Officials with the City of Edmonton have publicly announced that pushing the line westward to Lewis Farms is a priority. The community west of Anthony Henday Drive is currently served by just one bus route.
This comes on the heels of federal funding for Edmonton’s light rail system. The transportation department has been given the green light to start designing the system immediately, promoting redevelopment westward along Stony Plain Road to West Edmonton mall, one of our province’s iconic tourist spots.
Service to Lewis Farms is on the city’s list of top five projects for the LRT, based on connectability to the city’s major employment areas. Developing the line westward would mean more ridership. The second biggest priority for Edmonton Transit is the Metro Line extension, adding one more station from NAIT into Blatchford.
The third, say officials, is extending the current Capital Line southbound to Ellerslie, followed by development of the downtown circulator which goes from the university main campus to Bonnie Doon.
One of the last projects identified is another Metro Line extension from Blatchford to Castle Downs.
Not all City of Edmonton councilors are in agreement with transit’s priority builds. For example, Griesbach is slated to become a higher density, transit-oriented neighbourhood but before the area gets going, it’s waiting for the LRT to come through. This neighbourhood, in the Castledowns area of Edmonton, was formerly part of a Canadian Forces Base. Councilor for the ward says current bus service is not very good, saying that it can take almost an hour to get from some areas of the city to the University of Alberta.
In all, $9.4 billion has been allocated for LRT construction. With such an expensive undertaking, not everyone in the city will be happy. Transit officials say they have tried to take a technical and objective approach to how they divvy up the funds.
It’s hoped that expanding and upgrading transit service will take pressure off Edmonton’s north-south arteries, alleviating congestion for commuters.
About Lewis Farms
This residential area of Edmonton is also known as Lewis Estates. It was created in 1988 on the city’s western edge at 231 Street and is right on the city limits. Whitemud Drive is on the south side, Stoney Plain Road is on the north and Anthony Henday Drive is on the east side. Lewis Farm includes the sub-areas of Lewis Farms Industrial, Potter Greens, Rosenthal, Secord, Stewart, Suder and Webber Greens. Most residential development consists of upscale homes surrounding the 18-hole Lewis Estates Golf Course. There are plenty of green spaces, sports fields and a pathway system which runs through the area.
The city has approved construction of a new recreational facility and park to be built in Rosenthal, in the south western corner of Lewis Farms. It will include a rec centre, library, high school academic centre and district park. The project is currently in the design stage and area residents are invited to give feedback on the City of Edmonton website.