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Calgary Transit

RyLucky

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I think the issue was that most of our institutions were created by the province (MRU, UofC, Foothills, PLC, Rockyview, etc) with little input from the city. The city's not blame free either - it's been a divided council representing a divided populous for decades, much of which did not care whether transit reached these projects. Land (and which family owned it) has influenced these projects more than any city planning. So, the transit is not in the wrong places, the institutions are.

Here's one more example: YYC. We could have built the entire passenger terminal at the SW corner of the airport lands, saving 13M 2km auto trips per year, reducing airport travel time, and making LRT connection possible - but instead the terminal was moved north for essentially no (good) reason.
 

Silence&Motion

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Here's one more example: YYC. We could have built the entire passenger terminal at the SW corner of the airport lands, saving 13M 2km auto trips per year, reducing airport travel time, and making LRT connection possible - but instead the terminal was moved north for essentially no (good) reason.
I had the same question/frustration. I can't remember who told me, but apparently the terminal was put on the north side of the airport because that's where the most noise pollution occurs (due to all the taxiing jets).
 

CBBarnett

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I think the issue was that most of our institutions were created by the province (MRU, UofC, Foothills, PLC, Rockyview, etc) with little input from the city. The city's not blame free either - it's been a divided council representing a divided populous for decades, much of which did not care whether transit reached these projects. Land (and which family owned it) has influenced these projects more than any city planning. So, the transit is not in the wrong places, the institutions are.

Here's one more example: YYC. We could have built the entire passenger terminal at the SW corner of the airport lands, saving 13M 2km auto trips per year, reducing airport travel time, and making LRT connection possible - but instead the terminal was moved north for essentially no (good) reason.
It all seems rather amateurish - perhaps due to being a fairly rural, non-transit/urban culture provincially, for the better part of Alberta's existence and growth phase that planners, politicians and designers couldn't quite wrap their heads around the important link between transit and institution planning. The Province also provided the funding for most of the LRT lines too, you'd think they'd want to maximize their investments by encouraging better alignment. But I guess in a place awash in unlimited oil royalties for capital projects for decades and during the era of peak car-oriented design worldwide, not just Alberta, this was too much to ask for the players making these decisions 40 or 50 years ago.
 

darwink

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That has been a problem. When the system was first designed it was designed more as a commuter system to keep commuter traffic going downtown off the roads. The NW section is great at Sunnyide/SAIT/Lions Park, but really should have come over to Foothills Medical complex and McMahon, then straight through the middle of the university and then out onto Crowchild around the Brentwood mall area. It probably would have cost a bundle and maybe wasn't easy to do, but it would have hit the high density areas better.

Foothills ... When they started to plan the full rebuild of the complex in 2004ish, should have considered building a people move to McMahon with the right standards to be able to do patient transport. Then started building there instead of at Foothills Main. After 40 years, the entire complex would have been moved.

The university would have never let the LRT pass through campus unless it was underground, and utilities at the university are deep, so any underground option would have been expensive.

Could have done this (which is basically the NC BRT route now that I think about it), but it would need to be elevated until on the west campus lands:
upload_2018-8-15_9-56-45.png


I had the same question/frustration. I can't remember who told me, but apparently the terminal was put on the north side of the airport because that's where the most noise pollution occurs (due to all the taxiing jets).
We should be glad we didn't end up with a Mirabel, Pickering or Edmonton airport. The thought was that 60s airplanes were super loud, and new ones weren't getting better (once heard the old PW 737 'Airbus' take off from Edmonton's industrial airport, and it was brutally loud). Then the future was going to be Concorde and similar aircraft which were even louder. Takeoff rolls and taxiing were loud. So going on the north side was a compromise to be closer to the city already.
 

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Cowtown

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Could the University have been coerced into having it go through the campus above ground? After all, don't they get a large amount of their funds from the province?
Foothills ... When they started to plan the full rebuild of the complex in 2004ish, should have considered building a people move to McMahon with the right standards to be able to do patient transport. Then started building there instead of at Foothills Main. After 40 years, the entire complex would have been moved.

The university would have never let the LRT pass through campus unless it was underground, and utilities at the university are deep, so any underground option would have been expensive.

Could have done this (which is basically the NC BRT route now that I think about it), but it would need to be elevated until on the west campus lands:
View attachment 153573


We should be glad we didn't end up with a Mirabel, Pickering or Edmonton airport. The thought was that 60s airplanes were super loud, and new ones weren't getting better (once heard the old PW 737 'Airbus' take off from Edmonton's industrial airport, and it was brutally loud). Then the future was going to be Concorde and similar aircraft which were even louder. Takeoff rolls and taxiing were loud. So going on the north side was a compromise to be closer to the city already.
 

darwink

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Yes, it would have been possible, but realistically, no. Being able to resist demands of government when they are not in the interest of the university are a core function of universities.
 

Surrealplaces

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I'm going to play devil's advocate a bit.

-Chinook Centre is awkwardly distant at the moment, but I think the city played it right. The cost to move the LRT over a few block to accommodate a privately run mall would have been massive. Ultimately the land between Chinook and the station will be better developed, and the station placement will be fine, and will cover needs of many different groups.
-PLC definitely has awkward connectivity, but it's something that can be rectified when the city does the next station refurb or rebuild. Having the line run 200' closer to PLC would have meant a completely different design...one which would be nicer but also would have been a completely different beast cost wise and planning. I don't like the way it runs down the middle of 36th, but it was by far the cheapest easiest way to do it. Hopefully whjen the station gets redone sometime, they can build tghe station right into the PLC.
-Sunridge is okay IMO. The station is right beside the mall parking lot, and would be better if beside and connected to the mall, but a whole different cost and complexity.
-MRC and Rockyview. Would have been nice to hit those locations, but given that the city's west development future is directly west and not southwest, the city made the right choice. Those sites are in unfortunate locations.

