Why I’m excited for the Southeast LRT

Now that I’ve had a chance to think and talk to a few people about yesterday’s LRT route announcements, there is one aspect in particular of the Southeast LRT route that I am quite excited about.

Can this:

Pic of the Day #965 by Kenneth Hynek

Go with these?

Fall Photowalk in EdmontonMuttart - May 12 024 - by A.N.U.J

I think the answer is a big yes (minus the high-floor, underground, elaborate stations…low-floor FTW).

If you look closely at the recommended route for the Southeast LRT corridor, you’ll notice that it goes from downtown through Louise McKinney Riverfront Park and across the river to the Muttart Conservatory (where there should be a stop).

Did you catch that? The LRT will go through the crown jewel of Edmonton, the river valley!

A low-floor, urban style LRT route from downtown through the river valley opens the door to all kinds of possibilities. Most obviously, it makes the river valley accessible to all – no more talk of building an incredibly expensive funicular. More significantly, it creates the potential for some development along the river valley. Think riverfront restaurants, pubs, and other attractions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to turn our river valley into an outdoor West Edmonton Mall or anything like that, but I do think that we often fail to make the most of what is perhaps our best asset. I think an LRT stop at the Muttart Conservatory could spur a number of interesting ideas and concepts.

Now to be clear, this isn’t guaranteed to happen. They could still switch the stations or even potentially the route. And I don’t know how they plan to get from downtown down to the river. There are a lot of unknowns. Still, I think the potential for this is incredible. That’s why I’m excited about the Southeast LRT route, and why I think you should be too!

Photo credits: A.N.U.J, mastermaq, Kenneth Hynek