David Staples: Metro Line LRT should be renamed Gobsmacked Line

The Metro Line LRT’s name should be changed to the Gobsmacked Line.

The botched LRT spur from the downtown to NAIT continues to utterly astound us with new heights of failure, with trains getting signalled to head down the wrong tracks over the weekend and with city manager Linda Cochrane’s statement that she isn’t sure if this LRT line will ever run as it’s designed.

Cochrane’s admission, along with the cumulative problems around LRT, make me question if we’re ever going to get LRT right, despite the billions already spent and planned to be spent.

We’ve had five years of fiasco with the $655-million Metro LRT, much of it due to a signalling system developed by Thales Canada that the city doesn’t trust.

First, the Metro LRT opened 17 months late, running at half speed and causing greater traffic jams than expected.

As alarming as that was, we also found out many years too late that in 2009, city administration failed to do a study about the Metro Line’s potential for causing massive traffic snarls, a revelation that had Coun. Scott McKeen tell administration: “I’m honestly so gobsmacked I almost don’t know what to ask.”

“This has been going on for years and I think people are just frustrated,” said Coun. Bev Eslinger of the signalling issues. “It’s kind of the last straw for many folks. I’m getting questions about safety. ‘Can I take my children on it? Are you taking your children on it?’ ”

Just when you might have thought things could not get worse, at Tuesday’s council meeting, Coun. Michael Walters asked Cochrane point-blank about the future of the line: “Is it going to run as it was designed?”

“I don’t think I can answer that particularly right now,” Cochrane said, adding she still needs to dig into what software problem caused the latest problem.

It’s …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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