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Sep 22, 2015
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Southwest island of congestion a test case for Edmonton and key election battle
On Terwillegar Drive, drivers stick to the on-off ramps, zipping up and down from traffic light to traffic light.

That’s because on-off ramps are all Edmonton ever built of the mighty Terwillegar freeway – originally designed as a free-flow corridor to open southwest Edmonton and run straight past the airport.

Development went ahead, filling up the tableland between Whitemud Creek and the North Saskatchewan River, stretching farther south faster than anyone imagined. But Terwillegar freeway didn’t follow.

Now 30 years later — with annexation and more growth looming — the community has had enough. One collision on a major road can snarl traffic five kilometres away, and it does, regularly, forcing some residents to leave for appointments an hour early because they have no faith in the roads.
City to bet on express routes to LRT in Terwillegar-Riverbend
Ileiren Poon leaves an hour early to get a seat on the bus.

She walks to her bus stop near Riverbend and Rabbit Hill Road, then reads a book on the 45 minute commute to the South Campus LRT station and to downtown.

“I get to work not angry. That helps a lot in my day,” said Poon, who gets to her customer service job by 7:30 a.m. “If I was driving, I’d be an incoherent rage-monster by the time I got to my desk.”

Theoretically, adding one bus could take dozens of cars off the road, leaving more space for the carpenters, plumbers and real estate agents that simply have to drive their vehicle for work. But in Terwillegar-Riverbend, that bus can be a tough sell.

Peak hour buses are often standing-room only by the time they reach the LRT. And if an accident or poor weather snarls traffic, the bus is stuck, too. Planners say public transit has to be part of any long-term solution, but no one says it’s cheap and easy.

The approaches are there but the pedestrian/cycling bridge is missing between Brookside and Bulyea Heights (Brookview) over Whitemud Drive. GOOGLE MAPS

Ghost bridge hampers cycle routes in Terwilleger-Riverbend
The Terwillegar freeway isn’t the only ghost infrastructure in Terwillegar-Riverbend. There’s a ghost pedestrian bridge, too.

At the north end of Bulyea Heights (what residents call Brookview), there’s a shared-use path that runs to nowhere. It dead ends at the sound barrier along Whitemud Drive.

The bike path reappears on the north side of Whitemud Drive, with a gentle slope to the Rainbow Valley Campground or quiet residential roads leading north to the paved river valley trail system. The only problem is: bikes don’t fly.

Residents say missing links for walking and biking are also part of what makes Terwillegar-Riverbend so congested. It means for many, the car is the best option.

Sara Davison, a doctor at the University of Alberta Hospital, dreamed of leaving the car and biking to work for years before she and her husband finally scoped out a safe route. It’s not obvious.

The roads inside each Terwillegar neighbourhood are fairly quiet, but there are few good connections from one neighbourhood to the next and bikes aren’t allowed in the Whitemud Creek nature preserve.

“The drivers are just insane,” said Davison, who now leaves just after 6 a.m. to bike without traffic on residential roads. “Anything that’s established for bikes would be helpful.”
Vehemently disagree with these candidates:
  1. Wider roads are NOT a solution (induced demand)
  2. While BRT can be good if done well, LRT is NOT antiquated, many cities continue to build and expand LRT
  3. BRT being able to change routes is NOT an advantage as it removes the certainty of being able to build TOD
  4. Building a central bike network (where bike commuting is most popular) is essential to a city like ours, and managing transportation into the future.
David Staples: Can southwest Edmonton find a champion to build new arterial roads?

Congrested rush hour traffic is seen at the intersection of Terwillegar Drive and 40 Avenue in Edmonton on Friday, March 24, 2017.

The electoral equation in Edmonton’s southwest Ward 9 is simple: an exploding population plus poor road infrastructure equals voters keen for a champion to build new or expanded arterials.

Departing councillor Bryan Anderson was able to get all kinds of investment in the southwest in his 19 years on council. That includes the much-loved Terwillegar Recreation Centre. But for 40 years, Terwillegar Drive hasn’t really been a drive at all. Instead, it is a series of off-ramps masquerading as an arterial road.

A six-to-eight-lane highway has always been envisioned to go in the massive length of green space between the off-ramp roads of the current drive, but with LRT and Henday construction at the top of the city’s priority list, Terwillegar has stayed as is. It’s been getting more choked with traffic every decade. It’s now a nightmare in rush hour.

Five Ward 9 candidates — Rob Agostinis, Tim Cartmell, Mark Hope, Payman Parseyan and Sandy Pon — are running in the Oct. 16 civic election to replace Anderson and they’re united that it’s high time to start building interchanges and expanding Terwillegar.

“For the last 25 years that I’ve lived there, nothing has really been done in transportation,” says Pon, a real estate agent. “It’s almost ludicrous it never got the attention it deserved.”

To be fair, the Anthony Henday ring road has provided huge benefits to the southwest, so it’s not like this area hasn’t seen a drop of public investment, but the Terwillegar Drive situation needs changing.

