Citizens assemble to celebrate Valley Line Southeast LRT opening

Citizens assemble to celebrate Valley Line Southeast LRT opening

The Valley Line Southeast LRT is scheduled to begin passenger service on Nov. 4 at 5:15am, and that's cause for celebration, say the hosts of Speaking Municipally.

The official opening ceremony won't be held until 2024, after the train has been running for a "number of months," the city said in a release.

"Usually when we open train lines like this, we like to get all the funding partners: the MLAs, the MPs, all the councillors, everybody together. They take a big picture, they cut a ribbon … Interesting that we're not doing that this time," said Mack Male, co-host of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.

The city initially estimated that the project would be finished in 2020, but delays such as cracked concrete piers and surprise obstructions put it three years behind schedule.

"I think there was a value computation made: To get all the funding partners, to get all the feds here and everything, that's going to take some time and organization," said co-host Troy Pavlek. "We're not delaying the opening of the train for the ribbon-cutting."

While there is no formal opening ceremony yet, Pavlek and others plan to be there for the train's bright and early opening, leaving from 102 Street and 102 Avenue. Pavlek promises cake, and Mike Kunicki has pledged coffee from Candid Coffee Roasters (while supplies last). They expect to be joined by city councillors and other passionate Edmontonians.

"Come enjoy the party of riding the train to Mill Woods and back," Pavlek said. "This is, dear listener, your official invite."

Hear more on the Valley Line Southeast LRT launch; the passage of Edmonton's new zoning bylaw and the failed and passed motions that followed it; the cost of incentives for office tower conversions; and much more in the Oct. 27 episode of Speaking Municipally.

Photo: Edmonton photographer Kurayba captured a test run of the Valley Line Southeast LRT a year ago. The train is finally set to connect Mill Woods to downtown on Nov. 4. (Kurayba/Flickr)