Investing in Calgary’s infrastructure: 2022 highlights
In 2022, we continued our commitment to designing, building and optimizing our municipal infrastructure to create inclusive, accessible and resilient communities. From the construction of new parks and open spaces to recreation amenities, there are now more opportunities for Calgarians to enjoy healthier lifestyles. New bridges, interchanges and Main Streets connect current and future communities to daily life, work and play destinations. Improvements to utilities move and treat fresh, waste and storm water that serve our homes and businesses to both conserve the environment as well as protecting us from extreme weather events.
Below are some highlights that showcase the work we’re doing to make life better for all Calgarians:
Stoney Trail North Interchanges
Work on two interchanges in north Calgary is nearing completion, crossing Stoney Trail at Shaganappi Trail and Harvest Hills Boulevard. Designed to create more road capacity and better connectivity for the communities north and south of Stoney Trail, work also included new multi-use pathways in both locations to allow those walking and wheeling to get across Stoney Trail safely. “With better connectivity, increased traffic capacity, and more ways for people to bike and walk between communities, these interchanges in north Calgary will support both existing and new communities as they continue to grow,” said Project Manager Howard Kai. Crews will be back next spring to finish the final paving for both interchanges, complete the pathways, and finish off the landscaping work. Learn more at Calgary.ca/StoneyNInterchanges.
Banff Trail Area Improvements
There have been several improvements in the Banff Trail area over the last three years, and construction is now mostly complete to improve access to businesses and more options for those taking transit, walking, and wheeling through the area. A new ramp from 16 Avenue to Crowchild Trail N.W. opened to traffic in July 2022, as well as two new bus stops on 16 Avenue N.W. and pedestrian underpass improvements at Crowchild Trail and 16 Avenue N.W. Improvements along 24 Avenue N.W. included new sidewalks and a separated wheeling lane, new rapid rectangular flashing beacons (RRFBs) for safer pedestrian crossings and a connection to the Confederation Park Pathway at 14 Street N.W. Learn more at Calgary.ca/BTAI.
Eau Claire Area Improvements
2022 has been another productive construction season in the Eau Claire area. In June, we saw the opening of the new Jaipur Bridge that re-establishes a major pathway connection from Eau Claire to Prince’s Island Park that features better flood resilience and a wider bridge deck for pedestrians. In more recent weeks, the Downtown Flood Barrier team was able to open sections of the Eau Claire Promenade which will create a permanent pathway connection between West Eau Claire Park, Eau Claire, The Bow River Pathway, and RiverWalk as well as launching The Eau Claire Neighbourhood Hub, operated by cSPACE. The warm fall this year has allowed us to continue with the landscaping, and utility work required for the pathway network connections. Learn more at Calgary.ca/EauClaire.
West 17 Avenue Main Street
Construction is winding down on the West 17 Avenue Main Street, and by early November residents will be able to fully enjoy the upgraded spaces. With wider sidewalks on both sides of 17 Avenue Bridge over Crowchild Trail, sidewalk improvements along 17 Avenue, and plenty of landscaping to accent these public spaces, the new 17 Avenue Main Street is a space that reflects the surrounding communities and creates destinations for residents and visitors to the area. “We want to thank businesses and residents for their patience during construction,” said Project Manager Dennis Hoffart. “The new 17 Avenue Main Steet is a place where people in the community can live and come together to enjoy a variety of activities, in an adaptable, and attractive street space.” Minor landscaping work, concrete work, and paving will be completed in 2023. Learn more at Calgary.ca/west17avenue
37 Street Main Street
Crews have put the finishing touches on the new 37 Street Main Street to create a more walkable, better connected, and safer place for residents and visitors to the area. Construction between Richmond Road and Bow Trail S.W. includes a new pathway and boulevard on the east side of 37 Street, and the west side of 37 Street has wider sidewalks, a boulevard and better connections to transit stops. Along 37 Street S.W. there are approximately 300 new trees that have been planted in the boulevards as well as curb extensions to provide better visibility and reducing crossing distances for pedestrians. “37 Street is a green, welcoming area for residents and visitors alike,” says Project Manager Syed Ali. “With better connections, safer crossings for pedestrians, and more options for residents to move through and around 37 Street, this main street is a vibrant, and adaptable space for residents.” Minor landscaping work, concrete work, and paving will be completed in 2023. Learn more at Calgary.ca/37streetmainstreet.
