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Aside: We're (eventually) getting bypass roads!
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I'm curious how Memorial will work when it gets to Chestermere, will it just die at Rainbow Road?
Memorial is one of those "Calgary-special" roads where it's a lot of different types of road all along it. Makes it tricky to talk about in it's entirety, given it's role/design dramatically changes based on local context.

East of 36th Avenue NE, it really acts as a far more "local" major street rather than a major freeway/commuter connector. Seems like the intention (rightly) is to continue this less intense major design east of Stoney. While still a major road, this is far reduced local impact than yet another access to Stoney and the negative local traffic volumes that would result from it. You'd see substantial set-backs and massive land allocations for future, never-to-be-built interchanges in the plan if it was imagined to connect to Stoney.
 
The right-of-way reserved in the Transportation Utility Corridor for this flyover is still pretty substantial. The TUC is the grey in this map:
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The right-of-way reserved in the Transportation Utility Corridor for this flyover is still pretty substantial. The TUC is the grey in this map:
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Wow the TUC is ginormous. In a unintentional way, it's practically a greenbelt - it's so wide there's got to be millions of additional costs just to cross it with any utilities and bridges. I wouldn't be surprised if development was ironically slowed down from the creation of the TUC/ring road , at least until those first servicing connections were made across it.
 
Wow the TUC is ginormous. In a unintentional way, it's practically a greenbelt - it's so wide there's got to be millions of additional costs just to cross it with any utilities and bridges. I wouldn't be surprised if development was ironically slowed down from the creation of the TUC/ring road , at least until those first servicing connections were made across it.
Most cities would kill to have an easy right of way for roads and utility lines. That being said, it could have been narrower.
 
Most cities would kill to have an easy right of way for roads and utility lines. That being said, it could have been narrower.
Provisioning for pipelines and electricity at 1980s standards made the width make sense.
 
Most cities would kill to have an easy right of way for roads and utility lines. That being said, it could have been narrower.
Provisioning for pipelines and electricity at 1980s standards made the width make sense.
That makes sense to me as the rationale. The best example of something similar I can think of is Toronto's Highway 407 corridor, clearly designed with some the same pressures and thinking (e.g. "this time we really want to be sure we keep enough land!").

But even the 407 corridor, in a region of 7 - 10 million people, is only 120 - 150m wide at a minimum (much wider in sections where it doubles as a transmission corridor). Stoney's approach seems a bit different - the minimum is about 300m, and it's a uniform minimum width, it doesn't appear to reduce width when there is no utility requirements.

So I get it the idea, but still seems excessively wasteful and based on imagined future capacity needs for pipelines and infrastructures that may never exist . For example, I fail to see why Stoney NW is 300m wide as it is far more likely to need connections across it, than linear pipes and set-backs along it - perhaps that makes sense in the SE where there's a different topography and utility network but can't see what we were thinking beyond "300m is a good number and has to be consistent regardless of context".

But right now the TUC design seems as an example of incredibly costly "future proofing" as every commute is a bit longer and every infrastructure connection is a bit wider and more expensive, in-perpetuity. This trade-off exists because we are trying to save cost/effort/complexity on future issues, that haven't materialized and seem to have little basis for ever occurring. I feel the designer and engineers over-estimated the benefits of "future-proofing" by upscaling of the TUC, while under-estimating the costs of that upscaling.

I guess we won't know until the future if I am right or wrong here!
 
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I hate how people move next to a future road then try to protest the road going in. It's 100% going to happen, deal with it lady! lol
I think there's a huge opportunity in Calgary if we can ever figure out how to make our medium and larger roads not as shitty to live near. Calgary's road hierarchy is a bit bizarre in that we have a disproportionate amount of these mid-tier roads cutting through communities or on their boundaries - they aren't highways or major corridors, but are also larger than just your local roads. Memorial east of 36th Street NE is a good example, but this category captures a ton of weird boulevards and minor arterial streets all over ranging from 2 lane collectors up to wide 4-lane with a median 1970s-era boulevards.

It's all about priorities - we have designed the vast majority of this mid-tier network to prioritize commuter flows 95% - 5% over local needs (e.g. the "have a fast/loud/dangerous road going through your area? We aren't going to do anything about that so here's a sound wall for ya" approach).

The trick isn't always to just not allowing the road - Memorial's extension totally makes sense to do - it's to design the road so it's less terrible to be near. The trade-off is to reduce the 95% focus on commuters down to about 25 - 50%, and meaningfully act on behalf of the local needs of the street instead. What that could look like:
  • reduce speeds meaningfully - adjust all geometries to discourage higher-speeds, reducing noise and safety issues. This can be done in a number of way from major road-diets, to adding street parking to minor tweaks to lane-width and intersection design.
  • Reduce the "green wave" effects when it's not meaningfully important, providing more equitable traffic access to cross a mid-tier road rather than travel along it. Avoid long signal cycles.
  • Allow buildings to interface with the larger roads so all that traffic actually gets you more amenities in the area, shop and services.
  • Reduce unnecessary width in right-of-ways to repurpose lands for actual development or just other amenities.
  • Thoughtfully improve network connectivity, but seriously consider the local downsides (e.g. it's a good plan to not connect Memorial and Stoney - any road that connects to Stoney is destined to be a traffic sewer)
This line of thinking won't make many people happy - but they aren't happy now either. Commuters will always complain, but locals are the ones that always pay the price when a place is shitty, loud and unsafe to live forever thanks to a major road nearby.
 

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