MichaelS

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Creating a thread for the old Viscount Bennett site, as Minto has including some new information on their enagement website for the project:

A presentation was made recently to the community association that shows a lot of the details of what is being planned, which can be found here:

Keep in mind these are just concepts as we are still at the land use stage, but overall it is looking like quite a good / comprehensive TOD project (potential for 2500 units) next to our Max Yellow BRT station on Crowchild / 26th Ave SW. Images are from the presentation linked above, lots more details/information can be found in there.

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Still early stages but this might be the first full-effort TOD proposal we have seen in a long time. The fact they de-emphasize car and parking circulations even at this stage is encouraging. A site of this prominent of location can really be a catalyst - if you want a walkable city and a city that can change from car-dependent inner burbs to something more urban, this concept is a strong step in the right direction.

The height of of the taller buildings will be a major point of discussion as this comes together, but overall the density and layout is exactly the type of thing we should be encouraging on an existing BRT stop, less than 5 minutes outside the city centre, with great and improving walking and cycling networks, in rapidly growing region of soon to be 2 million people.

The trick is to not screw this up and coax it into the right delivery:
  • Don't screw around with Crowchild and contemplate new connections that would destroy the community by building new car capacity and circulation.
  • Lean into the planned upgrades to 26 Avenue to be more walkable and bikeable rather than protest lack of parking and traffic flow - people, buses and bicycles are your flow for this central of location.
  • Don't get overly fussed by parking and height - again, on a regional scale this location is about as good as you get and the stepped back fashion of this is thought out.
  • The city should figure out some way to make the 33rd Avenue interchange less terrible to exist on/near outside a car. This is 2,500 potential units of people with a 500m walk to a booming cluster of retail and services in Marda Loop. They only have to pass through a dangerous, noisy, slip-lane covered interchange to get there.
 
It is hilarious to me that the greenspace north of 33rd is considered park space. In no way is that usable as a park. It is a step back from the road.
I've mentioned this before, but I used to live near there and would take the dog and kid there. There are trees and it's more park-like than you think. There's also a pathway connection to the field behind Viscount Bennett.
 
I've mentioned this before, but I used to live near there and would take the dog and kid there. There are trees and it's more park-like than you think. There's also a pathway connection to the field behind Viscount Bennett.
Very fair, maybe I have the wrong definition of a park in my mind. Not as somewhere people go and stay but it can be a place that is near a road and is somewhere you walk your dog.
 
The CA is posting pretty regular updates on their website:
 
  • The city should figure out some way to make the 33rd Avenue interchange less terrible to exist on/near outside a car. This is 2,500 potential units of people with a 500m walk to a booming cluster of retail and services in Marda Loop. They only have to pass through a dangerous, noisy, slip-lane covered interchange to get there.
What sort of changes would you like to see done to this interchange. It is a good point, very close proximity to Marda Loop shopping area. There is a straightforward pathway from the site to the interchange, and at least there are sidewalks and pretty generously sized islands for pedestrians. But yeah, it is a bit basic and uncomfortable.
 
What sort of changes would you like to see done to this interchange. It is a good point, very close proximity to Marda Loop shopping area. There is a straightforward pathway from the site to the interchange, and at least there are sidewalks and pretty generously sized islands for pedestrians. But yeah, it is a bit basic and uncomfortable.
The main thing would be to reduce crossing points where speeding cars interact with 2,500+ new potential pedestrians. For starters drop both these slip lanes - someone exiting Crowchild and entering the area should have an immediate visual queue that they are no longer on an expressway and it's time for 40km/h as they are entering an urban area. Make it far more obvious there's a highway and there's a community distinction.

SB Crow to WB 33rd is most egregious - swooping slip lane plus a long merge lane to maintain speed is wildly out of context and only a recipe for dangerous crossings and high-speed traffic noise.

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Next - fix all these things that I put in a category of - "what are we even doing here? Do we have no policy at all? How did an engineer sign off on this?"

Ramps not aligned to crosswalks. Crosswalks randomly with curbs in the middle. If a person in a wheelchair dared to cross here, they'd have to leave the crosswalk.
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Similarly on the east side off Crowchild, but worse. No ramps at all. Isn't there a BRT station a half-block from here? Do we not have rules to create pedestrian access here? It's literally impassable with a wheelchair - even before we get to the high-speed cars turning all over the place!
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Those are just the minimum mandatory things just to kill and injure less people over the coming decades. Now the more material stuff to widen and protect all sidewalks, including if that means losing vehicle queue and travel capacity, although you likely could keep all the lanes as they are overly wide by at least 20 - 50cm each. Shrink all that down and tighten up all dimensions, while giving that excess space to generous sidewalks.

We could get fancier with a bunch of urban design slickness, but I'd say just add a ton of trees and greenery everywhere around to help muffle the visual, noise and air pollution that comes with this interchange.

In the long run, convert 33rd Avenue west of Crowchild into the urban fabric instead of a random overbuilt expressway style arterial and add actual development to the street by removing the greenspace to the north of the avenue and replace with mid-density housing like this proposal. Community will flip out of course but again - we are increasingly a major metropolitan region with long-term growth pressures. Putting as many people as possible in areas like this is a no-brainer. With the upgrades coming to Richmond Green, it's a major park destination, we don't need this remnant right-of-way setback adjacent to it.


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If converting 33rd into something decent doesn't work out, another short term nice to have a pedestrian bridge that bypasses the 33rd ave interchange and widening the pathway build that connects connects from the BRT station to 33rd.

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A nice idea, Crowchild really is an impermeable barrier that needs to transition to less of one over time.

I still wish they put the BRT station on the south side of the interchange so the bus stop aligns with the existing density, retail and growth potential. I don't recall the rationale of why the north side was chosen back in 2018.

EDIT - actually on this, why did they put the BRT stop on the ramps at all? None of the other Crowchild stops are on ramps.
 
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