Investing in Calgary’s Infrastructure
Last year, through enhanced safety protocols, you will have seen active project construction underway, on projects prioritized to enable delivery of essential goods and services to Calgarians. Through the course of the pandemic, The City and our contractors were able to take advantage of lower travel volumes to minimize disruption to drivers and continue work.
As we move forward in 2021, we will continue with completion of a number of critical projects, creating more than 2,100 jobs, and ultimately providing greater mobility choices and safer communities as we prepare to get Calgarians back to work.
“With $265 million of total investment this year, we are pleased to be able to support job creation in the local economy with projects designed to enhance neighborhoods and improve our infrastructure. One of our larger projects underway is the construction of two interchanges at Airport Trail N.E. This project will strengthen a key corridor used to move goods across our city and better connect communities in northeast Calgary," says Director of Transportation Infrastructure Kerensa Swanson Fromherz.
“Community investment and safety are even more important after our experiences from 2020. Working together with communities to advance our goal of creating a city of safe and inspiring neighbourhoods is something we’re all focused on," says Ryan Vanderputten, Director of Transportation Planning.
Although this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the projects underway, here are some highlights for projects in construction this year:
Airport Trail Interchanges
The project includes the construction of two interchanges on Airport Trail – at 19 Street N.E. and Barlow Trail, improving access for movement of goods, services and people to and from YYC Calgary International Airport, the growing logistics business around the airport, and development in the City’s Northeast communities now and into the future.
Important project milestones this season involve construction of two bridges across Airport Trail; putting traffic onto the new structure at 19 Street N.E., closing the existing at-grade intersection at 19 Street N.E and Airport Trail; and continued ramp construction associated with the two structures. Project completion is anticipated in late fall 2022.
During construction, we encourage people who drive to add extra time traveling to and from YYC, and along Airport Trail,” said Senior Transportation Engineer Sig Undheim. “In association with YYC, we are looking forward to completing these interchanges to help keep Calgarians moving as effectively as possible.” Learn more at Calgary.ca/airporttrail.
Eau Claire Area Improvements: Building Flood Protection and Downtown Vibrancy
Crews are gearing up to begin construction on the Eau Claire Promenade/Downtown Flood Barrier, redesigned Eau Claire Plaza, and the replacement of the Jaipur Bridge. To help reduce repeated disruptions and impacts to Calgarians, we are working together and coordinating the individual projects happening in the area. The projects combine flood protection, lifecycle improvements, enhanced safety measures and the goal of creating a desirable, active and lively cultural destination.
“We know that Eau Claire’s public spaces and destinations are important to Calgarians and during construction we’ll be doing our best to manage the construction impacts to people travelling, living, visiting and working in the area.” said Dennis Hoffart, Project Manager. “Protecting Calgarians and our economic drivers from floods is a top priority for our city, and we're doing so while enhancing the Eau Claire area to build more resilient and vibrant communities that support future growth and development.” Learn more at Calgary.ca/eauclaire.
West 17 Avenue and 37 Street Main Streets construction
We are preparing for a spring 2021 construction kick-off for the West 17 Avenue and 37 Street Main Streets projects. As implementation of the streetscape master plan continues, we aim to enhance pedestrian safety and comfort, improve mobility options, increase green amenities through sections of naturalized boulevards and significantly increase the number of street trees, provide additional street furniture, improve connections to park and amenities throughout the community, and help make Main Streets destinations that will support existing and new local businesses.
“Calgary’s Main Streets are places where citizens come together. They are resilient, adaptable and attractive places that celebrate the community's character, encourage diversity of businesses, buildings and residents, and create a vibrant destination," said Marcus Paterson, Project Manager. “We are implementing a process to transform these streets into areas where people want to live, work and play.”
