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Jokes aside, the 8th Street plan looks pretty good. 8th is so overbuilt for the amount of traffic it carries - the only real traffic pinch point is the underpass, and there's an opportunity to introduce a bike lane that connects from the Bow River all the way down to the Elbow.
I distinctly remember the discussion here when the utility boxes highlighted in #6 were installed and all the problems associated with them. I believe CBB was involved in the original conversation.

Oh the irony of it all
Perhaps sometimes someone is listening when ranting aimlessly into the Skyrise Cities void... or these were just such obvious problems that anyone could have flagged them.

Either way I will gladly take the win - if it's built 8th Street is confidently moving towards it's destiny as a quality urban street :)
I thought id engage my inner CBB and do a bit of an update on the ongoing 17h Avenue streetscape project!

Here's the new portion of sidewalk they poured between 2nd and 4th Street. As you can see, it is standard broom finish concrete and doesn't match the colour/pattern of the completed blocks of 17th (see below).

Here's a completed section for contrast. Not that it's a fantastic design or anything - but can we at least have the sidewalks match? Also, they widened the sidewalk here by a couple feet but forgot to move the trees, streetlights, and other obstacles over to actually give more room to pedestrians! And another recently planted tree that is dying because the City refuses to water them after one season.

Here's an intersection where they just put in new traffic light poles. The pole base is almost double the diameter of the post itself...why?!? There are streetlights in the city that have been standing for over 60 years on pole bases a third of that size. It's also located in the middle of where people walk. Also making an appearance is our old friend the electrical cabinet.

Here's the same intersection. On a few of these new traffic signals, they've put these streetlights up that don't match any others on 17th. It's like they ran out of the acorn ones but had these in the back room so just tossed them up.

To summarize - this project has been a disaster in many ways and the finished product is barely going to be an upgrade from the previous condition. And it still won't be complete until next year at the earliest!
What happened to at least painting or wrapping those electrical boxes with something so they are less ugly and less likely to get tagged?
This is the post that inspired me to create this thread, but I wanted to take another deeper dive in this one location in particular to explain why it's so frustrating as a pedestrian.
What I hope to illustrate in this post and thread is that our pedestrian infrastructure - and the processes that updated, design it and advocate for it - need help. Culturally too few think about how people walk around in the city for transportation, too many compromises occur that more-often-than-not short-change the pedestrian spaces for any other need and no mechanisms seem to work with speed to rectify past mistakes when we know better. Hopefully this thread can be a positive start to documenting, debating and coming to some conclusions on how to improve these issues and commenting on these issues.

Macleod Trail & 11 Avenue SE
this intersection has always had a super long leading left turn from north-bound MacLeod to 11 Avenue, delaying pedestrians forever and creating a dangerous conflict when cars try to beat the phase change. The population of the area within walking distance has doubled several times over since 2007, when Streetview came online. Traffic volumes have been estimated for vehicles as well from the City's traffic flow volume maps:

Street Name2007 Daily Vehicle Volume2018 Daily Vehicle Volume
Eastbound 11 Ave SE14,00016,000
Northbound MacLeod Tr SE33,00029,000

Let's explore the physical environment through Streetview:

2007: Victoria's Parks first condos had recently been complete = more pedestrians. No bicycle racks, 4 poles and construction blocking part of the sidewalk
View attachment 240859

2009: not much has changed, except discarded construction debris in the grate which inconveniently lines up with the crosswalk.
View attachment 240862

2012: not much has changed, except the trash has moved and a bike rack has been installed. Also construction debris.
View attachment 240863

2015: again more construction debris, blocking the sidewalk. Repaving occurring but no improvements to the pedestrian realm. Gruman's sandwich board makes it's first appearance. Still 4 poles to do the job of 1.
View attachment 240864

2019: 12 years later and ever so slight progress: 1 pole is removed, but replaced with another smaller pole to say "no parking". Also note the asphalt patch job as a result.
View attachment 240865

Conclusion: So in 13 years since the first Streetview picture, the corner has not been changed to any real degree. The corner remains marginally or not accessible to anyone with a mobility devise, stoller or large objects due to all the unnecessary poles restricting sidewalk width to less than a metre. Construction debris still litters the area regularly. The dangerous leading left-turn signal remains, delaying pedestrians and causing conflicts. Signal phases don't change in length between evenings and rush hours when local v. commuter traffic needs shift dramatically. Local walkable population has exploded, traffic volumes are down, pedestrian volumes can be assumed to be way up - but we don't collect it as regularly. Over those 13 years, The city has numerous complete streets policies, area plans, East Village and walkability promoting programs in the immediate area, yet nothing addressed this corner or countless like it.

I assume we waiting for enough political momentum overrides the status-quo? Surely a boring old maintenance and infrastructure update program could automatically replace these pedestrian failures overtime? It works for the roads that were repaved here twice over the past 13 years, surely sidewalk repairs could be done similarly.
Updates! to an old post on my favourite intersection.

