Edmonton Light Rail Transit


Edmonton Light Rail Transit

Infobox Public transit
name = Edmonton Light Rail Transit


imagesize = 250px
locale = Edmonton, Alberta
transit_type = Light rail
began_operation = April 28, 1978
system_length = 12.9 km
lines = 1
stations = 11
ridership = 42,000
track_gauge = 1435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) (standard gauge)
operator = Edmonton Transit System

Edmonton Light Rail Transit, more commonly referred to as the LRT, is a light rail system in Edmonton, Alberta. Part of the Edmonton Transit System, the 12.9-kilometre route starts in Edmonton's northeast suburbs and currently ends near the University of Alberta Hospital on the south side. Construction on the southern extension is under way.

The LRT is also designated as Route 201. [ [http://www.edmontonslrt.com/lrt_in_ed.htm Edmonton SLRT ] ] The system uses trains of Siemens-Duewag U2 cars; an order was also placed in 2005 that will bring twenty-six Siemens SD-160 cars into the fleet starting in 2008. [http://www.edmontonslrt.com/PDFs/2005-10-17-LRV_NewsRelease.pdf] update after|2008|12|31

System overview

The system currently comprises the following 11 stations: Clareview (where the main line begins and ends), Belvedere, Coliseum, Stadium, Churchill, Central, Bay, Corona, Grandin-Government Centre, University, and Health Sciences. Of these, Churchill, Central, Bay, Corona, Grandin and University are underground.

While the LRT's coverage of the city is not as extensive as that of the C-Train in Calgary, during construction, surface area was preserved by tunnelling under the downtown core and the University of Alberta main campus. The underground portions of the LRT connect to a pedway system with links to many buildings. The LRT crosses the North Saskatchewan River between the Grandin and University stations on the Dudley B. Menzies Bridge [ [http://www.pcl.com/projects/Archived/E30032/index.aspx Dudley Menzies Bridge—Light Rail Transit Bridge Over The North Saskatchewan River ] ] , a dedicated LRT bridge.

History

Edmonton was the first city in North America with a population of less than one million to build a modern light rail system. The route first started construction in 1974, and opened its first segment on April 22, 1978, in time for the 1978 Commonwealth Games. The line followed a CN right-of-way from "Belvedere Station" to "Stadium Station", via an intermediate stop at "Coliseum Station" (near the Northlands Coliseum, now Rexall Place), and then continued in a tunnel under 99 Street to "Central Station", at Jasper Avenue and 100 Street, including an intermediate stop, "Churchill". The original line was 6.9 km long.

When the line opened, fare collection was modelled on traditional rapid transit lines, with booth attendants. Low volumes of activity at some entrances led to weekend closures of alternate station entrances. In November 1980, Edmonton Transit – as it was then named – switched to a modified European-style "proof of payment" system, initially retaining the old turnstiles to issue the new receipts. Fares were now collected by roving inspectors, which permitted keeping all entrances open and required fewer staff.

On April 26, 1981, ETS opened a northeastern-bound extension of 2.2 km on the CN right-of-way to "Clareview Station". In June 1983, the light rail tunnel downtown was extended by 0.8 km to "Bay" and "Corona" stations, and was extended again in September 1989 by one station and 0.8 km to "Grandin" (below the Alberta Legislature). On August 23, 1992, the next extension opened from Grandin to "University Station", partially via a North Saskatchewan River crossing with a lower level for pedestrians and cyclists, and partially via a tunnel into the University Station. On January 1, 2006, the line was extended 0.64 km south through the University Campus to the "Health Sciences Station", which is located at street level.

Every station on the line built since 1983 has been built with full accessibility for the disabled, although the line was semi-navigable by disabled passengers from its opening. In the late 1990s, Clareview and Belvedere Stations were covered and also had their platforms lengthened to allow for the use of five-car trains.

Future expansion

South LRT expansion

A 10 km expansion of the system is currently under construction. New stations will include McKernan/Belgravia (originally proposed as 76 Avenue Station), South Campus, Southgate and Century Park. The first two stations are scheduled to completed by the end of 2008, opening on April 26, 2009 [http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_279_218_0_43/http%3B/CMSServer/COEWeb/getting+around/lrt/ City of Edmonton ] ] , with Southgate and Century Park due to commence operations approximately one year later. The first of the new Siemens SD-160 "Edmonton" light rail vehicle train cars for the new extension were shipped by rail from Sacramento, California on April 24, 2008, arriving in Edmonton on May 9, 2008. (37 vehicles in total).

