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Jimby
Dec 22, 2011, 8:12 PM
I have never seen a daytime checkstop on Mission Road before now. It is a good place because no one can see it until it is too late.


http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7008/6561242351_035783d70d_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/singlemoment/6561242351/)
daytime alcohol check stop, Mission Road SW (http://www.flickr.com/photos/singlemoment/6561242351/) by LUMIN8 (http://www.flickr.com/people/singlemoment/), on Flickr

You Need A Thneed
Dec 29, 2011, 6:50 AM
I typed this up about a month ago regarding the Airport Trail Tunnel, and submitted it the Herald. I didn't ever see it published, and I thought it should be shared for someone to actually read, so here it is:

____________________

Re: Mayor Clashes over Tunnel (November 15), FLying High on Debt - Airport Tunnel is no Bargain - (letter, November 21), and Digging a Debt (Letter, November 18)

At the November 14th city council meeting, Alderman Lowe and some others were asking about the total costs of the Airport Trail Underpass. Mayor Nenshi claimed that they had the information, and he was correct. And of course, the numbers wouldn't look like the anti-tunnel aldermen want them to look. Let's review the numbers in detail.

What is currently approved by council is $295 million. However, according to the city's estimate, what is being built now will only cost about $284 million, and only roughly 2/3rds of that is actual construction costs. Also, the city put a 30% contingency cost into the project budget, when a standard amount is only 10%. All for a project that, despite it's size, is actually quite simple in construction methods, and relatively free of potentially delaying unknowns. It's being built on wide open land, with no existing utilities in the way, etc. in other words, the project has a good chance of being built under budget.

In phase 2, the city builds two interchanges, at Barlow Trail, and at 19th Street, and the airport authority provides $20 million of the total cost. These interchanges must be built when the city decides to connect Airport Trail to the newly opened section of Metis Trail, which will likely happen in 5-10 years. In 2011 dollars, the city's portion is approximately $60 million for phase 2.

Phase 3, which involves building extra flyover ramps to the interchanges - when traffic demands it, is likely 20-30 years away (the city's transportation department thinks that they will never be needed). The city and the airport authority have agreed to split the cost 50/50, which according to the current design, and using 2011 dollars, makes a bill to the city of approximately another $60 million dollars. Of course, in 20+ years, societal transportation requirements could totally change what is required, so no one really know what the actual dollar value may be.

If you add all the numbers together, you would get $414 million. However, that number is certain to not be the total cost of the tunnel, as the final total will obviously be affected by inflation, and possibly changes in scope. Also, this total includes more than simply the tunnel itself. It includes a significant amount of work that would be required whether the tunnel was ever built or not. Roughly $20 million of that cost is for the portion of 96th ave/Airport Trail between 36th Street and 60th street that would be needed either way. Also, even without the tunnel, future traffic volumes on Airport Trail may force the city to build those to interchanges anyway, perhaps without ANY financial help from the airport authority. Those interchanges would cost around $100 million together. So, let's call the total cost of the tunnel itself around $300 million. That includes the cost of the land, the tunnel, the road through the tunnel, and the extra costs incurred by the Airport Authority in building the new runway that are caused by this tunnel construction.

However, in order to calculate the total long term cost of the tunnel, we must consider costs that would be incurred to the city in other places, if the city would have to adapt to not having the tunnel. Country Hills Blvd, between Deerfoot and Stoney Trail NE, would have to be designed and upgraded beyond what is currently planned and allowed for. Land already approved for development would have to be purchased or expropriated. The west LRT project required the city to pay $200 million to buy up land along the route. The city would likely have to buy more land than for the WLRT just along Country Hills Blvd. By the time the traffic would become completely unbearable (and thus needed for the expansion of the road), all that land would be developed, making expropriating or purchasing the land more complicated. I imagine that the province would have to improve the Country Hills Blvd/Deerfoot Trail interchange, and the city would have to build interchanges along Country Hills Blvd as well. There are 6 or 7 planned traffic lights between Deerfoot Trail and Metis Trail along Country Hills Blvd. (See the Stonegate Landing website to see the planned intersections) Building 7 interchanges would obviously be out of the question, but there would have to be 3 to 4 at minimum, with short distances between them making complicated and expensive ramps likely.

Metis Trail would likely require conversion into a full freeway as well, whereas with the tunnel, leaving it as an expressway should suffice for many years, if not forever. That would add another 2 or 3 interchanges. Adding up the required interchanges, plus land purchases, and you will easily get to the $300 million cost of the tunnel, and likely more.

I know some of you might doubt that such an expansion of Country Hills Blvd would be required. For those people, I recommend going to drive that section of Country Hills Blvd during rush hour, and then realizing that the area up there is only 10% developed. There is a huge area of land waiting to be developed, which will add a huge amount of traffic. Considering that a significant portion of that development is industrial and commercial (everything west of Metis Trail, plus pockets along 60th Street), there will be significant heavy truck traffic. There will likely be some industrial businesses that will want to be close to both the airport, and to the new CN rail yard being built out by Conrich. Country Hills Blvd even as a 6-8 lane road seems totally inadequate to handle that amount of traffic.

So, what is the long-term-total cost of the Airport Trail Tunnel? We don't know exactly, but in all likelihood, the number is around ZERO dollars, give or take $50 million or so. Even if we say that building the tunnel would cost $50 million more than not building it, it is still a good deal to build the structure that will create the best overall transportation network, and will allow Country Hills Blvd to remain the urban boulevard that the city has planned it to be. Most likely, the tunnel saves the city money in the long term.

Cage
Dec 30, 2011, 5:53 PM
YNAT great analysis I agree with most of the points provided howerver there are some sticking points to consider WRT upgrade CHB in the event tunnel is not built.

In point form:
1) The above analysis and the City's analysis of tunnel alternatives both hinge on comparing the present value cost of tunnel versus the future cost of CHB upgrade. A better analysis would have been to compare build the tunnel now versus immediate buildout of CHB.
2) Analysis of interchanges on the CHB option does not take into account interchanges that have to be built regardless of tunnel or no tunnel. An immediate example is CHB and Metis Trail. IMHO the costs of this interchange are irrellevant to the Tunnel discussion as the interchange is required. Same goes for Metis Trail and 96th Ave NE, the interchange is required in both options as Metis Trail is planned to be an expressway with grade separated interchanges.
3) Land value costs for upgrade CHB assume the city does nothing for the next 20 plus years. A better option would have been to cost out immediate expropriation for the land required to upgrade CHB versus build the tunnel.
4) Any analysis I have reviewed has always hinged on either full build out of CHB from Deerfoot to Stoney or full build out Airport Trail and Tunnel. However for comparison purposes I submit that any option needs to remove costs associated with activities east of Metis trail.

Here is the analysis I would like to see.
1) Tunnel cost analysis puts the base price for tunnelportion at $200 million (no additional interchanges just a 4 vehicle lane plus LRT tunnel.
2) Cost of upgrades to CHB between deerfoot an Metis. Exclude costs that are required by way of other development plans (e.g. the CHB/Metis interchange cost is covered under Metis Trail plan). Include additional costs associated with no tunnel option (while a grade separate interchange is required at CHB/Metis under all options, there are additional costs under no Tunnel due to additional traffic volumes).

My traffic routing vision for a no tunnel option would be Stoney -> 96th Ave -> Metis tr -> CHB -> Barlow/Stonegate -> Airport.

You Need A Thneed
Dec 30, 2011, 6:18 PM
Expropriating now would save some of the cost of that, but then you would have to finance that cost, and the cost would even out. It would still be expensive. I've tried to leave interchanges required either way out of my comparision. But, we must also keep in mind that having the tunnel will delay the need for some of the interchanges. Metis/CHB and Metis/96th won't be required nearly as soon with the tunnel in place. As well, the CHB one likely can become a simpler interchange with the tunnel.

The point is, there is significant cost involved with not building the tunnel now.

Cage
Dec 30, 2011, 9:20 PM
Expropriate undeveloped land right now would be a signficant cost savings to expropriating developed land later on. WLRT was expensive to expropriate due to the level of development and the need to compensate for reconstruction of houses and offices. Immediate expropriation of CHB land does not result in any building demolition and only minimal costs for Stonegate to adjust their development plans.

My best guestimate for expropriation of CHB land would be $20-30 million. This is based on similar undeveloped land values in the immediate vicinity of CHB. At this cashflow, no civic financing would be required.

DoubleK
Jan 10, 2012, 5:11 PM
4 snowflakes and everyone forgets how to drive...

Innersoul1
Jan 10, 2012, 6:28 PM
4 snowflakes and everyone forgets how to drive...

Yes, it was pretty bad this morning! But much of the congestion this morning entering into the downtown core from the west was caused by the 8th Ave. closure around Western Canadian Place (Husky). Lot's of cars turn into the the northern central part of downtown via 6th St., which was closed. As a result the next point to turn left after 6th st. is 2nd St. That accounted for much of the traffic/volume/ congestion on 9th Ave, Bowtrail

bulliver
Jan 14, 2012, 9:18 PM
So I was in Calgary yesterday, just burned down the Deerfoot on my way to Lethbridge. Gotta say, the lack of consistency of the lanes on Deerfoot is quite irritating. Now its 3 lanes, now 4, now 2, now back to 3...

