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Joborule

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The median of the SW ring road would make great ROW for a circumferential LRT line:
Seton (transfer with Green Line)->Somerset Station (connect with Red Line)->jog over to 162nd Ave ROW->future Providence area->re-join ring road ROW->Westhills->Glenmore Trail ROW->MRU->37th Street ROW->Westbrook Station (transfer with Blue Line)->Shaganappi Golf Course ROW and new bridge over river->29th Street ROW->Foothills Hospital->West Campus Blvd ROW->University District->New University Station->Brentwood Station (transfer with Red Line)

Who would ride a line that was that far out?

DT Commuters from the massive Providence area (if it ever fully builds out), riders headed from the deep south to the MRU area, people trying to get from the west side of the city to Foothills/U of C without going through DT. Calgary can't even get the Green Line built, so this is a fantasy. Maintaining the ROW will likely prove valuable some day. Another crazy idea would be diverting the CPR line from somewhere around Cochrane into the SW ring road ROW and then heading east along highway 902.
I could see in the long term the possibility of some SE (Seton) - NW (University Area) train line that basically connects all the major activity centers and institutions along the way. Although I would suggest that instead of going to Westhills, the line makes it's way over to 14 Street SW, and uses the SW Transitway so it connects with Rockyview Hosptial, then heads over to MRU. From MRU on, there's several ways you could go about it possibly. Should it stick on Crowchild, and go along 17th Avenue SW to go to Westbrook? Then from there, does it cross the river by Spruce Cliff, or head west along Bow Trail and cross the river instead at Edworthy Park?

Also how does it go through the University area? Should it connect with Market Mall somehow? I feel this section is really based on how they want long term transit to be in that area as well. Something should be done to address the Red Line not going more west to hit major trip generators in that area. Perhaps there's an internal people mover system that it can connect with. Or would this proposed crosstown line act as the radial line for that area.
 

Surrealplaces

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184902050_158835566178829_6923247133749224243_n.jpg

 

MichaelS

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The 16th Avenue corridor study (Crowchild to Sarcee) goes to Transportation and Transit committee next week.
The administration report is here: https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=167274
The executive summary of the study, including short, medium and long-term visions, is here: https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=167275

Long term, it will be 6 lanes through Montgomery, with off-peak parking, or maybe 4 lanes with dedicated parking.
1623555472266.png
 

Silence&Motion

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Wait... they're planning to add more car lanes to 16 ave??! A street that has been officially classified as a "main street"? Can we fire every single member of the transportation department and start all over again? I cannot believe they continue to think we can have some kind of compromise between increasing the car capacity of our roads and making them friendlier to non-car uses.
 

darwink

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Wait... they're planning to add more car lanes to 16 ave??! A street that has been officially classified as a "main street"? Can we fire every single member of the transportation department and start all over again? I cannot believe they continue to think we can have some kind of compromise between increasing the car capacity of our roads and making them friendlier to non-car uses.
Yeah, it works just fine traffic wise -- whats the issue? is it they think removing the flyover ramps will break the road?
 

CBBarnett

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The key problem for the Montgomery 16th Ave plan is that it falls into the Calgary trap, that "compromise" or "balance" between transportation modes really means making everything wider all the time, rather than rebalancing existing footprints to be more accessible, efficient and safe for all modes.

For the only option in Montgomery that keeps the road to 4 lanes, 5.4m of the public realm is lost to the median. What's the point of this? A "wider public realm" shouldn't include an unusable strip of grass in the middle of an arterial. Add that width to the south or the north side and create an strip of urban forest to help meet the stormwater requirements or something. If the design speed is really only 50km/h, a median of that size is a huge wasteful over-design.

A bigger problem is another Calgary special: the consistent (implicit or explicit) desire to freeway-ify our arterial roads through design choices. 6 lanes in Montgomery makes it into this plan because to the east the long term plan is this for South Shaganappi:

1623690403053.png


There's lots of good things in this South Shaganappi plan - better bicycle/pedestrian connections, tightens-up (somewhat) all road geometry to theoretically allow land to be developed one day / some how. Same with the 16th Avenue corridor work - far better public realm, addition of on-street parking potential etc.

But more broadly, such a plan reveals the bigger bias I have commented on before on Crowchild, Bow Trail etc. - the underlying prime goal that is never traded-off is to preserve high-speed vehicle access everywhere, at every intersection and for all turns all the time. Some freeways and free-flow routes are important and critical, but Calgary has always gone farther: slip lanes, extra lanes, wider intersections with dual turns movements and long signal phasing everywhere we can possibly include them. With the goal to always move more cars, faster and allow them to go everywhere all the time, it's not really possible to create a good interface with a rare part of the arterial network in Montgomery that hasn't been bleached to be only a car-sewer.

Again it's not a bad plan entirely, just a meh one - it does a bunch of good things but overall just confirms the existing bias for automotive throughput and car commuters over local land development and other modes of travel.

