Transportation contributes more than 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Edmonton and is responsible for more than 40 per cent of energy use.
That makes the transportation sector the site of the largest climate challenge the community faces.
Reducing the number of automobiles on the road is key to lowering these numbers, but it will take a lot more than asking people to use their car less. That’s why we’re building a city that gives Edmontonians increased access to mass transportation alternatives like buses and LRT. This is a huge undertaking that takes vision, planning and passion.
City planners and engineers are up to the challenge.
Construction this summer
This summer, the Metro Line Northwest Phase One—a cornerstone of Edmonton’s Blatchford community—is kicking off construction to extend the Metro LRT line from NAIT directly into this new unique and green neighbourhood. Blatchford will be a place where residents are able to live a sustainable, vibrant and fulfilling urban life.
“The LRT network expansion is a critical part of how we’ll grow sustainably as a city, both in terms of giving Edmontonians more transportation options and in terms of encouraging development that will help us get to a city of two million people,” said Bruce Ferguson, Branch Manager, LRT Expansion and Renewal.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to do something innovative in Blatchford, and to be part of its vision for our future.”
Having easily accessible transportation options like walking, cycling and transit will make it easy for those living, working and visiting in Blatchford to choose a sustainable lifestyle.
To help achieve this, Blatchford will have two LRT stations. NAIT/Blatchford Market Station will be between Blatchford Town Centre and the NAIT campus redevelopment. Blatchford Gate Station will be in northeast Blatchford
The spaces surrounding the stations will also make the Metro Line an essential part of Blatchford’s vision for a sustainable community. To help improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the spaces have been designed to put people, not cars, first.
The stations will feature a pedestrian promenade with public plazas, landscaping, tree-lined boulevards and a separated cycle track along the LRT line.
“We want the corridor to feel like an active community street,” said Tom Lumsden, Blatchford Development Manager.
“It will be a space where people can walk, cycle or sit and sip a cup of coffee while they wait for the train,” said Lumsden. By bringing LRT to Blatchford, we’re giving people environmentally friendly transportation options right in the heart of Edmonton, in what will be one of the world’s most sustainable communities.”
Once the neighbourhood is developed, a direct network of pathways and roads will create a seamless experience that makes it easy to connect to the community’s LRT stations, whether on foot, bus or bike
Transforming Edmonton fast fact: Once built, the Metro Line NW is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,300 tonnes a year.
Coming up this year
So, how is the Metro Line coming into Blatchford?
Soon, and safely.
Construction starts along the future LRT line between NAIT and Blatchford early this month. Safety is always a priority on construction sites, and, as work progresses, the City’s contractors will implement all public health orders and recommended safety measures to protect workers against COVID-19.
In the Montrose neighbourhood, work will start on the new Llew Lawrence LRV Storage Facility. Construction crews will remove contaminated soil and grade the site as part of prep work.
On the Metro Line NW route itself, much of the work will happen in the newly developing Blatchford community where crews will install sewer lines, storm utilities and electrical duct banks. (A duct bank is a group of conduits that protect wires running to and from buildings.
Transforming Edmonton fast fact: Materials excavated from the former airport site, including the old taxiways, will be added to the material stockpiles for future reuse in the development of Blatchford.
Realignment, construction impacts
While much of the construction will take place in Blatchford, some other work will attract attention in the area along the future line.
Near NAIT is the realignment of 109 Street north of Princess Elizabeth Avenue to 118 Avenue. It will be realigned and rebuilt so the Metro Line can be extended into Blatchford.
Next year, the City will permanently close the 109 Street access to NAIT where it crosses the future LRT tracks. People will still be able to access the west side of the NAIT campus from 118 Avenue.
This year there are some construction impacts to the area.
109 Street north of the future LRT crossing and 120 Avenuewill close temporarily from June 15 until October. Southbound traffic will be detoured to 106 Street. Access will be maintained for local northbound traffic.
NAIT parking lot Q will be shut down for July and August.
In 2021/2022, the City will start laying tracks and building the two LRT stations. The Metro Line to Blatchford line is set to open in 2024/25. The Metro NW LRT expansion is guided by the city’s strategic plan, ConnectEdmonton. The plan outlines the vision to create a city that thoughtfully connects citizens to the people, places and things that matter to them most.
Learn more about energy use in Edmonton.
Interested in living in Blatchford or finding out more about this exciting project? Visit BlatchfordEdmonton.ca.
Editor’s note: May 31 to June 6, 2020, is Environment Week at the City of Edmonton and here on the Transforming Edmonton blog.