On Saturday, I attended events to preview Calgary’s brand new West LRT line which extends new transit service to the southwest quadrant of the city.
The new line will serve 100,000 residents which is larger than any city in Alberta outside of Calgary and Edmonton. It is also larger than any city in Atlantic Canada outside of Halifax and St. John’s, Newfoundland. 35,000 commuters are expected to use the West LRT daily.
The West LRT line has both above ground, underground, and partially underground stations which are a first for Calgary. Pictured above is the new above ground Sunalta station.
Jugglers and other performers entertained visitors at many of the 6 new LRT stations.
The new 69th Street station is the terminus of the West leg. Its design is optimized for southern exposure and wind protection.
A new parkade with a unique style accompanies the 69th Street station. $8.6 million was spent on public art as part of the whole project. This number, while it appears huge, is very small compared to the total project cost of $1.4 billion. It is a small price to pay to ensure that functional infrastructure expansions also keep the city looking beautiful.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Premier Alison Redford, Councillor Richard Pootmans, and politician Ric McIver cut an LRT inspired cake created by the culinary class at Ernest Manning High School. The high school’s original building was removed recently to make way for new line.
West LRT is one of the city’s largest infrastructure projects and has been under construction for 3 years, finishing on schedule, and almost on budget. The city has already announced plans for transit expansion projects over the next 30 years which will total $14 billion.