The LRT expansion is being developed entirely at surface level with a couple of underpasses, one at Belgravia Road and the other under 111 Street south of 61 Avenue. A short busway is also being constructed from the South Campus station update after|2008|12|31 roughly parallel to Belgravia Road in conjunction with the South LRT expansion. The surface LRT line emerges to ground level just north of the new Health Sciences Station at the University of Alberta, which was opened in January 2006. From the Health Sciences Station, the South LRT line will lead through the proposed South Campus and Southgate Mall, and to the former Heritage Mall site (now being developed as Century Park, a transit-oriented development).

In January 2008, Mayor Stephen Mandel announced that the southern leg will be extended further south along 111 Street to Anthony Henday Drive and then west to 127 Street. There will be a station and 1,000-car park-and-ride near that intersection, then the LRT will continue south for two more stops. Long range plans for the south line include possible extension all the way to the Edmonton International Airport and Leduc. [ [http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=2cb06782-bd89-4758-aada-e0d61e607cc1&k=32946 City Hall axes bus rapid transit ] ]

North LRT expansion

On April 27, 2007, it was announced the city will begin detailed planning of a new LRT line that will run north from Churchill Station to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and beyond to north-end neighbourhoods such as Griesbach.

The proposed new line would branch off the main LRT line at Churchill Station, run west along 105 Avenue to the Grant MacEwan College City Centre Campus, then north along 105 Street, Kingsway Avenue and 108 Street to Kingsway Garden Mall and NAIT. Beyond NAIT the line would tunnel beneath the CN railway yard north of Yellowhead Trail and continue further north along 109 Street and 113A Street with long range plans to eventually extend the line to St. Albert.

Possible stations include one at Grant MacEwan College (105 Avenue and 105 Street), one at Kingsway Garden Mall (either on the south side near Kingsway Avenue or on the north side at Princess Elizabeth Avenue) and a station near the HP Centre of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Different alignments have been proposed by those calling for a more long-term and comprehensive LRT strategy in Edmonton. [ [http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/letters/story.html?id=ca63e709-dd07-4f67-a46f-6f9430d93e97&p=1 LRT planning needs bold vision ] ]

In April 2008, Edmonton City Council approved $45 million in funding to build a tunnel under the EPCOR Tower site immediately, while it is still under construction, with the aim of saving $140 million more that would have been required to dig under the tower once it was completed. This step was taken even though rest of project has not yet been approved, because of the time constraint posed by the construction of the new tower. [ [http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=6588a90e-2224-48e4-a66e-1f52432c5528&k=75048 LRT line likely to go under Epcor ] ] Construction on the North Line is expected to begin in June 2008. [ [http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/cityplus/story.html?id=44d28584-20ed-4a7f-b934-3817aa1cbcd1&k=63185 Work on LRT's third leg to start in June ] ] update after|2008|06|01

Northeast LRT expansion

In January 2008, Mayor Stephen Mandel announced plans to extend the existing LRT line (Route 201) northeast by at least one stop. The expansion beyond Clareview Station is planned to continue northeast along the CN right-of-way to a station and park and ride at 153 Avenue. Long range plans for the northeast leg of the LRT include extending it to yet-to-be-developed suburbs in the city's northeast quadrant and eventually all the way to Fort Saskatchewan.

West LRT expansion

A potential expansion towards Stony Plain, with the West Edmonton Mall en route, is under consideration. A recommended route was announced on March 3, 2008. It called for a branch off the main North-South LRT line between Health Sciences and McKernan/Belgravia stations, with a tunnelled alignment running due west under University Avenue, crossing the North Saskatchewan River via a new bridge, and then continuing westwards at-grade along 87 Avenue past West Edmonton Mall to a terminus at Lewis Estates. [cite web|url=http://www.edmonton.ca/RoadsTraffic/WLRT%20Draft%20Recommendation%20-%20SAG%20Meeting%20Presentation%20-%20March03.pdf|type=pdf|title=West LRT Draft Recommendation|author=Edmonton Transportation Services|date=03 March 2008]

A second option for the west LRT extension would have the line branch off underground after Corona Station and run due west underneath Jasper Avenue and Stony Plain Road before diverting south towards West Edmonton Mall and beyond.

