News   Apr 03, 2020
 520     0 
News   Apr 02, 2020
 1.2K     3 
News   Apr 02, 2020
 496     0 

Infill Development Discussion

CBBarnett

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
611
Reaction score
1,440
Sad considering Edmonton Trail isn't likely to ever be widened.
This comes up a bunch. If so many people think this, yet it remains in the bylaw as a widening setback, what's the disconnect? A few options I could think of:
  1. Who ever (a transportation planner somewhere I would imagine) controls the list of setbacks on inner city roads is actually still imagining expansion one day so won't give it up
  2. No one "manages" the list of setbacks, so never really on the radar at a high enough level, with enough motivation to change
  3. Some other unexpected problem emerged that even though every agrees the space is not need for a road, stormwater pipes (for example) aren't configured to anticipate less space so make it tricky to get rid of the set back.

There's a whole list of roads that get impacted by these setbacks, 14th Street and Edmonton Trail being fairly repeat offenders. Anyone involved with inside knowledge on how this works?
 

Calgcouver

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
346
Reaction score
809
This comes up a bunch. If so many people think this, yet it remains in the bylaw as a widening setback, what's the disconnect? A few options I could think of:
  1. Who ever (a transportation planner somewhere I would imagine) controls the list of setbacks on inner city roads is actually still imagining expansion one day so won't give it up
  2. No one "manages" the list of setbacks, so never really on the radar at a high enough level, with enough motivation to change
  3. Some other unexpected problem emerged that even though every agrees the space is not need for a road, stormwater pipes (for example) aren't configured to anticipate less space so make it tricky to get rid of the set back.

There's a whole list of roads that get impacted by these setbacks, 14th Street and Edmonton Trail being fairly repeat offenders. Anyone involved with inside knowledge on how this works?
Good point, it is such a weird problem. Why these old setbacks for road expansion still influence anything is beyond me. If we had to pay attention to these on 9 Ave, we would have to build to these setbacks:

 

MichaelS

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 5, 2016
Messages
1,042
Reaction score
2,904
This comes up a bunch. If so many people think this, yet it remains in the bylaw as a widening setback, what's the disconnect? A few options I could think of:
  1. Who ever (a transportation planner somewhere I would imagine) controls the list of setbacks on inner city roads is actually still imagining expansion one day so won't give it up
  2. No one "manages" the list of setbacks, so never really on the radar at a high enough level, with enough motivation to change
  3. Some other unexpected problem emerged that even though every agrees the space is not need for a road, stormwater pipes (for example) aren't configured to anticipate less space so make it tricky to get rid of the set back.

There's a whole list of roads that get impacted by these setbacks, 14th Street and Edmonton Trail being fairly repeat offenders. Anyone involved with inside knowledge on how this works?
#s 1 and 2 are pretty accurate based on my experience (once had a senior engineer in Roads tell me "Plans change" when presented with all of the CTP/MDP/Complete Streets policies regarding 14th street that pretty much confirmed Council will NEVER widen it to 6 lanes). #3, not really a technical reason, but one problem I have heard mentioned is some think it would be "too complicated", now that the City has taken the setback along some of these corridors, but not all of it. What do you do with this larger piece of land? Do you give it back to the parcel it came from? What value is that to a building that is already built and occupied? By giving it back, does the city now acknowledge it was unnecessary and open itself up to legal challenges? Not saying these are valid reasons, but it is the thought process I heard around what to do with this table about 4-5 years ago from someone in Transportation Planning.

So, you could go the other way, make use of the space since it has been protected for decades, but that is also complicated, because in many instances, it was "protected", but not actually dedicated as public ROW, so instead sits as sterilized lawn. In the old days (decades ago, when the intention was to widen the road), this was okay, because a road widenign was a big enough project to justify the land acquisition. However now, as most of these streets that have setbacks are "mains streets", a street beautification upgrade doesn't really justify the cost of all of this land acquisition. So instead, you actually see the long term plan not utilizing the setback. See 37th Street SW as a perfect example:

But, for whatever reason, despite the fact the City's own masterplan now fully acknowledges they do not need this setback, there doesn't appear to be any movement to remove or amend Table 1 of the LUB, so we actually get active applications on these mainstreets that are still being told to "stay out of the setback, the Land Use Bylaw says so!!", despite official design's confirming it isn't necessary.

