Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Don't know, but if, then totally

"And while it's far too early to know whether Darryl Katz's dream-arena plan will go ahead, if it does come to pass, it will be vital to have an LRT line running straight from West Edmonton Mall to the new arena site."
--Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal

Um, okay, I have a question. Why? Why is a straight line from WEM to The Katz & LaForge World-Class Wonder Emporiumâ„¢ "vital?" I mean, vital is a pretty serious word. Synonyms include "essential," "paramount," and "imperative." So when I see a journalist suggesting that level of importance to a public transit line running from a mall to a hockey rink-- a hockey rink that doesn't even exist, and if it does, with all its apparent city-healing powers, will likely cost taxpayers so much money that it will prevent some of those very same public transit lines from being built--I have to ask, really? It's that important? That crucial? So important that to think otherwise is unfathomable? Why? Because we'll need to get people from one big casino to another? Because people will be pissed if they can't get from Bootlegger to box seat in under twenty minutes? Oh! Oh! Is it because doing so will rejuvenate, rehab, renew, restore, refresh, refurbish, regenerate, reinvigorate, revitalize, and revivify the downtown core, transforming Edmonton into a shiny, shimmering, utopian metropolis ? Is this the case? It is, right? Okay, then. If you say so.

I'm agnostic about a line going to WEM. If it's the best place to end or anchor the line, so be it. But I'm pretty certain that building a straight line from there to a new arena isn't the best course of action. And it's definitely not vital. For one, the arena doesn't exist. Second, it never should, if it means taxpayers have to foot the bill. Third, as Patrick LaForge has noted, there will only be 90 hockey events there every year. Even if you scatter in another 75-100 events throughout the year (and I am being generous), the reality is that the "anchor tenant" (I'm assuming the full-blown Wonder Emporiumâ„¢ will be the course of action, because it's the best way to trick people into supporting the public funding model) will be full less than half a year, every year, and even then only for a few hours at a time. Why would you build a straight line to a destination that, in the grand scheme of things, no one goes to? Because there'll also (supposedly) be a casino, some shops and some housing around it? There's lots of places like that (shockingly, they didn't need an adjacent arena and public funding to get built). Are we going to say it's vitally important to build straight lines to all those places, too?

Listen, I'm all for more public transit. And I'm all for public transit that takes people where they actually need to go. As with most cities, getting people in and out of our downtown core in an efficient, expedient and environmentally-friendly manner makes sense. Heck, it's important. What isn't important, however, especially not vitally important, is getting that public transit line to go straight from a mall to a proposed hockey arena, particularly when it's motivated by the unsubstantiated and therefore misguided belief that doing so will revitalize or save a section of our city. This simply will not happen. An LRT line will move people from place A to place B. You want each place to be an optimal destination. A new, publicly funded hockey arena will make Daryl Katz even more wealthy than he already is. You'll probably think it's cool. If those are your points, or your goals, then great. But let's just leave it at that, and save the vitally important words for the vitally important matters.



I'm not from Edmonton, so I don't know the geography, and I don't really follow the arena debate, so I don't know the history. But I think you miss the point when you say "the 'anchor tenant' will be full less than half a year. . .only for a few hours at a time."

You don't look at the average number of people who want to get from point A to B when deciding whether or not public transit is a good choice. People will generally drive, and if the flow of people is relatively constant and can be handled by the roads already in place, public transit is doomed to failure.

Something like an arena is where public transit becomes worthwhile. Lots of people want to get there and back in a very short period of time, so peak flow will be way above average flow. The roads will be full, and so there's lots of reasons to take public transit.

The rest of your post is just sarcasm and a general argument against the arena, which is all well and good, but doesn't really relate to what Paula Simons wrote.

As I said on Twitter, all 5 legs (Southeast, South, Northeast, Northwest, and any West route) will hit Churchill Square, which is less than 10 minutes by foot from the Baccarat site (and comparable to the distance between the Central LRT station and the Shaw Conference Centre, for example). There will also be a stop on the NW line right behind the Baccarat site, so it will be well-serviced regardless of which route the West line takes.

Would it be so bad if the West line went Churchill-Arena-WEM? Perhaps this is what Simons actually means? Or perhaps, despite Alex's claim, not all lines need to end at Churchill, and if the NW line will stop at the Arena site, why the hell not start the West line from there and make people transfer?

Obivously the best way to get the LRT west needs to be figured out, and obviously the word "need" is unnecessary, but there's no reason why a route from WEM to the Arena shouldn't be under consideration.

If I wanted to spring the $100 & purchase the Pollstar Conert Venue Directory for 09/10 I would be more prepared for an arguement. Although for the first 6 months in 07 Rexall was the 13th busiest venue in the world, & 3rd in Canada. Another sourec cited that RX1 was 5th in North America.


It is no secret the ice quality at the current facility dictates how busy this facility is. Between Lacrosse, Dub games, Conerts, Curling, Rodeo & Entertainment shows (Disney on Ice etc) it is a busy facility.

I think the comments about having a stop may just be lobbying more for central station. If/When this new facility is built the vision is an entertainment/social hub. It would nly make sense to have traffic coming to it, instead of having to transfer trains to get to the facility.

If the WEM LRT leg doesn't get built, where will over-served hockey fans urinate post-game?

"revivify" is a good word. It will be hard to fit that into normal conversation without seeming like a complete twat, but I think it can be done.

I'll give it a go this week. I'll pick my spot, and when I get the "did that guy just say revivify?" glance, I'll be ready with my "Yeah, that's a word, bitch. Were you raised by wolves?" glare.

Revivify. Damn.

Also, did David Staples really go to L.A to investigate the impact of new arenas on surrounding neighbourhoods? Whether it's a tax writeoff for a Disney trip or someone else paid ... that's priceless.

I was told this the other day, I'll reserve comment until I have reason to believe that it's not a joke. If so, that would be too funny. The internet would finally be paying dividends.

On the new arena thing, as a whole ... thinking men are only embarrassing themselves when they argue with the enormous amount of information you've provided on this site over the past couple of years. The argument: "I don't mind paying the taxes and I'd just like a flashy new rink" ... that's a fair enough remark. Beyond that there are no tenable contrary positions in my opinion.

Also, I like old buildings (not that Rexall is that old). The smoke of a billion arena burgers has been absorbed into the eurathane insulation on the roof of that barn. I get a whack of childhood memory triggers every time I walk through the place.

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