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Crowchild Trail Study: About the study

Thank you Calgary for your input into the Crowchild Trail Study. Together, we were able to identify recommended short-, medium- and long-term changes and upgrades to Crowchild Trail that best meet the study’s three key principles:

  • Maintain and enhance bordering communities
  • Improve travel along the corridor.
  • Improve mobility across the corridor.

Over a two-year study period, individuals from 89 Calgary communities participated at in-person events and many more thousands participated online, with nearly 29,000 visits to the online tools throughout the six-phase process.

About the Crowchild Trail Study

About the engagement process

About property impacts along Crowchild Trail

About the approved short-, medium- and long-term plans

About funding




About the study

Why is the study needed?

Crowchild Trail is a critical part of Calgary';s transportation network. It is the main north-south link across the west side of Calgary, provides access to the city centre, and connects to major destinations across the city. See Crowchild Trail in the road network.

Crowchild Trail's role in Calgary's transportation network was identified as early as the 1959 Calgary Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, and has been confirmed through a number of transportation plans over the past decades, including the 1978 functional plans for Crowchild Trail and in Calgary’s 60-year Calgary Transportation Plan

Calgary's population is expected to more than double over the next 30 to 60 years. In 25 years, the forecasted population increase along Crowchild Trail from 24 Ave. N.W. and 17 Ave. S.W. is expected to triple. The approved short-, medium- and long-term plans for Crowchild Trail, approved on May 8, 2017, will help address issues on Crowchild Trail today and accommodate Calgary's long-term transportation needs as the population grows in the coming decades.


What is the construction timeframe for short-, medium- and long-term upgrades?

Short-term changes and upgrades are typically low cost and can be implemented in two to five years. Medium- to long-term plans are typically implemented beyond 10 years, and is subject to funding availability.

For the Crowchild Trail Study, Council approved funding for the short-term plan on April 24, 2017. Construction is scheduled from October 2017 to late 2019.

Medium- and long-term changes and upgrades for Crowchild Trail will be prioritized for funding through The City’s 10-year transportation infrastructure investment plan—Investing in Mobility.

Funding decisions are made by Council, but may be affected by changes in transportation priorities and funding availability from different levels of government. Infrastructure projects may be funded and constructed many years after a plan is approved.

How was the Crowchild Trail Study different from the one in 2012?

In fall 2012, The City developed and presented long-term preliminary concepts for Crowchild Trail at open houses for discussion with Calgarians. We heard from Calgarians that they expected to participate earlier and more meaningfully throughout the study, before project decisions were made. Council directed us to stop work on the 2012 study until a new Transportation Corridor Study Policy was approved. The policy was approved July 2015.

The Crowchild Trail Study completed in 2017 invited Calgarians to participate right from the start of the study, before the project goals were established.

Throughout the study process, input from Calgarians was gathered and used to inform the technical work and decisions required in each phase. In addition to the long-term recommendations, the study identified short-term and medium-term recommendations and considered implications of a no-build scenario.

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About the study process

Who did we get input from in this study?

In order to ensure a comprehensive project understanding of current conditions, concerns and opportunities, the project team engaged with:

To better understand the current conditions, concerns and opportunities, the project team engaged with:

  • Residents who live within a block of Crowchild Trail.
  • Residents who live in communities bordering Crowchild Trail.
  • Community Associations for communities bordering Crowchild Trail.
  • Businesses located within a block of Crowchild Trail.
  • Large Institutions along the corridor such as the Foothills Hospital and the University of Calgary.
  • Emergency responders who use Crowchild Trail to deliver emergency services.
  • Users of Crowchild Trail, inclusive of multiple types of travel.
  • Interest groups and agencies active in areas of goods movement, the environment and heritage.
  • Property owners who are impacted, as concepts were developed and refined, and recommendations were identified.

Why did we ask for public input before design plans were developed?

In 2012, The City developed and presented preliminary concepts to stakeholders for input. We heard at that time that Calgarians wanted to be involved earlier in the study process, before design concepts are developed.

The City then engaged citizens to develop a Transportation Corridor Study Policy that guides how corridor studies are conducted, including an engagement process that seeks public’s input before design concepts are developed. This policy was approved by Council July 2014.

The Crowchild Trail Study’s six-phase study process  is consistent with the Transportation Corridor Study Policy - Calgarians were invited to participate right from the start of the study, before the project goals were established. Input from Calgarians was gathered and used to inform the technical work and decisions required in each phase of the study.

How were stakeholders and other Calgarians notified of input opportunities?

We used a variety of communication channels to notify both targeted stakeholders and other Calgarians of input opportunities. Key examples include the following:

  • Project email to those who signed up for updates.
  • Registered mail to impacted property owners.
  • Direct mail to residents and businesses within a block of Crowchild Trail
  • Direct mail to large institutions within the study area and emergency response agencies
  • Updates to Community Associations.
  • Notices in community newsletters (where space is permitted).
  • Community road signs and signage along Crowchild Trail (where permitted)
  • Advertising online and through social media
  • Advertising on digital displays units at transit shelters and recreational facilities throughout Calgary
  • Ads at bus stops at key locations

How was input from residents in bordering communities and input from commuters considered?

