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Mountain Man

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Keep vehicle access, but increase the width of the sidewalks and bike lanes and provide a better connection to the river pathway North of 6Ave. 11St provides access to Bow Trail from the West Beltline, I think we should keep that for sure.
 

MichaelS

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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.
I think you have convinced me, the accommodation of vehicles is unnecessary in this location.

So, this raises a few other questions for me then (and maybe it was considered in the study so far). If we are not going to accommodate vehicles, does it need to be an underpass? Could a bridge over the train tacks be built, that accommodates all active modes, for a more cost effective design? If this is possible (no idea how long of ramps/switchbacks you would need to hit a height acceptable to CP) one benefit I could see is the ability to maintain the stubs of 11th Street to allow for vehicle access to the adjacent properties when they redevelop. Eventually the Staples is going to be replaced by something higher density, wouldn't it be nice if they had an access option that wasn't just one-way 9th avenue?
 

CBBarnett

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I think you have convinced me, the accommodation of vehicles is unnecessary in this location.

So, this raises a few other questions for me then (and maybe it was considered in the study so far). If we are not going to accommodate vehicles, does it need to be an underpass? Could a bridge over the train tacks be built, that accommodates all active modes, for a more cost effective design? If this is possible (no idea how long of ramps/switchbacks you would need to hit a height acceptable to CP) one benefit I could see is the ability to maintain the stubs of 11th Street to allow for vehicle access to the adjacent properties when they redevelop. Eventually the Staples is going to be replaced by something higher density, wouldn't it be nice if they had an access option that wasn't just one-way 9th avenue?
It's a good question, I think they considered an overpass but nixed it earlier in the process. I think any bridge or underpass would eliminate any vehicle access at a site like Staples due to the grading requirements to go up or down right there.

I think the rail corridor clearance is super high to accommodate double height shipping containers trains (like the West LRT viaduct), so any structure over has to be giant and very high with the access ramps v. down and under only need 3m for active modes, 4.5m for vehicles. I have no idea the costs between overpass v. underpass at various depths/spans. I assume bridges are usually cheaper, but I don't know how the extra height/ramps would factor in vs. the other options.

Our friends over in the Netherlands figured out the whole active mode underpass game forever ago for some examples of what a good one could look like:

A long one in central Amsterdam:
1623783480240.png


A short one with an interesting parallel story of adding an underpass and sorting out car v. active mode trade-offs:
https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2020/12/09/cycling-underpass-at-bilthoven-station/

1623783635286.png


To the point made by @ByeByeBaby , all underpass pictures show limited depth and width of the span. Keeps the slopes shallower and surely the effort/cost smaller. Less than a bridge? I don't know, but a shallow tunnel is easier to both use as a cyclist or pedestrian and eventually integrate into surrounding development.
 

darwink

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Today, well in 2018 when 11th was last measured, 10,000 vehicles used the crossing at 11th. 40,000 at 14th, 15,000 at 8th, 12,000 at 5th, 11,000 at 4th.

Sure, we could remove vehicle modes from that crossing. But we would end up with:
1/2 to 3/4 of the traffic redistributed to the cuplet through Sunalta, northbound 8th and southbound 5th.

Could we deal with it? Sure. But I'd rather have 11th have a 2+1/2 lane wide vehicle right of way (some safety margin for buses and trucks), and then take 8th on the road diet it needs, keep 5th on its current road diet.

I'd also rather we not create the worst (granted I haven't been to all parks!) CPTED park in the city under the railroad tracks.
 

darwink

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Removing the centre post really drives cost though. Needs to be designed to support 4 freight trains above it. Double the span, quadruple the needed strength.
 

Surrealplaces

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Removing the centre post really drives cost though. Needs to be designed to support 4 freight trains above it. Double the span, quadruple the needed strength.
I wonder what the cost difference would be? Even if it's more expensive it might be worth it depending.
 

adamyyc

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Would love for the City to remove the driving surface and create a pedestrian/wheeling space in this area, but not confident the City will do something so bold. That area is not a pleasant pedestrian experience. 9th Ave is like a freeway in that area (which is why there is always a speed camera at the 9th Ave & 11th St intersection), and I think we all agree that the podium on the West Village Towers is pretty uninviting, so I think the City needs to consider something bold to activate the street in this area.
 

Surrealplaces

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I'm okay with the underpass accommodating vehicles, but I think two lanes for car traffic is sufficient, and then have the extra space from the third lane for pedestrians and cyclists. If vehicles were going through the underpass I wouldn't lose sleep over it. It would allow for more options, such as the underpass could be narrower would be easier design without the center peer. Also as @ByeByeBaby mentioned, there may be enough savings to do another underpass at 7th. It would be nice if the 7th street cycle track went through to the Beltline.
 

Joborule

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Agreed. I rather 11th have vehicle lanes, and if it's possible to reduce traffic volume at 8th street, go for it.
I'm okay with the underpass accommodating vehicles, but I think two lanes for car traffic is sufficient, and then have the extra space from the third lane for pedestrians and cyclists. If vehicles were going through the underpass I wouldn't lose sleep over it. It would allow for more options, such as the underpass could be narrower would be easier design without the center peer. Also as @ByeByeBaby mentioned, there may be enough savings to do another underpass at 7th. It would be nice if the 7th street cycle track went through to the Beltline.
This is what I would like to see. Having the 7 Street cycle track go all the way into Upper Mount Royal somewhere would be great. This could be the pedestrian/plaza style underpass instead then.
 

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