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Calgcouver

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Nah. Gotta have parking or people don’t go.
You're right. That is why I take my family to go spend an afternoon in a beautiful place like 130th Ave SE, because it is such a nice place to spend time in because it has so many choices to park. Why would I go to some awful place like 9 Ave in Inglewood,it's too hard to park and too many leftists.
This is my little slice of heaven i love to spend time in:
1651790050027.png

I love to come park here, me and the kids can get something from a quality food establishment like Tim Hortons and have a picnic on the only patch of grass right here and vehicle-watch, makes for a lovely summer afternoon activity.
 
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1875

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No doubt it could be done, but I think about the humans in the jobs that would make it happen...even if it's what they really want to do, how far does it get before someone in power quashes the idea because of 'optics'? How many news stories did we see of business owners complaining about how long it was taking?

Has anything changed since that round of work that would make a road/parking diet more viable now? Perhaps COVID has spurred more re-thinking of public space, but I'm not sure it's enough [yet].

IMO it would require some public servants to stake their careers on this idea, and I can't blame them for not doing so [since it might not come to fruition anyways]

if only 5yrs ago the city had $85mm they needed to spend on a parking garage…
 

Calgcouver

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if only 5yrs ago the city had $85mm they needed to spend on a parking garage…
And i kid in my previous post @Sambo, but you're right that there needs to be parking for those who need it. Not necessarily directly in front of where they want to go, but a multi-story parkade like the Platform would've been better deployed somewhere in a central area of 17th Avenue, which might allow for some of the public realm improvements we are talking about.
 

CBBarnett

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And i kid in my previous post @Sambo, but you're right that there needs to be parking for those who need it. Not necessarily directly in front of where they want to go, but a multi-story parkade like the Platform would've been better deployed somewhere in a central area of 17th Avenue, which might allow for some of the public realm improvements we are talking about.
Platform = 509 stalls
Total off-street stalls built since 1996 on Tompkins Park: 636

Intercept parking lots with better efficiency than a bunch of random garages (e.g. publicly accessible, better visibility, better signage and direction etc.) are an interesting idea and can be part of the transportation mix. Platform is a poorly conceived and located project, the better location in the north half of the Beltline would be a parkade around 4th Street and 10th Ave - but we already have that parkade and it is also under-utilized.

For 17th Ave, we already have added a whole Platform-worth of parking (and then some) directly at the core destination area of 17 Ave in the past 20 years. Thanks to pushing it below ground, we get to keep the public realm we have now - while critique-able (if that's a word?) even that wouldn't have been possible if we tore down part of the destination for the a large - even if well designed - parking garages.

It's just geometry - in an increasingly large city you can't have an increasingly dense, walkable main street and have everyone drive there. Cars are just too inefficient use of space. Sure we can dream about driverless cars, shared vehicles etc. to eke out a bit more efficiency, but ultimately there's two options for places like 17th Avenue:
  1. Reduce the density and attractiveness of the destination so demand equals the capacity of the inherently inefficient car-based transportation system. Everyone who wants to visit can drive. Do this by replacing or limiting the land use of an area, applying parking minimums, don't allow streets to be repurposed for other uses and ultimately tearing down large parts of the strip and surrounding neighbourhood to allow for wider roads, more parking lots and more parkades. Stampede Park is a great example of this approach in action.
  2. Increase the capacity of more efficient transportation modes to access to destinations. Make it easier to walk, cycle and take transit to places people want to go and hang out. The space efficiency of walking is many multiples more efficient than even the best conceived driving/parking system. This will allow ever increasing amounts of people to visit a concentrated area, generate ever increasing market for businesses in a far more sustainable way. Yes we can still have cars and parking - but it must become a smaller proportion of the overall transportation mix for high-density destinations so that space becomes available for more efficient and productive uses.
We have tried Option 1 for much of Calgary's history and in most Calgary locations, but it's time we move firmly to Option 2, especially for centrally located highly walkable urban destinations.