Construction in 2021 for 37 Street S.W. will build off work completed in 2020. Construction will occur between 28 and 19 Avenue S.W. and between 33 Avenue and Richmond Road. We know that improving safety for people walking, cycling, and driving in the area is a key priority for people who live, work, visit, and travel on 37 Street S.W. By creating new sidewalks, a multi-use pathway, improving wheelchair ramps, and improved pedestrian crossing we are working to create safe and reliable experiences through speed separation, improved visibility, and accessibility.
West 17 Avenue S.W. Main Street construction will occur over the summer months (April to October) and will take place in a phased approach. Understanding the unique character and dynamics of 17 Avenue S.W., we aim to maintain and grow the area's vibrancy. We will continue improving pedestrian crossing, improving boulevard space, utility upgrades, and signal work in the area. Work will also include improvements to the bridge crossing Crowchild Trail.
“We know that the improvements to 37 Street and 17 Avenue S.W. will have a positive impact on the communities and citizens in the area. Outside of repairs and minor modifications, these streets have not received significant improvements or investment since original construction," said Syed Ali, Project Manager. “By undertaking the construction as a complete project, we can work collaboratively within The City to renew ageing infrastructures such as roads, sidewalks, and signals.” See our phased approach and learn more at Calgary.ca/west17mainstreet.
Montgomery (Bowness Road) Main Street Project
The Montgomery (Bowness Road) Main Street project envisions a family-friendly, vibrant, and safe street designed to meet the needs of local business and residents. The design was developed through extensive community engagement, and crews will be back this spring to finish construction.
“Work this season on Bowness Road will mostly be between 44 and 52 Street NW, as crews are building the new multiuse pathways, sidewalks and planting the new trees and other landscape elements,” said Senior Transportation Engineer Ervina Hendra. “We’d like to thank area residents and businesses for their patience as we complete this work to make Bowness Road a great space for the community.”
The project is transforming Bowness Road into a pedestrian friendly, sustainable and multi-modal street with widened sidewalks, multiuse pathways, landscape improvements, and pedestrian oriented lighting improvements.
Pedestrian comfort and safety have been significantly improved through: curb bulb-outs that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and increase visibility, Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFB), and reduced vehicle lane widths to slow traffic through the area.
“Once complete, Bowness Road Main Street will show how we can transform roads into community-friendly, vibrant streets that attract business and residents,” said Public Realm Lead Michael Magnan. “Based on input from the community, these streets will be resilient, adaptable, attractive spaces that celebrate the character of the community.” Learn more at Calgary.ca/montgomerymainstreet.
Neighbourhood Speed Limit Project
The City of Calgary Standard Speed Limit Bylaw was passed in February 2021, which changes the default unposted speed limit within city limits to 40 km/h effective May 31, 2021.
Speed limit changes will only be on neighbourhood streets, and there will be no speed limit changes to higher class roadways such as Crowchild Trail, Anderson Road, and Deerfoot Trail.
“We are seeing an average of 9,100 collisions on neighbourhood streets every year,” said Tony Churchill, Senior Traffic Engineer. “This change to the unposted speed limit is a step towards safer streets for everyone who uses them.”
Whether you are in a vehicle, on a bike, or walking, the major determining factor when it comes to injuries is speed. This change is one step The City can take to managing our roads to create safe, accessible, and inclusive spaces for everyone.
Crews are out installing new signs where they are needed, and any changes to the speed limits in neighbourhoods will come into effect May 31, 2021. Learn more at Calgary.ca/residentialspeedreview.
Neighbourhood Streets Projects
The City of Calgary is testing the Neighbourhood Streets Pilot Policy, an update of the 2003 Traffic Calming Policy, with the goal of enhancing community streets where neighbours of all ages and abilities can connect and have access to safe, comfortable travel options. The City is testing this policy on different size (multi-community, community and street) projects around the city, including North Hill Area, Silver Springs and Rosehill Drive N.W. to confirm that the policy supports the outcomes desired by Calgarians.