All input collected at in-person events and online were reviewed, themed and summarized. Key themes were developed based on commonalities and repeated occurrences, and were considered equally important. For each phase of the study, a summary of the engagement opportunities and key themes we heard is available in the Project Library.

Where can I find a summary of the study’s engagement process?

The Crowchild Trail Study 2014-2016 Engagement Summary Report summarizes:

  • The iterative engagement process;
  • The variety of in-person, in-place, and online opportunities for Calgarians to provide input into the study; and,
  • How input was used to inform the technical work and decisions required in each phase of the study.

The engagement summary report was one of nine attachments submitted with the Crowchild Trail Study Final Report to Council on May 8, 2017.

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About property impacts along Crowchild Trail

Does The City already own a number of properties along Crowchild Trail?

The City owns several residential and commercial properties along Crowchild Trail. These properties were acquired over the course of the past 35+ years based on the 1978 Crowchild Trail North Function Plan and the 1978 Crowchild Trail South Functional Plan.

The medium- and long-term plans for Crowchild Trail, approved on May 8, 2017, require fewer properties to implement than the 1978 plan. There is currently no funding to acquire properties to implement the medium- and long-term plans.

How many properties are impacted by the medium- to long-term recommendations?

From the beginning of the study, we have been looking for solutions that prioritize changes that fit within the existing City-owned lands over those that require purchasing private property. The approved medium-term plan identifies 40 property impacts. They range from requiring a portion or “sliver” of property where buildings and access are not impacted, to requiring the entire property where building and access are impacted. No additional properties are required for the long-term plan.

How will property owners be compensated if The City needs to purchase their property?

Typically, The City would look at purchasing the property on an opportunity basis—this means when the property owner is interested in selling. The City would then work with the property owner through a purchase negotiation process on a case-by-case basis. Property acquisition negotiations are based on the market value for the property.

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About the approved short-, medium- and long-term plans

How much will the short-, medium- and long-term plans cost to implement?

Transportation projects follow The City of Calgary’s Project Management Framework. The framework is consistent with industry standards and best practices. It uses a five-stage process  for estimating and establishing budgets over the entire life of a project. The following are “Class 4” cost estimates in 2016 dollars based on conceptual designs.

  • Short-term plan: Approx. $90 million
  • Medium-term plan: Approx. $1.3 million
  • Long-term plan: Approx. $250 million

The cost estimates include all the recommendations in each plan: infrastructure, walking and cycling connections, noise attenuation, transit, green spaces, transportation measures, and land acquisition.

What’s happening with the Crowchild Trail Bridge?

The rehabilitation on the Crowchild Trail bridge over the Bow River began in April 2016 and is expected to take three years to complete.

Calgarians told us throughout the Crowchild Trail Study to “fix the bridge”. As part of the approved short-term plan, the bridge will be widened with one additional lane in each direction in conjunction with the bridge rehabilitation. The approved short-term plan also includes several optimization ideas that will be implemented as part of the construction work scheduled from October 2017 to late 2019.  

Did the study review noise impacts?

We identified opportunities to mitigate noise impacts to adjacent residents and bordering communities and included them in the study recommendations. Noise assessments are also underway to determine noise attenuation details such as appearance and height at locations identified in the short-term plan. Learn more.

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About funding

Why did you do the Crowchild Trail Study before construction funding was identified?

Before City Council will allocate money for upgrades to Crowchild Trail, they want to see and approve the plan for how money will be used.

A transportation corridor study is typically completed 10 to 30 years before construction. Once recommendations from a study are approved, they become approved plans. Projects from these approved plans can then be prioritized for funding through The City’s 10-year transportation infrastructure investment plan—Investing in Mobility. Learn more about the infrastructure planning process for Crowchild Trail.

How will the approved medium- and long-term plans get funded?

Funding decisions are made by Council, but may be affected by changes in transportation priorities and funding availability from different levels of government.

Council approved the medium- and long-term plan for Crowchild Trail on May 8. 2017. Medium- and long-term changes and upgrades for Crowchild Trail will be prioritized for funding through The City’s 10-year transportation infrastructure investment plan—Investing in Mobility.

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Hear what Calgarians said about the process

Watch this video for an overview of the short-, medium-, and long-term plans

Crowchild Trail and the Calgary Transportation Plan

​We heard from participants that they wanted to learn more about the Calgary Transportation Plan, and how Crowchild Trail fits within that plan. See the presentation Planning for Growth: Crowchild Trail and the Calgary Transportation Network.

Note: The presentation was originally prepared for an information session hosted by Councillor Evan Woolley on Oct. 1, 2015. It has been modified for web purposes.

View the 1978 plans

The short-, medium- and long-term plans for Crowchild Trail, approved on May 8, 2017, replaced the 1978 Crowchild Trail North Function Plan and the 1978 Crowchild Trail South Functional Plan.

Learn more about Crowchild Trail's history and future needs

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