About

ERUPT (Edmontonians for Responsible Urban Public Transit) is a community group supporting fiscally, socially and environmentally responsible public transit. We represent the  concerns of a number of groups and individuals in Edmonton.

7 thoughts on “About

  1. Also after doing a little more digging about your site, I see from your whois domain registration details that your address is on 77 street (just off the proposed LRT alignment). This explains the true motivation behind this “group”, it appears to be nothing more than one residents attempt to make their personal concerns appear to be some sort of movement. However public opinion has not changed on the issue, Edmontonians have spoken on this subject numerous times already and unfortunately one residents concerns will not be able the trump the combined voice of Edmonton’s commuters.

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    • Hi Stephen,

      This is not the site of one person; nor is anyone in our core group located near 77 Street (that is only where our website administrator lives). So any skepticism regarding “true motivation of this ‘group'” is misguided. Our motivation is as we have transparently stated: we are concerned about the financial cost, environmental issues, misalignment with Edmonton’s overarching plans, the P3 model, and the poor public consultation of this project. We have heard these same concerns from various community groups and our own perspective is that all of these concerns are interrelated.

      We agree that many Edmontonians are indeed dazzled by the LRT dream the city has sold them. But progressive urban planners around the world now regard LRT as outdated–mostly because it is so expensive. As Taras Grescoe stated in his recent talk in Edmonton, it is not the best way for a city in need of transit improvements to get the best bang for its buck. And many cities have indeed had success with BRT–consider Transmilenio in Bogota, which has such high ridership that the system is almost at capacity. The determining factor of BRT’s success is whether or not it is done right. Sleek buses, heated bus shelters, and an efficient system are some of the elements that would make it a success in Edmonton. And for $1.8 billion (or even $1.4 billion, to avoid the P3 deal), this would be possible. Furthermore, it would mean improved transit ACROSS the city, and not along just one narrow corridor.

      With all due respect, we suggest that one of the problems with the Valley Line project is that it was designed by engineers, rather than urban planners. While engineers are of course a critical part of transportation planning, your field does not tend to consider social elements of livability, which are central to a good city. This is not a criticism of your field, but rather points to the need for holistic planning. The issue Edmonton needs to resolve with its overall transportation plan is not just an engineering one, but also–as you make clear in talking about “North American culture”–a social one.

      Thank you for your offer to recommend sources for further reading–yes, we would be interested in seeing those. Please send over links or titles and we will take a look at them.

      Thank you for your interest in ERUPT and please let us know if you have any further questions.

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  2. Kristine,
    BRT was debated with a version of the Transportation Master Plan in the late 90’s and then again in the early 2000’s. It was decided that, in order to build the infrastructure to accommodate BRT in Edmonton, that is, infrastructure necessary for BRT to be an effective form of rapid transit, the costs were not much different than LRT that runs at grade. Cost to implement BRT in Edmonton is not the same in Curitiba Brazil or other places where BRT is effective. The major costs with constructing LRT and BRT is assembling the land and building the dedicated right of ways. BRT is not effective if it integrates with regular traffic – so it still requires crossing arms, flyovers, tunnels, bridges, and river crossings.
    LRT is infrastructure that is necessary for the overall greater public interest even if it has an detrimental affect on the few. Lets not get into a debate about whether or not LRT achieves a sustainable compact and livable city. Edmonton’s statutory documents set out objectives about transit orientated design around LRT stations. This is good for Edmonton. Edmonton is not Barcelona and a planner is a fool to develop policy that is not realistic to Edmonton’s socioeconomic and geographic context. Therefore, planners ought to develop policy that offers choices – TOD’s being one. Infill development being another, suburban neighbourhoods that are not predominately single use is another.

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    • BRT technology has experienced major improvements since the city last considered it. Urban planners around the world now realize it makes sense because it offers comparable service to LRT for a fraction of the price. Thus, if the city found BRT costs to be “not much different than LRT that runs at grade,” then it’s time for them to re-do their calculations. It’s obvious that tracks are a huge investment. So, too, is a system that does not make use of existing roadways, like the Valley Line; in this case it also involves, as you say, land acquisition, plus new bridges, tunnels, and the loss of parkland. This is why the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board noted in their October report to council, “BRT provides the ability to deliver mass transit comparable to the LRT in both speed and capacity, at a fraction of the cost, infrastructure, time and operating costs.” For $1.8 billion, the city could implement an excellent BRT system that improves public transit ACROSS the city and does so immediately, rather than involving an estimated four-year construction period for the Valley Line and a decades-long wait for LRT to the West End.

      Besides being more cost-efficient, BRT offers Edmonton a much nimbler system that can be continuously tweaked to respond to growth patterns, special events, and environmental disasters such as flooding. It also avoids destruction of the river valley, public spaces, neighbourhoods, and the heritage buildings on Jasper Avenue. This is what public transit is supposed to do: enhance a city, not destroy it.

      LRT is not in the public interest. It would create an untenable tax burden for all Edmontonians, plus destroy parts of Chinatown, perhaps the heritage buildings on Jasper Avenue, the highly popular Cloverdale footbridge, acres of river valley parkland, and mature trees and homes in Strathearn. All of this contributes to doughnut development, by which a city’s core is degraded to serve the outskirts–and which leads to exponential further tax increases, again for all Edmontonians. It also means that citizens in other parts of the city will have to wait for public transit improvements for decades. Nor are the people along the Valley Line even properly served: the Quarters stop is a mere 1.5 blocks east of Churchill. Buses could properly service the entire Quarters area.

      The Valley Line also, as our site notes, involves very limited TOD potential. Much of the line runs through industrial areas, established neighbourhoods, and parkland. BRT and bus terminals have the same potential for TOD as LRT in any city, and in Edmonton BRT routes could easily improve upon the TOD potential of the Valley Line.

      You are right: a planner would indeed be “a fool to develop policy that is not realistic to Edmonton’s socioeconomic and geographic context.” That is our whole point. Edmonton’s density (low) and its geography (steep, unstable river banks, propensity for flooding) mean that LRT is the wrong system for our city.

      For further reading, see http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/aug/27/buses-future-of-urban-transport-brt-bus-rapid-transit

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  3. Just reading these comments and have a couple of my own. I agree with sticking to the discussion of the issues. Saying that someone is motivated by self-interest because they live in the vicinity of the route is about the same as saying a civil engineer’s view is biased by the increased civil engineering contracts that will result from LRT (tunnels, bridges etc.). Besides, isn’t being near LRT supposed to be a good thing, excellent access to public transportation plus property value increase? This project will have a profound impact on Edmonton’s landscape and its citizens and it’s said to be the largest capital project the city has ever undertaken. So here’s a question I think we should all think about – why shouldn’t this project be decided by a plebiscite/referendum? The citizens should (have been) be presented with an objective comparison of the alternatives and costs and then this is a matter within the public’s capacity to decide. The country of Greece held a vitally important referendum on their future this summer – it was announced June 27 and completed on July 5.

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  4. Thank you EruptYEG for creating this collective. I too have multiple concerns about this Valley Line LRT project. How can I get in touch with your group or stay up-to-date with your activities?

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