As I was driving a big truck and pulling 65 feet worth of trailer, I was trying to be considerate and keep right, but the constant appearance and disappearance of the rightmost lane(s) forced me to travel in the second from the left lane, as it was at least constant.

You Need A Thneed
Jan 15, 2012, 10:39 PM
Airport Trail Tunnel - January Update (http://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TI/Documents/Road-projects/airport-tunnel-update4.pdf)

DizzyEdge
Jan 16, 2012, 2:17 AM
nevermind

You Need A Thneed
Jan 16, 2012, 5:31 AM
So I was in Calgary yesterday, just burned down the Deerfoot on my way to Lethbridge. Gotta say, the lack of consistency of the lanes on Deerfoot is quite irritating. Now its 3 lanes, now 4, now 2, now back to 3...

As I was driving a big truck and pulling 65 feet worth of trailer, I was trying to be considerate and keep right, but the constant appearance and disappearance of the rightmost lane(s) forced me to travel in the second from the left lane, as it was at least constant.

Yup, we all can't wait for that to be fixed. The short stretches of two lane are the worst. The fourth lanes, for the most part are just short stretches between interchanges, and there is no real reason for slower vehicles to move over in those lanes.

suburb
Jan 19, 2012, 5:16 PM
A couple days ago I needed to take 14th st NW in to DT when Deerfoot was a parking lot because of accidents (we don't normally drive, but there were reasons to drive, so don't go there). Anyway, 14 st was really backed up also while the opposing lanes were deserted. Got me thinking, anyone considered lane reversal for a longer stretch on a road like 14 st NW?

I'm guessing it is not so easy and likely many reasons not to do this, but just putting it out there.

DizzyEdge
Jan 19, 2012, 5:38 PM
A couple days ago I needed to take 14th st NW in to DT when Deerfoot was a parking lot because of accidents (we don't normally drive, but there were reasons to drive, so don't go there). Anyway, 14 st was really backed up also while the opposing lanes were deserted. Got me thinking, anyone considered lane reversal for a longer stretch on a road like 14 st NW?

I'm guessing it is not so easy and likely many reasons not to do this, but just putting it out there.

Although 14th street doesn't head down town per se, the fact it skirts it seems like it might be appropriate. Really all streets that approach downtown should have lane reversal unless there's a reason not to (Edmonton Trail south of 2nd ave, and Macleod wouldn't be appropriate. Unsure about 9th ave in Inglewood)

freeweed
Jan 19, 2012, 6:47 PM
Although 14th street doesn't head down town per se, the fact it skirts it seems like it might be appropriate. Really all streets that approach downtown should have lane reversal unless there's a reason not to (Edmonton Trail south of 2nd ave, and Macleod wouldn't be appropriate. Unsure about 9th ave in Inglewood)

Really this logic applies to any route that experiences regular, dramatic volume/direction issues. Downtown should have little to do with the analysis in my opinion (it correlates strongly, sure).

But I also think light timing should be adjusted dynamically based on actual traffic use, not just a best-guess from last year's rush hour patterns. So I'm a bit of an idealist when it comes to traffic management.

MichaelS
Jan 19, 2012, 8:27 PM
Although 14th street doesn't head down town per se, the fact it skirts it seems like it might be appropriate. Really all streets that approach downtown should have lane reversal unless there's a reason not to (Edmonton Trail south of 2nd ave, and Macleod wouldn't be appropriate. Unsure about 9th ave in Inglewood)

Edmonton Trail south of 2nd Ave is one way, so I imagine it would not be very appropriate for lane reversal ;)

DizzyEdge
Jan 19, 2012, 8:36 PM
Edmonton Trail south of 2nd Ave is one way, so I imagine it would not be very appropriate for lane reversal ;)

That's why I included it in the 'wouldn't be appropriate', due to the NB and SB lanes being separated by a block. Same with MacLeod trail, being separated by a median and then eventually a block, just seems like it would be too confusing.

I don't see any reason to not lane reverse 9th ave east of 6th st SE, since west bound can cut through the east village up 6th street to 6th ave (before west bound turning north behind city hall was a bit of a jam with 9th ave narrowing down to a single lane before the turn)

Bassic Lab
Jan 19, 2012, 9:17 PM
Although 14th street doesn't head down town per se, the fact it skirts it seems like it might be appropriate. Really all streets that approach downtown should have lane reversal unless there's a reason not to (Edmonton Trail south of 2nd ave, and Macleod wouldn't be appropriate. Unsure about 9th ave in Inglewood)

Would extra capacity on 14 St actually help or would traffic still back up from 9th and 12th Avenues which are already overburdened with cars from Bow and Crowchild Trails? Basically, is the choke point in the traffic funnel the routes into the core or is it the core its self?

You Need A Thneed
Jan 20, 2012, 6:04 PM
I not going to link to Rick Bell's latest column, but it's about the lowest I've seen even him go. It also got a headline on the front page of the Sun, that's about as misleading as a headline can be.

"Tunnel Tab hits $528 Million" is the headline. Which of course, he has to include the entire cost of Airport Trail from Harvest Hills Blvd to Stoney Trail to get that number, including interchanges required decades in the future that would be required either way.

Essentially, the report sas nothing we didn't already know, except that phase 2 and 3 both will cost the city LESS than we were originally thinking. Of course, the media reports the extra costs in the future for the Airport Trail corridor (which really have nothing to do with the tunnel) as part of the tunnel cost.

Airport Trail/96th Ave is going to be built between 36th Street and 60th St no matter what. An interchange at Metis/Airport Trail is going to be required no matter what. With a tunnel, an interchagne is required in the future at Airport Trail/60th St, whereas without the tunnel, it's required in the future at Metis/64th Ave. Interchanges for Airport Terminal Access would likely be required at some point no matter whether the tunnel went ahead or not. Amittedly, those interchanges will be required sooner with the tunnel in place, but because of the tunnel, other interchanges may not be required as soon, or may not be required to be as large. The section of Airport Trail between Harvest Hills Blvd and Deerfoot was approved long before the tunnel was, and serves a completely different part of town.

I'll paraphrase one of Nenshi's tweets from yesterday evening:

The $500 million cost is the cost of the corridor over 40 years, but that includes the cost of building roads and interchanges that would have been required anyway, and it ignores the costs elsewhere that are avoided because the tunnel will be in place.

freeweed
Jan 20, 2012, 7:29 PM
Does Rick Bell hate that we have an airport within city limits, is that his beef?

It's getting to the point where I'm at a loss to even begin to understand the complaints here. Plop a major international airport in the midst of a large (and growing) city, and you have to spend millions on infrastructure to support it, and to deal with its presence (traffic around/through it). What am I missing?

Perhaps we should build the airport at Crossfield instead?

mersar
Jan 22, 2012, 10:57 PM
The city has signs up all along Crowchild between Glenmore and the UofC advertising they are taking public input into what people think about Crowchild, this input will be used as a base for updating the 1979 Crowchild Functional Study. There are two components to the new Crowchild Planning Study, one being the 17th Ave SW to 24th Ave NW corridor study, and a HOV study for between 16th ave NW and Glenmore.

You can submit online feedback by going to the survey site at calgary.ca/crowchild (http://calgary.ca/crowchild)

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 12:02 AM
The city has signs up all along Crowchild between Glenmore and the UofC advertising they are taking public input into what people think about Crowchild, this input will be used as a base for updating the 1979 Crowchild Functional Study. There are two components to the new Crowchild Planning Study, one being the 17th Ave SW to 24th Ave NW corridor study, and a HOV study for between 16th ave NW and Glenmore.

You can submit online feedback by going to the survey site at calgary.ca/crowchild (http://calgary.ca/crowchild)

Excellent news. I feel terrible for the people heading north from downtown. The exit from Bow trail, and the back-ups from as far back as 33rd SW shows how badly Crowchild is at failure during rush hour.

Why that road has only a single north-bound through-lane is beyond me. Even in the late 1960s, that couldn't have been a good idea.

suburb
Jan 23, 2012, 12:53 AM
Excellent news. I feel terrible for the people heading north from downtown. The exit from Bow trail, and the back-ups from as far back as 33rd SW shows how badly Crowchild is at failure during rush hour.

Why that road has only a single north-bound through-lane is beyond me. Even in the late 1960s, that couldn't have been a good idea.

Yeah - it is absolutely terrible. I've had to go in for meetings on the rare occasion so can speak from experience. I'm really happy I don't have to work downtown!

DoubleK
Jan 23, 2012, 4:21 PM
Have they every thought of or tried to stop the cross traffic at Kensington Road and 5th Avenue at Crowchild Trail during the rush hours? Turn it into a freeway during rush hour?

Why wouldn't they try something like that as a pilot. Those vehicles that want to cross using those roads have Memorial or 16th as an alternate.

That is a low cost experiment that the City could use to see what the effect would be on adjacent roadways.

mersar
Jan 23, 2012, 4:28 PM
Have they every thought of or tried to stop the cross traffic at Kensington Road and 5th Avenue at Crowchild Trail during the rush hours? Turn it into a freeway during rush hour?

Why wouldn't they try something like that as a pilot. Those vehicles that want to cross using those roads have Memorial or 16th as an alternate.