F*ck I hate that table.
 
Last edited:

BrandedBlue

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
25
Reaction score
78
#s 1 and 2 are pretty accurate based on my experience (once had a senior engineer in Roads tell me "Plans change" when presented with all of the CTP/MDP/Complete Streets policies regarding 14th street that pretty much confirmed Council will NEVER widen it to 6 lanes). #3, not really a technical reason, but one problem I have heard mentioned is some think it would be "too complicated", now that the City has taken the setback along some of these corridors, but not all of it. What do you do with this larger piece of land? Do you give it back to the parcel it came from? What value is that to a building that is already built and occupied? By giving it back, does the city now acknowledge it was unnecessary and open itself up to legal challenges? Not saying these are valid reasons, but it is the thought process I heard around what to do with this table about 4-5 years ago from someone in Transportation Planning.

So, you could go the other way, make use of the space since it has been protected for decades, but that is also complicated, because in many instances, it was "protected", but not actually dedicated as public ROW, so instead sits as sterilized lawn. In the old days (decades ago, when the intention was to widen the road), this was okay, because a road widenign was a big enough project to justify the land acquisition. However now, as most of these streets that have setbacks are "mains streets", a street beautification upgrade doesn't really justify the cost of all of this land acquisition. So instead, you actually see the long term plan not utilizing the setback. See 37th Street SW as a perfect example:

But, for whatever reason, despite the fact the City's own masterplan now fully acknowledges they do not need this setback, there doesn't appear to be any movement to remove or amend Table 1 of the LUB, so we actually get active applications on these mainstreets that are still being told to "stay out of the setback, the Land Use Bylaw says so!!", despite official design's confirming it isn't necessary.

F*ck I hate that table.
This came up at CPC yesterday. According to the Transportation rep the setback is for additional public realm space and not road widening. "Once the main street concept for Edmonton Trail is finalized, (the setback) is for implementing whatever the final vision for the main street is"

It will be interesting to see what comes of that plan. I think Edmonton Trail might be the only one-way street on the City's list of main streets.
 

MichaelS

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 5, 2016
Messages
1,042
Reaction score
2,904
This came up at CPC yesterday. According to the Transportation rep the setback is for additional public realm space and not road widening. "Once the main street concept for Edmonton Trail is finalized, (the setback) is for implementing whatever the final vision for the main street is"

It will be interesting to see what comes of that plan. I think Edmonton Trail might be the only one-way street on the City's list of main streets.
I saw that to. I fear though that this line of thinking is not accurate. Again, look at the 37th Street SW design. I have had Mainstreets representatives tell me they haven't used in the past, due to the complications of acquiring the land. It is expensive, and a streetscape beautification project doesn't carry the budget a road widening one does. This actually seems to be repeated on all of the design projects by Main Streets. When you look at this table, Part 3, Division 1 of the Land Use Bylaw (go to LUB.calgary.ca), and compare it to the Main Streets that have designs, you have the following:

Bowness Road (Montgomery) has a current ROW of 20.117m, with a 1.5m setback on both sides for an ultimate ROW of 23.117m (see Bowness Road, 48th Street to MacKay Road). However, the ultimate deisgn per the Mainstreets exercise, keeps the ROW at 20.1m. See East portion, here:

See also 17th Ave SW, 37th Street to 17th Street, which has a 5.182m byalwed setback on both sides, for an ultimate ROW of 30.481. When you look at the streetscape design by Mainstreets, they aren't using this full width:
Now, 17th Ave is a bit more complicated, because it is not a consistent cross-section the whole way, and it is wider in some areas, but not others. However, I think it has only been widened in areas where the whole block has been dedicated already (see in front of Westbrook TOD for instance).

I've discussed 37th Street SW before, and how they purposely did not use the setback area.

1st Ave NE (through Bridgeland) doens't really have a setback, apart from between 4th Street and 6th Street NE (current is 20.117, ultimate 24.385). Mainstreets did an exact section for this stretch, that of course uses none of the setback and just maintains the 20.1m:

33rd and 34th Avenue through Marda Loop do not have bylawed setbacks in the Table. Centre Street, the only other Main Street in the "design" stage, has not yet come up with a design, so I can't tell if they are using the bylawed setback or not.