I am starting to get old I guess, because I remember when the the NW ring road was anticipated to be started and the big sales pitch was we can divert traffic away and around the core, we can save all costs for upgrading and expanding 16th and the connections along the way. With all that road right-of-way no longer needed for free-flow and high volume traffic that would be diverted we could free up all this land for development and better public spaces and pedestrian networks. Probably naïve of me to think that would actually happen.
 
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MichaelS

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Interesting that 2 of the 4 remove vehicles entirely. I feel like that would be a mistake, given the projected population growth of the west beltline and dowtown west end. Cars will still exist, and removing this link (the only crossing between 8th and 14th) will likely just mean more vehicle kms travelled overall.
 

CBBarnett

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Interesting that 2 of the 4 remove vehicles entirely. I feel like that would be a mistake, given the projected population growth of the west beltline and dowtown west end. Cars will still exist, and removing this link (the only crossing between 8th and 14th) will likely just mean more vehicle kms travelled overall.
I am not opposed to the idea of keeping the vehicle access, but I am trying to imagine a vehicle route that would be substantially lengthened by removing 11th Street for vehicles (beyond one that goes a few blocks from CO-OP to Mewata/Downtown West area). I can't think of any significant ones that would be impacted beyond a slight detour and a general reduction in route options by having one less vehicle crossing. Bow, Crowchild, Downtown, Kensington, all destinations to the east have other routes that are at least as good for cars today as an underpass would be.

I am really curious the difference in cost between the vehicle option v. the pedestrian bicycle one on account of the depth and engineering. The vehicle underpass options are much deeper and wider, so I would assume more costly. Some of the choices of the active modes ones are weird too.

My two pet peeves come together on this one:
  1. maintaining vehicle throughput and all turn movements all the time, always, in all areas of the city (Option 1 and 2)
  2. having pointlessly curvy, non-direction pedestrian paths and sidewalks (Options 4A, 4B & 4C)
As cool as it would be to have a park instead of an underpass, I don't understand why I can't get a damn straight line sidewalk and a park in this city. Option 3 would be vote, followed by Option 2.

Also, can someone explain what the point of these extra spaces are in the road right-of-way and why they are worth it over a wider sidewalk or a shorter bridge/underpass length? So someone can get out of their car in the underpass? So they can upgrade to 5 lanes one day? So a large battle tank can fit through?
1623710988712.png
 

MichaelS

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That is a very good point about the additional cost of maintaining vehicle space, as opposed to just an active modes crossing. My statement above was predicated on the fact that they would all be a similar budget, but I suppose that is not accurate.
 

ByeByeBaby

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Yeah, the deeper it is, the more earth has to be moved, and the wider it is, the more strength you need in the rail bridge to span the larger gap. One car option (#2) has a bridge pier, which can take some of the load from the bridge -- all of the non-car options do, but since they're not as deep, the pier should be less costly to build.

My vote, honestly, is do a straightforward, slimmed down version of #3 and then take the savings vs. the other options and do the same thing at 7th St and 2nd St (the latter above the Green Line). The requirements for a good pedestrian / wheeling space are so much lower than that for cars, you don't actually need multiple 3.5 m linear plazas in an underpass, when every cubic metre of soil costs money, for a site that has a major park on one corner.

This:
1623733812461.png

costs twice as much as this:
1623733832438.png


for the same mobility benefits. And the recreation benefits for a site that's under a heavy rail corridor -- I'm not sure the City wants the liability associated with hearing damage from encouraging people to spend time there.

Second thing I noticed:
It's fascinating -- in the bullshit way -- that the non-car options are all described as "Provides... no access for people who... take transit between 9th and 10th Ave on 11 St SW". All the people who take transit on...

1623732673722.png


Oh, yeah, there are no transit routes on 11th St across the tracks. I'm not sure there ever have been. I don't think there ever will be.

The non-car options actually provide (slightly) better access for people taking transit in the area, since every single transit user crossing the tracks on 11th Ave (and there are a lot, given the relatively high quality transit in the west downtown and the dense population in the west Beltline) does so on foot, and would have a more comfortable walk in the no-car scenarios.

Why don't they just say Santa's Sleigh can't fit under the tracks without a car lane, so the good little girls and boys in the west Beltline won't get any presents? Let's get all the thumbs on the scale.
 

CBBarnett

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Yeah, the deeper it is, the more earth has to be moved, and the wider it is, the more strength you need in the rail bridge to span the larger gap. One car option (#2) has a bridge pier, which can take some of the load from the bridge -- all of the non-car options do, but since they're not as deep, the pier should be less costly to build.

My vote, honestly, is do a straightforward, slimmed down version of #3 and then take the savings vs. the other options and do the same thing at 7th St and 2nd St (the latter above the Green Line). The requirements for a good pedestrian / wheeling space are so much lower than that for cars, you don't actually need multiple 3.5 m linear plazas in an underpass, when every cubic metre of soil costs money, for a site that has a major park on one corner.

