Ward 12 Candidates Asked to Weigh in on Public Transit

On January 25, 2016, ERUPT sent all Ward 12 by-election candidates the following three questions. We are posting all candidate responses on our Facebook site–so head over there to take a look at what they have to say.

  1. Even though Edmontonians have experienced roughly 60% tax increases in the last seven years, the City has determined a further $3.4% property tax increase for the next two years, and then 4.8% in 2018. While it is unclear how the city expects people to handle these increases, the uncertainty beyond is far more troubling. What will you do to demand transparent public access to the Valley Line LRT’s full “payment plan,” beyond 2018?Please explain.
  2. When Mill Woods was originally developed, the plan was to connect it to downtown via LRT along the CPR right-of-way. When the city began planning the Southeast to West LRT in 2009, two of the four shortlisted routes made use of this right-of-way. However, the CPR would not relinquish the land at the time. It finally did do this in early 2015. A route making use of this right-of-way would clearly be superior to the Valley Line for Ward 12 residents: it would directly connect them to Whyte Avenue and the University before crossing the river. The Valley Line, on the other hand, offers no access to Whyte Avenue, and requires Mill Woods U of A students to cross the river, change train lines, then crossback over the river to get to campus. This route is clearly inconvenient for Ward 12 residents and arguably does not meet the project’s goals. Additionally, the CPR route would cost far less and would involve a shorter construction time because of its use of an existing bridge and no tunnel—meaning there would be money for wider bus service across Ward 12 and the entire city. What will you do to demand consideration of the CPR right-of-way route?
  3. While the CPR right-of-way would clearly be a more convenient LRT route for Ward 12 residents, it is not the only good option. The ETS advisory committee states in its 2015 report, “Bus Rapid Transit provides the ability to deliver mass transit comparable to the LRT in both speed and capacity, at a fraction of the infrastructure, time and operating costs.” For $1.8 billion, the city could implement an incredible BRT network across the city, and this system could include heated shelters, new low-emissions buses, and low-income transit passes—and there would be virtually no construction period. For Ward 12 it would mean money for drastically improved public transit across the whole word, including the potential for direct routes to both the university and downtown. The mayor and city council, however, have responded to this report with silence. What will you do to demand consideration of BRT?

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