That is a low cost experiment that the City could use to see what the effect would be on adjacent roadways.

Good idea, though it would mess with numerous bus routes (especially the 1 and 305). That said, in my experience those intersections aren't the biggest issue, the biggest issue is the one that 5seconds mentioned, with the single through lane north bound.

There are other quick and easy fixes in other places they need to look at, dual left turn lanes from 24th to NB Crowchild for instance, which could reduce the amount of time needed for turns there.

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 4:48 PM
I was wondering about the part of the bridge where the Bow Trail enters NB Crowchild Trail. I seem to remember a lot of people immediately cutting across 2 lanes of traffic to get to the Memorial exits.

I wonder if concrete barriers on that Bow-Crowchild entrance lane, until after the Memorial exits, would help because no one would be able to cut across to Memorial. Would the saving there offset the cost of people having to find another route to get to Memorial?

freeweed
Jan 23, 2012, 5:05 PM
Band-aids are fine and dandy to think about, but the simple fact is Crowchild will continue to be a mess until all 4 stop lights are removed, and the bridges/lanes are re-constructed over the river.

I think pretty much everyone knows this. This is the next GE5 in Calgary. There's really no other answer here. I'm not sure what the City thinks it will discover other than "this is going to cost a few hundred million dollars to fix".

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 5:27 PM
SB Crowchild is a gongshow, I agree they need to take out the 5th ave lights and even Kensington during rush hour, but I think taking out that shabby appartment block and removing the 2 lane bottleneck south of 16th ave would do wonders.

Could 24th ave justify an overpass?

sim
Jan 23, 2012, 5:29 PM
How about simply doing nothing about it, least of all turn it into a freeway.

You do something about it and I am highly confident that you will see it completely congested again within a few short years.

What maybe should have been done about it, is that Crowchild (along the northwest C train) should never have been triple laned.


Along with some pull measures...

kw5150
Jan 23, 2012, 5:35 PM
I hope we find a very creative way to solve the Crowchild / Memorial / Bow trail / 12th ave sw issue. I dont want to see a massive freeway just plopped down by the roads department. Our city will just turn into the next Houston.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 5:40 PM
Band-aids are fine and dandy to think about, but the simple fact is Crowchild will continue to be a mess until all 4 stop lights are removed, and the bridges/lanes are re-constructed over the river.

I think pretty much everyone knows this. This is the next GE5 in Calgary. There's really no other answer here. I'm not sure what the City thinks it will discover other than "this is going to cost a few hundred million dollars to fix".

City is already looking at it.

http://calgary.ca/Transportation/TP/Pages/Projects/Current-Planning-Projects/Crowchild-Trail-Corridor-Study.aspx?redirect=/crowchild

Here are my criticisms.

1. The bottleneck is where Crowchild north goes to 2 lanes by the turnoff by University Drive. There is nothing that isn't incredibly expensive that we can do about that. To expand that area, we have to expropriate all the houses along 2nd street NW (I estimate 17 from Google Earth) and rebuild the Crowchild/16th avenue interchange. Both of these are going to cost a lot.

2. What growth is there occuring in NW Calgary that requires this to be upgraded? According to long range planning documents, the NW is going to add something in the realm of 8000 people over the next 30 years. This seems like a lot of money to spend to accommodate that amount of growth.

3. We are already spending money to upgrade to 4 car trains on the NW line now, which will relieve a lot of pressure off of Crowchild anways. Why spend the money twice to solve the same problem?

4. Pedestrian connections on 5th avenue and especially on Kensington Road are vital. The 305 BRT stops on the east side of Crowchild on Kensington road, and the Lion's Club seniors housing is on the west side. If there isn't a good pedestrian connection, this would have a very negative affect on the seniors living there.

IMO, big waste of money that can be better spent elsewhere.

mersar
Jan 23, 2012, 6:27 PM
Fortunately from my understanding the city has quietly bought up a lot of the houses they'll need to expropriate along Crowchild over the past 20 years. So expropriation costs won't necessarily be too high.

I agree that transit and pedestrian connections are vital, just closing off 5th and Kensingten to cross traffic has to be out of the question. A new bridge over the river and redesigning the current BowCrow would be a massive improvement. Adding a third lane between 16th and 5th would be costly, especially for southbound, and would result in a short term nightmare for traffic. 24th might be able to justify an interchange even if traffic levels aren't quite high enough, and thats due to it being a primary access road to the Childrens, though any interchange there is constrained since it sits on top of the LRT tunnel. A flyover at 5th might work, though it would shift traffic patterns throughout all of Hillhurst and even as far east as 10th Street, but probably wouldn't be too large an issue.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 6:41 PM
I fail to understand why Kensignton Road and 5th Ave need intersections, they are walking distance from each other, toss up a pedestrian overpass and remove one of the intersections. Or have people walk the 5 blocks.

Pinching Crowchild to two lanes both NB and SB is a nightmare and needs to be fixed (or stop allowing urban sprawl, but thats another thread) - leaving it as is should not be an option in my opinion. Thinking that people will just take the train is not realistic nor practical.

sim
Jan 23, 2012, 6:46 PM
I fail to understand why Kensignton Road and 5th Ave need intersections, they are walking distance from each other, toss up a pedestrian overpass and remove one of the intersections. Or have people walk the 5 blocks.

Pinching Crowchild to two lanes both NB and SB is a nightmare and needs to be fixed (or stop allowing urban sprawl, but thats another thread) - leaving it as is should not be an option in my opinion. Thinking that people will just take the train is not realistic nor practical.


You have very conflicting arguments here.

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 6:48 PM
I fail to understand why Kensignton Road and 5th Ave need intersections, they are walking distance from each other, toss up a pedestrian overpass and remove one of the intersections. Or have people walk the 5 blocks.

I think that having one rather than both intersections is something to look at, but asking pedestrians to walk 5 blocks (and then 5 blocks back) to cross the street is not realistic, especially as there are seniors complexes in the area.

Would there be any way of having the right-hand lane of NB Crowchild continue after the Memorial exits? Would this even help, coupled with blocking the Bow -> Memorial cut-across? Or is the bottleneck really in the intersections and the narrowing at University worse than the bridge narrowing and the cutting-across?

DoubleK
Jan 23, 2012, 7:08 PM
Fortunately from my understanding the city has quietly bought up a lot of the houses they'll need to expropriate along Crowchild over the past 20 years. So expropriation costs won't necessarily be too high.

QFT. I would find it extremely hard to believe that the City has not registered intent to purchase on those titles.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 7:19 PM
[QUOTE=mersar;5560801]
I agree that transit and pedestrian connections are vital, just closing off 5th and Kensingten to cross traffic has to be out of the question. A new bridge over the river and redesigning the current BowCrow would be a massive improvement. [QUOTE]

And massively expensive. Probably in the 150 million plus range.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 7:24 PM
I fail to understand why Kensignton Road and 5th Ave need intersections, they are walking distance from each other, toss up a pedestrian overpass and remove one of the intersections. Or have people walk the 5 blocks.Pinching Crowchild to two lanes both NB and SB is a nightmare and needs to be fixed (or stop allowing urban sprawl, but thats another thread) - leaving it as is should not be an option in my opinion. Thinking that people will just take the train is not realistic nor practical.

First point: I take it you don't walk anywhere practically. That distance is 500m. From the pedestrian bridge a little up the hill it is 850m. That makes crossing Crowchild essentially impractical at that area.

Second point: Thinking people will take the train is entirely realistic and practical. Almost 150K Calgarians do it each day. In fact, Light Rail ridership in Calgary is almost the highest in North America (2nd, IIRC). Expansion of light rail is a very real and very viable method of increasing transportation capacity in our city.

That comment was so off base I almost don't know how to respond.

Bassic Lab
Jan 23, 2012, 7:31 PM
City is already looking at it.

http://calgary.ca/Transportation/TP/Pages/Projects/Current-Planning-Projects/Crowchild-Trail-Corridor-Study.aspx?redirect=/crowchild

Here are my criticisms.

1. The bottleneck is where Crowchild north goes to 2 lanes by the turnoff by University Drive. There is nothing that isn't incredibly expensive that we can do about that. To expand that area, we have to expropriate all the houses along 2nd street NW (I estimate 17 from Google Earth) and rebuild the Crowchild/16th avenue interchange. Both of these are going to cost a lot.

2. What growth is there occuring in NW Calgary that requires this to be upgraded? According to long range planning documents, the NW is going to add something in the realm of 8000 people over the next 30 years. This seems like a lot of money to spend to accommodate that amount of growth.

3. We are already spending money to upgrade to 4 car trains on the NW line now, which will relieve a lot of pressure off of Crowchild anways. Why spend the money twice to solve the same problem?

4. Pedestrian connections on 5th avenue and especially on Kensington Road are vital. The 305 BRT stops on the east side of Crowchild on Kensington road, and the Lion's Club seniors housing is on the west side. If there isn't a good pedestrian connection, this would have a very negative affect on the seniors living there.

IMO, big waste of money that can be better spent elsewhere.

