firstly and most importantly: i am not trying to derail this thread away from it's intent, but for every hero there needs to be a villain. you guys can be the heroes and i will be the devil's advocate villain, purely here to spark conversation and the possibilities i see in the nose creek corridor.
i see lrt in calgary as more importantly serving the outlying communities, rather than inner city. inner city can be served best by tram, bus, cycle and even walking to the city's core. after all, the layout of our lrt is mainly to support the core.
memorial drive to 32 ave: the lrt can serve the new science centre as well as parts of the communities of mayland heights and renfrew. the farthest part of mayland heights is only 1.5 kms from the 8 ave lrt station,which means a 15 minute walk, 5 minute by bus or cycle. north of 16 ave, the land available lies mostly on the east side of the lrt line. if fox hollow can be available for redevelopment, its a carte blanche for tod potential.
32 ave to 64 ave: mostly travelling thru light industrial lands, the nose creek route can provide easier, faster access to employment for calgarians. the industrial park, over time, will redevelop into a more dense commercial/industrial work node. let's not forget how important it is to have employment close to the lrt network. the station at 64 ave provides a great opportunity for an almost blank slate tod. there are large commercial lands, within close proximity to the station, available for redevelopment.
64 ave to harvest hills blvd: this stretch of lrt is especially important. it is possibly the best location for lrt to connect to an airport people mover. it is also a great and logical connection to the proposed airport stop of the hsr. high speed rail, lrt and a airport people mover...all the makings of a great transportation hub, and with the empty lands around the commercial area of harvest hills, again, it's a blank slate for tod town that is ultimately connected with major transportaion options.
but don't worry nclrt advocates, i am on your side when it comes to rail up centre street....except i believe it should be a tram. trams are concrete just like lrt, but i believe they bring better interaction with street level and pedestrians. the centre street tram could have more frequent stops along the corridor. a tram also is much less a construction nightmare than is building a cut and cover or purely underground lrt network. i see this tram as exactly like the tram network in toronto, as it integrates well with the street level environment.
by the time any of the nclrt gets serious consideration for construction, who knows what costs will be like. but i would love to see how much money could be saved on going with lrt up the nose creek corridor. perhaps if the cost gap is large enough, that the centre street tram could be considered as a compliment for inner city people moving, providing transportation that will integrate well with it's community.
to sum it up, if it was up to me, i would build lrt up nose creek to serve the outlying communities and with the cost savings of avoiding lrt underground along centre street, i would build a centre street tram system providing inner city north communities with a street friendly, permanent rail connection to downtown.
thanks for taking the time to read my 'buzzed' ramblings on a friday night. i look forward to healthy dialogue, as all calgarians benefit from a strong transportation network.