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November 20, 2017
August 16, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Delayed no more?

Written by Jeff Samsonow

The Metro Line back in training days. photo: City of Edmonton

You know we do love a good “this time we mean it” story. Here’s the latest potential date for our beleaguered Metro Line to actually run at full speed, with all of its train cars: the end of 2017.

Just precise enough to give months of wiggle room.

We have, of course, been waiting years for this LRT line to run at regular speed after delays, and problems with its signalling system. The delays also mean the Capital Line that runs up to Clareview can’t be at its full capacity because of the crossover downtown. The only solace we’ve had is that for a couple of years we’ve at least been able to use the LRT station the City doesn’t want us to use.

(Also, kudos to Edmonton Journal reporter Elise Stolte for pushing the City to start posting its internal memos so we can get updates like this and more details on what’s happening between news conferences and official announcements.)

I think the race is really on now between the long-delayed LRT line and long-delayed Walterdale Bridge (II). The bridge is supposed to open to actual-to-goodness traffic next month after years of its own delays. Call me cynical, but I still say we place bets on which opens first and is fully functional.

Quick side note on LRT. Many of our older stations are going to be getting new art which helps tell more stories of the people who live here and built Edmonton.


Photo radar can be good

Ah, yes, the thing that many love to hate, and the topic that has saved many a columnist from blank pages at deadline, is back in the conversation this week. But in a way that all the haters won’t like!

Slow down. No, really, slow down. photo: City of Edmonton

Doing some data journalism, Troy Pavlek has dug into a week of the new publicly available photo radar locations and compared when and where enforcement is happening. (This is a bit of an ongoing item for Pavlek, who is also running for city council.) What he found – and we will of course caution it’s but one week with this new location data – is that photo radar might just be happening more often where people need to be driving slow in order to protect those who would be hurt or killed by speeding drivers. It’s not just on the Henday for cash-cow purposes.

Shocking, I know. It’s not like we had proof, or other local examples of photo radar being a good traffic safety tool to quell all the anger.

Pavlek also notes that the posted locations vary quite widely from where all the actual enforcement happened the week he examined, which could be a problem if we’re trying to prove the safety worth of photo radar. Especially when those who don’t like photo radar have many megaphones.

Megaphone may not be exactly as pictured. image: The Simpsons/Fox

If this trend holds over most weeks, it’s also worth asking why the City of Edmonton isn’t doing more to release public data on photo radar. I mean, if it can be this easy to prove to the naysayers that most enforcement is in their neighbourhoods and near their schools, playgrounds and churches it would shut down all the complaining pretty easily. (I know, it probably wouldn’t)


Around the city

What? More pushback against infill housing? Say it ain’t so. Of course it’s so. And for a house that nobody actually seems to care about keeping. Now we’re just getting angry for the sake of getting angry.

Taste of Edmonton’s going to have a new location next summer, because of LRT construction around Churchill Square. (Actually all of the festivals usually there will be moving next summer.)

All MLAs are probably going to see some expense reviews after a second mini-scandal for United Conservative Party (UCP) MLA Derek Fildebrandt in a week. (More money questions after I wrote that initial sentence. Keep your eyes on Twitter in case there’s another one before I finish this sentence.)

Some Edmonton students are already back in school. More than 1,000 head back earlier from summer break because of a year-round calendar. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to expand beyond the current schools in the Catholic board that operate on this schedule.


Local business

The Alberta government is increasing the money to an Indigenous job training program at NorQuest College, which helps get more people working in the construction industry.

A new coffee shop isn’t going to bake its own treats to go with your drinks, it’s going to tap the best from other local businesses to fill the shelves (and your stomach). As we wrote about last week, Edmonton’s bakery scene is booming, so this type of decision makes sense.

In sadder business news, Venture Publishing is closing down all of its magazines, months after its CEO and editor-in-chief died.


Fringe starts Thursday

Edmonton’s big Fringe Festival starts Thursday. Keep your eyes on 12thNight, Vue Weekly, GigCity, the Edmonton Journal and After the House Lights for reviews, reviews, reviews! Many of them already have previews for plays posted if you want to get a jump on things.

You can probably keep your eyes on the #yegfringe hashtag too, for quick reviews from your social network and all the above-mentioned. Oh, and Taproot Edmonton has a daily Fringe email you can sign up for.

A couple of interesting items to note before all the shows start, long-time Edmonton arts writer Liz Nicholls isn’t going to be handing out “stars” in her reviews this year. One of the questions she asks about the sometimes-eclectic and thought-provoking fringe plays includes “How do you weigh ambition against execution?” And the funeral home across the street from the Fringe grounds is open for public tours.


Light in dark times

It’s not all Nazis and racism these days… We also have beaver buddies!

And this is a story that feels poised to go viral.


Public engagement

If you want to be part of citizen working groups providing feedback on Edmonton’s new Valley Line West LRT expansion, check out public meetings this week (and next) for various points along the planned route. Wednesday’s meeting is at the Belmead Community Hall and Thursday’s is at the West Meadowlark Community Hall.