NW Calgary, at least the portion relying on the NW LRT/Crowchild Trail, probably won't see significant population growth but Cochrane and the surrounding area probably will. So traffic demands will likely grow. That said, we might still be able to avoid major work on Crowchild Trail. One problem with Crowchild is that it doesn't just serve downtown. It, along with Glenmore, forms the major artery between the residences in the NW and the jobs in the SW. Perhaps improvements to the SW road network can entice drivers to avoid Crowchild and use alternate routes to reach the SE, thus saving us from the need to improve Crowchild.

It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, there will be on traffic after construction on Sarcee from the W LRT finishes up. The grade separation at 17 Ave probably won't cut too much time off the Stoney-16 Ave-Sarcee-Glenmore route but if it does affect traffic it could provide a hint of what Stoney to Glenmore (or even Anderson so as to avoid the causeway) could accomplish.

Mazrim
Jan 23, 2012, 7:33 PM
Do you think that 4 car trains is suddenly going to fix traffic woes in the NW? I highly doubt that as there will always be additional growth in vehicle traffic, it will just be at a slower pace if people gravitate towards the extra space on the LRT.

It's like saying Deerfoot Trail won't need any more upgrades once SE Stoney Trail is fixed because through traffic can use Stoney instead of Deerfoot to get through the City. That's true, to an extent, but you'll find that the amount of traffic already using the area is stressing the network to the points that some upgrades are necessary regardless.

The City really shot itself in the foot when they built the Crowchild/Bow/Memorial section the way they did. Of course it saved them a boatload of money then, but they knew it wasn't upgradable, and it would cost more later. We're seeing that now.

To fix Crowchild Trail, there is going to have to be significant investment. There's just no way around it. There are band-aids, but really, a GE5 level project is going to have to happen to fix an area that desperately needs it, much like the GE5 area desperately needed it then.

Finally, if they plan on adding an HOV lane, great. If they plan on converting an existing lane to HOV, it's bound to be a failure. There are plenty of examples of how badly that ends up working in other cities (you only have to try driving through Kelowna during rush hour for a great example) that I hope the City avoids doing that.

Radley77
Jan 23, 2012, 7:59 PM
Does anyone know what's holding up SW ring road from the TransCanada to Glenmore Trail from being built? Isn't this non T'suu Tina land? Would something like this maybe be better at relieving Crowchild traffic congestion?

J-D
Jan 23, 2012, 8:18 PM
First point: I take it you don't walk anywhere practically. That distance is 500m. From the pedestrian bridge a little up the hill it is 850m. That makes crossing Crowchild essentially impractical at that area.

Second point: Thinking people will take the train is entirely realistic and practical. Almost 150K Calgarians do it each day. In fact, Light Rail ridership in Calgary is almost the highest in North America (2nd, IIRC). Expansion of light rail is a very real and very viable method of increasing transportation capacity in our city.

That comment was so off base I almost don't know how to respond.

Taking the train is not necessarily practical depending on where you live. I can drive from Deer Run to the UofC in about 25-30 minutes. If I were to take the train, this adds approximately 45 minutes to my commute each way when you factor in the downtown bottleneck. If I were to take both the bus and the train, my one-way commute would be closer to 90-120 minutes.

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 8:23 PM
Does anyone know what's holding up SW ring road from the TransCanada to Glenmore Trail from being built? Isn't this non T'suu Tina land? Would something like this maybe be better at relieving Crowchild traffic congestion?

The West Ring Road leg is not on Tsuu T'ina land at all. I suspect they are not willing to implement the Highway 8/Stoney end interchange without knowing the route of the rest of the road, and without upgrading Highway 8 from Sarcee Trail. Since they don't know the route of the SW section, they are not willing to proceed.

While I'm sure they have their reasons for waiting, I personally think they could build it in a way that allows them to connect it to whichever route they end up with, but they seem unwilling to do this.

I think if they laid the outer twin 'ribbons' of asphalt that the 2009 plan called for (opening day scenario) along highway 8 from Sarcee to 101st street, and then the full road up to the Trans Canada, all of that could be part of the finished road once they make a decision. There would have to be temporary road connectors (maybe 500m worth) that would have to be ripped up at Sarcee once a real interchange is implemented, but I think it could be done.

Saying that, I think that road is far enough away from Crowchild not to have much impact on the traffic there. You would pull some people off that are not headed from/to downtown, but with Bow trail the way it is, I doubt many people would use that as a crowchild bypass. Then again, if you lived in Tuscany, a Bow Trail to Stoney Trail route might be a good alternative. Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 8:30 PM
Taking the train is not necessarily practical depending on where you live. I can drive from Deer Run to the UofC in about 25-30 minutes. If I were to take the train, this adds approximately 45 minutes to my commute each way when you factor in the downtown bottleneck. If I were to take both the bus and the train, my one-way commute would be closer to 90-120 minutes.

Just because you can't use the train practically, it does not mean that tens of thousands of others cannot. And those tens of thousands will reduce the strain on roads. Of all the people in the city, it is drivers who should want better transit service, because it takes cars off the road.

J-D
Jan 23, 2012, 8:41 PM
Just because you can't use the train practically, it does not mean that tens of thousands of others cannot. And those tens of thousands will reduce the strain on roads. Of all the people in the city, it is drivers who should want better transit service, because it takes cars off the road.

Yeah, I can agree with you there. I fully support any initiatives towards better transit service. I think part of my anger comes from being forced to pay transit fees in my tuition but not being in a position to utilize it.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 8:41 PM
First point: I take it you don't walk anywhere practically. That distance is 500m. From the pedestrian bridge a little up the hill it is 850m. That makes crossing Crowchild essentially impractical at that area.

Second point: Thinking people will take the train is entirely realistic and practical. Almost 150K Calgarians do it each day. In fact, Light Rail ridership in Calgary is almost the highest in North America (2nd, IIRC). Expansion of light rail is a very real and very viable method of increasing transportation capacity in our city.

That comment was so off base I almost don't know how to respond.

Wow, pretty narrow minded response:

Let me clarify: close 5th ave intersection and have people walk to Kensington Road, if only during rush hour traffic. I fail to see how inconvenient that is. I frequently walk home from work into the NW and see very few walking commuters in that area compared to the 100K+ vehicles that travel the same distance. Also, it was a NEW pedestrian overpass I was proposing.

Your second argument assumes that people will magically start taking the train because Crowchild is gridlocked. Of course many people use the train, no one is arguing with the numbers, but that is generally node to node transport. If you look at the average person sitting on Crowchild in the morning they either do not live walking distance to a train station, or work walking distance to a train station. You could have a 4 car train arrive every minute and its not going to get them to start taking the train.

Dont get me wrong, I think LRT is great, I use it once or twice a week, I live 8 minutes walk from the train station, 80% of the people I talk to in my community drive to work because they do not work within a reasonable proximity to a destination station. You are never going to get them on a train, thus it is unrealistic to expect them to.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 8:43 PM
Do you think that 4 car trains is suddenly going to fix traffic woes in the NW? I highly doubt that as there will always be additional growth in vehicle traffic, it will just be at a slower pace if people gravitate towards the extra space on the LRT.

It's like saying Deerfoot Trail won't need any more upgrades once SE Stoney Trail is fixed because through traffic can use Stoney instead of Deerfoot to get through the City. That's true, to an extent, but you'll find that the amount of traffic already using the area is stressing the network to the points that some upgrades are necessary regardless.

The City really shot itself in the foot when they built the Crowchild/Bow/Memorial section the way they did. Of course it saved them a boatload of money then, but they knew it wasn't upgradable, and it would cost more later. We're seeing that now.

To fix Crowchild Trail, there is going to have to be significant investment. There's just no way around it. There are band-aids, but really, a GE5 level project is going to have to happen to fix an area that desperately needs it, much like the GE5 area desperately needed it then.

Finally, if they plan on adding an HOV lane, great. If they plan on converting an existing lane to HOV, it's bound to be a failure. There are plenty of examples of how badly that ends up working in other cities (you only have to try driving through Kelowna during rush hour for a great example) that I hope the City avoids doing that.

Well said, you hit that nail on the head.

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 8:49 PM
Let me clarify: close 5th ave intersection and have people walk to Kensington Road, if only during rush hour traffic. I fail to see how inconvenient that is.

That turns a 30 meter crossing (From 1 side of Crowchild to the other along 5th) into a 1km walk to cross the street. That's a massive inconvenience.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 9:01 PM
Wow, pretty narrow minded response:

Your second argument assumes that people will magically start taking the train because Crowchild is gridlocked. Of course many people use the train, no one is arguing with the numbers, but that is generally node to node transport. If you look at the average person sitting on Crowchild in the morning they either do not live walking distance to a train station, or work walking distance to a train station. You could have a 4 car train arrive every minute and its not going to get them to start taking the train.

Dont get me wrong, I think LRT is great, I use it once or twice a week, I live 8 minutes walk from the train station, 80% of the people I talk to in my community drive to work because they do not work within a reasonable proximity to a destination station. You are never going to get them on a train, thus it is unrealistic to expect them to.

I don't assume more people will start taking the train because Crowchild is gridlocked. I assume more people will take the train when capacity is added. The train is full. That means there is enough demand to make it full and therefore there is latent demand. As well, a hell of a lot of people on Crowchild are going to desinations within walking distance of a train station. It is called the entire downtown core.