Controversy

Concerns over community impacts [Citation|last = Ruttan|first = Susan|title = West LRT opposition heats up|newspaper = Edmonton Journal|date = April 12, 2008|url = http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/local/story.html?id=f787cf49-bce1-40bd-9ae2-ad66c5fc4c7d&k=78617&p=1] along the proposed West [Citation|last=Kent|first=Gordon|title=Mandel slams city staff over LRT route|newspaper=Edmonton Journal|date=April 30, 2008|url=http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=d42cb27b-d052-42e6-bacd-44588d931638] and North [Citation|last=Simons|first=Paula|title=Residents fume over LRT's 'path of destruction'|newspaper=Edmonton Journal|date=May 15, 2008|url=http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/story.html?id=51554acd-d6e3-4e81-b56d-b76d1da0067f] LRT extensions have lead to a larger debate [Citation|last=Ruttan|first=Susan|title=Sparks fly as councillors delay LRT hearing|newspaper=Edmonton Journal|date=May 6, 2008|url=http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/features/yourturn/story.html?id=2d69fdff-8719-471a-8428-d760ac2ef065] over the vision [Citation|last=Schroder|first=Jordan|title=No, No, No, The LRT Needs To Go Here!|newspaper=SEE|date=June 26, 2008|url=http://www.seemagazine.com/article/news/comment/no-no-no-lrt-needs-go-here/] [Citation|last=Diotte|first=Kerry|title=We need true vision for LRT|newspaper=Edmonton Sun|date=May 6, 2008|url=http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Columnists/Diotte_Kerry/2008/04/30/5435511-sun.html] guiding the various expansion plans, and the criteria used to select the routes. A lack of coordination between the extensions and transit oriented developments as well as integration with other regional transportation nodes, has given rise to proposals for a new LRT master plan to guide it all [Citation|last=Schroder|first=Jordan|title=Train To Nowhere|newspaper=SEE|date=June 19, 2008|url=http://www.seemagazine.com/article/news/comment/train-nowhere/] .

LRT fares

The cash fare for passengers using Edmonton Transit System buses and the LRT, effective February 1, 2007, are:

* Adult $2.50
* Youth (age 6 to 17) $2.25
* Senior (age 65 and over) $2.25

Children under age six ride free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.

Passengers can purchase books of transit tickets, day passes, and monthly transit passes. Seniors can also purchase an annual transit pass.

Passengers paying a cash fare at a fare machine at an LRT station are issued an LRT ticket at the time the fare is paid. This ticket is valid both as proof of payment and as a transfer. Transfers allow the passenger to transfer from the LRT to a bus, from a bus to the LRT and between buses, and is valid for 90 minutes from time of issue. Passengers paying a cash fare on a bus can obtain a transfer at the time the fare is paid. Transfers also serve as proof of payment.

Passengers in an LRT proof of payment area must present proof of payment upon request by an ETS officer. Proof of payment includes LRT tickets, transfers, validated transit tickets and transit passes. Failure to provide proof of payment can result in a $110 fine. Proof of payment areas include all LRT trains and most LRT station platforms. [At Health Science Station, the fare machines are located on the station platform so it is possible to be on the platform without a proof of payment.]

In 2007, the Edmonton Transit System, the University of Alberta, and Grant MacEwan College partnered to provide students with a universal transit pass (U-Pass), which is valid on the LRT and all ETS buses. The fee of $90 per semester for MacEwan students and $75 for University of Alberta students allows unlimited LRT and bus use by valid pass holders. [The University of Alberta subsidizes the U-Pass for university students.]

References

External links

* [http://takeETS.com Edmonton Transit System – Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Namao, Spruce Grove]
* [http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_288_222_0_43/http%3B/CMSServer/COEWeb/roads+and+traffic/lrt+projects/ Edmonton South LRT]
* [http://www.youtube.com/jackieliem2007 Edmonton Light Rail Transit Video]
* [http://www.westlrtconcerns.com/ West LRT concerns]


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