Edmonton’s new Valley Line Southeast LRT has an updated opening date. While the original opening date was in 2020, a series of unfortunate events led to the date being pushed back multiple times from 2021 to 2022, with the last update pushing for Fall 2023. According to a statement from TransEd, the company continues to rigorously test the 13-kilometer line in preparation for opening day. “In the next few weeks, trains will operate along the entire 13km, mimicking regular passenger service to demonstrate to the certifiers and the City that the Valley Line Southeast LRT is ready to open,” said a news release from September 7.
For students like Kenneth Mendiola, the completion of the Valley Line LRT will considerably shorten their commute time. “It’s less time waiting around for buses, especially if you live on the south side,” said Mendiola. His daily commute to school without the Valley Line LRT involves multiple buses from the south side to NAIT. While the commute takes him around an hour, it varies depending on how long he waits for the bus. He often leaves home one or two hours before his class starts to ensure he arrives on time.
“[The LRT] will be much better for winter and a lot faster too, not having to deal with traffic,” said Mendiola. For students living on the city’s south end, rush-hour traffic can extend an already lengthy commute. Winter slows down the commute even more, as buses are often late because of road and traffic conditions.
Even in other seasons, rush hour traffic can greatly affect commute times. Other students who don’t rely on public transportation don’t have to deal with many of these issues. Despite rush hour traffic and having to leave a little earlier in the winter, students who don’t rely on public transportation will still have a shorter commute compared to those who do.
The completion of the Valley Line Southeast LRT will greatly speed up students like Mendiola’s commute and help bridge commute times between those who take transit and those who don’t.
TransEd continues to “work closely with the city” and will release more information about the expected opening date “as final testing and independent certification nears completion.”
Cover photo by Mark Yong