As well, probably 90% of people who take the train in Calgary don't live within walking distance of a station. Calgary's ridership is largely based on feeder buses and park'n'rides. If you took the train, you would know. When I took the train from Dalhousie, almost everyone was either getting on a bus, going to their car, or getting picked up by a spouse.

So yes, it is perfectly reasonable to expect people who don't live within walking distance of the train to use it. WHY? Because over 100 000 Calgarians do it on a daily basis.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 9:11 PM
That turns a 30 meter crossing (From 1 side of Crowchild to the other along 5th) into a 1km walk to cross the street. That's a massive inconvenience.

Have you looked at our obesity rates in Canada? On a serious note I'm not sure if I see that. You assume people just need to cross the street. Correct me if I am wrong but most people crossing Crowchild are going downtown or the Kensington? How many people would take the blue line?:

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd38/tdurden5573/construction/how-many.jpg

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 9:17 PM
Have you looked at our obesity rates in Canada? On a serious note I'm not sure if I see that. You assume people just need to cross the street. Correct me if I am wrong but most people crossing Crowchild are going downtown or the Kensington? How many people would take the blue line?:

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd38/tdurden5573/construction/how-many.jpg

People walking in a straight line along 5th would have to make a 1km detour to simply cross the street. Lots of people walk in their community for reasons other than commuting (most people?). There are retail areas and schools in the area that people walk to.

I don't assume more people will start taking the train because Crowchild is gridlocked. I assume more people will take the train when capacity is added. The train is full. That means there is enough demand to make it full and therefore there is latent demand. As well, a hell of a lot of people on Crowchild are going to desinations within walking distance of a train station. It is called the entire downtown core.

As well, probably 90% of people who take the train in Calgary don't live within walking distance of a station. Calgary's ridership is largely based on feeder buses and park'n'rides. If you took the train, you would know. When I took the train from Dalhousie, almost everyone was either getting on a bus, going to their car, or getting picked up by a spouse.

So yes, it is perfectly reasonable to expect people who don't live within walking distance of the train to use it. WHY? Because over 100 000 Calgarians do it on a daily basis.

Added to that, I use to drive most days, but then I got sick of the gridlock on Blackfoot/Glenmore/Crowchild/Downtown, and I made the decision to use transit. I take about the same amount of time to commute, and I don't have to fight traffic. I am sure there are others like me.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 9:17 PM
I assume more people will take the train when capacity is added.

Then your assumption is wrong - show me evidence that added capacity will translate to anything more than a marginal increase in ridership. You're dreaming if you think adding trains to the track will decrease the volume on Crowchild by anything noticeable.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 9:29 PM
Then your assumption is wrong - show me evidence that added capacity will translate to anything more than a marginal increase in ridership. You're dreaming if you think adding trains to the track will decrease the volume on Crowchild by anything noticeable.

Show me how shutting down the NW LRT will not displace 10s of thousands of drivers onto Crowchild.

How hard is it to understand that without the LRT, people living in the NW and working downtown (and a few other locations) would be driving on Crowchild?

I can show you lots of evidence that adding capacity on the trains increases ridership.

- How about the fact that Calgary Transit has been doing it for the last 2 decades, and has seen commensurate increases in ridership each time they do it?
- How about transit ridership growth that has outpaced population growth over the last decade or so?
- How about a mode-split into the downtown now that is over 50% transit and walkers?
- How about the fact that the trains are operating at crush load capacity (there is no physical room to sit or stand)?

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 9:30 PM
Then your assumption is wrong - show me evidence that added capacity will translate to anything more than a marginal increase in ridership. You're dreaming if you think adding trains to the track will decrease the volume on Crowchild by anything noticeable.

Oh, and one more stat- I believe Calgary transportation estimates that without the LRT we would need 19 more lanes of traffic into the downtown than we have currently. That is almost the combined capacity of Crowchild, Memorial and Macleod put together. So yes, I think the train has some impact on volumes on roads into the downtown.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 9:45 PM
And just because I am in an argumentative mood:

From Calgary Transit's Strategic Development Report:

During the past decade, Calgary Transit has experienced unprecedented ridership growth. Between 1995 and 2005, annual transit ridership increased from 54 to 82 million revenue passengers. The 45 percent increase in ridership during this time period exceeded the rate of population growth by a significant margin. CTrain ridership increased at an even faster rate, from 104,000 to over 220,000 boarding passengers per weekday – greater than a 100 percent increase. Calgary Transit expects that ridership will continue to grow as approved CTrain extensions are completed and new development occurs in communities and employment areas within CTrain catchment areas. However, the ability to accommodate growth is severely constrained. All available CTrain cars are currently in service and there is limited spare capacity, available during peak periods to accommodate ridership growth. The current TIIP program (2006 – 2015) contains funding for the purchase of 40 new CTrain cars to accommodate approved LRT extensions and provide increased capacity.

EDIT- Is my assumption still wrong?

kw5150
Jan 23, 2012, 9:57 PM
Oh, I really dislike when people think planning is just a simple mouse click and a freeway..........lame.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 10:05 PM
Show me how shutting down the NW LRT will not displace 10s of thousands of drivers onto Crowchild.

How hard is it to understand that without the LRT, people living in the NW and working downtown (and a few other locations) would be driving on Crowchild?

I can show you lots of evidence that adding capacity on the trains increases ridership.

- How about the fact that Calgary Transit has been doing it for the last 2 decades, and has seen commensurate increases in ridership each time they do it?
- How about transit ridership growth that has outpaced population growth over the last decade or so?
- How about a mode-split into the downtown now that is over 50% transit and walkers?
- How about the fact that the trains are operating at crush load capacity (there is no physical room to sit or stand)?

This is really digressing, I'm a huge advocate of LRT, but I'm not convinced putting a 4th train on the tracks will solve the gridlock on Crowchild, this city needs real solutions. The reality is the current configuration is not designed to handle the current volume and its only going to get worse.

I totally agree that the LRT takes a huge volume of downtown traffic off the roads and that's great (I never argued that), but its diminishing returns (adding a 5th and 6th car is not going to keep reducing road volumes), therefore we need a long term strategy that includes continued investment in rail, and appropriate upgrades and redevelopment of the existing road infrastructure. Saying to leave major arteries like Crowchild as-is is just not feasible.

Radley77
Jan 23, 2012, 10:09 PM
The West Ring Road leg is not on Tsuu T'ina land at all. I suspect they are not willing to implement the Highway 8/Stoney end interchange without knowing the route of the rest of the road, and without upgrading Highway 8 from Sarcee Trail. Since they don't know the route of the SW section, they are not willing to proceed.

While I'm sure they have their reasons for waiting, I personally think they could build it in a way that allows them to connect it to whichever route they end up with, but they seem unwilling to do this.

I think if they laid the outer twin 'ribbons' of asphalt that the 2009 plan called for (opening day scenario) along highway 8 from Sarcee to 101st street, and then the full road up to the Trans Canada, all of that could be part of the finished road once they make a decision. There would have to be temporary road connectors (maybe 500m worth) that would have to be ripped up at Sarcee once a real interchange is implemented, but I think it could be done.

Saying that, I think that road is far enough away from Crowchild not to have much impact on the traffic there. You would pull some people off that are not headed from/to downtown, but with Bow trail the way it is, I doubt many people would use that as a crowchild bypass. Then again, if you lived in Tuscany, a Bow Trail to Stoney Trail route might be a good alternative. Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

Thanks for some of that context regarding the west ring road.

I think the other alternative is for some sort of connector between Shagannapi & Sarcee but this idea was canned during the CTP process. Both expansion of Crowchild and a route across Edworthy Park are going to have a considerable more community opposition in comparison to Stoney Trail.

Note blue oval connection below...
http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/photos/2009/06/10/cgy-map-bridges.jpg

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2009/06/10/calgary-bridges-parks-edworthy.html

jeffwhit
Jan 23, 2012, 10:12 PM
This is really digressing, I'm a huge advocate of LRT, but I'm not convinced putting a 4th train on the tracks will solve the gridlock on Crowchild, this city needs real solutions. The reality is the current configuration is not designed to handle the current volume and its only going to get worse.

I totally agree that the LRT takes a huge volume of downtown traffic off the roads and that's great (I never argued that), but its diminishing returns (adding a 5th and 6th car is not going to keep reducing road volumes), therefore we need a long term strategy that includes continued investment in rail, and appropriate upgrades and redevelopment of the existing road infrastructure. Saying to leave major arteries like Crowchild as-is is just not feasible.

I think you're assumption that adding lanes to Crowchild will actually cure traffic woes on that street. I'm not so sure that that will solve anything where the principle cause is traffic volume, the only way to solve that is to reduce the volume.
I agree that the section between 24th ave NW and the South side of the River needs to be fixed, but the attitude of "fuck everyone who lives near that stretch" is hardly going to help people see that.

sim
Jan 23, 2012, 10:17 PM
It's really time we start to understand that you can't build your way out of congestion. This isn't some hipster, utopian contention. For any quick empirical evidence, take a look at a ratio of land area used for transportation activities in US cities, and compare that to their average commute times.

It has been proven time and time again, that traffic acts as a fluid; has an elastic demand with decreased generalized costs (travel time) and therefore lends itself to induced demand.

