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Ward 11 News: SW Transitway BRT FAQs

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This FAQ was updated on 8 January 2015.

My office has heard many questions and concerns regarding the SW Transitway BRT project. We've hoped to capture and address many of these here. I encourage you to subscribe to Ward 11 updates to stay connected and ensure you receive information as it becomes available.

 

For project background information, please check out my SW Transitway BRT Update or visit the project website at calgary.ca/swtransitway.

 

What is a BRT?

A BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) network is a way to provide reliable, timely multi-passenger transportation without the costly infrastructure associated with LRT projects. The goal is to offer a transportation option that can be considered a competitive alternative to private vehicular travel.
 

Why are we building a BRT network through Ward 11?

City Council approved this project in 2011, as part of the Route Ahead. Building the transitway now is an investment in meeting the future demand for transit in the southwest part of the City. BRT service will:
  • Meet future demand for transit in the southwest part of the City;
  • Alleviate overcrowding on the south LRT which is already over capacity;
  • Provide efficient service to key destinations in the southwest, including Rockyview Hospital, Mount Royal University, the Currie Barracks Development and Corporate Campus, and Heritage Park.
 

Many of my neighbours don’t take the bus...why do we need this line?

  • Dedicated transitway lanes and priority through intersections make the service more reliable and a more attractive choice for people.
  • BRT service will meet future demand for transit service from new development, future growth and changes in how people choose to travel.
  • Calgary Transit is working on how existing transit routes (e.g., 306, 20) will connect to, and possibly be replaced by, BRT service.
  • Demand will increase as a result of future development at Mount Royal and Currie Barracks, Glenmore Landing and with people switching from LRT to BRT service.
  • Demand will also come from Rockyview Hospital as more people choose transit over their car.
  • Connections with the new South Crosstown BRT will provide better transit access to other areas of the city.
 

How has the City engaged residents and stakeholders so far?

  • In 2010, the City held multiple public engagement sessions with residents, and focused meetings with the stakeholders of major activity centres along the route. The public sessions were held at Rockyview General Hospital, Southland Leisure Centre, Mount Royal University, and Braeside Community Association. All comments were recorded, and are available at calgary.ca/swtransitway.
  • The Community Associations were contacted in regards to these sessions as soon as possible.
  • 50,000 information pamphlets were sent via Canada Post to residents directly adjacent to the route.
 

Why didn’t I get more notice about the public sessions held in October?

The BRT project was approved by Council in 2011, however it was put on hold until dedicated funds could be found. This past September, the Province dedicated funds via their GreenTrip initiative. As Transportation was already scheduled to hold public sessions on the Ring Road, they took the opportunity to re-introduce the SW Transitway project to the public as well. Notification was given to the Community Associations as soon as possible, and there were BOLD signs distributed within the Communities. Additionally, the Ward 11 office issued an information link in our September electronic newsletter. Anti-spam legislation forbids us from contacting you if you haven’t given us your explicit permission to do so. Please subscribe here if you haven’t already. There will be more information sessions in early 2016...please stay tuned!
 

Is 14th street going to be widened?

The six existing lanes will be shifted within the existing road right-of-way. Two additional bus only lanes will be added on the west side of the road, with much of the space donated by more space-effective medians. No private properties or park space will be expropriated for this project.
 

Are there going to be big parking lots in my community?

No. The BRT system is designed to work with local foot traffic, existing bus lines, and the recreational pathway system.  The City of Calgary will work with communities should commuter parking issues arise.
 

Will we be losing parks?

No.
 

Will we be losing trees?

Some trees within the road right-of-way will need to be removed.
 

How long will the construction take? How will it affect me?

Construction is scheduled to start in the summer of 2016, and to be completed by late 2018.
 

How will the bus lanes affect my drive along the corridor?

The BRT line will have a very minimal effect on traffic patterns once construction is done. The busses will travel along their own lanes, separated from 14th street, from Southland Drive to 75th avenue. At this point, there will likely be a signal adjustment to accommodate bus service joining regular traffic at the Glenmore overpass. Along Crowchild Trail, the busses will travel in the shoulder lanes that are there now.
 

Will the busses make it harder for emergency vehicles to get into the hospital?

No. The City is working with the Rockyview Hospital and Alberta Health Services to ensure that access will not be affected.
 

Will there be more pollution?

Each BRT is able to accommodate 70 passengers and replace many vehicles, which will result in less overall pollution coming from the roadway.
 
The City is embracing natural gas busses after determining that they offer no cold weather operational issues. More than half of the existing diesel fleet currently has measurable particulate emissions with only a negligible difference to the emissions levels of the natural gas fleet. This is due to the use of two technologies, which are Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF). The Calgary Transit fleet will continue to be a mixed fleet of natural gas and diesel busses.
 

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