Issues

Southwest Communities Impacted

  • Bayview
  • Braeside
  • Canyon Meadows
  • Cedarbrae
  • Chinook Park
  • Eagle Ridge
  • Haysboro
  • Kelvin Grove
  • Lakeview
  • North Glenmore Park
  • Oakridge
  • Palliser
  • Pumphill
  • Southwood
  • Woodbine
  • Woodlands

The City of Calgary is fast-tracking the SW Transitway and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project without the opportunity for meaningful public engagement. The plan will introduce 2 bus-only lanes on 14 Street SW, the narrowing of existing car lanes, increased traffic congestion and the construction of bus platforms, a transit terminal and bus loops in our neighbourhoods.

While we are in favour of positive improvement to The City of Calgary’s transit and transportation system, we are opposed to the current design of the SW Transitway and BRT as it fails to provide answers to the following concerns:

  1. no cost/benefit analysis completed
  2. 5-year old budget that has not been updated
  3. lack of public engagement before project was passed
  4. design issues
  5. safety issues
  6. no environmental impact assessment completed
  7. restricted access to Rockyview Hospital
  8. loss of green space
  9. failure to consider alternatives
  10. change in economic situation
  11. failure to take into consideration the impacts of the SW Ring Road and 4-car LRT service”

Common Project Issues Questions

What are the Actual Project Costs?

  • $40 million budget passed in 2011 which is grossly understated
  • No cost/benefit analysis undertaken
  • No transit ridership study done
  • City will not share actual project costs for 2016 construction start
  • Underpass at 90 Avenue & 14 Street is estimated to cost $40 million alone
  • $5.4 million annual operating budget which comes from property tax dollars

Lack of Transparent Process

  • The Mayor has unilaterally cancelled all public engagement sessions for this project.
  • The project has been inactive since being passed by Council 5 years ago.
  • No known public consultation since 2011 until it was re-launched in October 2015.
  • The project passed based on an incomplete functional planning study and a flawed public engagement process (included no Community Association feedback and was based on comments from only 181 Calgarians)
  • Project was not debated by City Council and was passed in an ominbus motion (project was mixed in with 7 other unrelated reports)
  • Mayor says project is “done” without giving Calgarians opportunity to give input
  • City will not share actual project costs but will be starting construction in months
  • The Project Team says that they are not required to go back to City Council or City Administration for further approvals on project.

No Environmental Impact Assessment Completed

  • No environmental impact studies will be undertaken before the project has been completed leaving Calgarians concerned about air emissions, vibration and noise pollution.
  • City of Calgary not complying with its Triple Bottom Line Policy.

Safety Issues

  • Shoulder lanes on Glenmore Trail will be eliminated, and necessary maneuvers south of 50th Avenue, where long articulated buses will have to cross three (3) lanes of traffic, could put commuters at risk.
    • Widening the roadway on sections of 14thStreet to 8-lanes and replacing green buffers with wall-to-wall pavement giving no thought to pedestrian/cyclist mobility and safety.
  • Current plans to build new roadways over a gas pipeline (running longitudenally) and other important utility lines along the 14th Street utility corridor could expose communities to significant risks associated with potential pipeline failures or ruptures. City’s own 2010 engineering report states, “It is not desirable to construct or operate a roadway or busway over these utilities.”
  • Inadequate buffers between bus-only lanes and adjacent residences along 14th
    • No thought given to pedestrian safety. West-side bus-only lanes with majority of residents living on east side and no pedestrian overpasses or contingencies contained within the plan

What Council approved on February 7, 2011

(Note the green space and trees and multi-user pathway)

Approved Design

Source: LPT2011-04  (Attachment 2) Southwest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Functional Planning Study – Executive Summary   January 19, 2011 (Passed by City Council on February 7, 2011)

 

What City Administration is planning to go ahead with without Council approval and in contravention to The City’s ‘Complete Streets’ Policy

(Note no green space, no trees and no multi-user pathway – just wall to wall pavement)

For Implementation

Source: www.calgary.ca/swtransitway, January 4, 2016

 

Project being fast-tracked without waiting for impact on traffic from SW Ring Road or introduction of 4-car LRT

  • The SW Ring Road will have significant impact on several roads in the area. Traffic patterns will change significantly along Anderson Road, Southland Drive, 90th Avenue, 14th Street and Glenmore Trail. Dedicated bus lanes along 14th Street SW fail to take these changes into consideration
  • Many buses running on 14 Street SW, 24 Street SW, 90 Avenue SW and on Southland Drive SW are currently running far below their passenger capacity.
  • This project was approved before the introduction of 4-car LRT’s and the announcement of the GreenLINE LRT system. Tax dollars should be put towards clean transit solutions.