“Terwillegar Drive is my highest priority,” says Parseyan, a businessman. “That road has been on standby since 1986. I want to get that road built.”
Mayor Don Iveson throws support behind Terwillegar Drive upgrades
Don Iveson threw his support behind $36-million in upgrades to the 40 Avenue/Terwillegar Drive intersection at a campaign stop Monday, saying Edmonton needs to help new areas cope with growth.

The intersection “will need to be built this term,” said Iveson, running for re-election as mayor and addressing one of the most frustrating intersections in the southwest.

Terwillegar Drive was originally planned to be free-flow, but only the off and on ramps have been built, causing traffic to often back up a kilometre onto Whitemud Drive during the afternoon rush hour.

The 40 Avenue bridge opened in 1983. But it has a strange arc, as if it’s a temporary road intended to detour traffic around non-existent bridge construction, and its traffic signals still hang from wires above the road.

Iveson singled out that intersection as one that must be upgraded within the next four years, with a larger plan to deal with other pinch points throughout the southwest.
The City of Edmonton has launched a Planning Study to update the Terwillegar Drive Concept Plan with a goal to develop a free-flowfreeway configuration (no traffic signals) between Whitemud Drive and Anthony Henday Drive. The study includes the review and updating of interchange plans for Terwillegar Drive/Whitemud Drive, 23 Avenue, Rabbit Hill Road and 40 Avenue/Bulyea Road, as well as overpass plans at Haddow Drive.

Please join us at our first public event:
Wednesday, January 24, 2018,
4:30 - 8 p.m. (Drop-in)
St. Thomas More Parish,
210 Haddow Close

If you are not able to attend the event, all information materials will be posted online at and accompanied by an online survey and Question and Answer opportunity.
Slowing down to speed up: Councillor calls for reset on Terwillegar Drive talks
Tim Cartmell has an unorthodox solution for the Terwillegar Drive freeway: Don’t make it a freeway.

The Ward 9 councillor supports making it free flow by adding extra lanes and interchanges to let vehicles bypass all the lights.

But don’t build it for freeway speeds, he said, stepping in to try solve what’s growing into a mini-revolt among the southern neighbourhoods.

He’s bringing the issue to city council Tuesday.

Terwillegar-Riverbend residents have been waiting for Terwillegar Drive upgrades for decades. Most people seem to agree the work should start where Terwillegar Drive meets Bulyea Road and 40 Avenue, which can get so congested it backs up for more than one kilometre onto Whitemud Drive.

City officials started to get a plan in place for funding in this fall’s capital budget debates but they’re running into a familiar problem.

Upgrading 40 Avenue to an 80-km/h freeway would require the city to completely redo the Whitemud Drive/Terwillegar Drive interchange because space is too tight. Without an overhaul, the existing off-ramps for Whitemud Drive and future on-ramps for 40 Avenue would overlap. Vehicles would merge past each other, which is dangerous.

But redoing the Whitemud Drive/Terwillegar Drive interchange will cost up to $300 million.

“That takes a long time and it’s really bloody expensive,” Cartmell said.

He’s worried there won’t be enough money in the capital budget again, which means nothing will be done.
Report on Terwilligar Drive improvements goes to Urban Planning Committee Oct. 2. It looks like they're recommending a lighter expressway plan, versus a freeway as before, which brings the cost down to about $300M from $1.2B, and helps maintain space for a future transit corridor.

As someone on Twitter pointed out, this is probably the first time in the history of ever that the city has acknowledged Induced Demand:

Research and experience from the development of the Transportation Master Plan, The Way We Move, suggests that building additional vehicle capacity creates additional vehicle traffic by attracting vehicles from other routes and generating new users. This ‘induced demand’ means that a project that addresses traffic challenges by adding vehicle capacity tends to quickly result in the same congestion and delays it was intended to address. The analysis completed in support of this study echoes this finding.
Demand: Induce!

Terwillegar Drive improvements includes upgrades for all users
September 16, 2019

Edmontonians are invited to view the recommended concept plan for the Terwillegar Drive Concept Planning Study. The recommended plan aims to improve vehicle capacity, reduce congestion and delays, and improve accessibility for transit users, pedestrians and cyclists.

Date: Wednesday, September 18
Time: 4 - 8 p.m. (drop-in)
Location: St. Thomas More Parish, 210 Haddow Close

Terwillegar Drive is a key north-south route in southwest Edmonton that has exceeded capacity. The Terwillegar Drive Concept Planning Study will update the plan along Terwillegar Drive, between Whitemud Drive and Anthony Henday Drive, to accommodate use for the future. As a part of the recommended concept plan, Terwillegar Drive upgrades will include 4 vehicle lanes in each direction (3 for motorists, 1 for transit), intersection improvements, a shared-use path on the east side and continued landscaping/naturalization in the area.

For more information:
This was predictable... as is a deeper recession!

Yes, more than likely a deeper recession. Hate to say it, but it just might be the slow making of a Great Depression 2.0, or worse. Anyways, happy Remembrance day weekend all, and get out and take some pic's while y'all still have some money to buy film. Or before the deep freeze ❄❄❄
It's not as bad as all that @Kaizen -- sometimes politicians make a bad situation so that they can then offer up a fix (I make my problem and then I fix it)... its called Trumpmeister syndrome.
I don't know if the Alberta Government is that cynical, but we shall see...