Originally Posted by RyLucky
I'd be interest to see a cost/benefit analysis comparing these route options.
It depends on catchment and cost, but also should consider the importance of linking destinations (not just transfer points) as well as eventual extension eastward.
I agree with Bassic Lab that given the price of the project it would be a shame to miss Rocky View. Connecting 2 Universities and 2 Hospitals would be huge, as not only are all 4 destinations major employment centres, but a large number of students, patients, and health care professionals make daily trips between any 2 of these 4. I wish I lived in the distant future...
I think we could do a basic analysis ourselves of those four basic routings (or a slight mixture).
50 Avenue S
-The 50 Ave ROW between Crowchild and the 14 St ROW would essentially need to be underground. At grade would not work without massive expropriation and there would be significant opposition to elevation.
-The route would bypass Rockyview Hospital. This would also be a natural transfer point to the 14 St Rapid Transit Line that would be missed.
-If the utility corridor is utilized as an at grade or elevated ROW it would negatively affect plans for urban redevelopment in the area between Elbow Drive and Macleod Trail.
-It would bypass Chinook Mall and the future adjacent TOD.
-There is no existing station for transfers with the SLRT.
-General NIMBY opposition, much of it justified.
-No need for bridge over Glenmore Reservoir.
-Using the utility corridor could reduce costs especially if done at grade or elevated, even if buried underneath it could still be done in conjunction with development on top to reduce costs.
-50 Ave would make sense for an infill station along the SLRT, particularly if utility corridor is not used at grade and a major urban node develops in the area.
-Relatively direct route to transfer with SE LRT at Lynview Station if line is to be extended east.
58 Avenue S
-Similar issues west of the Elbow River to 50 Ave. In fact the route would likely have to take either 50 Ave or Glenmore Trail until the river to get around North Glenmore. The former would be expensive; the latter would involve a somewhat convoluted routing around the north edge of the reservoir to get to 58 Ave.
-Again, it would bypass Rockyview Hospital.
-Again there would be issues between Elbow Drive and Macleod with ROW and resistance to elevation from residents.
-It would be extremely difficult and convoluted to reach Chinook Station for a transfer and 58 Ave would be too close for another station and yet a long walk, so massive issues with transfers to the SLRT.
-No reservoir crossing.
-Route would pass Chinook Mall and the northern edge of the TOD.
-Most Direct Route to SE LRT transfer at Lynview Station if line is to be extended east.
-NIMBY opposition to using the parkland that remains from the GE5 project between 14 St and Macleod.
-ROW east of 5 St could be convoluted and there could be property issues.
-Issues with transfers to Chinook Station and the SLRT if line is to continue along Glenmore ROW east of Macleod. There would also be issues with ROW along Glenmore in that instance.
-Relatively simple detours to serve Lakeview, Rockyview Hospital, and Chinook Station/TOD.
-Could be entirely elevated, reducing costs from tunnels.
-Lowest likelihood of causing major NIMBY opposition. What opposition that might exist would be the least justified.
-Choice of transfer at Lynview or Ogden stations if line is to be extended east. Ogden will likely have a larger TOD and more potential for redevelopment.
Heritage Drive (assuming Glenmore type ROW until 14 ST)
-ROW issues along Heritage Drive, particularly west of Macleod.
-Bypasses Chinook Mall and TOD
-Best able to service Rockyview Hospital.
-Could utilize 14 St Rapid Transit ROW between Glenmore and Heritage, with rail embedded in pavement to allow bus/train operation unless both would be one or the other.
-Service to Heritage Park.
-Service to Deerfoot Meadows, if that is a good thing.
-Likely transfer to SE LRT, if line is extended east, at Ogden instead of Lynview.
Beyond that 50 Ave, 58 Ave, and Heritage Drive would actually make a great deal of sense for BRT instead of LRT. Costs could be massively reduced by allowing in street running in certain choke points where rail would need to be buried or, at a minimum, elevated. I think rail would be better in the long term (50 years out or so), especially if the three TODs will include significant office developments, but gradually improved BRT could probably suffice for a long time. While the route probably has close to the same amount of jobs/school spots as downtown the massive number of students, along with hospital/retail as the major employment sectors, means there really isn't the same kind of peak hour demand.
Personally my favoured alignment would involve deviations from Glenmore. Basically from MRU it would take Richard Road to Glenmore, transition to elevated track, take Glenmore to Crowchild, follow Crowchild south to a station in front of the retail centre. It would then continue south until the north edge of the Earl Grey Golf Course where it would turn east and then cross the reservoir for a station on the north portion of the hospital grounds. It would then veer northwest, cross Glenmore and 14 St and then continue east along the edge of Glenmore. There would likely be a station at Elbow or Chinook Mall (or both if Elbow should have a station for transfers to the #3 and Chinook requests one in exchange for the ROW). At Macleod it would veer northeast and then follow 65 Ave east until 1A St where it would veer northeast again (the properties would need to be expropriated) for a station over the current Chinook station. Those ~6 km would probably cost somewhere around 450 million 2012 dollars.
An eastward extension would take 62 Ave east, then Blackfoot north to a station at Blackfoot@58 Ave. It would then follow 58 Ave east, cross Deerfoot and the Bow River and end at Lynview Station. The junkyard along the west side of Deerfoot might be a good place for a storage/maintenance facility. If such a facility is required for the whole line it might make sense to include this extension with the initial segment (I would include a single track link between the WLRT and this line, and other lines it crosses, for the purposes of moving LRVs between lines as demand warrants so it might not be initially necessary).
For purposes of costing I am assuming 300 million/km for subway, 75 million/km for elevated, and 25+ (going a fair bit higher depending on the level of expropriation required) million/km for at grade track and station. LRV purchases and storage/maintenance facilities would be extra.