The Station the City Doesn't Want You To Use
The stats on MacEwan Station.
July 31, 2017
photography by Paul Swanson
MacEwan Station By-the-Numbers
18,347 — Number of guests at Rogers Place for Game 6 of Oilers-Ducks Playoff Series
100 — Number of passengers MacEwan Station can handle at one time
184 — Number of trains it would take to clear those passengers from MacEwan Station
The original Capital Line has, since 1978, connected LRT riders directly to Edmonton's largest sports venues: Commonwealth Stadium, home of the Eskimos, and Rexall Place (now Northlands Coliseum), former home of the Oilers.
But when it comes to the Oilers, that's no longer the case. Rogers Place, the new home of the Oilers — which can hold up to 20,734 people — sits less than 50 metres from MacEwan Station, the first station on the Metro Line LRT's 3.3-kilometre northwestern run toward NAIT. But, if you're an Oilers fan, nobody in Edmonton's administration wants you to use it. A Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy request was filed to the City of Edmonton to find out why. City documents show Edmonton’s communications strategy is to push Rogers Place fans to use Bay/Enterprise Square LRT station, three blocks from the arena. The reason is the Metro Line “is not currently designed for and equipped to handle” arena traffic. Specifically, the documents show the MacEwan station’s concourse can’t accommodate more than 100 customers at any one time — “it wasn’t designed to hold thousands of people waiting for a train.” Yes, that's right: An LRT station on a line approved in 2008 and built between 2010 and 2014 (though only fully functional as of February 2017), which sits immediately beside Rogers Place, built in a location that was discussed in 2008, can only fit 100 people.
A communications briefing note provides context. “MacEwan LRT station was originally planned before the arena location was selected,” it reads — adding, paradoxically, that the decision to build Rogers Place where it is “was partly based on the proximity and accessibility of MacEwan LRT station.”
This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.