Before the Green Line alignment is confirmed, committee must vote this week, and council will vote again on June 15. Councillors can propose changes to the final plan that must also be voted on.
On Monday morning, a group of advocates from the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good gathered outside city hall to show their support for the Green Line.
Some Calgarians who spoke at the public hearing said they worried about the impact of the transit project on Prince’s Island Park and properties near the river, while others urged council not to risk pushing the Green Line even further into the future by reconsidering pieces of the final plan now.
Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Coun. Jeff Davison said in an interview that he supports an alignment that’s more “purposely thoughtful” for the north.
He said the proposal isn’t intended to align with a group of business figures who call themselves an “ad hoc committee” who are advocating for the Green Line to stop downtown. That group also wants to stop plans for the Green Line to tunnel underground.
“I have to make a justifiable call on what we should do for the benefit of all Calgarians, not for people who have an opinion,” Davison said.
“I hope I’m not getting bucketed into that because it is that, one opinion. And that’s great, thank you very much for your contribution.”
Gondek also asked city officials why the Green Line can’t get across the Bow River on the existing Centre Street Bridge instead of building a brand new river crossing.
Thompson said that option has been looked at in the past, but making enough room for two lanes of LRT and two lanes of traffic for LRT on the Centre Street Bridge would mean reconstructing it to make it wider, as well as adding an additional pedestrian bridge next to it.
The provincial and federal governments have promised about $1.5 billion each for the Green Line, and Mayor Naheed Nenshi said that’s “the largest source of dedicated funding we’ve ever had for an individual project.”
Nenshi said putting off crossing the Bow River goes against the strategy for making sure transit continues to get built across the city.
“The philosophy has always been build the expensive part first so that construction never really stops. You continue to build station by station in the north and in the south.”