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October 22, 2017
May 31, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Thursday, June 1, 2017

Expect delays

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

The consortium behind the expansion of our LRT to Mill Woods provided an update on this summer’s work, and you can expect to be stuck in traffic at some point if you travel through southeast Edmonton. There’s a lot of work happening this year between Mill Woods and the river, so there will be delays along the future path of the LRT, and surrounding neighbourhoods, at various intervals all summer. The good news is, at this point, everything is on track to open in 2020.

I’m now taking bets on whether the Walterdale Bridge will be open by 2020 as well.

Postmedia Edmonton’s got a good overview on the various stretches of the LRT track and what kind of work is expected when. The delays won’t end this year either, as work will go above ground in the downtown next year and there will still be plenty of track to lay and testing to happen. Short term pain for long term gain?

This spring and summer in the downtown, work is finishing on the downtown bike network. We’re just a few weeks away from new traffic signals being installed, which should be good news for people who drive (traffic signals are actually a big part of the network’s budget). By July the network should be just about completely open and people can bike around the downtown in a much safer way.

Back to Edmonton Transit now, as the union for drivers gears up for a fight over some route closures and the City’s possible plans to use taxis and rideshares (like Uber or Edmonton-based TappCar) to help get people around in under-served areas. While Uber is certainly looking like a worse and worse company to get involved with, many other cities are experimenting with subsidized taxis to help people get around “the first and last mile” between transit routes and stations.

It’s not an easy decision to cancel a route. But ETS is seeing success with shifts that have already put more buses on our busiest routes in our busiest bus-riding neighbourhoods, including more buses arriving and leaving on time. More routes will shift in July. We’re also expecting a major plan to be presented before the summer is out on the overall strategy going forward, including items like those taxi rides.


Around the city

I’m all for getting a jump on the election, but it does feel a bit early to be holding candidate forums. Ward 9 candidates were out for one this week, with five months to go before the election, and almost four months before candidates have to actually file their nomination papers. Almost puts any latecomers at a disadvantage. Then again, this is an open ward and it’s going to be a big race.

It should be easier to close a street for people to use in ways other than driving and parking. We’ll see this happening on Saturday as part of the 100 In 1 Day event, but it could be nice to do it more often.

Strathcona County is moving toward its own Vision Zero goals, trying to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on roads to zero. We’ve recently seen in Edmonton that our own city’s plans appear to be moving things in the right direction, though there are still too many deaths of people walking compared to other road users.

Fort Saskatchewan has a tax problem. It’s got way too much tax money just sitting around.

There will be slightly less shooting at a new sports and outdoor complex in Leduc County.

Nextfest is a real gem of a festival here in Edmonton, celebrating all forms of the arts and giving many of our brightest stars some of their first opportunities to perform and create. The festival runs through June 11 at multiple venues around the city.


Outside of Edmonton

A local group that has worked for years with people in the sex trade is asking that women on the streets today are heard as part of the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). The inquiry’s communications have been called into question many times over the last few months, and family members in particular need to hear more about what’s going on and what they can do to get involved.

The Alberta government announced a crisis commission to deal with opioid overdoses. Will the commission help with the real overdose problem in the suburbs though?

The provincial government also announced an unprecedented Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel to guide environmental monitoring.

Alberta’s Chief Scientist Fred Wrona and Indigenous Wisdom Panel member Reg Crowshoe at the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel signing ceremony (Photo: Government of Alberta, Creative Commons)


Public engagement

The Recreation Facility Master Plan has two pop-up events today, at Edmonton Tower 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and at the Mill Woods Farmers Market 5 – 8 p.m.

There’s also an open house in Laurier Heights about an expansion of a seniors facility, at the Laurier Heights Baptist Church, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

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