Marda Loop Main Streets
The Marda Loop Main Streets project continues to progress towards construction with plans to begin in 2023, pending funding availability. The team has been refining designs that create safe, thoughtful mobility connections on both 33 and 34 Avenues S.W., seeking to incorporate elements of past and present community landmarks in a design that is uniquely “Marda Loop”. This includes lollipop streetcar signage, refurbished historic sidewalk engravings, expansion of a streetlight banner, and more.
Another focus has been on planning construction to best protect traffic mobility, pedestrian safety, business access and parking, while positioning crews to efficiently and safely complete construction. Learn more and sign up for our e-newsletter at Calgary.ca/MardaLoop.
McKnight Pedestrian Bridge
Removed in May of 2022 and reinstalled in August after major work to extend the life of the bridge by 35 years, the new McKnight pedestrian bridge provides an above ground pedestrian route from the Thorncliffe green space to the Foundations for Future Charter Academy Middle School. Students from the school were involved in choosing the new colours of the bridge from three colour combinations, each mimicking different aspects of nature. Through a voting process, a combination of brown, green and blue representing trees in front of the horizon was selected. “I really liked how we were involved in a big school decision, and when I saw the bridge being fixed, I was really looking forward to the completed outcome,” said one seventh-grade student who attends the school. “Driving to school every day and seeing the bridge, I am proud that our students were able to have a say on the bridge construction for all of the neighbourhood to enjoy.” After the initial installation, the bridge was reopened with its new colours on October 18, 2022. Learn more at Calgary.ca/McKnightBridge.
Creating safe neighbourhood streets is more than traffic calming, it’s about creating a sense of community and creating spaces that encourage neighbours to go outside and feel connected. Most importantly, it’s being able to do so safely – whether you walk, wheel or drive. The new Neighbourhood Streets Policy, which was approved by Council this past summer, describes the many ways The City of Calgary, residents and partners are contributing to the safety, inclusivity and vibrancy of Calgary’s community streets. Part of developing this policy included piloting infrastructure in different communities to test new ways of improving great neighbourhood streets. This year, we were able to make some of those pilot infrastructure projects permanent in the communities of Rosemont, North Hill and Dover.
Some of the improvements are small traffic calming measures, while others involve naturalization and local art. Together, these changes make a significant difference to a child riding their bike to school, a person using a wheelchair to get to the corner store, or a parent strolling their child to the playground. They help make life better every day for Calgarians. Learn more at Calgary.ca/NeighbourhoodStreets.
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is one of Calgary’s most important natural parks. The lagoon, which is enjoyed by fish, birds, and park goers alike, is at risk due to aging infrastructure and poor water quality.
To fix this, we built a new channel earlier this year to reconnect the lagoon to the Bow River and are replacing the outlets that control water levels. This will improve water quality in the lagoon, benefiting the health of the birds, fish and other wildlife that visit the park, create a passage to prevent fish from becoming trapped in the lagoon and reduce the risk of the main channel of the Bow River being diverted through the park, which could result in the lagoon tripling in width, potentially harming the park, Colonel Walker house and the lagoon.
Northwest Community Drainage Improvements
The Community Drainage Improvement Program addresses flooding and drainage problems resulting from extreme rainfall in urban areas by investing on stormwater infrastructure improvements in established communities that see a higher risk of local flooding caused by rainfall. Construction started in 2021 on several projects as part of the Northwest Inner City Community Drainage Improvements and will continue next year to address localized flooding and drainage in these communities.
Upper Plateau Separation
Construction ramped up this year on building a larger dedicated pipe to move stormwater from communities overlooking the Bow River (covering 527 hectares) directly to the river, bypassing Sunnyside. This pipe isn’t just larger, it’s four metres in diameter - large enough to fit a city bus in and to-date is the largest tunneling project in North America.
