Interchanges and Progress

October 25, 2006

After nearly two years of construction, work on the 156 Street interchange project has been completed (actually, construction wrapped up on October 6, 2006 – I know, I’m behind in sounding off). Thus ends a year of traffic snarls that, at times, threatened to paralyze the west end. The project played hell with all side streets and arteries and especially bus routes. For the past year or so, my evening bus has been late by up to 15 minutes. A short time ago I actually considered walking home to shave a bit off the 90 minute commute. Alas, such a drastic measure wasn’t necessary. The project was completed on time and on budget, according to the city. It’s always nice to hear the words, “on time and on budget”. They seem so rare.

Fear not, E-Town dwellers. There are plenty of other road work projects on the books, as always. You can download the 2006 Construction on Your Streets Map here. It’s actually quite a handy little thing to keep around. The city even publishes time lines and construction bulletins for these projects, both available at the same link above.

Infrastructure spending like that is quite necessary given this city’s explosive growth. Anything that helps move people and goods around this town in a timely fashion is most certainly welcome. In my opinion our two most pressing infrastructure / roadway projects are the South LRT Expansion and the interchange at 23rd Avenue and Calgary Trail. Both these projects are long overdue and desperately needed. The cluster-fuck known as 23rd Avenue is by far the most important from a traffic and safety perspective. These days, 23rd and Gateway is a bag of warm shit for every motorist. The consumer nuclear bomb known as South Edmonton Common, in the south east corner of the intersection, has created traffic issues hitherto unimagined in the City of ChampPeens. Fortunately, a pretty sweet (and, by the looks of it, exceedingly expensive) plan is in place to deal with the traffic problems. Check it out here [www.23ave-interchange.com]. There is a 3-D animation of the proposed interchange in the multimedia section of that website. Thing is, this shit should have been fired up and fast-tracked three or more years ago. Only now is it starting to take off, albeit with an ETA of 2009. Not much we can do except make like an ass in a hail storm – stand there and take it.

And don’t get me started on South Edmonton Common. I think an inspired act of god should happen there. Short of that, a nuclear weapon.

Vignette #122

6 reader comments (closed)

1

Handel

I think that the LRT expansion should be shelved. It’s going to come at a horrific cost. The city is too big (area wise) to have an effective mass transit system. I say let the busses do their thing. Don’t need the trains. I agree 100% with the 23rd Avenue interchange. That needs to happen immediately.

Oct 26, 2006 • 13:15

2

Gravel

Handel,

RE: LRT Expansion. There are merits to both sides of the issue. However, the long term benefits of expanding the LRT to the south, west, and north almost certainly outweigh any immediate costs. We’ll never be a “big city” with the transit system we currently have. We need a public system of greater depth. There is also the longer-term issue of reliance on oil and sustainability. Public transit is at least reasonably sustainable. Everyone owning a car is not.

Oct 26, 2006 • 17:59

3

Michael

One thing that has always struck me about Calgary is how well they’ve managed to integrate rail transit into their transportation scheme. Edmonton should really expand their LRT because, as it is, it’s more of an afterthought to getting around the city and not one’s go-to solution to getting around. It’s like city planners just tacked the LRT onto a city map to make themselves feel good. I’d love to have a vastly more expansive system to connects the whole community, not just the strip down the middle of the city.

Oct 26, 2006 • 20:35

4

Frutiger Black

I am a selfish toad.

I lust with much of my being for a commuter train that will take me, from my concrete closet in the downtown core, to the Deep South! So as that I can visit the denizens of the Mega-Giant-Warehouse-O-Savings District, and allow them to divest me of my hard-earned shillings! What fun!

I suspect, Handel, that your opposition to continued LRT development stems NOT from a concern for your fellow tax-payer:

RATHER, you wish to obfuscate your true identity – Perhaps, you are the owner of a global petroleum concern, or (most likely,) the CEO of one of North America’s major auto manufacturing companies.

“Tch, tch,” you will say, “Hmmm, that public transit sounds AWFULLY expensive … HEY! What if you all bought cars (from me) instead! That way Those Jerks at City Hall can’t roll you, so that Johnny Freeloader can get to work on your dime – Johnny doesn’t even own a car like us! he must be a criminal!
But, back to buying cars and trucks (especially big, useless trucks with lotza torc, for the urban commute!) Now, doesn’t that sound good?”

You’re on notice, Mr. Money-Pants!!! I see through your thin ruse. One day, we will have our train; a Train for the People! And then we’ll ride it – ride it like the Wind! And there won’t be a DAMNED THING you can do about it … except maybe turn off the power … you lousy, world-controlling bastard …

Oct 26, 2006 • 20:56

5

ink slinger

As much as I love my car, I would definitely use the LRT a lot more than I currently do (i.e.: almost never) if it would allow me to get around city quickly (and I mean the majority of the city, not just the thin strip down the centre/north side). An effective LRT system would be one that is quicker and more efficient than driving.

Oct 26, 2006 • 21:24

6

Handel

While I agree that a more effective transit system is a good IDEA, the fact is that it is prohibitively expensive to continue the project. The city has dragged its heels on this for too long and their inaction, coupled with massive geographic barriers, will cost the taxpayers of Edmonton (most of whom do not use public transit) hundreds of millions of dollars. The current bus system could be reconfigured to accommodate more efficient transport at a fraction of the cost of a light rail transit system.

Oct 26, 2006 • 22:35

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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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