The Valley Line LRT: Planning for Growth

Edmonton is the fastest growing city in Canada. As Edmonton grows, more and more people will be using the city’s transportation infrastructure, and we need to plan for this. LRT is a critical part of how we’ll keep Edmontonians moving as our city grows. It isn’t a cure for congestion but it will help to move more people through our city.

Shifting Modes: Toward a More Diverse Transportation System

A major part of the Transportation Master Plan is a shift away from designing a transportation system focused primarily on private cars. The TMP sees Edmonton moving toward a system where people use a variety of transportation methods, depending on the situation. While not everyone will want or be able to use other modes of transportation, part of the City’s focus is on making it easier and more desirable for Edmontonians to travel by bus, LRT, bike, walking, and whatever else may be appropriate.

Part of what this means is that the priority is not always on speed. Edmonton is introducing low‐floor LRT, like many other cities across North America, to create a balance between speed, livability, infrastructure, and development—among other factors.

A major goal of the Valley Line is to provide LRT service to many established neighborhoods, creating as little disruption as possible, and connecting to the existing Edmonton transit system to give citizens greater access to other parts of the city—while still being reasonably time efficient.

Building a City Around LRT

High-floor, suburban systems like Edmonton’s current LRT lines need more and larger infrastructure, such as stations with raised platforms and complex signalling systems. By contrast, low-floor systems need very little infrastructure. Because the Valley Line will travel at street level and at community traffic speeds, crossing arms and warning bells won’t be necessary in most areas along the line.

Because the stations on suburban LRT systems are farther apart, they serve a larger area and often require significant land to support the resulting park ‘n’ ride locations. Urban LRT, with more frequent stops, encourages more neighbourhood and local use. This, in turn, supports a move toward transit oriented development in many communities, serving the City’s goal of creating a more compact and sustainable city where more people walk, cycle, and use transit. It also enables a more integrated transportation network, where the LRT and buses interlink at multiple points of contact to better serve those same neighborhoods.

In a sense, what all this comes down to is an effort to shape our City’s future development and the patterns it will follow. One of Edmonton’s goals for its future LRT projects—including the Valley Line—is to build a city around LRT. By using LRT as a city-building tool, and focusing development around transit hubs, Edmonton can become a more compact and sustainable city that better meets the needs of all residents, regardless of how they get around.

More information about the way that Edmonton is growing its LRT network, and the rationale for these decisions, can be found online:

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