The city is inviting the public to attend an information session on a transit project that is intended to streamline travel between the core and southwest Calgary but some area residents say they have concerns about the initiative.

The Southwest Transitway project will bring a new Bus Rapid Transit service to the area and will run from downtown to Woodbine. The BRT service will provide direct connections to Mount Royal University, the Rockyview Hospital, Marda Loop and other popular stops in the southwest.

New bus stations will be constructed to accommodate the project and new bus-only lanes will also be built along 14th Street between Southland Drive and 75 Avenue.

The buses are expected to run every 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 – 20 minutes in off hours.

Some area residents have expressed concern about parking and traffic congestion during the construction phase and once the project is complete but the city say’s there has also been a lot of support for the initiative.

Alan Hallman lives in Eagle Ridge and is a representative from Ready to Engage, a group of concerned community members who are opposed to the plan.

“There was no public engagement prior to them announcing this. This project has been dormant for five years and now they’re just bringing it to light and the residents of southwest Calgary want a say,” he said. “We just want a say. We want to be consulted and we have not been consulted to date but there’s lots of alternatives. What the city is doing today is they’re saying this is what we’re doing, like it or lump it, and we want a say in how this project’s going to proceed.”

Hallman says Ready to Engage held its own open house a month ago to discuss the project and a number of concerns were brought forward.

“One of the large things we’re concerned about, by community, is that when you have a BRT station it then includes what’s called a TOD, a transit orientated development, and that allows city council to fast-track huge densification projects into residential communities so that’s another concern that we have,” said Hallman.

The project is expected to cost $40 million and Hallman says the budget was based on 2010 numbers and that it will likely be triple that in today’s economy.

“When they say $40 million that doesn’t include moving of existing infrastructure, like all the light standards, the ENMAX infrastructure, that there is active, high-pressure pipelines under 14th street and that they would even suggest to put very large, articulated buses over top of these pipelines, it’s a very dangerous situation,” he said.

Ready to engage has launched an online petition to ask council to reconsider the project, click HERE for more information.

The City’s information meeting is on Tuesday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Woodcreek Community Association at 1991 Woodview Drive S.W.

The city is holding additional information sessions in the coming weeks, click HERE for more information.