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Disraeli

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They didn't even attempt to revitalize it in any meaningful way. The last attempt was 100 percent car focused. What they did to 17th Ave East is an example of how they should approach revitalizing it.
 

CBBarnett

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Drove down the entire stretch of 16th last week starting from Deerfoot until Stoney. Man I couldn't believe how many trees were cut down in the median planter boxes. Who ever thought elm's would survive in a planter box was not thinking. Also, the entire stretch is pretty dingy. Lots of broken sidewalks/medians, rusty curb poles, missing sidewalk links, dilapidated buildings, empty/abandoned lots, the list goes on. 16th Ave is definitely the biggest revitalization project the city attempted that can be declared an utter failure.
Part of this issue is the 16th Avenue "revitalization" project from 2005-2010 was outdated from best practices of the time, painfully so now from a 2021 perspective - it was always far closer to a 1970s car-capacity expansion plan featuring median planters, than a urban redevelopment-supportive project.

IIRC, the 16th Avenue project project had all sorts of issues in delivery (tens of millions over budget, several years late, crazy land acquisition challenges etc.). However, most impactfully to current situation, the expansion ate a huge amount of right-away into surrounding lots. This shrunk the lots on the south side and made underground parking access more challenging.

Perhaps ironically, despite all this land acquired the sidewalks originally planned weren't ever completed as they could no longer fit, which is why today there's random blocks of old narrow 1970s public realm (not just the 15 year old sidewalks in poor condition).

The other curious one is the sound barrier in Rosedale, originally not part of the expansion plan. The neighbourhood successfully advocated that due to the expansion and anticipated traffic increases it should get a sound wall - which in effect created a publicly-financed semi-gated community to sterilize nearly 1km of the south side of 16th Avenue from any material redevelopment. Combined with ongoing success in preventing any material redevelopment and rezoning in the neighbourhood, Rosedale is a black hole of activity and vibrancy - all the more painful because it could easily have been a great anchor neighbourhood for pedestrian-oriented retail on the corridor and along the approach to SAIT, by far the largest activity centre nearby.

Finally, the last nail in the coffin of induced demand did it's trick - the avenue is no faster to drive on, louder and with more traffic, less walkable and enjoyable, while being less developable than before the expansion.

Alas, much must be sacrificed at the altar of ever-increasing car-throughput. Another project promising "urban revitalization" that does the opposite; using the language of the cure to justify the poison. Truly a masterclass in urban development gas-lighting.
 
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Mountain Man

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Did they promise a revitalization when they widened 16th? I thought that was purely for cars and the biggest reason I say it's up to developers. There have been a few small projects that seem quite successful, but nothing to really start a trend,
 

MichaelS

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The 16th Avenue widening was accompanied by a significant Area Redevelopment Plan that called for intensification along the corridor. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I heard about (and hinted at by CBBarnett) is there still remained a 5.182m bylaw setback on the north side. The idea was to use this space on the surface to allow for better tree planting and a wider sidewalk, for new developments on the north side. BUT... Roads insisted that no development occur in this space, including one level below grade. This is a stance they normally take in the downtown. However, in the downtown, you have projects of such a scale that you are usually going 3-4 levels deep. On 16th Ave, they would typically be 2 storey parkades. So, designing and building your parkade to have mismatched floor plates, including losing an entire row of parking on P1, was not financially viable. This is essentially the entire reason the LaCaille project on 8th Street did not occur is my understanding.

When you see the amount of development that occurred on 17th Ave NW, you have to assume there was some reason why 16th never caught on. This, plus the lack of street parking, is probably the culprit.
 

Beazley66

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This is an interesting article describing the meteoric rise of lumber prices, and the subsequent crash. Talk about losses.

Steel prices are currently nuts still. With so few North American steel suppliers, many are outsourcing to Russia and China, thus raising prices and increasing delivery times. One of my projects has fire rated steel doors delayed with no word on when they can be supplied, and the occupancy clock ticks away. Nuts.
 

Sambo

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Part of this issue is the 16th Avenue "revitalization" project from 2005-2010 was outdated from best practices of the time, painfully so now from a 2021 perspective - it was always far closer to a 1970s car-capacity expansion plan featuring median planters, than a urban redevelopment-supportive project.

IIRC, the 16th Avenue project project had all sorts of issues in delivery (tens of millions over budget, several years late, crazy land acquisition challenges etc.). However, most impactfully to current situation, the expansion ate a huge amount of right-away into surrounding lots. This shrunk the lots on the south side and made underground parking access more challenging.

Perhaps ironically, despite all this land acquired the sidewalks originally planned weren't ever completed as they could no longer fit, which is why today there's random blocks of old narrow 1970s public realm (not just the 15 year old sidewalks in poor condition).

The other curious one is the sound barrier in Rosedale, originally not part of the expansion plan. The neighbourhood successfully advocated that due to the expansion and anticipated traffic increases it should get a sound wall - which in effect created a publicly-financed semi-gated community to sterilize nearly 1km of the south side of 16th Avenue from any material redevelopment. Combined with ongoing success in preventing any material redevelopment and rezoning in the neighbourhood, Rosedale is a black hole of activity and vibrancy - all the more painful because it could easily have been a great anchor neighbourhood for pedestrian-oriented retail on the corridor and along the approach to SAIT, by far the largest activity centre nearby.

Finally, the last nail in the coffin of induced demand did it's trick - the avenue is no faster to drive on, louder and with more traffic, less walkable and enjoyable, while being less developable than before the expansion.

Alas, much must be sacrificed at the altar of ever-increasing car-throughput. Another project promising "urban revitalization" that does the opposite; using the language of the cure to justify the poison. Truly a masterclass in urban development gas-lighting.
It’s the Trans Canada highway, unless I’m mistaken.
 

adamyyc

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When I moved to Calgary and was looking for a home, I remember 16th being a real mental barrier for me. I couldn’t picture myself walking along/across 16th. I didn’t even like the idea of crossing 16th in a car or bus to get downtown every day for work it felt so hostile to me. It wasn’t just 16th that caused this mental barrier, but it was the road that made me narrow my search area. I narrowed my search area to be bound by 16th in the north, Deerfoot/Macleod in the east (depending on the area), Glenmore in the south, and Crowchild in the west.
 

Disraeli

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I'm sure the city will eventually come around to 16th. It's still a major transit corridor including the MAX orange, future lrt, Center Street brt. And there is plenty of space to widen sidewalks and add dedicated bus lanes without impacting car volumes all that much. Write off the 2000s revamp and do a rethink.
 

AJX

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I don't think 16th is a write-off but the city is going to need to step in and do a major rethink of it
Technically it's not a write off, but the chance it'll ever be a decent pedestrian corridor is slim to none. If they take a way a couple of lanes and add some more traffic lights, or maybe lowering the speed limit might do the trick, but they just spent millions widening it, I can't see it reversing. As much as people don't like parked cars, a lane each side for parked cars (or sections) might actually benefit. All the other popular retail corridors have a lane dedicated to parked cars. I'm not saying I love having more cars on the street, but it does give it a cozier atmosphere than a driving through lane.
 

Surrealplaces

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River walk pathway worrk. I’m not thrilled with the flood barrier walls. I know they’re necessary but I used to like the openness Along the pathway.

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