This:
View attachment 328132
costs twice as much as this:
View attachment 328133

for the same mobility benefits. And the recreation benefits for a site that's under a heavy rail corridor -- I'm not sure the City wants the liability associated with hearing damage from encouraging people to spend time there.

Second thing I noticed:
It's fascinating -- in the bullshit way -- that the non-car options are all described as "Provides... no access for people who... take transit between 9th and 10th Ave on 11 St SW". All the people who take transit on...

View attachment 328131

Oh, yeah, there are no transit routes on 11th St across the tracks. I'm not sure there ever have been. I don't think there ever will be.

The non-car options actually provide (slightly) better access for people taking transit in the area, since every single transit user crossing the tracks on 11th Ave (and there are a lot, given the relatively high quality transit in the west downtown and the dense population in the west Beltline) does so on foot, and would have a more comfortable walk in the no-car scenarios.

Why don't they just say Santa's Sleigh can't fit under the tracks without a car lane, so the good little girls and boys in the west Beltline won't get any presents? Let's get all the thumbs on the scale.
Great points and completely agree. Some of the wording is very curious on the benefits and drawbacks of each. As a pedestrian advocate in this city I’m always paranoid, but seems like institutional bias that can't imagine any street can exist without a car. I’m not convinced anyone has ever driven on 11th street to access transit downtown in the 100 years the street has existed. This is pure urban pedestrian territory for decades (even if it doesn’t look like it).

On the cost that’s why I’m so interested - if you slimmed down the active modes options to half their size, is it half as expensive? Because if it is this project should be for two underpasses, full stop. I’d rather have 2 new active modes crossings built simpler and normally than one fancy one, it’s a no brainer.
 
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Ubran Outdoorsman

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I gotta be honest, building an underpass just for bikes and pedestrians seems pointless. As nice it it would be I think we could used that money to improve pedestrian realms elsewhere. As someone who actually uses 11th Street a lot I'm not in favor of eliminating vehicle access. This is essentially the only railway crossing in the West end.

Option 2 would definitely be my preference, I'd love it if they planted trees to buffer between the vehicle and pedestrian realms. Maybe include some public art, etc.
 

CBBarnett

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I gotta be honest, building an underpass just for bikes and pedestrians seems pointless. As nice it it would be I think we could used that money to improve pedestrian realms elsewhere. As someone who actually uses 11th Street a lot I'm not in favor of eliminating vehicle access. This is essentially the only railway crossing in the West end.

Option 2 would definitely be my preference, I'd love it if they planted trees to buffer between the vehicle and pedestrian realms. Maybe include some public art, etc.
I use 11th a few times a week and I am not opposed to keeping vehicles either - just want a sense of the magnitude of cost differential given all the alternative driving routes available. My argument is that unlike suburban spots, the pedestrian traffic along this corridor (and much of the city centre) is actually material and should be prioritized over vehicle access when trade-offs need to be made. Any growth argument that the area will see more car traffic from development also means it will see far more pedestrians as well. I can't imagine the 800+ new residents between West Village Towers and 11th and 11th tower will result in more new drivers on 11th than more new pedestrians.

Pedestrians aren't prioritized in Option 1 or 2. For example, Option 1 proposes only a 1.6m wide sidewalk which is around the technical minimum design standard for two wheel chairs or strollers to pass each other. Option 2 is a bit better at 2.0m sidewalks. But neither of these widths reflect how people actually walk, especially in urban areas - people vary in widths and speeds, often walk together in groups, often carry things (especially groceries back from the CO-OP a block away). We plan and build to the minimum or just above the minimum standards for pedestrians - which already don't reflect real users - even on a corridor with some of the highest pedestrian traffic around.

Now the car designs in Option 1 and 2 are also likely built to near minimum standards - the problem is road standards are far beyond the typical user need, so the exact opposite of the pedestrian issue. Big buffers between lanes, future-proofing so large fire trucks can use the road (which they currently operate fine without today due to avoiding the train crossing). All turns are preserved in both options. To rub in the bias a bit more, Option 2 is positioned to be a wider span and more expensive because it seeks to have a wider sidewalks and more plants, not because we have decided to allow cars to drive in all directions all the time and future proof for any possible vehicle size imaginable.

This is the bias in the design in Option 1 and 2 - pedestrians get the minimum regardless of their volumes or actual needs, drivers get everything they need including stuff they don't currently need like wide lanes, buffers and imaginary future large vehicles.

All this is to say: these factors and biases comes at real costs and real trade-offs so it's an important discussion. If trade-offs need to be made on cost and project scale, I'd sacrifice all the future-proofed road width standards for wider, future-proofed sidewalks given the area's current and future needs - and if necessary give up car access entirely if it means better access here and elsewhere for an increasingly pedestrian-heavy area.
 

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