2021: no construction debris visible and the previous "no parking" pole has fresh sidewalk replacing the patch job. An audible blinker added to improve accessibility - the irony of improving accessibility at a corner with 4 lane car sewers, various poles, debris and outdated ramp design.


2023: everything back to normal, with a bunch of construction debris returning to where it's stored - haphazardly on the sidewalk. Between 2021 and 2023 several hundred new apartments opened in the BLVD towers - so a few hundred new residents walking through daily.

We also see the first new entrant in the ongoing pedestrian dystopia - a random bike-share left haphazardly in the sidewalk. I suspect future updates will see more of this latest attack on pedestrian spaces. Stellar work everyone, no notes :)

Will see you again in 2026 for the next update. Any bets on what we will see?
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Anyways, I wanted to make a Stephen Avenue megapost, I'm still in disbelief


➔ Dedicated through zones, demarcated
by furnishing zone, emphasize
pedestrian priority.
➔ Fixed furnishings, trees, and lighting are
consolidated within a dedicated
furnishing zone to reduce visual and
physical clutter, further enhancing
➔ Improved tree infrastructure with
integrated soil cells and stormwater
infrastructure promotes resilience,
improves pedestrian comfort, and
reduces urban heat island effect.
➔ A consistent rhythm of trees on both
sides of the street supports healthy tree
➔ Public seating is balanced with patio
seating, boosting comfort for all.
➔ On-street parking removed to
enhance the pedestrian and cycling
➔ Consistent, unobstructed 2.5m
minimum sidewalk, separated from
bike/wheeling lane by furnishing zone,
streamlines accessibility.
➔ Elevated bike and wheeling lane of
1.8m, additional 0.6m buffer.
➔ Spaces that support street vending,
public art, and the opportunity for
street closures for special events
further promote varied activation and
➔ Fixed furnishings, trees, and lighting
consolidated within a dedicated furnishing
zone reduces visual and physical clutter,
further enhancing accessibility.

➔ Raised intersections are flush with the
Shared Street, encouraging drivers to
traverse the crossing at a slower speed.
➔ Raised intersection ramps up at a
gradual slope (2-3%).
➔ Bollards are placed along the corners to
keep motorists from crossing into the
pedestrian space.
➔ Changes to the pavement in both
colour and texture will be used in
strategic locations to create accessibility
cues for visually impaired users.
➔ To improve pedestrian and cyclist
safety, right-hand turns on red lights
are eliminated. On streets with high
vehicle volumes, include cycling signals
with a head start.


Inset wayfinding is proposed on all blocks.






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I really like the form and function they have decided on for Stephen Ave. Eliminating parking and incorporating raised cycle tracks west of 5th is a great decision and I'm very happy to see that the avenue will be pedestrian only east of 4th. That being said, I'm rather underwhelmed with what they've decided to do for activation. To me it essentially comes down to 'let's put a crap-ton of furniture on the street, some of it fun and whimsical, and watch the people flock to use it'. It's a great philosophy on a hot summers day, a little less so outside of summer. It's the same concept used in East Village for 5th St Square and C-Square and yet those spaces are essentially just a bunch of homeless people hanging out on the furniture 99% of the time.

I was also disappointed in how little effort there seems to be for place-making at night. The 5 blocks of hanging lights that are on Stephen Ave right now are a great draw that makes the street interesting and anyone walking by can immediately see that Stephen Ave is a place to explore. The new plan reduces the lights so they only exist between 4th and 5th Street and tries to make it seem like very plain looking pendant lights over intersections will be enough to serve as gateways to attract and draw passerbys. Again, East Village is full of pendant lights at intersections. They do nothing to draw people off the river pathways and into the neighbourhood and easily fade into the back of your mind. The plan only envisions 2 grand gateways at intersections, at 11 St and Macleod Trail, which are probably the two locations where drawing people off the cross streets are needed the least.

I also think it's interesting that in a city with several months of winter and where trees are leafless for 6 months of the year, the master plan doesn't have a single rendering of how the street will be exciting and vibrant at those times. I worry that the plan relies on a constant stream of temporary activations to fill the gap instead of permanent, quality 4-season infrastructure. Activations require a city council that's willing to continuously spend operational dollars to make it work. I have very little faith in Calgary city councils happily doing that beyond the first year or two. It'll be the first thing cut by conservative suburban councillors come budget time. Same goes for the ping pong tables and chess boards where the game pieces will have to come from a staffed game hut. No way that survives budget time and the game pieces go missing within days of them being left in public.

Personally I would have loved to have seen better night lighting, public art incorporated into all the planters, fountains and water features in the summer that could include feature fireplaces in the winter, and more play-style structures that attract people of all ages and aren't just pieces of movable furniture. I give the plan a 9/10 for form and function and a giant MEH for its attempt to create a sense of vibrancy on the street to attract and draw people there.