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More than ever. Like never before. Stephen Avenue

As a flagship project for Calgary's Downtown Strategy, the City is investing in the future by transforming and modernizing Stephen Avenue. This iconic and historic street, situated in the heart of our City, serves as a cultural hub, a tourist attraction, a business district, and a vibrant place for everyday life. Despite these strengths, the Avenue has reached the end of its usable lifespan and is in need of a refresh to ensure its success into the future.

Revitalizing Stephen Avenue is paramount to the success of our Downtown. With numerous changes on the horizon,  now is the ideal moment to position the Avenue as a forward-looking, 21st-century street that continues to foster vibrant public life in the heart of Calgary.

November 2023 - Project update

We are excited to share that the Conceptual Streetscape Master Plan is now complete! 

The Conceptual Streetscape Master Plan is a guiding document that provides a framework and conceptual design to achieve the vision set for a revitalized Stephen Avenue.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Project timeline


Explore the Conceptual Streetscape Master Plan


The project boundary includes Stephen Ave / 8th Avenue S. from 11th Street SW to 1 ST SE. The Avenue spans three diverse character areas within the Downtown. To address the specific needs and goals of each character area, the design proposes three distinct streetscape typologies. These typologies, while tailored to their respective character areas, work together to create a cohesive and connected Avenue. 

Shared street


1 Street S.E. to 4 Street S.W.

Situated in the heart of the historic and commercial core and directly connected to key arts & culture and civic venues, the Shared Street serves not only as a vital downtown link but also as a prominent public space.

Here, the focus is on creating an environment that is highly pedestrian-friendly, bustling with vibrant public activity and life.

Pedestrian priority streetscape

Pedestrian priority streetscape

The Shared Street is designed to prioritize pedestrian comfort and safety. It features wide and universally accessible pedestrian movement zones built with high quality paving materials to enhance both durability and aesthetics.

Across the Shared Street, private vehicles are always prohibited, with exceptions made for essential services like emergency and maintenance vehicles. Additionally, active mobility users are encouraged to dismount during peak pedestrian hours, fostering a safer environment for all.

The Shared Street isn't just about movement; it's a place for community to thrive and vibrant public life. It provides everyday amenities, patios, public seating, special events, and activities year-round, inviting Calgarians and visitors alike to spend time on the Avenue.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Everyday amenities to support vibrant public life

Everyday amenities to support vibrant public life

Everyday amenities, such as shade, public seating, lighting, waste and recycling bins, bike racks and more, are integral to fostering vibrant public life on the Avenue.

These amenities ensure the Avenue is comfortable and supportive of daily life. To maintain a clean and uncluttered environment, these amenities are thoughtfully consolidated within a furniture zone. The furniture zone also serves to separate the pedestrian movement zone and the central zone, thereby defining these distinct spaces.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Flexible and adaptable central program zone

Flexible and adaptable central program zone

Stephen Avenue is designed as a welcoming space for people of all ages, extending its appeal far beyond the usual 9-5 hours, making it a vibrant destination for weekend, evening, and year-round enjoyment.

The central program zone serves as a versatile and adaptable area accommodating a diverse range activities and programs to ensure that there is something for everyone along the Avenue. This zone is designed to be flexible so that it can adapt throughout the seasons and to future needs, ensuring that Stephen Avenue remains an ever-evolving, lively destination for people of all ages to enjoy.

The central zone comes to life with a mix of seating, playful interactive features, buskers, performance spaces, street vendors, and more. Space is provided for special events to inject seasonal excitement and fresh experiences in the public realm, such as temporary art exhibitions or lively markets.

Note: The central zone is included in the 100 SE, 100 SW, and 200 SW blocks. Given the Galleria Trees and approach to the multimodal transition, pedestrian and emergency vehicle circulation is better served here on the 300 SW and 400 SW blocks.

Balance of private patio and public seating

Balance of private patio and public seating

A balance of private patios and public seating options is provided, ensuring there is somewhere for everyone to sit on the Avenue.

The Avenue’s vibrant dining scene is expanded into the central program zone where there is space allocated for private patio seating for use by adjacent restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Meanwhile, public seating options, ranging from fixed clusters to movable cafe-style and larger communal tables, support those opting for takeout or bringing their own meals.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Curbside management strategy

Curbside management strategy

Parking and loading will be prohibited directly on Stephen / 8th Avenue along its entire length.

Pick-up/Drop off zones and parking spaces are designated near intersections on cross-streets. Each cross-street is assessed individually, with some retaining existing conditions and others being redesigned with context-specific considerations. Additionally, where possible, alleyways can be utilized for business deliveries.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Improved connections to the Plus 15

Improved connections to the Plus 15

Implementing wayfinding signage that's both simple and clear improves navigation and connections between the Avenue and plus 15 Network.

Moreover, we're exploring opportunities to enhance the underside of the elevated walkway with dynamic, rotating installations that draw interest and add vibrancy throughout the day and across seasons.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Intersection design

Intersection design

Raised intersections are proposed for all shared street blocks between 1 ST SE and 3 ST SW. These intersections are designed with gentle transitions to create level centre crossings, providing a seamless pedestrian experience. Importantly, they also accommodate vehicle crossing, including transit and delivery vehicles, due to the subtle grade change.

