The hotly debated southwest BRT, which will ultimately see its terminus in Ward 13, has become one of the key issues facing would-be councillors in a crowded race to take down a longtime incumbent.

It’s been a rocky road for the proposed 22-kilometre transitway that will connect the downtown core to southwest communities and such key institutions as Mount Royal University and Rockyview hospital, before hitting the end of the line in the quiet, tree-lined neighbourhood of Woodbine.

For Scott Eden, president of the Woodcreek Community Association, the $208-million project has residents in the mature community alarmed over a feared influx of commuters, who could park their vehicles in Woodbine to take advantage of the transitway.

“I think the question of whether this is something the community wants or needs has never been fully answered,” said Eden, who noted the city’s consultation with the community often felt more like an edict. “There’s a big concern that the community could easily become a parking lot.”

The proposed terminus for the southwest BRT would be right on the edge of Fish Creek Park at 24 Street and Woodpark Boulevard S.W., which has some in the community concerned the already popular destination will become saturated.

For 17 years, Diane Colley-Urquhart has represented Ward 13. In Monday night’s vote, she will face a crowded field of six challengers that includes a former Alberta MLA, a former leadership runner-up for the Wildrose party, and another who had previously run for mayor of Lethbridge.

The veteran councillor said city administration hasn’t demonstrated the need for the project, particularly with the city facing a $170-million budget shortfall when a new council reconvenes to set its four-year budget.

“First and foremost the southwest BRT needs to be put on ice with a new council,” she said. “There is no justification at all for this project …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald

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