Parts of Sunnyside, Hillhurst, and Kensington are prone to overland flooding from the Bow River and stormwater flooding. During the major flood event in 2013, Sunnyside saw flooding twice over the span of two weeks. The Upper Plateau Separation is a significant project that will help prevent the same level of flooding experienced in 2013, with the innovative use of tunnelling minimizing construction impacts to residents in those communities.
Operational and Safety Improvements
Each year, we evaluate roads and intersections that require improvements for a variety of reasons like traffic congestion, safety issues, or maintenance. Commuters this fall will notice enhancements on busy routes in northwest and southwest Calgary from work performed this year.
In southwest Calgary, a new signalized U-Turn lane was installed on Bow Trail, near the Sarcee Trail intersection, to help alleviate congestion at one of the busiest locations in the city. In the northwest, two loop ramps were selected for safety improvements based on higher-than-average collision rates. The northbound Bowness Road ramp received upgrades including an additional traffic lane as well as new signals at the 16 Avenue intersection. The existing southbound Shaganappi Trail loop ramp was replaced with a larger loop and a new merge lane at 16 Avenue.
To improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, two pathway extensions are in progress on the north and south sides of Bowness Road between 41 Street and Shaganappi Trail N.W., with the south connection extending to the Bow River Pathway in Rotary Park. Construction is scheduled to be complete in fall 2022. Learn more at Calgary.ca/safetyimprovements.
This year, our Mobility team (City forces and contracted services) completed road paving at 122 locations, totaling 274 lane kms. Some of the major roadways repaved this year included Shaganappi Trail N.W., Crowchild Trail S.W., Kensington Road N.W., Brisebois Drive N.W. and 68 Street N.E. In total, The City re-invested $32 million to maintain existing roadways through lifecycle maintenance construction. This included $10 million in additional funds that was approved by Council in November 2021 for this construction season. Of the new $10 million, $9 million went towards increased road resurfacing and paving and $1 million to improve pathway conditions in Calgary. Learn more at Calgary.ca/paving.
Green Line LRT Phase 1 Project
With approval from the Green Line Board, the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the main contract was released on September 26, 2022 to the two proponent teams shortlisted through the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) stage. At the conclusion of the RFP evaluation, one of the proponent teams will be selected to become the Development Partner. The Development Partner will collaborate with the Green Line team during an approximately 12-month long Development Phase to advance design, determine the risk allocation, establish price, and confirm a project schedule. During this phase, potential opportunities for smaller, specific work packages and long lead procurement items to advance the schedule and to further de-risk the project will also be considered.
Included in the Phase 1 budget is over $300 million of investment in early works projects along the alignment. Early works started in 2017 and Green Line is currently undertaking a significant utility relocation and renewal project in all four future station areas in the Beltline and Downtown.
On November 15, 2022, Green Line will host an event to provide local suppliers, contractors, and businesses with information on the procurement process while also introducing them to the two proponent teams. Experience has shown that delivering megaprojects in Canada brings great opportunities for the local industry and labour force, who are the backbone of these projects. While Phase 1 of the Green Line LRT will be led by a consortium of international partners with experience in megaprojects of comparable size and complexity, most work will be delivered by local businesses, contractors, and suppliers. It is an important distinction as Phase 1 will not preclude the local industry; it will embrace it. Registration is free at Contractors, suppliers and industry | Green Line LRT (calgary.ca)
Bow to Bluff Corridor
The Bow to Bluff Corridor project creatively reimagined the once vacant and underutilized land bordering the Northwest LRT line between the Bow River and McHugh Bluff. Support for this citizen-led initiative began in 2011 and involved working closely with the Sunnyside community to discover this area’s potential uses – which now promotes active, communal, social, and vibrant public spaces for people to gather and enjoy.
The redeveloped corridor features four separate public spaces that invite people of all ages and interests with amenities such as seating, tables, barbeques, play structures, a community garden, sandbox, skate-park, and even ping-pong tables and a bocce ball court! To promote accessibility and a welcoming corridor, improvements were made to nearby pathways, sidewalks, street lighting, and landscaping.
