Lyfe Marda Loop | ?m | 5s | The Providence Group | Casola Koppe

DougR

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Are there plans to remove the highway crash barrier along the sidewalk there? Surely the time has come to de-expressify the entrance to Marda Loop. It's such a rough transition to a budding walkable urban community but with a freeway ramp right into it.
I completely agree. Still waiting to see the proposed Streetscape Master Plan for the Marda Loop business district from the City's Main Streets group (they did their public engagement last year and the proposed Streetscape Master Plan was supposed to go to City Council's PUD Committee in December but it got postponed for some reason), but not expecting much in the way of improvements along this particular portion of 33 AV SW. The City's original plans for the SWBRT had it going through the 33 AV SW/Crowchild interchange, right past the west end of the Marda Loop business district, but no stops there. RKHCA and others were successful in convincing the City to add stops for the business district, but the initial proposed locations for the stops (NB -- a block north of the interchange at the bottom of the ramp onto NB Crowchild; SB -- well west of the interchange past the bottom of the ramp from SB Crowchild to WB 33 AV SW, in the middle of nowhere and about as far from all the new density going into the business district as you can get) and the lack of any proposed changes to the interchange itself made it very clear that these stops were a complete afterthought, and would be not only inconvenient and uncomfortable, but also potentially dangerous, for BRT riders to walk to/from and wait at. RKHCA has been pushing for a thoughtful redesign of the interchange that would locate the new BRT stations right at the NW and NE corners of the interchange (much closer to, and more visible from, the business district), provide for a wider, buffered walkway along the north side of the interchange, and eliminate the right slip lanes (or at least the one at the NE corner of the interchange), which are notoriously dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists to cross. Our last meeting with the City on the SWBRT stations/interchange design was a year ago and we still haven't had a response, and I am pretty sure that the Streetscape Master Plan doesn't extend far enough to include the interchange. As a result I have very low expectations that any of our concerns will be addressed, which would be very unfortunate as the SWBRT is the business district's only hope for decent transit service in the forseeable future and if it is poorly implemented then we won't get as many Marda Loop residents, workers and visitors (both new and existing) as we should using transit rather than their cars, which will translate into even more traffic and parking woes for the area, and less walkability.
 

Silence&Motion

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I don't really blame this building for the street-level issues. I don't see how they could have done anything else given what they had to work with. The problems of 33 Ave and Crowchild rest squarely with the City. DougR is correct, they conveniently left this part of 33 Ave out of the "main streets" project so that they didn't have to address anything with regard to pedestrian safety or access to transit.

Perhaps this is a good opportunity to plug my fantasy transit map, which runs an LRT line south along the Crowchild to MRU, and includes a "Marda Loop Station" located at the western terminus of 34 Ave.
 

DougR

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I don't really blame this building for the street-level issues. I don't see how they could have done anything else given what they had to work with. The problems of 33 Ave and Crowchild rest squarely with the City. DougR is correct, they conveniently left this part of 33 Ave out of the "main streets" project so that they didn't have to address anything with regard to pedestrian safety or access to transit.

Perhaps this is a good opportunity to plug my fantasy transit map, which runs an LRT line south along the Crowchild to MRU, and includes a "Marda Loop Station" located at the western terminus of 34 Ave.
The original plan for Lyfe (formerly ML33) had the grade along the front of the building remaining level (rather than rising to the west to match the street as it rises towards the Crowchild interchange), with "bridges" that gave the westmost 2nd storey units "at grade" access from the rising City sidewalk. With that configuration we saw the opportunity for the pedestrian realm along the front of the building's ground floor to split -- the half closest to the street would rise along with the street and the half closest to the building would stay flat and continue west along the front of the ground floor units, which we felt should have been commercial units. This lower walkway would have been well buffered from the vehicle traffic on 33 AV SW, creating a much more pedestrian-friendly space, and could have continued into a new park to be developed in the adjacent City-owned green space. The SW corner ground floor unit would have been a great location for a restaurant or cafe, as it could have opened onto the new park. If the new NB SWBRT station did end up being located at the bottom of the ramp onto NB Crowchild (as it likely will), then this lower walkway could have continued through the park creating a more direct, more buffered, more level and more beautiful route to the station, with the added benefit of being able to grab a quick coffee along the way! Alas, those dreams ended up as cuttings on the Planning Department's floor. :(
 

