LRT is the future of this city.
In the midst all of the kerfuffle and drama and finger pointing that has emerged as a result of the Metro Line delays, this is the ideal that we need to return to. LRT is the future of Edmonton. LRT is going to help shape this City and region for future generations. LRT is one of the biggest legacies any City Council can create.
In spite of all that has happened, I am as certain as ever in our unwavering commitment to LRT expansion. We will not be deterred by these mistakes from pursuing the vision of a complete, efficient, city-wide transit system.
Metro Line Lessons
There are undeniably lessons to be learned from the Metro Line and its snowball of issues. I have detailed many of these previously. Those lessons are for both Transportation, and for City Council - we’ve learned a lot about how we oversee these projects as Councillors.
Many people have been calling on City Council to take this kind of action for some time. To those that have asked for accountability, Council has taken action. We feel the action was necessary to move the City forward in the coming years.
The Way Ahead
The Way Ahead, Edmonton’s strategic plan, guides us in our pursuits, and it clearly requires that we continue to strive for well-developed transit throughout our city. In The Way Ahead, we acknowledge that there will be trade offs to this vision, and we’ve certainly seen some of these trade offs in the launch of the Metro Line this week. But ultimately, every person on a bike, on a bus, or on a train, isn’t one in a car. Growing pains are going to be a part of the process, and it’s the City’s responsibility to do what it can to mitigate those issues wherever possible.
The Way Ahead Progress Report is being discussed at Executive Committee next week, which will give us a sense of our progress on the goals outlined in that document, including multi-modal transportation.
Valley Line Horizons
The Metro Line has challenges that must be addressed over the coming months, but it’s important that Council, and the city, doesn’t lose sight of the bigger picture of LRT expansion and city-wide connectivity.
For many in Edmonton, Councillors included, the flubs with the Metro Line have made us gun shy. We’re afraid of repeats, afraid of increased congestion, and a whole slate of other issues.
But we can’t let this line knock us off track from achieving that shared vision. LRT is the future of this City, and if that vision is going be materialize, the City as an organization will need to get back on the horse and move forward with the Valley Line. This experience has made us wiser, more savvy, and a little more cautious as we move forward with the goal of a city wide LRT network.