Will parks be removed?

The City has stated that all construction will be contained within road right-of-ways and City owned land.  Road right-of-ways include meridians, shoulders, and berms/green space along streets. Green spaces and parks the public now enjoy will be removed and replaced with asphalt, concrete, and bus platforms could eventually be built along the route to accommodate commuters.

What about parking?

The City is estimating that 12 million commuters will be using the service into downtown each year. That equates to 1 million riders per month. Commuters will add to increased traffic and parking issues within SW Calgary communities along the route. Eventually parking lots could be built along the route to accommodate commuters.

I keep seeing TOD. What is a TOD?

A TOD is a Transit Oriented Development, or high density development. Councillor Pincott is very elusive on this subject. He states the “City” is not planning TOD’s around BRT stations but indeed it is developers who propose TOD’s exactly the same way Glenmore Landing is proposing a high density development on its property. He acknowledges that “densification is guaranteed to happen at some locations and that some landowners are trying to work with the City to make sure their plans work with installation of the BRT”. In the interests of transparency would it not be fair to let constituents know what they are getting along with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system?

Will the City be doing Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the SW Transitway bus stations?

Private Landowners are being encouraged by the City to use Transit Oriented Development principles. This means there will eventually be densification around each BRT transit stop. A motion put forward by Councillor Pincott directing City Administration to work with RioCan (the owners of Glenmore Landing) to facilitate the sale of city land for development was passed by City Council. This purchase will allow for a high density development on the site including 5.4 acres of City-owned green space which we all enjoy today.

Will there be any densification around transit stops?

When asked whether transit oriented developments are likely around all BRT stations, Mac Logan, General Manager of Transportation at The City of Calgary stated, “Intensification around every bus stop? Yes, eventually.” (CBC Eyeopener, Jan 8, 2016)

Councillor Brian Pincott brought a Notice of Motion before Council last year, regarding Glenmore Landing. What was that all about?

Click here to see Councillor Brian Pincott’s Notice of Motion

When asked about the planned Glenmore Landing redevelopment, Councillor Pincott’s office has sent emails to constituents stating they are “unable to comment on what we don’t know about” and others stating “the City has no plans for TOD’s associated with the SW BRT”. However, the Functional Planning Study prepared for the City by Stantec Consulting, dated January 25, 2016 (posted on the City’s project website), states: “In support of this notice of motion, during the Functional Planning study process, numerous meetings were held between RioCan and the City to discuss the integration of the transitway and the stations at this location into the proposed development.”

Are there concerns with pipelines and the Utility Corridor along 14th Street?

Utility Corridor

The Functional Planning Study commissioned by The City of Calgary in 2010 reported: “There is a substantial utility corridor on the east side of 14 Street …which limits potential road development. The utility corridor consists of various deep utilities; stormwater, sanitary and water, and shallow utilities including; street lighting, pipelines and likely telecommunications.” Among these utilities are a high pressure natural gas pipeline as well as a water main, which is in the grass median of 14th Street, both of which provide service to the majority of S.W. Calgary. The City’s report went on to warn: “It is not desirable to construct or operate a roadway or busway over these utilities”, however, that is precisely what The City intends to do. ready to engage! has expressed concerns to The City over potential damage and/or interruption of these services and of massive traffic congestion along 14th Street while dealing with these utilities, but The City indicated that it is not prepared to alter its plan. No known risk assessment has been completed nor have environmental assessments been commissioned. Incredibly, The City still plans on putting shovels in the ground in the Summer of 2016.