My biggest gripe is the layout of the northwest between Lion's Park and Brentwood. I think it would have been worth the money to do the layout differently at that stretch...if possible. @darwink mentioned the Uof C would have been an issue.

Agreed. Ottawa has well integrated land-use and transit into their plans. This is backbone infrastructure and looks really well thought out to succeed both on day 1 and well into the future. They have also done a far better job than Calgary on linking institutions to transit as anchors (universities, colleges, malls etc.)

The amount of near-success in linking institutions to transit in Calgary drives me nuts:
  • PLC/Sunridge Mall near Whitehorn but awkwardly and frustratingly non-pedestrian friendly to get to
  • Chinook Centre being just awkwardly too far way from LRT (with notable improvements due to the bridge)
  • U of C sprawling away from the LRT instead of towards it
  • MRU, Foothills, Rockyview, Childrens Hospital and South Health Campus all without good quality transit despite many decades of planning where transit could either have been developed to reach them, or the facility could have been placed next to existing transit
Our BRT will be a great help in addressing this, but wow there were misses that were so close to being successes.
 

darwink

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@darwink mentioned the Uof C would have been an issue.
Transit to the university works just fine. The walks between classes would be just as long if the station was in the middle of campus (or longer if it was somehow at grade). Walking to the train is just another walk of the many people do each day on campus.

The biggest issue is the relative placement of the hospitals and the university. If you could go back to the sixties and lay them out in a straight line that would work better.

Hospitals are a somewhat lost cause like airports though, for somewhat of the same reason. The 24 hour population of hospitals makes providing transit to the workers that replaces car trips for every shift hard, sort of like the airport. When you have a relatively cheap parking pass that you have to use for some of your shifts, why would you ever take transit?
 

CBBarnett

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Transit to the university works just fine. The walks between classes would be just as long if the station was in the middle of campus (or longer if it was somehow at grade). Walking to the train is just another walk of the many people do each day on campus.

The biggest issue is the relative placement of the hospitals and the university. If you could go back to the sixties and lay them out in a straight line that would work better.

Hospitals are a somewhat lost cause like airports though, for somewhat of the same reason. The 24 hour population of hospitals makes providing transit to the workers that replaces car trips for every shift hard, sort of like the airport. When you have a relatively cheap parking pass that you have to use for some of your shifts, why would you ever take transit?
Hospitals are more than shift workers though, they are hubs of all elements of society: doctors, nurses, orderlies, specialists, visitors, rich and poor, bed-riddenly sick to the daily minor appointments, the elderly, and the car-free. High quality transit isn't just a nice-to-have, it's critical for them as they have a huge activity that isn't/can't driving (particularly the poor or elderly). Coupled with the density of activity (the main drawback of airports), FMC is a no-brainer for high-quality transit. Their activity levels are many times what a university is, used all year round and all times of day.

FMC is probably the single densest, busiest node of any large scale outside of the core that could have been transit-oriented easily but the design went in the exact opposite direction (and continues to).
 

Surrealplaces

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I suppose for most, but if the station was in the middle, people who are on the west side of the campus would have a shorter walk. Of course they wouldn't have seen this coming, but University district would be tied in better also.

In the end though, the LRT still services the Uof C and thousands still use it, so it is getting the job done. Also, there is still the option for the University to have future development in the areas adjacent to the station. Once that happens the stations won't have the appearance of being far.

Transit to the university works just fine. The walks between classes would be just as long if the station was in the middle of campus (or longer if it was somehow at grade). Walking to the train is just another walk of the many people do each day on campus.
 

Silence&Motion

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Could the University have been coerced into having it go through the campus above ground? After all, don't they get a large amount of their funds from the province?
The university can't even provide proper bus shelters. It breaks my heart to see students huddled under trees on sunny days, sitting on the sidewalk because there are no benches available, or shivering in the cold. It would be so cheap to provide more benches and shelters on the University Way circle, and yet they can't be bothered.

With regard to the University LRT station, the campus masterplan does call for additional buildings to be placed next to the LRT station so that the station is better integrated into the larger campus. They want to create a central east-west corridor that will connect the LRT station to the two main quads in the centre of campus. You can actually see how they are accommodating that corridor into the MacKimmie redevelopment.
 

darwink

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A redeveloped bus loop is in the plans. But as with anything at the university, things take time. It may come as the redevelopment project for MacKimmie wraps up.
upload_2018-8-15_17-0-7.png


Recent developments have been more friendly. The building has a transit time screen inside, and this is the waiting area outside:
upload_2018-8-15_17-4-37.png
 

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RyLucky

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@Surrealplaces is right about the potential of station refurb. If every station had 4-corner, straight line (not sawtooth pedestrian bridges) connectivity at both ends of the station it could really save an unpleasant <200m walk in many cases and make certain destinations feel much closer to the station.

For instance, imagine if UofC station simply pointed the stairs in the direction of the path. Suddenly an "800m walk to the station" begins 20 m farther west.

Now imagine another bridge at the south end of the station. Suddenly all the buildings on the south end of campus feel near the train.

Do that for every station in the system
 

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