Calgary city council has agreed to take a closer look at a new bus rapid transit corridor to move commuters more quickly from the city’s southwest suburbs.
Ald. Brian Pincott Monday argued in favour of establishing dedicated bus lanes from Anderson Road along 14 Street S.W., Glenmore and Crowchild to the downtown. The trip would take about 45 minutes.
Council agreed and passed the matter to the city's transit committee Monday, moving the proposal one step closer to reality.
Under the plan, buses would have a new free-flow lane to the downtown created from existing meridians and shoulders.
There are three existing BRT lines running in other quadrants of the city during rush hour — buses that make few stops while shuttling commuters to and from the city's core.
But in the southwest, even in the middle of the day, the intersection of 14th Street S.W. and Anderson Road is clogged with traffic.
"When we take a look at southwest Calgary, particularly south of the reservoir, we have got a challenge there," said Pincott. "People … only have one way out. So this is looking for the solutions to get people moving out of southwest Calgary into the downtown."
Mayor Dave Bronconnier said BRT may prove to be the best option for the southwest.
"It's a combination of how do you shore up ridership, how do you provide a service that has a direct connection, and how do you do it on a cost effective basis? This is one such option," Bronconnier said.
City officials would like to build a Light Rapid Transit line down Crowchild to Glenmore to 14th Street S.W. and Anderson Road. But that would take too much time to solve the growing traffic congestion, and involve considerable cost.
Ald. Druh Farrell said she too likes the BRT option. "They can define the route. They can get people used to transit and often they are as efficient as the LRT system [and] far less expensive."
Pincott said a dedicated bus corridor and platforms is the way to go.
"Not only do we give people an effective alternative to driving their car downtown … but we also free up more road space for more vehicles."