Southwest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project
Project update - July 2016
At the April 20, 2016 Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit (SPC on T&T), a number questions were asked by Calgarians about the Southwest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The City developed detailed responses to the 62 questions asked in a document called Southwest BRT Response to Public Questions that was presented at the July 20, 2016, SPC on T&T.
Along with the answers to the 62 questions, The City provided the Transportation Report to SPC on T&T – 2016 July 20. Attachment 2 of the Report, the Southwest BRT Response to Public Questions, has been separated into its own PDF due to file size.
Please note: If you are unable to open the PDF on your Android phone, please download the PDF before opening, or try viewing it from a desktop.
Along with the answers to the 62 questions, and report to the SPC on T&T, The City presented this overview video to show the proposed changes to the SW BRT route, proposed station design, and destinations serviced by the SW BRT.
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The Southwest BRT project is one of four additions to The City’s primary transit network. The four new projects will fill important gaps in the existing transit network, and provide Calgarians with fast, reliable connections to major destinations.
The City of Calgary’s BRT network includes many different types of BRT service and infrastructure. The City adapts BRT projects to suit the needs of the communities and customers it serves.
The Southwest BRT project includes new BRT stations along the length of the route, and construction of new bus-only travel lanes on 14 Street W between Southland Drive and 75 Avenue S.W. Buses will run in mixed traffic along the rest of the route, except on portions of Glenmore Trail and Crowchild Trail, where buses will be able to use the shoulder lanes to bypass traffic in rush hour.
The new Southwest BRT project will run from Downtown Calgary to Woodbine, and will provide direct connections to major destinations that are currently underserviced by transit, such as Southland Leisure Centre, Glenmore Landing, Heritage Park, Rockyview Hospital, Mount Royal University, Lincoln Park, Currie Barracks, and Marda Loop.
The Southwest BRT is a better service for current transit passengers, and is a necessary, long-term transportation solution for the city.
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The City of Calgary is working to create and improve transportation options for Calgarians. One of those options is the new BRT network.
Bus Rapid Transit (or BRT) is a fast, reliable bus service. Cities around the world have adopted BRT services, and view them as an integral part of their overall transit and transportation plans.
BRT routes have fewer stops than a regular bus route, which means they can cover more ground, more quickly.
Four new BRT projects will fill important gaps in the existing transit network, and provide more direct connections to major destinations. Direct connections are important, as we know that Calgarians are 50 per cent less likely to use transit if they have to make a transfer to a second (or third) bus or train.
Not all BRT projects require dedicated bus lanes. In lower traffic volume areas, BRT services can run quickly and reliably in mixed traffic. In higher volume traffic areas, BRTs are faster and more reliable if they run in their own, dedicated lanes.
The City of Calgary currently operates five BRT routes, including routes 300, 301, 302, 305 and 306. The four new BRT projects complement the existing network of BRT and LRT routes, and are designed with connections to the future Green Line LRT in mind.
About the project
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The City has updated designs for the intersection of 75 Avenue and 14 Street S.W. The updated design eliminates impacts to the operation of the intersection of 14 Street and 75 Avenue S.W.
The City has also developed a revised design of the transitway at Heritage Drive to eliminate direct impacts to the signalized intersection. The transitway and station have been shifted further west, and proposed to cross the access road into Heritage park, where less daily commuter traffic exists. :
Further traffic modelling has been undertaken at these intersections and all of these changes result in minimized impact to congestion on 14 Street S.W. In the long term, if enhancements to transit service are not made, traffic congestion can increase through trip generation associated with new land developments. This would require alternative transportation services and increased parking supply at major employment and post-secondary sites due to a lack of public transit choices.
More details about updated intersection designs can be found in the Southwest BRT Response to Public Questions document.
The City of Calgary project team has been working closely with ATCO to coordinate the Southwest BRT with ATCO’s planned Urban Pipeline Replacement (UPR) Program work on 14 Street S.W. The UPR Program includes:
- Installing new high-pressure natural gas lines primarily alongside ring roads (Transportation/Utility Corridors) surrounding Calgary.
- Taking vintage high-pressure natural gas pipelines out of service.
- Installing new low-pressure natural gas lines and related infrastructure.
While the specifics of the UPR work at 14 Street are still in the design phase, it is anticipated to involve the following:
- Abandoning the existing high-pressure natural gas line currently located under 14 Street S.W.