So, of the designs that have been completed so far by Main Streets, it appears that NONE of them use the bylawed setback. I saw the CPC meeting and the questions asked, but I fear the Commission members don't see the disconnect (and apparently neither does the member of the administration representing Transportation). Maybe Edmonton Trail will be the exception, and they will use it. But, based on the observed pattern so far, I wouldn't hold my breath. We will continue to see buildings pushed back 5.182m, only to have that space not be used when the ultimate streetscape plan is developed.

I have railed against this issue to whoever will listen for years now. Nobody who I perceived to be in a position to do something about it seems to want to. I sometimes see Councillors or CPC members tiptoe around it, but never address it head on, and the table still exists and keeps getting applied, only to the detriment of Calgary's built form....
 

zagox

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
166
Reaction score
337
Location
Sunnyside
I saw that to. I fear though that this line of thinking is not accurate. Again, look at the 37th Street SW design. I have had Mainstreets representatives tell me they haven't used in the past, due to the complications of acquiring the land. It is expensive, and a streetscape beautification project doesn't carry the budget a road widening one does. This actually seems to be repeated on all of the design projects by Main Streets. When you look at this table, Part 3, Division 1 of the Land Use Bylaw (go to LUB.calgary.ca), and compare it to the Main Streets that have designs, you have the following:

Bowness Road (Montgomery) has a current ROW of 20.117m, with a 1.5m setback on both sides for an ultimate ROW of 23.117m (see Bowness Road, 48th Street to MacKay Road). However, the ultimate deisgn per the Mainstreets exercise, keeps the ROW at 20.1m. See East portion, here:

See also 17th Ave SW, 37th Street to 17th Street, which has a 5.182m byalwed setback on both sides, for an ultimate ROW of 30.481. When you look at the streetscape design by Mainstreets, they aren't using this full width:
Now, 17th Ave is a bit more complicated, because it is not a consistent cross-section the whole way, and it is wider in some areas, but not others. However, I think it has only been widened in areas where the whole block has been dedicated already (see in front of Westbrook TOD for instance).

I've discussed 37th Street SW before, and how they purposely did not use the setback area.

1st Ave NE (through Bridgeland) doens't really have a setback, apart from between 4th Street and 6th Street NE (current is 20.117, ultimate 24.385). Mainstreets did an exact section for this stretch, that of course uses none of the setback and just maintains the 20.1m:

33rd and 34th Avenue through Marda Loop do not have bylawed setbacks in the Table. Centre Street, the only other Main Street in the "design" stage, has not yet come up with a design, so I can't tell if they are using the bylawed setback or not.

So, of the designs that have been completed so far by Main Streets, it appears that NONE of them use the bylawed setback. I saw the CPC meeting and the questions asked, but I fear the Commission members don't see the disconnect (and apparently neither does the member of the administration representing Transportation). Maybe Edmonton Trail will be the exception, and they will use it. But, based on the observed pattern so far, I wouldn't hold my breath. We will continue to see buildings pushed back 5.182m, only to have that space not be used when the ultimate streetscape plan is developed.

I have railed against this issue to whoever will listen for years now. Nobody who I perceived to be in a position to do something about it seems to want to. I sometimes see Councillors or CPC members tiptoe around it, but never address it head on, and the table still exists and keeps getting applied, only to the detriment of Calgary's built form....
It would be great to see the cycle track that rather uselessly ends at the bottom of the hill extended up to 16th ave. The history you present doesn't make it sound very likely.

In theory the land acquisitions should be inexpensive because the property owners can't build in that space anyway, so limited compensation would be justified. It probably gets complicated because 1) its a whole bunch of transactions that have a high administrative cost in terms of engagement, legal, etc and 2) ideally you would want to keep the same buildable area for any lots that cede the road widening setback entirely, which would mean increasingly the allowable FAR for every property, which adds more administrative cost.
 

Surrealplaces

Administrator
Staff member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
7,511
Reaction score
17,685
Location
Calgary
I don't know if this is the right thread for this. A huge house going up on Crescent Road. I usually don't post pics of houses, but it is different than the norm, a house looks like a Mormon temple.........that and it's all the rage at SSP so I figured I should get some pics of it.

2019 Oct 6 156.JPG
2019 Oct 6 158.JPG
2019 Oct 6 160.JPG
2019 Oct 6 161.JPG
 

Chinook Arch

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 6, 2019
Messages
151
Reaction score
220

Top