“The new policy recognizes that The City works with communities in many ways beyond just traffic calming to enhance residential streets for moving, spending time and meeting neighbours," says Jen Malzer, Transportation Engineer. “Our full range of toolkits involve residents and partners through block parties, paint the pavement or street murals, and adaptive sidewalks. Together, we can build healthier more liveable neighbourhoods.” Learn more about the individual Neighbourhood Streets Projects at Calgary.ca/neighbourhoodstreets.
Shared e-scooter (micromobility) program
Council recently voted to continue offering shared micromobility services (shared e-Bike and e-Scooter) with the conditions that companies continue to cover all City administrative costs to manage the program and adopt new City requirements to address citizen concerns. So, if you were missing riding on a shared e-Scooter to go to a restaurant, expect to see them back on the streets this spring/summer with a few changes to the program to help increase public safety that include:
- Allowing shared e-Scooters on roadways without lane markings (residential roadways with lower speed limits) such as 13 Avenue S.W. Riders can ride on sidewalks if they don’t interfere with pedestrians. As a rule, please do not interfere with pedestrians or traffic while riding a shared e-Scooter.
- Each device will have a highly visible unique identification number to allow The City and citizens to help with reporting poor e-Scooter behaviours.
- Limiting the number of e-Scooters to help reduce parking and sidewalk clutter issues. The City will reassess the e-Scooter device limit periodically and can adjust numbers if parking issues persist or are resolved.
“While ridership shows that shared e-Scooters are popular in Calgary and provide transportation choice, we still need make some changes to address parking and safety concerns,” says Andrew Sedor, Transportation Strategist. “The City is collecting funds from the micromobility companies to build more dedicated parking spots for shared e-Scooters and will work with the companies to create incentives to park in these spots.” For more information on where you can park a shared e-Scooter visit Calgary.ca/scootershare.
5 Avenue flyover rehabilitation
This summer, rehabilitation work will be done on the 5 Avenue flyover to extend its lifespan and improve the area for cyclists and pedestrians.
Constructed in 1972, the flyover is a six-span structure crossing over the Bow River. It carries four lanes of traffic and is one of the primary routes out of downtown Calgary. The rehabilitation and repairs will begin on the bridge this April and go until November 2021.
The scope of work will include both improvements to the structure of the flyover as well as pedestrian upgrades. This includes:
- west and median traffic barrier reconstruction to meet current code
- girder strengthening
- concrete repair of deck and girders
- expansion joint replacement
- paving of the flyover
- widening the sidewalk on the eastside
“This project will improve conditions for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and make the area safer for all modes. This includes widening the sidewalk and raising the railings, so they are at the right height for cyclists,” says Charmaine Buhler, Manager of Structures and Bridges. “And, while this work will result in some lane closures and traffic impacts, it is essential and will ensure the flyover remains a safe and efficient piece of infrastructure for all users”
Intersection improvements at Barlow Trail and 7 Avenue N.E. and at Barlow Trail and 4 Avenue N.E.
To enhance pedestrian safety and minimize congestion for drivers, The City will be making significant changes at two intersections along Barlow Trail this summer as part of the Barlow Trail N.E. Reconstruction Project.
Median and traffic signal improvements at these two intersections will help reduce traffic delays in the future and improve road safety in the area. The traffic operational improvements at the intersections of Barlow Trail at 4 Avenue and 7 Avenue include relocating westbound left-turning traffic from 7 Avenue to a new fully signalized intersection at Barlow Trail and 4 Avenue. Relocating westbound left-turning traffic will result in a reduction in delay and congestion along 7 Avenue during peak times and provide for safer traffic movements.
“This will protect pedestrians from left-turning vehicles and better align with a new multi-use pathway on Meridian Road,” says Craig Tonder, Leader of Technical Service Delivery. “And, with the proposed operational improvements, it is expected that vehicle delay on Barlow Trail and the area network will decrease by a significant amount.”
Learn more about the project at Calgary.ca/barlowtrail.