A consistent approach to accessibility features, such as cane-detectable indicators, bollards, and level paving, ensures that these intersections are easily navigable for users of all abilities.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.


5 Street S.W. to 11 Street S.W.

The multi-modal street is designed to complement the rapidly transforming Downtown West neighbourhood.

As office to residential conversions, along with the construction of new residential buildings, reshape and elevate this area into a mixed-use neighbourhood, the streetscape offers amenities for Calgarians living and working nearby.


5 Street S.W. to 4 Street S.W.

The transition street provides a distinct shift from multi-modal circulation to pedestrian-priority.

Mid-block, vehicle access transitions from two-way to one-way east bound, guiding traffic off the Avenue before meeting the pedestrian only Shared Street.

Neighbourhood scale streetscape

Neighbourhood scale streetscape

The multi-modal street is designed as a neighborhood-scale streetscape that balances two-way vehicular traffic with a people-focused public environment.

On each side of the street, there are wide and consistent sidewalks. A dedicated and elevated wheeling lane is also located on both sides of the street. A furniture zone separates the sidewalk and wheeling lane, acting as a buffer while providing space for everyday amenities.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Everyday amenities to support vibrant public life

Everyday amenities to support vibrant public life

Everyday amenities, such as shade, public seating, lighting, waste and recycling bins, bike racks and more, are integral to fostering vibrant public life on the Avenue.

These amenities ensure the Avenue is comfortable and supportive of daily life. To maintain a clean and uncluttered environment, these amenities are thoughtfully consolidated within a furniture zone.

The furniture zone also serves to separate the pedestrian movement zone and the wheeling lane, thereby defining these distinct spaces.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Curbside management strategy

Curbside management strategy

Parking and loading will be prohibited directly on Stephen / 8th Avenue along its entire length.

Pick-up/drop off zones and parking spaces are designated near intersections on cross-streets. Each cross-street is assessed individually, with some retaining existing conditions and others being redesigned with context-specific considerations. Additionally, where possible, alleyways can be utilized for business deliveries.

Pick-up and drop-off services are available as a special condition in specific locations along the Multi-Modal Street where high demand has been observed. Two locations are identified on the 700 and 1000 SW blocks.

Intersection design

Intersection design

Intersections are designed to streamline movement for all while reducing conflict between modes. Bump-outs shorten crossing distances and reinforce pedestrian priority. Bike markings run parallel to crosswalks where wheeling lanes are provided.

For intersections with perpendicular wheeling lanes, markings run parallel crosswalks in each direction, aligned with their respective wheeling lanes. Bike boxes are proposed past the cross-street crosswalks to ensure cyclist safety and reduced conflict.

Transition street design

Transition street design

The block between 5th ST SW and 4th ST SW bridges the Shared Street and Multi-Modal Street with a mid-block transition from a two-way to one-way east-bound vehicular lane, guiding traffic off the Avenue before meeting the shared street. Vehicular left turn movement from 4th Street onto 8th Avenue will be restricted.

An upgraded one-directional wheeling lane provides dedicated space for people on bikes and scooters. The mid-block transition allows people on bike to transition to a two-way travel pattern while preparing them for a full transition at 3rd St SW.

Pedestrians are prioritized with wide, consistent, obstruction-free sidewalks on both sides of the street.

These are visionary illustrations subject to change.

Full Streetscape Master Plan


Previous work: Public Realm Action Plan


In 2019, the Stephen Avenue project kicked off its first phase with a public realm study that provided a vision and roadmap for the future success of Stephen Avenue. Throughout the public realm study process, citizens and partners were engaged to understand challenges and opportunities for Stephen Avenue and define what success looks like.

A vision for the Future of Stephen Avenue was created:

Stephen Avenue is Calgary’s main connector to arts, culture and commerce and offers a stage for experimentation and innovation. A 21st century street, Stephen Avenue links Calgary’s walkable urban core to its neighbourhoods through a great public realm. Active day and night, and throughout the year, Stephen Avenue is a catalyst for a resilient economy, enabling adaptation towards Calgary’s future. As Calgary’s premier local and tourist destination, Stephen Avenue fosters social interaction, civic gathering, and community pride.

Explore the Public Realm Study to learn more about the work completed in Phase 1

Previous Work: Activate & Experiment on Stephen Avenue


The Activate + Experiment on Stephen Avenue program was started in 2021 following a successful request for funding from the Council Innovation Fund. 

The program prototyped creative public realm ideas along the Avenue that aligned with the City’s Future of Stephen Avenue Public Realm Action Plan. 

Changes to the public realm were made and impacts were measured. The findings from this work can be found here:

Past engagement


Phase 1 Engagement allowed the team to learn about existing challenges and opportunities to inform creation of a vision for the Avenue’s future.

Phase 2 Engagement gauged support of the design moves and cross-sections and informed what would inspire people to spend more time along the Avenue.

For more information on past engagement, visit

Have any questions about the project?


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. ​

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