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Crowchild Trail Study: Questions & Answers

The following are common questions we’ve heard from participants in the study. We’ll continue to add to this section as the study progresses.

About the new study

About the new study process

About property impacts along Crowchild Trail

About the recommendations

About funding




About the new study

Why is the study needed?

Crowchild Trail is a skeletal road. It is the primary north-south link across the west side of Calgary and for connecting to major destinations across the city. This was identified as early as 1959 and has been confirmed through a number of transportation plans over the past decades, including the 1978 plan for Crowchild Trail and in Calgary’s 60-year Calgary Transportation Plan.

Over the next 30 to 60 years, Calgary's population is expected to more than double. Recommendations from the Crowchild Trail Study address issues on Crowchild Trail today and accommodate its long-term transportation needs as Calgary’s population grows in the coming decades.

Some key issues and challenges that are being addressed by the Crowchild Trail Study include:

  • Traffic merging and weaving on the bridge over the Bow River and at intersections along the corridor.
  • Bottlenecks that have resulted from high volumes of traffic, lane reductions, and lane changes in short distances (e.g. Bow River Bridge) along the roadway.
  • Balancing what’s important to communities that border the study area and the needs of Calgary’s transportation network.
  • Identifying upgrades for the Crowchild Trail corridor that will support its role in the Calgary Transportation Plan.

If the recommendations from the study are approved by Council, they will be prioritized for funding.


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

Timing of implementation is dependent on prioritization amongst other City projects and allocation of funding. These decisions are made by Council and directly impact when recommended changes or upgrades can happen.

Generally speaking, short-term recommendations are low cost and can be implemented in two to five years. Medium- to long-term recommendations are those that can be implemented beyond 10 years.

There are many factors that may affect the timeframe for the short-, medium- and long-term recommendations. Some examples include changes in transportation priorities and funding availability from different levels of government.

How long before construction happens?

The study identified short-, medium- and long-term recommendations.

In November 2016, we reported back to Council with a proposed budget to implement the short-term recommendations including widening the Bow River Bridge to accommodate an additional lane in each direction together with the bridge rehabilitation work and several short-term optimization ideas. We anticipate receiving a decision on funding from Council in early 2017.

If approved by Council at that time, we will be able to move forward with the bridge widening and optimization projects and be ready for construction in Spring 2017.

Medium- to long-term recommendations are expected to be implemented beyond 10 years.

How is the new 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. This time around we are using the discussion with Calgarians to drive the development and evaluation of concepts. In addition to the long-term recommendations, we identified short-term and medium-term recommendations and considered implications of a “no build” scenario.

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About the new study process

Who are you getting input from in this study?

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

  • Property owners who properties are impacted by the recommendations
  • Residents who live immediately next to Crowchild Tr.
  • Residents who live in communities bordering Crowchild Tr.
  • Businesses located immediately next to Crowchild Tr.
  • 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.

Why are you asking for our input before we see the design plans (comment from Phase 2)?

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 new Crowchild Trail Study’s six-phase study process is consistent with the Transportation Corridor Study Policy. Learn more about the Crowchild Trail Study process.

How are you notifying stakeholders and other Calgarians 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 sign 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 will input from residents in bordering communities and input from commuters be considered?

All input collected at in-person events and online are reviewed, themed and summarized. Key themes are developed based on commonalities and repeated occurrences, and are considered equally important.

All verbatim comments and summaries of key themes are available in the Project Library.

How much did the engagement process cost?

Our goal was to offer multiple opportunities for Calgarians to provide input into the study in different ways. For those who wanted to participate in-person, there were opportunities like workshops, meetings, walking tours, community events, etc.

For those who wanted to participate online, we developed a project website and offered online tools to provide input. The total cost for the study engagement process will be reported to Council in 2017.

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About property impacts along Crowchild Trail

Is it true that The City already owns a number of properties along Crowchild Trail?

The City does own several residential and commercial properties along Crowchild Trail. These properties were acquired over the course of the past 35+ years based on the 1978 approved plan.

The new Crowchild Trail Study enabled The City to re-evaluate if properties identified in the 1978 plan are still required for the future Crowchild Trail Corridor. Recommendations of the new Crowchild Trail Study, if approved by City Council, will replace the 1978 plan.

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 final recommendations identify 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. We are continuing to work with the affected property owners.

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.

Will the properties identified in 2012 be impacted by future plans for Crowchild Trail?

As per Council’s direction, the preliminary concepts from 2012 have been shelved and do not represent the official plan for Crowchild Trail.

The 1978 plan is currently the official plan for Crowchild Trail and does identify a future right-of-way that impacts a number of properties along Crowchild Trail. If the recommendations from the new Crowchild Trail Study are approved by Council, then this plan will replace the 1978 plan.

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About the recommendations

How much do the recommendations cost?

Short-term upgrades to Crowchild Tr. require Council allocating capital funding. Approximately $90 million is required to implement the short-term recommended upgrades.

The estimated cost to implement the medium-term recommendations is $1.3 billion ($800 million to $2.2 billion, Class 4 estimate range in 2016 dollars). The estimated cost to implement the long-term recommendations is $250 million ($150 million to $400 million, Class 4 estimate range in 2016 dollars).

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 bridge?

The rehabilitation on the Crowchild Trail bridge over the Bow River began in April and the work this year is expected to continue until October 30, 2016. It is anticipated to take three years to complete all the work.

Throughout the Crowchild Trail Study, a key issue we heard from Calgarians is “fix the bridge”. It has been confirmed that there is an opportunity to widen the bridge with one lane in each direction in conjunction with the bridge rehabilitation. This is expected to provide a short-term improvement to Crowchild Trail in this area.

In November 2016, we reported back to Council with a proposed budget to implement the short-term recommendations including widening the Bow River Bridge to accommodate an additional lane in each direction together with the bridge rehabilitation work and several short-term optimization ideas. We anticipate receiving a decision on funding from Council in early 2017.

If approved by Council at that time, we will be able to move forward with the bridge widening and optimization projects and be ready for construction in Spring 2017.

The City would like to thank Calgarians for their patience and cooperation while we perform the bridge rehabilitation and for their participation in the Crowchild Trail Study. Find out more.

Did the study review noise impacts?

We identified opportunities to mitigate noise impacts to adjacent residents and bordering communities and incorporated them into the recommendations. In addition, noise assessments are underway as part of the short-term improvements to determine noise protection details in those locations such as appearance and height. Learn more.

About funding

Why are you doing the study when there’s no funding 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. We anticipate presenting the final recommendations to Council in early 2017.

How will you get funding to implement upgrades along Crowchild Trail?

An approved plan is required before funding is allocated. Recommendations from the Crowchild Trail Study, if approved, will enable upgrades for Crowchild Trail to be prioritized for funding. In other words, before City Council will allocate money to for upgrades to Crowchild Trail, they want to see and approve the plan for how the money will be used.

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View the short-term recommended plan

Learn more about the following projects related to the short-term recommended plan:

View the medium/long-term recommended plans

View the 1978 plans

Existing plans for Crowchild Trail were approved in 1978 and are available here. The Crowchild Trail Study will update the 1978 plan, with the help of Calgarians’, through the six-phase study process



Interesting in learning more about the history and future transportation demands of Crowchild Trail. Check out this story map.