For this reason, if Crowchild were to get wider, ie, have more capacity, more vehicles will start driving on it until approximately that point of congestion (given that alternatives exist - ie the C train) that occured before, nullifying any gains in travel time that increased capacity had hoped to make, yet disbenefitting transit as it carries less revenue passengers and pushes that entire transportation system away from a social optimum. In the end, it is to the benefit of all, whether directly perceivable or not, to have at least a limited amount of congestion.

However, if eliminating congestion is truly the goal, then adding physical capacity on a road such as Crowchild is quite possibly the last thing you want to do. Complicatedly, that particular section could be charged (for congestion) or contrary to what has already been said, use HOV lanes on current lanes, pushing travel times (generalized costs) up for SOV and encouraging the use of HOVs. However, since only two lanes exist currently at some portions, also not overly recommendable. Hence, why leaving it as is likely the best solution, and as has been said, wait for some further pull measures (increased C train capacity.) Other TDM solutions do however exist.

If the posit is that not everyone lives close enough to transit, then wait a generation, ie, plan long term. People will only allocate so much of their individual resources to their travel time budget. If you keep making it easier in the least efficient mode, you continue on a road down a vicious cycle. Making any part of the city, let alone the inner city less friendly (than some parts already are) to pedestrians or cyclists can only exacerbate this.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 10:33 PM
It's really time we start to understand that you can't build your way out of congestion. This isn't some hipster, utopian contention. For any quick empirical evidence, take a look at a ratio of land area used for transportation activities in US cities, and compare that to their average commute times.

It has been proven time and time again, that traffic acts as a fluid; has an elastic demand with decreased generalized costs (travel time) and therefore lends itself to induced demand.


Quoted for truth.

kw5150
Jan 23, 2012, 10:36 PM
I dont even know how to comment on some of these posts. I say, let the planners and architects do their work.....that is the only way things will change. The current road and car dependant system is obviously not working as well as everyone had once dreamed.

tdurden5573
Jan 23, 2012, 11:07 PM
I say, let the planners and architects do their work.....

Isn't that how we got into this mess..

freeweed
Jan 23, 2012, 11:16 PM
Added to that, I use to drive most days, but then I got sick of the gridlock on Blackfoot/Glenmore/Crowchild/Downtown, and I made the decision to use transit. I take about the same amount of time to commute, and I don't have to fight traffic. I am sure there are others like me.

Tell me about it. There's a bit of chatter in the "housing choices" thread about how oh-so-terrible living in the suburbs must be, sitting in your car for hours every day in gridlock. I dunno, I just hop on the train with a good book/ipod video and I don't even realize how long my commute is anymore. It's just about the ideal way to travel anywhere - no weather issues (if I hurt myself on the ski hill I don't have to deal with a 20-30 minute walk on icy sidewalks), no stress from driving, nothing. Just sit and enjoy. It's truly one of the few times I get to relax to myself anymore.

I'm confused about one thing in this thread though. People seem to be bringing up induced demand as a reason we shouldn't "fix" or otherwise expand Crowchild. Yet those very same people, as part of their argument, are claiming the NW isn't going to expand much in the coming decades, so we don't need to do anything about Crowchild. If it's not growing, and parking downtown stays static or shrinks (hello by-laws) - where does the induced demand come from? Retired people just suddenly see a less congested road and decide to go for a joyride into downtown during rush hour, and then back home?

Most people aren't avoiding driving because of road congestion. They're doing it because parking costs freaking $400/month downtown. The only thing the congestion does is add to air pollution in our city.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 11:27 PM
I'm confused about one thing in this thread though. People seem to be bringing up induced demand as a reason we shouldn't "fix" or otherwise expand Crowchild. Yet those very same people, as part of their argument, are claiming the NW isn't going to expand much in the coming decades, so we don't need to do anything about Crowchild. If it's not growing, and parking downtown stays static or shrinks (hello by-laws) - where does the induced demand come from? Retired people just suddenly see a less congested road and decide to go for a joyride into downtown during rush hour, and then back home?

.

Short answer- transit riders.

5seconds
Jan 23, 2012, 11:29 PM
Tell me about it. There's a bit of chatter in the "housing choices" thread about how oh-so-terrible living in the suburbs must be, sitting in your car for hours every day in gridlock. I dunno, I just hop on the train with a good book/ipod video and I don't even realize how long my commute is anymore. It's just about the ideal way to travel anywhere - no weather issues (if I hurt myself on the ski hill I don't have to deal with a 20-30 minute walk on icy sidewalks), no stress from driving, nothing. Just sit and enjoy. It's truly one of the few times I get to relax to myself anymore.

I'm confused about one thing in this thread though. People seem to be bringing up induced demand as a reason we shouldn't "fix" or otherwise expand Crowchild. Yet those very same people, as part of their argument, are claiming the NW isn't going to expand much in the coming decades, so we don't need to do anything about Crowchild. If it's not growing, and parking downtown stays static or shrinks (hello by-laws) - where does the induced demand come from? Retired people just suddenly see a less congested road and decide to go for a joyride into downtown during rush hour, and then back home?

Most people aren't avoiding driving because of road congestion. They're doing it because parking costs freaking $400/month downtown. The only thing the congestion does is add to air pollution in our city.

I read 2 400+ page books last week on the bus. The traffic was so bad on Mon-Wed that I got through 1 book just on those 3 evenings. I actually quite like my time on the bus now.

As for the induced traffic, from what I have read, the demand comes from people who are already taking other forms of transit (people taking the bus or train that see a clear road and want to drive again) and also people who just avoid a certain route because they know it's busy. For me, I sometimes need to go to the closest Home Depot, which is across the Glenmore causeway from where I live. But I don't go exactly when I need something, I usually wait until I need a few things, or wait for a less busy time or a time when I will be nearby anyway. If the causeway was less congested when I needed something, I would be much more likely to go (and go more often) then if the traffic is keeping me home.

I think it's not a stretch to think that more people would travel along Crowchild for lots of different reasons at peak times if it was clearer.

lubicon
Jan 23, 2012, 11:35 PM
NW Calgary, at least the portion relying on the NW LRT/Crowchild Trail, probably won't see significant population growth but Cochrane and the surrounding area probably will. So traffic demands will likely grow. That said, we might still be able to avoid major work on Crowchild Trail. One problem with Crowchild is that it doesn't just serve downtown. It, along with Glenmore, forms the major artery between the residences in the NW and the jobs in the SW. Perhaps improvements to the SW road network can entice drivers to avoid Crowchild and use alternate routes to reach the SE, thus saving us from the need to improve Crowchild.

It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, there will be on traffic after construction on Sarcee from the W LRT finishes up. The grade separation at 17 Ave probably won't cut too much time off the Stoney-16 Ave-Sarcee-Glenmore route but if it does affect traffic it could provide a hint of what Stoney to Glenmore (or even Anderson so as to avoid the causeway) could accomplish.

My anecdotal observations only. I started using Sarcee/Glenmore on November 1 to commute from the far NW to our new office near Blackfoot/Glenmore. Mornings have been pretty good - timewise about on par to what it used to take me to get downtown despite the new office being 7km further from my house. However I do see a definite difference in the northbound commute home at the end of the day. Sarcee was always slow but with the lights at 17th it actually broke up the congestion a little I think. Now there is nothing to impede traffic flow between 17th Ave and Bow Trail so traffic quickly backs up. It's not uncommon to have NB traffic on Sarcee backed up to 17th in the afternoon rush. It's probably an 5-10 light wait to get through this intersection now. This would be much improved once Stoney get's pushed through the west side of town.

freeweed
Jan 23, 2012, 11:40 PM
Short answer- transit riders.

Short question - where are they gonna park?

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 11:42 PM
- where does the induced demand come from? .

Short answer- transit riders.

Longer answer- additional capacity on roads increases trip generation rates and average trip distances. This even happens when population remains static.

One example is in the UK, where a new road was built in some town (sorry for being so vague, I am doing this off memory). The road was designed to alleviate congestion, and took into account current traffic flows and vehicles per day and all that. They built the road, with healthy spare capacity, and in 5 years (or so) the road was congested. However, there was almost zero population growth during that time. The engineers were stumped and they couldn't figure out where the additional traffic was coming from, as there were virtually no residents. What they found out was that people were making more automobile trips per day, as well as driving further distances (trip generation and distance). The spare capacity was just eaten up by people driving more.

A similar study was done in Toronto, but on a larger-scale, examining congestion, roadway construction, trip generation etc etc. What that study found was that adding roadway capacity doesn't relieve congestion. I'll try and find it.

fusili
Jan 23, 2012, 11:43 PM
Short question - where are they gonna park?

I agree with you on this. Parking is the reason Calgary Transit is so successful. But it is not the only reason. Congestion does play a part, and we shouldn't forget that.

freeweed
Jan 23, 2012, 11:54 PM
Longer answer- additional capacity on roads increases trip generation rates and average trip distances. This even happens when population remains static.

One example is in the UK, where a new road was built in some town (sorry for being so vague, I am doing this off memory). The road was designed to alleviate congestion, and took into account current traffic flows and vehicles per day and all that. They built the road, with healthy spare capacity, and in 5 years (or so) the road was congested. However, there was almost zero population growth during that time. The engineers were stumped and they couldn't figure out where the additional traffic was coming from, as there were virtually no residents. What they found out was that people were making more automobile trips per day, as well as driving further distances (trip generation and distance). The spare capacity was just eaten up by people driving more.