Again, 17th Ave's problems are not that it's too popular or that it's too hard to park and drive there. 17 Ave's problem is that the current allocation of public space and right-of-way doesn't reflect the actual way the street is used today, doesn't reflect how the street increasingly is likely to be used in the future, and ultimately fails to maximize value and opportunity for businesses.

EDIT: and all that is before we get into the qualitative benefits - fewer cars and loud trucks will improve the quality of the patio experiences themselves. Less noisy, less loud engine droning and street racing in front of The Ship, less breathing in local exhaust and pollution while enjoying a meal, more options for patio layouts and designs, more comfortable walking experiences, more space for events, more space for street trees, more space for benches etc. Perhaps even fewer drunk drivers if it was less encouraged/enabled to drive to bars. In summary - many, many benefits from freeing up reallocating space away from cars in popular patio and nightlife destinations like 17th Ave.
 
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lemongrab

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if only 5yrs ago the city had $85mm they needed to spend on a parking garage…
I'm not sure money is even a big part of the equation. Tons of people still act like taking away a lane on 12th ave was like shooting their dog or something. It's not really an opportunity for a political win; with only 2 urban wards vs. 9 classic suburban (+ the 3 easternmost wards which using this broad-brush would be industrial/ethnic).


  1. Reduce the density and attractiveness of the destination so demand equals the capacity of the inherently inefficient car-based transportation system. Everyone who wants to visit can drive. Do this by replacing or limiting the land use of an area, applying parking minimums, don't allow streets to be repurposed for other uses and ultimately tearing down large parks of the strip and surrounding neighbourhood to allow for wider roads, more parking lots and more parkades. Stampede Park is a great example of this approach in action.

Your post is bang on and Stampede Park is a great example, though I struggle to imagine how Stampede Park could have gone much differently?

Maybe there was a way to prevent the deterioration of east downtown/Vic Park, but once it passed the tipping point I'm not sure it could have gone much differently than scorched earth? It's definitely taking longer than desired, but I'm not sure the parking-lot wasteland is really the reason as much as simply needing to wait for EV to bleed south and beltline to bleed east...

A few things could have happened faster, but most of those are at least pending/proposed (17th ave thru road, bus barns relocation, more riverwalk, etc.). Quite a lot of good stuff has happened since say 2006 (south of tracks, east of MacLeod):

- track siding reduced from ~12 to 4 tracks
- 4 St SE underpass
- Arriva, Guardian 1+2, Numi, Keynotes, Nuera, Alura, Vetro, Sasso, BLVD, Upten...maybe missing a few?
- 12 Ave Promenade (so far only 1 block developed, but they've set a decent standard with wide sidewalks and greenery) - as far as interim-surface-parking goes, the arena-site ones are probably the nicest in the city, especially with the big trees in the middle...
- tons of ugly operations stuff relocated from both sides of the riverbank to 25th ave/Dartmouth area
- Enmax Park
- Performing arts campus
- Halls E, F, and Casino* (*starting to look more and more regrettable, but it has really helped to cut a 4 block gap to DT in half)
- Village Ice Cream - pretty amazing hole in the wall that's now 10 years old...kind of pudding-proof that the area can/will be something


It should all pay off eventually, but I think some degree of parking sprawl is inevitable for any fair grounds.

There are some practical barriers to this, but the dream scenario would be to locate the arena 2 blocks further north than currently previously proposed, with a community rink + parkade (inevitable) on the north side of the tracks, bridged by indoor and outdoor concourses. Adds to the price tag, but it's a really rare opportunity to mitigate our heavy rail and would be tangible public benefit (that IMO doesn't really exist in previous proposal, no matter how romantic we find the next week(s) of playoff hockey)

City would swap bus barn lands with Remington; don't have strong opinions on their projects, but I'd definitely trust them a lot more than CSEC to revitalize that riverfront.

All that is to say I can envision a scenario where we actually achieve something pretty nice despite following Option 1 as quoted [but in most cases we need to lean hard into option 2!].
 

CBBarnett

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Your post is bang on and Stampede Park is a great example, though I struggle to imagine how Stampede Park could have gone much differently?

