Wheels on the bus

Transit communities provide options for Calgarians on the go

Calgary’s evolution as a transit community didn’t happen overnight. It just seems that way.

The city’s light-rail transit system actually dates back to 1978, when construction began on the south leg, stretching nearly 11 kilometres from Anderson Road to Seventh Avenue. More than three decades later, the system has added three more lines, most recently opening a new $122.9-million Tuscany/Rocky Ridge stop along the northwest Red Line.

“A growing city has to keep up with the transportation and mobility needs of its citizens,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “The C-Train extension to the communities of Rocky Ridge, Royal Oak and Tuscany allows us to bring efficient public transit to tens of thousands of Calgarians. The extension will improve travel time, reliability and customer service for Calgary Transit customers in the area.”

The addition to Calgary’s train line will help to service a fast-growing northwest quadrant. According to this year’s civic Census, the relatively new communities of Royal Oak, Tuscany and Rocky Ridge have added nearly 40,000 residents to Calgary’s 1.195 million total population.

For those looking for somewhere to call home, easy access to transit is a hot ticket item – especially for the downtown commute.

“I generally work downtown, so to get there I either bike or take the 56 (bus) from the stop closest to me to Southland LRT station,” said Woodbine resident Selina Renfrow, who, while living in southwest Calgary, gets around without owning a car. “Sometimes, taking transit is the best option to get around the city, particularly downtown because of the cost of parking.”

While close proximity to transit was a “small factor” in deciding to purchase a home in the community of Brentwood for Grant Winter, he said it was an attractive one when considering future resale potential.
“Even though Calgary is a hot market at the moment, we still had to think about the factors that would make our property attractive in a market slump,” he said.

“Being near the train line and one stop from the university was a very attractive feature to us as we considered future resale potential.”

Public transportation has been a mainstay in Calgary for more than 100 years with the first electric streetcar rolling on its way in 1909, gasoline-fuelled buses hitting the street in 1932 and the Blue Arrow express service introduced downtown in 1972 prior to the construction of Calgary’s first C-Train line.

Today, Calgary boasts a C-Train fleet of 192 cars serving 45 stations and 1,100 buses working their way around 142 routes and 6,000 stops.

On Jan. 31, city council approved $520 million in funding for the next 10 years of planning, design and construction of the new line that includes a long-term goal of extending the LRT within the southeast and north central corridors. A new $52-million green line in the southeast would extend from Second Street S.W. to the South Health Campus, while a proposed north-central line would run between downtown and communities north of Beddington Trail.

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