By popular request from the community, the corridor was further heightened with a series of mural art – themed “movement”. Artists Gabriel Specter and Daniel Bergeron were inspired by the infectious energy the skateboarders brought, the rushing waters of the Bow River, the to-and-fro of the C-Train commuters, and of course, the ambitious community members who brought this whole project to life. All spaces and amenities are now open. Learn more here.
South Glenmore Park Restoration
Glenmore Point is one of the most heavily used areas along the Glenmore Reservoir pathway system with people often stopping to enjoy the unique views of the reservoir provided by this location. At the same time, this area acts as a gathering space and social hub for hobbyists including birders, fisherman, and sailors with the Glenmore Sailing Club located directly adjacent to the project area. Work is complete to reinforce the banks of the reservoir using terraced boulders to create informal seating areas and making access down to the water safer for both people and wildlife. These terraces were built to account for the three meters of annual water level changes in the reservoir and needed to be durable enough to withstand erosion forces from the wind and waves off the reservoir.
West Confederation Bike Pump Track
Left: South Glenmore, Rider Niels Bensink. Right: West Confederation Bike Pump Track
The West Confederation Bicycle Pump Track, built by The Parks Foundation in partnership with The City is nearing completion. The project is in the southeast corner of West Confederation Park near 19 Street N.W. and is the first pump track on the north side of the Bow River (there are currently three pump tracks in the south).
Bike pump tracks are progressive circuits where riders use a pumping motion to propel the bike forward instead of pedaling, and are good for practicing balance, learning skills, and improving confidence on a bike. This facility has beginner and intermediate tracks, suitable for all ages and abilities as well as benches, picnic table and fencing. This location was chosen as it is on a regional pathway for easy biking access, with seasonal washrooms and parking available. It also complements the existing park features, which include a splash park, playground, tennis courts and baseball diamond.
Biking has quickly become a popular sport with few dedicated amenities to practice and learn new skills. Bicycle Pump tracks provide an activity for all ages and skill levels that is family oriented, promoting community, health and wellness. Learn more about the project.
Left: Enables children to move easily between the slide and their mobility device parked next to the end of the slide. Right: Helps partially sighted and blind children and/or caregivers navigate and enjoy the playground by using the braille signage to anticipate what comes next on the playground.
The City of Calgary, Parks Foundation Calgary and the Government of Alberta partnered to develop 10 new inclusive playgrounds where all Calgarians can play, no matter their abilities. Construction started mid-year 2021 and all 10 playgrounds were complete by mid-2022.
Unlike typical play areas, inclusive playgrounds are designed to address the diverse needs of children at play. They are barrier-free and accessible to children and caregivers with mobility challenges and have features like directional braille indicator signs to help those who are blind or partially sighted enjoy the playground. There are also enclosed or semi-private areas where children can take a break when they are feeling overstimulated. The City aims to have an inclusive play space or recreational opportunity within a 5 km radius of every Calgarian as part of the Council-approved Inclusive Play Spaces Implementation Plan. Citizens are encouraged to provide feedback that will help guide the design of future inclusive playgrounds.
Somerset Spray Park
Completed this year, Somerset Spray Park reopened in June with a number of improvements to the 25-year-old park through a close collaboration with the Somerset Resident’s Association. The park now provides Calgarians in the south part of the city with an upgraded facility for all ages to enjoy.
Jack Long Park
Jack Long Park, the green space directly west of the Alexandra Centre in Inglewood, reopened this year following a redevelopment to improve the community park space. The updated park now offers a new recreational space for families and youth including a natural play area, picnic tables and a large family style harvest table and chairs, among other amenities.
Additional park features include paved areas that will serve as flexible spaces for small concerts and theatre events, food truck servicing, market kiosks, or other arts and cultural uses. Also located within the park are a rain garden and sculptural bike racks that the community voted on and added input to help finalize their design.
South Calgary Outdoor Pool
The South Calgary Outdoor Pool reopened in July following a replacement of the pool basin that will provide enhanced accessibility and extend the lifespan of the pool. The facility now features a 25-meter pool with swim lanes, a teaching area, and two accessible entry points. Improvements were also made to upgrade the circulation and filtration systems.