Walk to bus stops won't exceed 5-7 minutes, city promises in revised bus network plan

Bus riders in Edmonton won’t have to walk up to 10 minutes from home to get to their bus stops, city officials said Friday in rolling out a refined version of the bus network redesign.

The revised plan will ensure that “the walking distance to bus stops is no more than five to seven minutes in most neighbourhoods,” the city said in a news release.

Community bus routes will be adjusted “to serve more popular destinations,” the city said.

As well, the entire Castle Downs bus network will be revamped to provide better connection to local transit centres.

The changes unveiled Friday reflect community input received on a draft bus network redesign released in March that proved controversial.

The earlier draft plan cut the number of main routes from 200 to 100 in a bid to reduce overlap and eliminate routes that wind through neighbourhood collector routes.

The city said then that the new bus network would continue to provide local routes in neighbourhoods, but warned that walking distances to bus stops may increase. Some people would have to walk up to 10 minutes to their stops, city officials said.

At the time, Mark Tetterington, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said the 10-minute walks would prove difficult for some, especially those with challenges getting around.

“There’s certain areas where they’re going to have to walk up to 800 metres to catch a bus,” Tetterington said then.

On Friday, Edmonton Transit Service branch manager Eddie Robar said about 20 per cent of the routes proposed in March have been adjusted “to better meet transit customer needs.”

The next phase of the redesign will involve more community input.

Edmontonians are invited to complete an online survey or attend a drop-in community workshop to share their thoughts with transit planners about the final draft bus route network. That phase will run from Oct. 25 through Dec. 9.

The city plans to replace the current bus network in 2020 with a new system with different route types.

The draft plan presented in March included frequent buses on major corridors in inner areas and to some extent, outer areas. Buses on these routes would run every 15 minutes or better on weekdays and Saturdays, and every 20 minutes or better during late nights and Sunday.

Other buses, on what the city called “rapid bus routes,” would connect areas of the city that don’t have LRT service to major destinations such as downtown, the University of Alberta and shopping centres.

Crosstown routes would connect major destinations in outer areas of the city without having to go through downtown or travel on neighbourhood roads. They will run every 20 to 30 minutes.

Local routes would provide connections to LRT, frequent bus routes and local centres. 

The bus network redesign is the first major action coming out of the transit strategy adopted by council in 2017.

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