A similar study was done in Toronto, but on a larger-scale, examining congestion, roadway construction, trip generation etc etc. What that study found was that adding roadway capacity doesn't relieve congestion. I'll try and find it.

Let me be sarcastically snide in a friendly way here - thanks for the lesson in induced demand. :P I know how it works as a concept, what I was asking was how does it apply to Crowchild?

The only times congestion is really bad on Crowchild is during rush hour, caused by traffic going to/from downtown. There's little reason to believe that traffic volume will ever change regardless of road improvements, because there's simply nowhere for the excess traffic to GO. Outside of the rush, are you trying to say that a lot of people currently don't drive because of how congested Crowchild is?

I guess I have a hard time believing, as some of you seem to, that EVERY case of capacity improvement will lead inexorably to induced demand. Because I've seen cases where it doesn't.

Bassic Lab
Jan 24, 2012, 12:19 AM
I read 2 400+ page books last week on the bus. The traffic was so bad on Mon-Wed that I got through 1 book just on those 3 evenings. I actually quite like my time on the bus now.

As for the induced traffic, from what I have read, the demand comes from people who are already taking other forms of transit (people taking the bus or train that see a clear road and want to drive again) and also people who just avoid a certain route because they know it's busy. For me, I sometimes need to go to the closest Home Depot, which is across the Glenmore causeway from where I live. But I don't go exactly when I need something, I usually wait until I need a few things, or wait for a less busy time or a time when I will be nearby anyway. If the causeway was less congested when I needed something, I would be much more likely to go (and go more often) then if the traffic is keeping me home.

I think it's not a stretch to think that more people would travel along Crowchild for lots of different reasons at peak times if it was clearer.

I would imagine that shaving time off of every commute that uses Crowchild would also make living in Cochrane more attractive. It isn't exactly a coincidence that the city sprawls furthest along the most efficient transportations corridors (the LRT lines, Crowchild, Macleod, Deerfoot, etcetera).

Calgary is pretty well maxed out development wise along the Crowchild corridor, what with parkland/Bearspaw acreages/the city limits, but that won't stop development from leapfrogging to the greater Cochrane area. Spending a shit load of money to improve Crowchild to help attract development to areas outside of the city doesn't seem like a good idea, at least not without the province taking it over like Deerfoot.

And yeah, fixing Crowchild would be a shit load of money. It would not be the next GE5; it would be two GE5s (one with 24 Ave to 23 Ave and one with 5 Ave to Kensington), a complicated rebuild of the existing interchange with 16 Ave/University Drive, and an incredibly complicated rebuild of the Memorial Drive-Bow River Bridge-Bow Trail interchange system. There are also no conveniently lightly attended Junior Highs in the area to expropriate for the detour route during construction, unlike with the GE5. We would either have to expropriate a huge number of properties just for the detour or flat out close that portion of Crowchild to traffic for 3+ years. I wouldn't be shocked if such a project quickly ballooned past half a billion dollars.

If it's a choice between fixing Crowchild Trail or building the 8 Ave Subway and buying another 50 LRVs... I know which one I'd choose.

Bassic Lab
Jan 24, 2012, 12:27 AM
Let me be sarcastically snide in a friendly way here - thanks for the lesson in induced demand. :P I know how it works as a concept, what I was asking was how does it apply to Crowchild?

The only times congestion is really bad on Crowchild is during rush hour, caused by traffic going to/from downtown. There's little reason to believe that traffic volume will ever change regardless of road improvements, because there's simply nowhere for the excess traffic to GO. Outside of the rush, are you trying to say that a lot of people currently don't drive because of how congested Crowchild is?

I guess I have a hard time believing, as some of you seem to, that EVERY case of capacity improvement will lead inexorably to induced demand. Because I've seen cases where it doesn't.

A lot of people use Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail to access the SE industrial parks. There is a lot of parking (for free!) in the SE industrial parks. This is why traffic in the PM rush often backs up past 33 Ave SW and why the Glenmore Causeway sees heavy traffic in both directions during both peaks.

Crowchild is not just a downtown access route, at least no more than Deerfoot is.

Radley77
Jan 24, 2012, 12:59 AM
I think it'd be interesting to do a survey of the users of Crowchild Trail. If a lot are travelling to and from major activity centres like University and downtown Calgary it is probably cheaper to serve these users by expanding public transit (like 4 car LRT's). If they are citizens travelling between say a NW home and the SE industrial park, then they are part of goods movement, and there are not a lot of other compelling alternatives.

A toll point at the exit ramps between Crowchild and Bow Trail SW might make sense. Set the toll rate to be equal to the price such that Crowchild Trail does not exceed capacity. Give out free passes to essential services or if a vehicle is multiple occupancy etc.

Crowchild is constrained both by river geography as well as establishments. IMO, Calgary can accomodate growth more inexpensively elsewhere so the focus should be on optimizing traffic at this crossing.

kw5150
Jan 24, 2012, 2:38 AM
http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/4356/westvillage.jpg
By kw5150 (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/kw5150) at 2012-01-23

fusili
Jan 24, 2012, 3:08 AM
Let me be sarcastically snide in a friendly way here - thanks for the lesson in induced demand. :P I know how it works as a concept, what I was asking was how does it apply to Crowchild?

The only times congestion is really bad on Crowchild is during rush hour, caused by traffic going to/from downtown. There's little reason to believe that traffic volume will ever change regardless of road improvements, because there's simply nowhere for the excess traffic to GO. Outside of the rush, are you trying to say that a lot of people currently don't drive because of how congested Crowchild is?

I guess I have a hard time believing, as some of you seem to, that EVERY case of capacity improvement will lead inexorably to induced demand. Because I've seen cases where it doesn't.

You got me. I was totally off on a tangent.

My point is- why are we trying to upgrade Crowchild? We have already planned for four car extensions on the NW line. That will provide additional transportation capacity to the area. As well, the SE LRT will help with commuters going to Foothills Industrial. There is little growth going to occur in the future in the NW, both in terms of residential or employment. So why spend $500 million dollars on improving a stretch of road that won't necessarily see a corresponding increase in usage?

jeffwhit
Jan 24, 2012, 3:15 AM
You got me. I was totally off on a tangent.

My point is- why are we trying to upgrade Crowchild? We have already planned for four car extensions on the NW line. That will provide additional transportation capacity to the area. As well, the SE LRT will help with commuters going to Foothills Industrial. There is little growth going to occur in the future in the NW, both in terms of residential or employment. So why spend $500 million dollars on improving a stretch of road that won't necessarily see a corresponding increase in usage?

Well, on the flip side, a lot of the Crowchild infrastructure in this hotly debated stretch of road can't be far away from the end of its lifespan can it? I mean, the bow/crow mess and the raised bit north of 5th ave specifically.

Ferreth
Jan 24, 2012, 3:23 AM
For all the money that is going to have to be spent to fix Crowchild, I don't see why both Kensington and 5th Ave can't be at least 2 lane car bridges with good pedestrian / cyclist lanes. While we're at it, add an HOV lane on Kensington to serve transit. I also expect planning for 6 lanes of through road without any sudden ending of lanes between Bow Trail and 16th Ave, as a part of the core freeway system Calgary eventually intents to build. At the end of the day, we'll need both the long term LRT plans, and the freeway to make an effective city transportation network.

craner
Jan 24, 2012, 5:20 AM
^ I agree Ferreth.
I just completed the survey - thanks for the link Mersar.

My priorities:
- Revove the remaining lights.
- Provide 3 continuous "core" lanes to avoid the present need to keep shifting over.
- Fix the current exit ramps to modern standards.

Yes it's going to cost a bunch of money but Crowchild is basically a free flow artery north and south of this study area - let's get it completed so it can properly act as part of the City's skeletal network.
Also - as someone mentioned a lot of this infrastructure must be nearing the end of it's life, lets take the opportunity to make it right. The city isn't 300,000 people any more.

tdurden5573
Jan 24, 2012, 3:29 PM
- Provide 3 continuous "core" lanes to avoid the present need to keep shifting over.


This is a biggie in my opinion, its impossible to just jump on Crowchild and follow it north, you have to continually move over a lane to avoid getting forced off, this causes delays and ample road rage during rush hour.

Innersoul1
Jan 24, 2012, 3:42 PM
Still blows my mind that there is no means of getting from Eastbound Bow Trail on to Southbound Crowchild.

Radley77
Jan 24, 2012, 4:23 PM
Where are all of Calgary’s snow plows? An American magazine wants to know

http://postmediacalgaryherald.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/snowdata-copy_1.jpg
Graphic from Calgary Herald & Atlantic Cities

Where are all of Calgary’s snow plows? An American magazine wants to know (http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2012/01/23/where-are-all-of-calgarys-snow-plows-an-american-magazine-wants-to-know/), Calgary Herald, Tom Babin

Zen and the Art of Snow Plow Maintenance (http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/01/zen-and-art-snow-plow-maintenance/1008/), The Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger

100
Very interesting and a bit mysterious to me as to how Calgary is capable of clearing the snow and maintaining a low level of snow plows per square mile.

