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Social Justice

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Curious what people would define as 'building it properly'? Based on the information shared by the City of Calgary it is no longer technically feasible to build a tunnel under the river as the cut and cover method required through the downtown core means the Eau Claire station won't be built at a sufficient depth to permit tunneling under the river. So regardless of whether or not the northern segment to 16th is built now or 20 years from now we are going to be stuck with a bridge.

The Council approved plan originally had the line surfacing at 21st Ave N and there's been no talk of that ever really changing. So knowing those two constraints (a bridge is required over the Bow River and the train will run on the surface starting at 21st Ave N) what does everyone's ideal Green Line plan look like for the missing middle and what aspects of that plan makes it worth the delay by not building to 16th Ave now using the City of Calgary's latest proposal?
You're right. "Building it properly" is a vague term. I'll try again.

I'd like to see the LRT system avoid conflicts with key at-grade crossings. These crossing would see a high number of daily vehicle and pedestrian volume. Ideally key intersections would be grade separated.

A bad example of an at grade crossing is at 162nd Ave:

The 32nd Ave crossing:

North Line in Edmonton:


Even though the LRT has priority at these intersections, I believe the LRT has to travel at a slower speed at these crossings. Also, vehicle and pedestrian movements are impeded. I'm not against cost saving measures, but every at-grade crossing is a point of failure in the system. I'm not against surface LRT on Centre street, but the city has to take their time and design it so that it integrates well with the streetscape. The fact that they proposed a surface crossing at 16th Ave has me extremely worried.
 

Joborule

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Even though the LRT has priority at these intersections, I believe the LRT has to travel at a slower speed at these crossings. Also, vehicle and pedestrian movements are impeded. I'm not against cost saving measures, but every at-grade crossing is a point of failure in the system. I'm not against surface LRT on Centre street, but the city has to take their time and design it so that it integrates well with the streetscape. The fact that they proposed a surface crossing at 16th Ave has me extremely worried.
I guess though that since no matter what, NCLRT is primarily going to be at grade, and as grade crossings, is it a dealbreaker issue if 16th Ave is permanently an at grade crossing also? The point of these low floor LRVs is for it be integrated with traffic. Will having the LRT cross there make much of a difference for cross traffic and pedestrians as it is currently?
 

darwink

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The bridge should punch into the bluffs, not make a ridiculously awkward serpentine curve on to one of the busiest bridges in the province. Once the line punches into the bluffs it will stop between 15 and 16 Avenue N, and then surface at 21 Avenue.
Or at least have the option to in the future use the landing on the bluff as a tunnel portal.
 

CBBarnett

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I guess though that since no matter what, NCLRT is primarily going to be at grade, and as grade crossings, is it a dealbreaker issue if 16th Ave is permanently an at grade crossing also? The point of these low floor LRVs is for it be integrated with traffic. Will having the LRT cross there make much of a difference for cross traffic and pedestrians as it is currently?
I have the position that grade-separated is really nice, but can be done quite effective under one condition - the trade-offs have to be on the car commuters. You can't create a successful street-level LRT and maintain complete automobile hegemony on all areas of the street. It's incompatible for success.

36th Street NE is terrible in form and function because we never asked drivers to sacrifice anything - their land uses protected through auto-orientation, their turns are protected and still at every intersection possible (believe it or not, no turn access was restricted pre-NE LRT or post-NE LRT, every single intersection was planned in advance so there was no "sacrifices" for drivers). Several grade separations of roads were rolled into LRT extension projects even (16th Ave NE and McKnight Blvd).

The argument can be made that 36 Street NE only exists because we didn't ask drivers to sacrifice anything (i.e. political compromises), but I have no knowledge of how that public debate played out in the late 1970s or 1980s to know that. A similar debate has played out on almost all LRT projects since in this city - we will invest heavily in transit, but only if we don't ask drivers to sacrifice. Think Crowchild grade separation paired with LRT expansion of the 1990s - 2000s and Bow Trail widening in the West LRT project in 2010ish.

This compromise of building transit only when we don't ask drivers to sacrifice anything can build you a lot of transit that's not bad, our system length and ridership is partially a testament to this*. But it doesn't build great transit. Nor does it build create urban transit where there is no space to give everyone what they want. Crossing 16th Ave N at-grade is not ideal for drivers or transit users for the reasons mentioned - but it doesn't have to be bad for transit users, and it doesn't have to be worse than today for pedestrians. With the right sacrifices by drivers it can all work reasonably fine in a constrained budget (e.g. no left turns allowed, remove all right turn slip lanes for station and pedestrian infrastructure, prioritize train movements). I want to be careful, it's not suggesting just make driving worse and people will take the LRT, it's suggesting we've tipped the scales so far to be pro-driver we forget what true balance even looks like where transit at-grade works just fine.