Maybe there was a way to prevent the deterioration of east downtown/Vic Park, but once it passed the tipping point I'm not sure it could have gone much differently than scorched earth? It's definitely taking longer than desired, but I'm not sure the parking-lot wasteland is really the reason as much as simply needing to wait for EV to bleed south and beltline to bleed east...
Stampede Park/Victoria Park is a whole story on it's own - but central to the answer of the question "why is it the way it is" is decades of subsidy-driven interference by the municipal/provincial governments and the Stampede organization. Interference had specific, destabilizing outcomes for the community surrounding the area largely through taxpayer-funded land acquisition of much of Victoria Park.

Over time, the city and the Stampede gobbled up more and more land under the guise of big events and projects (Olympics, Expo bids etc.) dwindling the stakeholders to only city departments and a few politically connected organizations like the Stampede, CSEC etc. The community emptied, it's location value continued to decline while other inner neighbourhoods started to revitalize by the 1990s and 2000s through incremental redevelopment. With no stakeholders remaining offering a counter point and not much of a dynamic land market (as it was all bought and held for imaginary future mega-projects), it became a sandbox only for the politicians, the city and the Stampede. Parking became the default use and all stakeholders agreed because it's "not permanent" so one day their redevelopment dreams can come true here (for 40+ years and counting), and in the meantime we all make money on the parking, and use the parking 10 days a year for a festival.

Bringing it back to 17 Ave v. Stampede Park - while the dynamics are a bit different about large scale events, fundamentally Stampede the boss-level land use outcome if you have a popular destination everyone wants to go to, but you assume everyone should be able to drive there. That land use outcome is a few large event facilities, and 50 hectares of almost always empty parking lots. Ironically, despite being empty, there's no room for anything else in Stampede Park - we have to save all that land for 10 days a year and the occasional event where 10,000 cars show up.

Despite no where near the amount of giant parking lots, I wouldn't be surprised if 17 Ave regularly accommodates more people in a night than Stampede Park on all but the busiest days. Such is the benefits of a more efficient transportation system to a destination that doesn't solely rely on cars.

Most hilarious is that even in Stampede Park the bias towards vehicle capacity *also* doesn't reflect reality of how people access the destination - many thousands of people on game-days walk or take the LRT. So many people do this in fact, that this sidewalk is often overflowing onto the street after a game - we are so car-centric in planning Stampede Park, we didn't even give a wide enough sidewalk for people to walk efficiently back to their parked cars :)

1651877014793.png
 

lemongrab

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Stampede Park/Victoria Park is a whole story on it's own - but central to the answer of the question "why is it the way it is" is decades of subsidy-driven interference by the municipal/provincial governments and the Stampede organization. Interference had specific, destabilizing outcomes for the community surrounding the area largely through taxpayer-funded land acquisition of much of Victoria Park.

Over time, the city and the Stampede gobbled up more and more land under the guise of big events and projects (Olympics, Expo bids etc.) dwindling the stakeholders to only city departments and a few politically connected organizations like the Stampede, CSEC etc. The community emptied, it's location value continued to decline while other inner neighbourhoods started to revitalize by the 1990s and 2000s through incremental redevelopment. With no stakeholders remaining offering a counter point and not much of a dynamic land market (as it was all bought and held for imaginary future mega-projects), it became a sandbox only for the politicians, the city and the Stampede. Parking became the default use and all stakeholders agreed because it's "not permanent" so one day their redevelopment dreams can come true here (for 40+ years and counting), and in the meantime we all make money on the parking, and use the parking 10 days a year for a festival.

I agree this is all true, but I might challenge the timeline and what the 'path-not-taken' would have actually looked like.

Walking through Vic Park to hockey games in the mid-late 90's I recall seeing hookers and drug-deals. If left to evolve organically, isn't there a strong risk of a Vancouver-eastside-light scenario?

