3 Avenue South Walking and Wheeling Upgrades

Project Update

The 3 Ave Walking and Wheeling Upgrades Detour will remain open throughout the winter and will be cleared as part of The City’s snow and ice response.

The detour will remain in place until construction for the Eau Claire Area Improvements Projects are complete, which is expected for Fall 2023.

As part of the work on 3 Avenue south, permanent infrastructure was added as strategic improvements for both near and long-term safety strategies that will benefit pedestrians and all other users of the roadway. These improvements include wheelchair ramps, improved crossings, and traffic signals at 1 Street S.E. and Riverfront Avenue.

Project Area Map

3 Avenue South is an important street in the communities of Chinatown and Eau Claire that provides a link to the Bow River Pathway Network, transit routes, local amenities, and a range of businesses and residences.

About the project

This project has been undertaken in coordination with the Eau Claire Area Improvements to find efficiencies and connectivity with other projects in the area while addressing the impact of construction and pathway closures to the community.

We know that sections of the Bow River Pathway will be closed to pathway users throughout construction.  To support Calgarians in navigating the area, the 3 Avenue Walking and Wheeling detour have been created to serve the community as a long-term wheeling detour and enhance the pedestrian environment.

While each detour route will support all travel modes, it is important that we work to diffuse the volumes of pathway users. Localized detours will support people walking, while the consistent detour along 3 Avenue South is primarily intended for people wheeling.  A dedicated option for people wheeling provides separation between people travelling at different speeds, which helps maintain safety, comfort, access and predictability.

The project will improve active transportation connections to businesses, residences, transit, and existing pathways and bikeway while the Bow River pathway is closed. During the closure, there will be an increased demand for sidewalk space along 3 Avenue and providing an on-street alternative will help to alleviate the strain on sidewalk capacity in the area. By moving mobility devices such as scooters, in-line skates, and skateboards off sidewalks into accessible pathways and bikeways enables people of all abilities to travel in the area comfortably.

Final conceptual Design

In August 2020, Calgarians had the opportunity to learn more about this project and provide feedback on the conceptual designs. At the October Information Sessions, the project team presented what we heard from the community on the designs. Over the winter, technical reviews of the parking and transportation impacts were completed, and designs were developed to 60 percent complete.

In Zones A and B, the design reflects the concepts presented in August, which saw consistent feedback supporting dedicated lanes for people wheeling, walking, and driving in those zones. Zone C has additional complexity based on the use of the roadway and access for the diversity of uses and users who visit the area. With that said, we know from the Always Available for All Ages and Abilities (5A) Network Principles is that creating safer facilities requires a separation of speeds or the alignment of all transportation modes speeds (people walking, wheeling, and driving). The conceptual design for Zone C is complete; however, the traffic-calming components and implementation are being determined and finalized. As part of the Tomorrow’s Chinatown project and, the Downtown Strategy, The City will be working  with stakeholders to discuss public realm improvements that are being considered in Chinatown.

Click here to view a PDF of the final conceptual designs.  

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the 3 Ave detour be removed?

When there is full, uninterrupted public access to the new Eau Claire Promenade and Pathways and Riverwalk pathways. Estimated fall 2023.

What is a detour?

A temporary safe and efficient alternative route for use by people travelling when the usual route is temporarily closed.

Why 3 Avenue South?

  • 3 Avenue South is the only east-west road that connects to the Bow River Pathway Network on the west side in the Eau Claire community (at 8 Street S.W.) and the east side in the Chinatown community (via 1 Street S.E.).
  • 3 Avenue South supports connectivity and accessibility for people walking, wheeling, and taking transit in the centre city.
  • The 3 Avenue South upgrades will support the Eau Claire Area Improvements Project during construction. The upgrades we’re making along 3 Avenue will ensure that Calgarians are provided with an alternate route to the Bow River Pathway Network during construction and will also improve access to businesses and residential areas in the vicinity.
  • 3 Avenue South has a range of businesses which can be supported through increased access for customers and employees travelling by foot, bicycle, and other active modes.
  • Past plans and policies have identified 3 Avenue South as an active transportation corridor and it is an existing on-street bikeway.
  • 3 Avenue South is one of the busiest roads for cycling in Calgary (at the west end) and connects to both 7 Street S.W. and 5 Street S.W. cycle tracks as well as Eau Claire and Sien Lok Park (via 1 Street S.W.).

What upgrades are being planned?

The upgrades being made for people who walk and wheel in the area include:

  • Improvements at intersections that enhance safety and make it easier to cross the street
  • The possible installation of signals (where appropriate) to enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility
  • Wheelchair ramp reconstruction and accessibility improvements
  • Traffic calming measures
  • Changes to on-street parking, including curb extensions or concrete islands that will improve the visibility of people at intersections
  • Creating angle parking stalls where appropriate on side streets to increase parking capacity
  • Creating dedicated facilities for cycling and other mobility devices such as scooters, in-line skates, and skateboards

Why is the City doing this work now?

  • We know that future development in the Eau Claire Area means there will be a need for alternative routes for walking and wheeling when the existing Bow River Pathway is closed due to construction or in the event of high water levels on the Bow River. Doing the work now supports our intent to create resilience in the area and future-proof our pathway and bikeway network.
  • We are launching this project in coordination with the Eau Claire Area Improvements so that we can find efficiencies and connectivity with other projects in the area while addressing the impact on the community.

Are the improvements to 3 Avenue permanent?

  • Pedestrian enhancements such as ramps and sidewalk improvements, in addition to traffic signals will be permanent. The wheeling improvements will be built using temporary materials which will serve as a multi-year long term detour for the Eau Claire Area improvements projects and will be removed at the conclusion of the project construction (estimated date: fall 2023)
  • Later in fall 2021, we will be working with the communities through public engagement to determine success criteria, along with technical analysis, for future evaluation of the long-term detour.

When will the upgrades start, and when will they be finished?

  • Construction of the 3 Avenue detour is anticipated to start in this summer, and we anticipate the improvements will be complete before Fall 2021.

What is the impact of parking along 3 Avenue for this project?

  • We know that parking in the area is important for people visiting and travelling to the area. The 3 Avenue detour will result in a loss of parking on 3 Avenue
  • To mitigate these impacts, some stalls will be relocated to 6 Street S.W. In other areas, such as 1 Street S.E., will be also look to enhance the current angle parking to provide additional parking options. 

How will the 3 Avenue Wheeling upgrades integrate with the existing bike lanes and pathways?

  • The designs presented have identified and addressed areas that intersect with the existing bike lanes and pathways to remove any awkward intersections for all users. For example, turn boxes and lane painting help to create predictable movements for people driving and people using the bike lanes.  

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  • Engagement*:
    • August 2020: Initial public touchpoint
    • October 2020: Second public touchpoint
    • Construction: Fall 2021 - Complete
  • The Detour is now open and will be improved in Fall 2023 once construction is complete.

Policies and plans

3 Avenue South was identified as a cycling connection in several plans and policies:

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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. ​