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2017 Ring Road, Traffic, & Developments Update

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Ward 6 official website

January 13, 2017 

 
Ring Road Updates
 
West Ring Road
In December I met with the Deputy Minister of Transportation, the project lead at Alberta Transportation, and the City’s General Manager of Transportation and his staff to continue lobbying for the completion of the West Calgary Ring Road (WCRR).  We presented the City financial case and quality-of-life benefits of the completion of the WCRR, and the critical importance of starting this project in time to coincide with the completion of the South West Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR).  I met again briefly later in December with the Deputy Minister and Minister of Transportation, and have been assured that our voice has been heard over the past several years. The timing of when the WCRR project will commence will be announced by the Government of Alberta. The Minister indicated to me that we may hear news in the Spring Budget, but he did not make a commitment to an announcement. Please view my website for previous updates regarding our Ring Road advocacy efforts and history of the project.
 
Gravel Pit & Haul Road
With a goal of acquiring valuable construction materials for the SWCRR, Alberta Transportation announced in December that they and their partners, KGL, will begin a gravel mining operation including a haul road early this year. This will take place west of the community of West Springs in the Transportation Utility Corridor, essentially between Old Banff Coach Road and Bow Trail, in the future location of the WCRR.
 
I have concerns about traffic disruption, heavy gravel truck traffic, as well as dust and noise pollution, and both your Ward 6 office and City departments are preparing for mitigating the impacts of this very recent announcement. The good news is that the WCRR will be lowered by as much as seven metres below grade in the mining operation area – attenuating noise impacts and diminishing WCRR traffic sight lines for residents once the construction is complete.   Please see this link for maps and detailed information.
 
While this is an Alberta Transportation project being built on their land in the Transportation Utility Corridor, the City and the construction contractor KGL all play a role. If you have questions or require further information on a specific location or items, please see the reference guide below to assist in deciding who is best to contact. 
 
 
Traffic Updates
 
Old Banff Coach Road & 77th Street SW
For some time, the intersection of Old Banff Coach Road at 77 Street SW by the Calgary French & International School has been congested, especially at peak drop-off and pick-up times. As you may have noticed, we were finally able to get traffic lights installed at this location which became fully operational in December.  This will increase safety for all modes of transportation. There will be some road and curb rehabilitation work, and permanent signing that will be completed in the springtime with warmer weather.
  
Old Banff Coach Road & 89th Street SW
I listened to your concerns regarding pedestrian safety at Old Banff Coach Road and 89th Street SW. In addition to neon reflective sleeves to alert drivers of this pedestrian crossing, temporary curb bulbs were placed at this intersection to reduce the number of travel lanes through the intersection, encouraging drivers to slow down.  Changing driver behaviour is a very effective way to improve pedestrian safety. Current traffic volumes at this intersection do not require the number of lanes that exist; these bulbs reduce the number of lanes that need to be crossed and shorten pedestrian crossing times.  City Roads installed another speed limit sign for eastbound drivers arriving in the City, perhaps habituated to highway speeds coming from the mountains, to again remind drivers of the speed limit.
 
In speaking with community leaders and concerned residents, I heard your desires for an option that would allow pedestrians to control signals for crossing.  Our office worked diligently with Roads to apply for Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at this location, and I am happy to report to you that Roads plans to install these this month.  However, crews’ schedules may be impacted by the cold weather. This solution will be monitored and the intersection will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as pedestrian and traffic patterns change. 
 
17th Avenue & 77th Street SW
There have been concerns here regarding safety and efficiency at this intersection, especially around drop-off and pick-up times at Rundle College.  I asked Roads to do a warrant study for a traffic signal at this location. A traffic signal warrant study has been performed for this intersection using vehicle and pedestrian counts from April 2016.  The warrant score was 91 points, which is below the minimum score of 100 points needed for a signal to be considered as warranted.  However, another vehicle and pedestrian count will be undertaken this year and the warrant study will be updated based on this data. Effective work by the Springbank Hill Community Association has heightened awareness of the future traffic impacts of the new school on 26th Avenue SW at this intersection and these analyses are underway. In summary, new traffic counts will be performed this year to reassess this location for the installation of a traffic signal at this intersection.
 
Bow Trail Widening and Intersection Improvements
The City is making upgrades to provide a better road network by accommodating existing and future traffic volumes on Bow Trail SW.  This particular project involves a number of features:
 
·         Bow Trail widening from two to four lanes between Old Banff Coach Road and 85 Street SW,
·         Intersection improvements at 85 Street and Bow Trail by adding dedicated left- and right-turn lanes as well as through lanes in each direction,
·         A pathway along Bow Trail connecting trails on Old Banff Coach Road and 85 Street SW.
 
You may have noticed late last year work started on improving the intersection at Bow Trail and 85 Street SW. This work included widening southbound 85 Street south of Bow Trail to two lanes, matching the road alignment further south. Improvements also included extending the sidewalk on the west side of 85 Street north to Bow Trail. For complete information, project updates, and timelines, please visit calgary.ca/bowtrail-swrr.
 
West LRT Traffic Signal Adjustment FAQ
The West LRT project is the largest infrastructure endeavour ever undertaken by the City of Calgary. With the addition of 8.2 kilometres of track between downtown and 69 Street SW, you may have noticed more adjustments in signal timings at some of the affected intersections. As frequently asked questions come up regarding these intersections and signal adjustments, please view intersection specific and general questions and answers here.
 
 
Developments
 
Medicine Hill/Trinity Hills Development
In December, I organized and chaired a meeting with the developers, as well as the City Director of Planning, City planners, Mayor Nenshi’s Chief of Staff, and Ward 1 Councillor Sutherland to address limitations with the application for a Development Permit for Medicine Hill.  I, and all City stakeholders, would like to see a Development Permit that more closely aligns with what the developers initially proposed. Trinity Hills has agreed to bring back the original architects to the project to address these shortcomings and provide an updated Development Permit application.
 
Springbank Area Structure Plan – South of 17 Avenue between 85 Street & 77 Street SW
The Springbank Hill Area Structure Plan project team ended 2016 with several productive meetings where the focus was to finalize land use concepts within the study area. Internal discussions in January 2017 will focus on the most effective ways to share information with external stakeholders that includes the landowners, Springbank Hill Community Association, and existing residents within the plan area. Draft concepts will be shared with stakeholders for their feedback, and a draft Land Use Concept and map with projected density targets will be released on January 31. Please join the project team and stakeholders to give your feedback on the draft ASP from 5 – 8 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday, February 6 and 7, 2017, at Westside Kings Church - 3939 69 Street SW.
 
West District Area Structure Plan – South of Old Banff Coach Road between 85th and 77th St SW
In December, I brought forward a Notice of Motion at Council to amend the West Springs Area Structure Plan in favour of comprehensive planning approach facilitated under a primary landowner. Council directed the City of Calgary to enter into an agreement for a Developer Funded Area Structure Plan with the corresponding landowners; as in past experiences, this approach has provided benefits for landowners and the City of Calgary in time, innovation, cooperation and cost-recovery for community planning, as well as local residents in coordinating complete communities.   A key benefit to master planning is the ability to coordinate utility connections on roads – a challenge in our annexation areas, where we have the most fragmented land ownership in the City.
 
West District is to be a master-planned, compact, higher intensity, transit supportive, and mixed-use neighbourhood.  Further information and updates as to how to provide input will be forthcoming once the planning gets under way.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.
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