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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 preliminary concepts

About funding




About the new study

Why is the study needed?

Crowchild Trail is an important part of Calgary’s transportation network. Currently, the official plan for Crowchild Trail was approved in 1978. The 1978 plan already identifies a future right-of-way for Crowchild Trail but needs to be updated to align with Calgary’s 60-year Calgary Transportation Plan.

The new Crowchild Trail Study will re-evaluate whether those properties identified in the 1978 plan are still needed for the future Crowchild Trail corridor. A new approved plan will help the Transportation department acquire funding from City Council for improvements along Crowchild Trail.

What problems are you trying to address with this study?

Over the next 30 to 60 years, Calgary’s population is expected to more than double. The Crowchild Trail Study will look to address issues on Crowchild Trail today and accommodate for the long-term needs of Crowchild Trail for all modes of transportation as Calgary’s population grows in the coming decades. Learn more about the Future Needs of the Crowchild Trail corridor.

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 upgrades are low cost and can be implemented in two to five years. Medium-term upgrades are those that can be implemented in five to 10 years. Long-term upgrades are those that can be implemented in 10 to 30 years.

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

How long before construction happens?

The study looks at short-, medium- and long-term plans. Until the recommendations are approved by Council, it’s difficult to determine a date.

Within the 10-year capital plan for Transportation Infrastructure projects, the Crowchild Trail river crossing is the number one priority project on the unfunded list. Completing this study in 2016 and having the recommendations approved by Council will increase the likelihood of funding for upgrades and improvements during the next budget cycle from 2019-2023.

How is the new Crowchild Trail Study different from the one in 2012?

In fall 2012, The City developed and presented preliminary concepts of long-term plans for Crowchild Trail at open houses for discussion with citizens. This time around we are using the discussion with citizens to drive the development and evaluation of concepts. In addition to long-term plans, we identified short-term and medium-term upgrades 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 is seeking to engage with:

  • 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’re using 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.
  • 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.

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 does this engagement process cost?

Our focus is to offer multiple opportunities for stakeholders to provide input into the study in different ways. For those who want to participate in-person, there are opportunities like workshops, meetings, walking tours, community events, etc.

For those who want to participate online, we developed a project website and offer 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 enables 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 houses and businesses will be displaced by future plans for Crowchild Trail?

From day one, we looked for solutions that prioritize concepts that fit within the existing City-owned lands over concepts that require purchasing private property. We developed preliminary concepts that seek to minimize property impacts; however, there are properties that may be affected. We are continuing to work with affected property owners throughout the course of the study.

Before any property is acquired, Council would first need to approve the study recommendations and any purchase of property. The study is expected to be complete by end of 2016 and be brought to Council in 2017.

How will homeowners and businesses be compensated if The City needs to purchase the 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 property owners 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. The new Crowchild Trail Study has re-evaluated whether those properties identified in the 1978 plan are still needed for the future Crowchild Trail corridor.

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About the preliminary concepts

How much do the preliminary concepts cost?

At this stage of the study, we do not have those details. Once we have finalized the recommendations, a high level budget will be prepared and presented to Council for approval.

One of the preliminary concepts includes a tunnel; isn’t that a very expensive option?

While we have not yet prepared a cost estimate for the preliminary concepts, we can tell you that a tunnel is typically ten times more expensive than an at-grade option. A tunnel (proposed by Calgarians’ in Phase 3: Concept Identification) does meet many of the project goals established through the study engagement process and, like all of the concepts, provides value as well as cost.

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. At this time, no decisions have been made to widen the bridge.

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.

Is the study reviewing noise impacts?

We identified opportunities to mitigate noise impacts to adjacent residents and bordering communities and incorporated them into the preliminary concepts. 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. The Crowchild Trail Study will identify recommendations for short-, medium- and long-term upgrades. The study is expected to be complete by end of 2016 and be brought to Council in 2017.

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

An approved plan is required before funding is allocated. Recommendations from the new 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.

Unlike previous studies, the new Crowchild Trail Study will also look for short- and medium-term opportunities for upgrades. Low-cost changes that can be implemented with little or no construction may be funded through existing City programs.

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Provide your input

Join us Tuesday, November 29 or Saturday, December 3 to review the plans and process. See the engagement calendar for event details. Alternatively, you can provide your input online starting November 29.

Study process

We’re in Phase 6: Reporting and Completion

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