Silence&Motion

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That makes sense, but it seems like it would have been hard to pull off, particularly getting retail to work in what would essentially have been a narrow trench between 33 ave and the front of the building. Adding to the difficulty is that "green space" at the NE corner of 33 and Crowchild, which the City seems to want to "animate" somehow, but it will take a very creative landscape architect to turn it into a functioning park: https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.0244...4!1sb73BURvoLb_J51OY_X9qfg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
 

DougR

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That makes sense, but it seems like it would have been hard to pull off, particularly getting retail to work in what would essentially have been a narrow trench between 33 ave and the front of the building. Adding to the difficulty is that "green space" at the NE corner of 33 and Crowchild, which the City seems to want to "animate" somehow, but it will take a very creative landscape architect to turn it into a functioning park: https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.0244...4!1sb73BURvoLb_J51OY_X9qfg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
Neither the developer nor the City felt that retail would work in that location, but they were looking at the location in its current "pedestrian desert" state -- they failed to consider the significant stream of pedestrian traffic that will pass along the front of this building once the SWBRT is up and running (especially if the BRT stations are well designed and the SWBRT operates as a true "bus rapid transit" system).
As far as turning the green space into a functioning park goes, the adjacent raised interchange has effectively turned the green space into a natural amphitheatre. Stepped seating could easily be carved into the curved slope with a plaza/performance space/splash pad/skating rink at the bottom (see image). Although the green space is adjacent to Crowchild Trail, it is actually quite sheltered and quiet when you are down in it.
1549383413459.png
 

Calgcouver

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Neither the developer nor the City felt that retail would work in that location, but they were looking at the location in its current "pedestrian desert" state -- they failed to consider the significant stream of pedestrian traffic that will pass along the front of this building once the SWBRT is up and running (especially if the BRT stations are well designed and the SWBRT operates as a true "bus rapid transit" system).
As far as turning the green space into a functioning park goes, the adjacent raised interchange has effectively turned the green space into a natural amphitheatre. Stepped seating could easily be carved into the curved slope with a plaza/performance space/splash pad/skating rink at the bottom (see image). Although the green space is adjacent to Crowchild Trail, it is actually quite sheltered and quiet when you are down in it.
View attachment 173130
That is very good idea on how to improve that BRT station. Kudos
 

Silence&Motion

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The shabbiness of the finishings on this building need to be seen to be believed. Granted it’s not completed, but I am not sure how many more improvements will be made.

The overhang for the main entrance has a huge sag in the middle. (More obvious in person)
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Lots of random exposed wood. I’m not sure whether this will be covered up or not.
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The trim is all crooked and lifting up in places.
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Here’s the overall picture:
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Calbusier

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I can't stand when builders use that much trim. There is as much trim as there is actual cladding. It's unfortunate that this sits at the west entrance to such a great community and main street. Real garbage exterior.
 

The Familia

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Honestly, would probably save a lot of people a lot of future money if this thing just went up in flames tonight before anyone moved in. What a disaster and an embarrassment. I would not want my name associated with a building of this low quality.
 

jdixon

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I'm pretty sure this is a rental building. Unless the developer isn't retaining ownership, I would have thought they'd be more concerned about long term integrity.
 

Silence&Motion

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They've now put the (very flimsy looking) letters "lyfe" on the big red fin. There's a cheesy accent over the y. Gah. I wish a building that's so ugly would not be trying to call so much attention to itself. I give it a year before the first letter gets blown off by the wind and we're eventually left indefinitely with "ly e" on one side and "l ` f " on the other.
 

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