There were 11 residential(ish) blocks south of 11th/east of Macleod - (excluding the block that was pretty much entirely for Victoria School). Looking back at aerial imagery:
2004 - 2 empty; 6 had fewer than ~five dwellings; 2 blocks ~half full; 1 mostly full
1999 - 2 nearly empty; 7 ~half full; 2 mostly full
1995 - 2 nearly empty; 7 ~half full; 2 mostly full (only noticed about 3 total dwellings different from '99)
1988 - 2 nearly empty; 7 ~50-75% full; 2 mostly full (extra 0-3 dwellings on most half-full blocks compared to '95)
1982 - All blocks mostly full (a few empty lots here and there)

Having seen the longitudinal evolution I might have structured the above differently, but I think it shows the trend.
It appears the biggest 'extinction-events' happened leading up to '88 and again at the turn of the century. The 2 nearly empty lots are in the SW corner (now Casino parking and half of Halls DEF) - they both went from full to empty between 1982-1984.

I guess like many things in this city, the die were cast in the 80s...Vic Park definitely didn't get the low-mid-rise redevelopment we've seen in most of the other 'inner-donut' around DT, but it's probably the high-rise leader (albeit between Macleod Trails + 3 north of the Stampede casino; I'll have to look at West Vic Park evolution later).


Bringing it back to 17 Ave v. Stampede Park - while the dynamics are a bit different about large scale events, fundamentally Stampede the boss-level land use outcome if you have a popular destination everyone wants to go to, but you assume everyone should be able to drive there. That land use outcome is a few large event facilities, and 50 hectares of almost always empty parking lots. Ironically, despite being empty, there's no room for anything else in Stampede Park - we have to save all that land for 10 days a year and the occasional event where 10,000 cars show up.

Despite no where near the amount of giant parking lots, I wouldn't be surprised if 17 Ave regularly accommodates more people in a night than Stampede Park on all but the busiest days. Such is the benefits of a more efficient transportation system to a destination that doesn't solely rely on cars.

The interesting thing is that the two paradigms may be closer to converging than we might think:

Before: https://goo.gl/maps/SpYBZtfPGyZXmG3eA

After??
d-zULIAw-1-scaled-e1591380765636.jpeg



The natural instinct has been that the Stampede/entertainment district needs to connect/blend with DT arts district to the north...this is true, but it hasn't happened for myriad reasons (plus CPR common denominator which seems to prevent any sustained N-S vibrancy). I think my Remington arena location would essentially bridge that final gap, but I don't trust either Stampede or CSEC to facilitate vibrant retail (which has been the hope for Olympic Way--north).

I'm a lot more optimistic that fixing Stampede Station (and extending 17 ave) will do more than anything catalyze the eastern beltline...if only we could do something about the funeral homes and wacky religious stuff we'd be set! The next question will be how much of a negative impact Macleod Trails will have - which prompts a lot of fun fantasy ideas, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out in reality.

Most hilarious is that even in Stampede Park the bias towards vehicle capacity *also* doesn't reflect reality of how people access the destination - many thousands of people on game-days walk or take the LRT. So many people do this in fact, that this sidewalk is often overflowing onto the street after a game - we are so car-centric in planning Stampede Park, we didn't even give a wide enough sidewalk for people to walk efficiently back to their parked cars :)

View attachment 398754

The Olympic Way sidewalks are particularly perplexing. I think the idea was that they'd be totally redone as soon as Stampede Trail development kicked off (I'm still looking for my shaker of salt...). It's hard to tell from satellites, but it looks like those trees have been there since the early 2000s or earlier. The fences went in around 2010 and it's baffling that they wouldn't set them back further (god forbid some blades of grass get trampled).
 

Surrealplaces

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I'm a lot more optimistic that fixing Stampede Station (and extending 17 ave) will do more than anything catalyze the eastern beltline...if only we could do something about the funeral homes and wacky religious stuff we'd be set! The next question will be how much of a negative impact Macleod Trails will have - which prompts a lot of fun fantasy ideas, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out in reality.
I think you're right about fixing Stampede Station and having the entrance to the grounds off of 17th being the biggest single improvement factor for that part of the Beltline. Having the piss ramp torn done and adding an entrance to 17th ave looks to be paying off already as there are signs of improvement for the section of 17th between Macleod Trail and 2nd Street SW. This funeral home is closed and is a prime location for a good mixed-use development. Let's hope something happens there.
 

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