The Alberta NDP wants the governing UCP to make a commitment to bringing Calgary’s Green Line further north.
Calgary North-East MLA Gurinder Brar and Calgary-Beddington MLA Amanda Chapman held a news conference July 13 asking the province to support public transit in Calgary and to fully commit to the construction of the north leg of the Green Line.
In April, a development partner was selected for the $5.5 billion first phase of the Green Line from Shepard to Eau Claire (possibly over the Bow River to 16 Avenue N). Enabling works, including Beltline utility relocations have been ongoing for months in preparation for potential full on construction beginning in 2024.
Brar tied an extended north leg to greater potential business success downtown. He said more foot traffic coming in via transit would be a big boost.
“The impact on small businesses in the downtown core alone could be a game changer,” he said.
“We know that the best way to increase business activity downtown is to make sure people have the option to shop there. It just makes sense.”
Earlier this week, the mandate letter for Alberta’s Transportation Minister Devin Dreeshen was released and it made no further mention of Calgary’s Green Line. There were other references to improving Calgary’s rail system, including a rail connection to the airport and Calgary’s downtown.
Questions about future Green Line additions were sent to the Alberta Minister of Transportation’s office for response, but none were provided by the time this story was published.
Access to the rest of Calgary is critical, Chapman said
Chapman believes that the construction of the new leg can bring about various benefits during its construction and through its use.
“This line will be supporting thousands of families in the north, creating 10s of 1000s of jobs and making it easier for Calgarians to access every corner of our city including connecting families to the Stampede grounds,” she said.
“Polling on the green line shows that 92% of the people in this city support the project, so why has the UCP continued to obstruct and delay the project?”
Currently, a part of the Green Line is under construction at 78 Avenue SE, where the new Green Line Ogden Station will be. Both a pedestrian and a vehicle tunnel are currently being built, and a portion of 78 Avenue is set to be upgraded. The construction for the station is set to be completed by the summer of 2025.
Brar criticized the UCP’s approach to the development of the Green Line and made a call to action for the UCP to fully commit to the north leg.
“The UCP has already delayed this project, so we are still working on phase one. If the UCP would have acted on time, we would have been working on the later phases,” he said.
“It is because of the UCP’s obstructionist approach that we cannot go forward. We are calling the UCP to act fast on this north leg so we can connect the LRT to downtown and push our economy forward.”