterns don’t change it could take a motorist up to three or four traffic signal cycles to cross the Metro Line on 111 Ave and Princess Elizabeth Ave during peak periods.
To be clear — the City does not expect the Metro Line to cause 16 minute traffic delays at these intersections all the time. We can’t predict transportation patterns for everyone, but we do expect that a.) some commuting motorists will find alternate routes during rush hour and b.) 10,000 people will start using the LRT. We’re also hoping that motorists will give themselves more time to get where they need to go.
Nevertheless, there will be traffic delays and the City has taken steps to decrease them. For example, northbound and southbound trains will meet and hold at MacEwan Station so we can coordinate their movements with traffic signals. We will be monitoring Metro Line operations very closely to adjust signal timings for the optimal flow of traffic and trains.
The Metro Line is a big change for Edmonton’s urban landscape. People have grown accustomed to the infrastructure that’s been in place for a long time, but now trains are running on the tracks between MacEwan and NAIT on a regular schedule. The top priority is for everyone to stay safe around LRT.
There are two key points to remember:
The Metro Line has faced a lot of challenges, and there’s more work to do to bring it into full operation. We truly appreciate everyone’s patience as we learn together what the Metro Line means for Edmonton.