Sitting, waiting and anticipating the arrival of a bus or train is a common everyday event in Calgary. While sometimes slow, transit is the one thing that keep many who live in this city moving.
Whether it’s due to construction problems, clashing with bike lanes, or the scarcity of heated bus stops, public transportation seems to be a problem without any satisfying solutions.
Among the many who rely on public transit, university students (who don’t have access to public school buses coming to their houses) struggle the most with this system, which is in dire need of several changes.
While it’s not ideal, public transit is the one thing standing between them and unreasonable parking pass fees or having to study for a license, later paying for a car and its maintenance.
Now, a proposed solution to some of those problems, the Southwest BRT which expands the city’s transit into the south, is receiving backlash from residents of the area and city councillors, with the most vocal being Jeromy Farkas of Ward 11.
The route of the BRT would span from the Currie Barracks to Fish Creek Provincial Park, servicing MRU, Rockyview General Hospital and those who live in the Woodbine area.
A lobby group called ‘Ready to Engage’ says the BRT is a “project without the opportunity for meaningful public engagement.”
While strong opposition from the residents is coming in, students from Mount Royal are strong advocates for the expansion of the transit system, especially so since the southern quadrant of the city has limited transit options.
Since MRU isn’t along the downtown line, or along existing C-train routes (like U of C and SAIT), its students are reliant on the bus system, making an improvement to such a system that much more important to them.
Some of the arguments against the BRT say that it will increase traffic and that there should be a focus on finishing the ring road first.
Shifrah Gadamsett, president of Student Association at MRU is one of the most vocal advocates for the new transit line.
“MRU hasn’t had efficient transit access to match the increase in our student population to date,” said Gadamsett.
“The BRT is the next best thing - it's a route that spans a large geographical location but with limited stops. It allows for the route to interact with the rest of the city’s BRT network.”
Councillor Jeromy Farkas has been vocal about putting a pause on the project.
“I didn’t propose to stop it,” he said.
Councillor Farkas has been vocal about the opposition, saying that it is important to look at the finances associated with such an undertaking.
Fortunately for the students of MRU, Farkas’ proposal was turned down, greenlighting the BRT project, meaning that better transportation options for the students is on its way.
“It improves accessibility in a meaningful way,” said Gadamsett.
- By Andrea Fulton