Jimby
Jan 24, 2012, 4:42 PM
Still blows my mind that there is no means of getting from Eastbound Bow Trail on to Southbound Crowchild.

Or from NB Crow to WB Bow.

Bassic Lab
Jan 24, 2012, 5:56 PM
Or from NB Crow to WB Bow.

Using Pumphouse Ave and Pumphouse Rd allows for both without too much of a diversion.

fusili
Jan 24, 2012, 6:00 PM
Or from NB Crow to WB Bow.

Although I come across as a anti-roads guy sometimes, I have to say the Bow-Crow interchange is the biggest CF of all time. Not only can you not get from Northbound Crowchild to westbound Bow, or westbound Bow to southbound crowchild, you also have craziness like having to cross two lanes if you want to get on Memorial if you are coming from either Bow or 10th avenue. It is terrible.

kw5150
Jan 24, 2012, 7:00 PM
http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/4356/westvillage.jpg
By kw5150 (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/kw5150) at 2012-01-23

here it is again

mersar
Jan 24, 2012, 7:10 PM
Still blows my mind that there is no means of getting from Eastbound Bow Trail on to Southbound Crowchild.

No direct way at least. You can get there by going down from EB Bow to 10th ave then back up onto Crowchild SB. The NB to WB link is the bigger missing piece in my mind though without a major redesign there isn't an easy way of adding it.

Innersoul1
Jan 24, 2012, 7:14 PM
Using Pumphouse Ave and Pumphouse Rd allows for both without too much of a diversion.

It's a HUGE diversion. You essentially go from a free-flow road onto a side street. Given how congested Pumphouse can be, it often adds some serious time to your drive.

Although I come across as a anti-roads guy sometimes, I have to say the Bow-Crow interchange is the biggest CF of all time. Not only can you not get from Northbound Crowchild to westbound Bow, or westbound Bow to southbound crowchild, you also have craziness like having to cross two lanes if you want to get on Memorial if you are coming from either Bow or 10th avenue. It is terrible.

TOTAL CF! Given how much those people in the bluffs overlooking Crowchild/Bow complained about the possibility of the the WLRT being elevated passed their places I can only imagine what they will say about the various fly-overs that will be a necessity for that area when it is re-done.

Mazrim
Jan 24, 2012, 7:42 PM
Some food for thought: Adding one core lane in each direction on Crowchild between 17th Avenue S and 24th Avenue N will do more than just a typical widening because of lane balance. All the lane changing is more of an issue here than in a typical area that requires widening. (ie. Bow Trail Westbound to Crowchild Northbound to Memorial Westbound)

Obviously it's not a simple solution because of the existing interchange designs, but adding one core lane is all this area needs to have significant improvements.

Crowchild Northbound functions at sub-optimal level of service outside normal peak hours quite often. I've been through on a Sunday evening and had to slow down due to volume. It's not just a morning/afternoon rush thing.

kw5150
Jan 24, 2012, 8:45 PM
This whole Crowchild / Memorial / Bow Trail thing is almost planning thesis material. How do you move thousand of people through this area, while creating a viable West village and keeping all of the residents in Kensington, Sunalta etc happy?? Can this whole area be converted into a beautiful area? Or will it become the next fort Calgary type area (pre East Village)?

This transportation plan could really make or break the west side of the downtown. I think the most important thing is to end the criss - crossing and give everyone a very clear path of travel. I think part of the answer may be separating the local roads from the freeways. Also giving an additional access point into downtown would be ideal. Presently, most people end up using 9th ave sw / Bow trail to get in.

How about flying people over the present crow child with a new overpass, and using the existing roads as local roads?

fusili
Jan 24, 2012, 8:47 PM
Big Dig anyone? Anyone?

5seconds
Jan 24, 2012, 8:56 PM
A little more information about the Crowchild study (not much new)

http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Calgary+commuters+decide+carpool+lane/6041526/story.html

You Need A Thneed
Jan 24, 2012, 8:57 PM
Big Dig anyone? Anyone?

Maybe we can get $15B from the federal government!

DizzyEdge
Jan 24, 2012, 9:00 PM
Seems EB Bow to SB Crowchild could be done pretty easily, although a house or two might need to be bought at the end of State Rd, but maybe not with proper noise barriers.

Ferreth
Jan 25, 2012, 3:41 AM
Some food for thought: Adding one core lane in each direction on Crowchild between 17th Avenue S and 24th Avenue N will do more than just a typical widening because of lane balance. All the lane changing is more of an issue here than in a typical area that requires widening. (ie. Bow Trail Westbound to Crowchild Northbound to Memorial Westbound)

Obviously it's not a simple solution because of the existing interchange designs, but adding one core lane is all this area needs to have significant improvements.

Crowchild Northbound functions at sub-optimal level of service outside normal peak hours quite often. I've been through on a Sunday evening and had to slow down due to volume. It's not just a morning/afternoon rush thing.

I agree that one extra lane will add more than normal, especially combined with a sane lane realignment. I'm thinking three through lanes with an eye to having one of them as HOV from Kensington to 17th Ave.

Reading that Herald article, I sure hope the HOV only comes with lane additions / improvements - I can't see an HOV lane anywhere there are less than 3 right now - not enough HOV'ers to fill even close to 1/2 the road capacity. Plus since LRT covers most of the mass transit, the faster bus service argument doesn't apply for the most part.

suburb
Jan 25, 2012, 3:50 PM
Had an errand in Coventry Hills this morning and from there had to drop someone off in DT. This was at ~8:05am so a pinch after the worst part of rush hour, but I still expected some remnants on Deerfoot. Amazingly it was absolutely free-flow all the way. Was between 100km/hr and 110km/hr the whole way. First sign of slow down was on Memorial at around St. Georges Drive, but it was moving even then.

Just thought I'd share as it seems Deerfoot only gets mentioned when there is an accident or weather slows it down.

Oh - I hear the NW trains were having issues yesterday. Just sayin'.

fusili
Jan 25, 2012, 3:54 PM
Had an errand in Coventry Hills this morning and from there had to drop someone off in DT. This was at ~8:05am so a pinch after the worst part of rush hour, but I still expected some remnants. Amazingly it was absolutely free-flow all the way. Was between 100km/hr and 110km/hr the whole way. First sign of slow down was on Memorial at around St. Georges Drive, but it was moving even then.

Just thought I'd share as it seems Deerfoot only gets mentioned when there is an accident or weather slows it down.

Oh - I hear the NW trains were having issues yesterday. Just sayin'.

http://media.gamerevolution.com/images/misc/obvious-troll.jpg

suburb
Jan 25, 2012, 4:31 PM
<image used without permissions removed>

Hey Fusili - do you have permissions to use that image? I believe it is © 2012 AtomicOnline, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Anyway, you clearly have a view of how the world works. That shouldn't mean that anything that even has the smell of sounding contrary to 'how you know it is' is an example of trolling.

I don't take Deerfoot in the morning that often - in fact it is usually only on bad weather days where my arm gets twisted into given the wife a ride in to work as opposed to her waiting at her transfer point. Today was a particularly rare occasion where the weather is good, and I can assure you that 'even I' was surprised how well Deerfoot was moving. It is one of the most important roads in the city and I'm surprised how much people pick on it usually. Thought I'd change it up and share that on a 'normal' day it works pretty well.

Folks should stop trying to man-handle this forum as was happening in various arab-spring countries. In the long run, that just doesn't work and people get fed up with it. Forums are for sharing. Let people share.

kw5150
Jan 25, 2012, 4:46 PM
Had an errand in Coventry Hills this morning and from there had to drop someone off in DT. This was at ~8:05am so a pinch after the worst part of rush hour, but I still expected some remnants on Deerfoot. Amazingly it was absolutely free-flow all the way. Was between 100km/hr and 110km/hr the whole way. First sign of slow down was on Memorial at around St. Georges Drive, but it was moving even then.

Just thought I'd share as it seems Deerfoot only gets mentioned when there is an accident or weather slows it down.

Oh - I hear the NW trains were having issues yesterday. Just sayin'.

You really could have done without that last part.

Mazrim
Jan 25, 2012, 7:42 PM
Deerfoot usually runs pretty well after 8AM. It's between 6-8 that things can be bad. In the afternoon NB Deerfoot is usually slow from Memorial or 16th to Beddington between 4-6.

You really could have done without that last part.
Not allowed to say anything negative about transit here? ;)

kw5150
Jan 25, 2012, 7:58 PM
Hey Fusili - do you have permissions to use that image? I believe it is © 2012 AtomicOnline, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Anyway, you clearly have a view of how the world works. That shouldn't mean that anything that even has the smell of sounding contrary to 'how you know it is' is an example of trolling.

I don't take Deerfoot in the morning that often - in fact it is usually only on bad weather days where my arm gets twisted into given the wife a ride in to work as opposed to her waiting at her transfer point. Today was a particularly rare occasion where the weather is good, and I can assure you that 'even I' was surprised how well Deerfoot was moving. It is one of the most important roads in the city and I'm surprised how much people pick on it usually. Thought I'd change it up and share that on a 'normal' day it works pretty well.

Folks should stop trying to man-handle this forum as was happening in various arab-spring countries. In the long run, that just doesn't work and people get fed up with it. Forums are for sharing. Let people share.

Agree with you, stop trolling.