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Revitalize 8 Street SW Project

Revitalize 8 Street S.W.

The City is investing in the future by transforming and modernizing 8 Street S.W. 

8 Street is one of the few downtown streets that provide a direct north-south connection between Beltline and downtown Calgary. It links 17 Avenue Main Street and neighbouring communities to the Bow River along the west edge of our downtown. 

Calgary's Greater Downtown Plan identified 8 Street S.W. as an important street for improving vibrancy downtown. The project is a foundational piece in The City's efforts to establish a green network of tree-lined, people-focused streets that connect residents and visitors with parks, natural spaces and river frontage and the river.

November 2023 - Project update

We are excited to share that the concept design development phase is now complete. This marks an important milestone in advancing the project to construction. 

The work completed through the Conceptual Design Development Phase is captured in the design development report.

This report build upon the 2016 8 Street Corridor Master Plan, provides necessary updates and serves to guide further detailed design of the streetscape.  

Explore the details of this report through the flip book below.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Project timeline

Completed in 2016, the 8 Street Corridor Master Plan set the vision for the corridor and public realm improvements. In 2017, Phase 1 of the Master Plan - the 8 Street S.W. Underpass - was completed.

Since then, many changes have taken place prompting the need to review the completed Master Plan concepts to ensure they align with current and future needs, conditions, and policies prior to moving forward with the next phases of implementation.

With Phase 1: Conceptual Design Development completed, the project has moved into Phase 2: Detailed Design for the Riverfront and Downtown segment. Phase 2: Detailed Design for the Riverfront and Downtown segment, is expected to be completed in early 2024.

Explore the design

The Revitalize 8 Street S.W. project spans approximately 1.5km, from 2 Avenue S.W. (north end) to 17 Avenue S.W. (south end). 

Click to view larger image.

Through our process of reviewing contemporary polices and standards, engaging with the public, and technical analysis of current site conditions, we have defined several recommendations to guide the design of 8 Street S.W. These recommendations are provided to ensure that we deliver a safe, equitable, and beautiful street.

Creating a street for all

Creating a street for all

Click to view larger image. These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Existing Condition

The existing image of downtown helps us to understand how 8 Street S.W. works and looks today. It is a street that is largely designed for vehicles, with little offered to make the environment inviting or pleasant for people. Examples of this are the lack of trees, vegetation, places to sit or rest, lighting, and space for people on bikes or scooters etc.

2023 Concept Design

Click to view larger image. These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

The illustration demonstrates how the design comes together to satisfy the Master Plan principles. 8 Street S.W. becomes a truly green network with protected cycling and wheeling facilities, generous space for planting of trees and other vegetation, places to sit and gather, and broad pedestrian zone free of obstacles. The design concept provides different planting conditions to best respond to varying conditions at grade (retail, restaurants, surface parking lots, blank walls etc.) and below grade (utilities).

Building a green network

Building a green network

To Build a Green Network, the street is designed to support a multi-modal network, which means offering a range of safe and inviting choices for how people will move through the Downtown. The design increases the tree canopy offering a wide range of benefits including shade and cooling, enhancing walkability, beautification, improving mental health, traffic calming, and increasing property values of businesses and homes. 

Priority is placed on creating optimal conditions for healthy trees to thrive. Increased soil volumes support larger, healthier plants and trees. Prioritizing soil volume over the quantity of trees in the street allows for the development of a larger tree canopy to support a comfortable and vibrant public realm. Ample soil volumes are provided through open planters, continuous trenches with wide tree grate openings, soil cells, as well as selecting tree species that are well-suited to site conditions. 

Another strategy as part of the planting approach is to support biodiversity and a diverse planting palette, which means selecting native and resilient plant species that expand the range of both plants and animals (birds, pollinators etc.) that exist along 8 Street S.W.

Click to view larger image. These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Click to view larger image. These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Creating opportunities for public life

Creating opportunities for a public life

To Create Opportunities for Public Life, the design provides spaces along the street that support and are supported by the uses that take place on the ground floor of buildings along the corridor. Examples of this include outdoor seating in front of cafes and restaurants or increased greenery in front of areas that lack interest for people walking (blank walls). 

As social beings, people enjoy meeting up with others, in either a casual or formal way. Bumping into a friend or neighbour when out for a walk is a simple joy and contributes to one’s fond memory of a place. The design supports this most human of behaviours by providing spaces for gathering. Related to this is the basic need to rest when walking along the street. The design provides comfortable seating at regular intervals to reinforce the strategies noted above and provide a welcome respite for those for whom walking is sometimes a chore.

