[Updated Feb 7, 2012: Formal Inquiry submitted looking into this – the text of which can be accessed here.]
Council’s Transportation and Public Works committee mulled the question of adding a station between Southgate and Century Park at a meeting in 2007. The discussion focused on a station for Harry Ainlay High School and Louis St. Laurent Jr./Sr. High as well as Confederation Leisure Centre. Councillor Bryan Anderson had made an inquiry which yielded this report here, which was the basis of the discussion.
As a citizen, I marvelled and scratched my head at the lost opportunity. Knocking on doors later that same year as part of my campaign, I heard a lot of disappointment in the communities of Royal Gardens, Greenfield, Duggan and Rideau Park which make up the four corners of 111 Street and 40th Avenue.
After the election I made some inquiries about the feasibility of adding a station during construction of South LRT and while it is technically feasible, and would have been easier to do before opening, the policy of the day was to run LRT fast and far out to the suburbs and region. It was almost more of a commuter rail approach than an urban transit philosophy.
Two things have convinced me that the question of adding a station is worth revisiting:
First, the city’s philosophy on LRT has shifted considerably in the last 18 months. I wrote previously about the new ‘urban vision’ for LRT, but in essence it means stopping a bit more frequently to serve more communities it runs through, and making sure to connect major institutional centres (like, say, high schools and rec centres) and areas with redevelopment potential (like, say, Petrolia Mall at 40 Avenue and 114 Street).
The other thing that’s convinced me to look at this again is the number of people who live in these neighbourhoods that stll bring it up, knocking on doors three years later. I’ve asked people and I’d say 10 to 1 the people in these neighbourhoods would love a chance to more conveniently access the LRT.
With bus service to connect it would improve access for adjacent neighbourhoods like Aspen Gardens as well.
So, if re-elected I will push for the question of a station somewhere around 40th Avenue to be re-evaluated.