Have you ever seen images from New Mexico, of the fake communities that were built, filled with mannequins, all to be destroyed by the atomic weapons being tested nearby? The fake towns are eerie, right?
OK, follow me. Head north on 107th Street, just past the NAIT Campus. You will see EPCOR’s Hugh J. Bolton Service Centre Yard. Take a left, and you will get to a dead end at 109th Street. A fence separates you from what used to be the Edmonton City Centre airport. Inside is an empty field, as the City’s Blatchford project waits and waits for developers to bite.
But, wait, the field isn’t totally empty. Squint and you’ll see LRT tracks. And wait, is that a fully built out LRT station? Next to it is where a road is marked out, and there’s even a set of traffic lights, going from green to yellow to red, through not a vehicle can be seen.
All that’s missing are the mannequins.
On January 20, the NAIT/Blatchford Market Station opened, ahead of schedule. It’s part of the $291 million Phase I expansion of the Metro Line. The City trumpeted the success. Now, five-car trains can run on the Metro Line into the sleek new station.
But, you might notice the tracks don’t end at NAIT/Blatchford Market. They extend north into the field, eventually leading to another fully completed station — Blatchford Gate.
There was no fanfare for the completion of this station. It sits alone, unused. And there is no plan to open it in the immediate future.
So, why would the City push to build a station that’s currently sitting in the middle of nowhere?