Amenities (planters, seating, enhanced lighting, waste bins, bike racks etc.) are consolidated within the designated zone for planting and furnishing to maintain a clean and uncluttered streetscape. Improved lighting enhances the perception of safety and security and enriches the experience inviting people to continue to use the street after dark. 

Click to view larger image. These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Click to view larger image. These are visionary illustrations subject to change.



Existing conditions

The existing image of the underpass section below helps us to understand how it works and looks today. The pedestrian area was improved in 2017 with upgrades to the finishes, lighting for pedestrians, feature lighting and public art features.

The four-lane roadway section was not improved or changed at that time. Since the bicycle lanes were not introduced in 2017, there has been some confusion as to where bicyclists should be cycling - on the sidewalk or on the roadway - causing conflicts and safety concerns. The 2016 Master Plan vision was to remove one travel lane in each direction and introduce a bicycle lane.

2023 Concept design

The rendering of the proposed underpass section demonstrates how the design comes together to satisfy the Master Plan principles. Dedicated space for cycling and wheeling is created outside of the pedestrian area and physically separated from motor vehicles. This provides a clear path of travel for all modes of travel, and further improves connectivity between the Riverfront, Downtown and the Beltline. 

Opportunities for building terraces in the areas next to the underpass, as shown in the 2016 Master Plan, will be explored with the existing landowners at the time of development for privately owned parcels. Terraces would help provide active edges, address green space deficiencies and improve accessibility between 8 Street S.W. and the adjacent land uses.

Raised intersections

Raised intersections

Click to view larger image.

Click to view larger image. View north toward river pathway.
These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Click to view larger image. View south toward 17 Ave S.W.
These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Raised intersections are proposed at two locations along the corridor— from 3 Avenue S.W. to the riverfront and at the 16 Avenue S.W. intersection. These are intending to indicate the priority of people walking and wheeling to create safe, slow-speed crossings and public space at intersections connected to park spaces.

North-south raised crosswalks will be explored at the detail design stage between 13 Avenue S.W. and 15 Avenue S.W. In addition to prioritizing people walking and wheeling raised crossings can improve accessibility, reduce snow accumulation as well as calm traffic by indicating entrances or exits to residential areas.

Design development report

Updated February 15, 2024.

History of the 8 Street SW Master Plan

The 8 Street SW Master Plan (‘Master Plan’) was completed in 2016 and approved in 2017. The Master Plan establishes a strong connection along the high-use corridor between the Bow River waterfront and 17 Avenue SW.

It provides a vision that addresses area needs and enhances the pedestrian experience by focusing on improving areas such as sidewalks, street crossings and urban design.

The Master Plan lays the foundation for growing 8 Street SW as a livable, vibrant and thriving community corridor.

The vision for 8 Street SW established in the Master Plan is:

To create a contemporary, pedestrian focused urban destination area with a distinct identity that connects people, parks and neighborhoods supported by vibrant retail experiences and a variety of transportation modes.

Please read the 8 Street SW Master Plan (below) to learn more about the original master plan project, public engagement and how this vision was established. 

How is 8 Street SW connected to Calgary's Greater Downtown Plan?

8 Street SW is guided by the Council-approved Greater Downtown Plan (GDP), which highlights it as a key capital project for improving vibrancy in Calgary’s downtown.

The project supports the following strategic moves outlined in the Greater Downtown Plan:

  • Neighbourhoods for a vibrant urban life

    Create mixed-use neighbourhoods with gathering places, housing choices and all of the amenities residents need close by.

  • A green network for a healthy environment

    Build a green network by connecting parks, natural spaces and river frontage with downtown’s main streets.

    8 Street SW is part of downtown’s green network. Streets within the green network prioritize providing opportunities for walking and wheeling and place an emphasis on pedestrian safety, quality of landscaping, recreation and the natural qualities of the street.

  • Streets for people

    Design streets for walkers and wheelers first, with regional pathways stretching along riverbanks and underpasses, and bridges and on-street mobility tracks connecting to neighbouring communities.

Past engagement

We invite you review the What We Heard reports where you can view past feedback received. Ideas and feedback from Calgarians, along with technical analysis, best practices and policy review informed the final concept design.

Step 1: Reintroduce

The Reintroduce step of engagement focused on the established vision and guiding principles, goals and objectives, while also being open to discovering new information on what has changed since the previous engagement occurred. 

Step 2: Refine

The Refine step brought forward the revised conceptual design from the Master Plan based on site and technical assessment, and feedback received during the first step of engagement. 

Step 3: Reveal

Feedback from the previous step of engagement, along with additional technical assessment was used to further refine and finalize the concept design. 

Read the final report.

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This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​