- Installing a new high-pressure natural gas line into the Southwest Calgary ring road (TUC).
- Installing a new distribution (low-pressure) feeder line to be located under the existing median of 14 Street S.W.
There have been concerns raised regarding the condition, integrity, corrosion and pressure changes of the existing high-pressure line. These concerns will be eliminated by its abandonment. The new low-pressure distribution feeder line will exceed current pipeline construction standards and employ the latest technologies to ensure they are the safest in Alberta.
Infrastructure programs and projects follow the City of Calgary Project Management Framework, which is consistent with industry standard best practice and uses the following five-stage process for estimating and establishing program and project budgets:
- Class 5 – Order of Magnitude—Generally prepared based on very limited information. They’re often based on judgment and/or experience. Expected accuracy range is -50% to +100%
- Class 4 – Conceptual Design—Generally prepared based on conceptual or feasibility studies considering project options and known constraints. Expected accuracy range is -40% to +75%
- Class 3 – Preliminary Design—Generally prepared based on preliminary design information. Project assumptions and constraints have been defined. Expected accuracy range is -30% to +50%
- Class 2 – Detailed Design—Generally prepared on detailed design information. Project constraints have been resolved and detailed design is advanced. Expected accuracy range is -15% to +20%
- Class 1 – Final Design/Pre-Tender—Generally prepared based on the final design information. At this stage the design is complete. Expected accuracy range is -10% to +10%
As projects evolve, the project definition increases and more accurate estimates can be produced.
The $208M BRT Program budget was established based on project estimates at the Order of Magnitude and Conceptual Design stage. The Conceptual Design was based on having bus stops with limited features. In the years since the conceptual design was produced, we’ve heard from Calgarians through engagement as part of RouteAhead in 2012 that they’d like to see a higher level of service, with better features for an improved customer experience. Investment in these improved features has had an impact on the cost of the overall project.
The City is currently in the design phase for all four of the new BRT projects. As design progresses, we know that the costs of some projects will decrease and others will increase.
The Southwest BRT project is part of a larger program, which also consists of the 17 Ave S.E. BRT project, and the North and South Crosstown BRT projects. Although the Southwest BRT project budget has increased, the program budget comprised of all four projects is still on budget.
There are no plans to include Park and Rides with any of the four new BRT projects. The projects are intended to serve local communities and will primarily be accessed from within the community via feeder buses, walking and cycling.
Project teams will work with communities to implement residential parking restrictions if that is of interest to residents. There are different options for permitted parking in communities, including two-hour restrictions, residential parking permits, and others. Learn more about The City’s Residential Parking Permit Program.
The City of Calgary has not initiated or planned for a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) as part of the Southwest BRT project. Private developers may pursue future TOD redevelopments on their property based on their own planning.
More information about development near the Southwest BRT route can be found in the Southwest BRT Response to Public Questions document.
The phasing of the project will keep both 14 Street and 90 Avenue open to traffic throughout construction. Along 14 Street, construction will be closely coordinated with the work being undertaken by ATCO within the corridor. ATCO is expected to begin installation of a new distribution line on 14 Street in 2017. In conjunction with ATCO’s construction, we endeavour to maintain six lanes of traffic during peak periods. At 90 Avenue, a detour will be constructed to the north of 90 Avenue, adjacent to Glenmore Landing, to allow for the first phase of construction of the underpass and relocation of existing utilities along 90 Avenue. The phasing of the underpass will maintain the same number of lanes on the 90 Avenue approach to the intersection throughout construction.
The new BRT stations will not be utilized by the Southwest BRT until completion of the overall project, as the Southwest BRT would not be in service until that time. As some of the BRT stations are located at existing Calgary Transit bus stops, some will be utilized by existing routes upon station construction completion.
As noted above, we will endeavour to maintain six lanes of traffic during peak periods. During off peak hours, the Contractor may arrange for lane closures to facilitate construction activities. These will be coordinated to ensure that impacts to traffic are minimized and that lane closures are properly communicated to the public and motorists.
More details and images regarding construction phasing can be found in the Southwest BRT Response to Public Questions document.
Further information about the project planning process, project design, lane widths, intersection operations, the Southwest Calgary Ring Road, and alternative options, can be found in the Southwest BRT Response to Public Questions document.