*the often-quoted reason for our LRT's high ridership is a high downtown parking costs, a rare examples of drivers sacrificing something in our system. Surprise: the sacrifice improves transit performance.
 

accord1999

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the trade-offs have to be on the car commuters.
That does seem to be the only way for the current section north of the river to even remotely work:


I'd assume that if the NC line ever gets far north, that local traffic only rule will go up to 40th Avenue.

But it's hilarious in a perverse way that despite claiming improved transportation for the NC being a critical goal of the Green Line, even after $5B (and using up the City's financial capacity for the next 30 years), the NC will see no increase in public transit capacity into downtown and significantly less car capacity.
 

Joborule

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One other thing I didn't consider with the 16th Ave N crossing is the long term plans of the Purple Line, and it's proposed integration with the Green Line. I believe it's been acknowledged by planners that when they upgrade the MAX Purple to a LRT line, that they intend to integrate it with the Green Line in Ingelwood. With doing that, I believe they intend to have the line run from North Calgary/Airdrie to Chesteremere then.

If there's going to be two train lines using the same tracks going up Centre Street, then an at grade crossing may not be ideal there. It's risky to do it as it is with one line, but with two, the risk are increased for the line to be disrupted by a vehicle/pedestrian collision with how much traffic is there. It's a problem downtown as we already know.
 

outoftheice

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The final recommendations for Green Line Stage 1 - Segment 2 are now online. Major highlights are the addition of a station at 9th Ave N, moving the 2nd St SW station underground and incorporating it into the future redevelopment of Eau Claire market and the addition of a new multi-use pathway on the bridge over the Bow River to create a pedestrian and cycling connection between Eau Claire and Crescent Heights, bus online lanes on the Centre St bridge and up to $100 million in BRT improvements north of 16th Ave to move the 301 service closer to a Max style service. All of the info can be found at https://engage.calgary.ca/greenline

9th Ave Station Rendering.png


9th Ave Station Cross Section.png


Eau Claire Overview.png


Eau Claire Market Portal.png


Centre St Bridge Cross Section.png


Centre St BRT Improvements.png


Future YYC Rapid Transit Map.png
 

zagox

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2nd street station underground and the potential to be part of the redevelopment is nice. I've always hoped the 2nd street station would be tied to a redevelopment somehow.
Agree, but it is concerning that this recommendation doesn’t come with even an agreement-in-principle with Harvard Developments on their commitments and expectations. I worry that these station integrations, especially Eau Claire, are going to take a lot of time and effort for the city to actually finalize, and they seem to be pretty much at square 1. Hope I’m wrong and the situation behind the scenes is more advanced.

Also, looks like the condo to the north of Eau Claire is going to be razed? That would open up the Eau Claire Market site to the waterfront and could be really nice, but I expect we will hear some gripes from the residents of those buildings.
 

CBBarnett

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I'm impressed. The critics of this project have had favourable media exposure, combined with continued delays and radio silence for a while from the City of this - which seeded lots of doubt. But the homework looks done and the addition of 9th Ave N Station is a bonus as well as the pathway and Eau Claire integration. I really like the potential of the Centre Street corridor as it's configured, potential reminds me of a European high street or -still cool, but less famously - St Clair Avenue in Toronto that combines low-floor platforms in the centre of a retail high street. Excited to hear the debate in the final stretch here.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Just needed a fully cropped version of these...

4897789D-C846-46AD-81DB-853822F08AF1.jpeg

78E54183-2000-4CB8-88F0-79FB8884AB3D.jpeg
 

darwink

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2nd street station underground and the potential to be part of the redevelopment is nice. I've always hoped the 2nd street station would be tied to a redevelopment somehow.
I am surprised it is underground. Way more money, but I guess to make the geometry work it is needed.
 

darwink

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Also, looks like the condo to the north of Eau Claire is going to be razed? That would open up the Eau Claire Market site to the waterfront and could be really nice, but I expect we will hear some gripes from the residents of those buildings.
Yeah. Unless it is a tunnel under the river it needs to go.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Also, looks like the condo to the north of Eau Claire is going to be razed? That would open up the Eau Claire Market site to the waterfront and could be really nice, but I expect we will hear some gripes from the residents of those buildings.
Good riddance to bad rubbish!
 

Surrealplaces

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Agree, but it is concerning that this recommendation doesn’t come with even an agreement-in-principle with Harvard Developments on their commitments and expectations. I worry that these station integrations, especially Eau Claire, are going to take a lot of time and effort for the city to actually finalize, and they seem to be pretty much at square 1. Hope I’m wrong and the situation behind the scenes is more advanced.

Also, looks like the condo to the north of Eau Claire is going to be razed? That would open up the Eau Claire Market site to the waterfront and could be really nice, but I expect we will hear some gripes from the residents of those buildings.
I wonder how much say Harvard has these days? I recall Harvard having a certain amount of time (10 years maybe?) to do the development, and if they didn't do it, the city could go a different direction.
 

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