Agreed. I have probably ranted about this before but we do terrible institution planning in this city from a connectivity and location perspective for anything other than cars. We could blame it on the provincial-city relationship - which certainly hasn't helped - but it seems deeper where the folks that make these decisions - politicians, fundraisers, institution leads, developers - perhaps don't have an "anti-transit" attitude, but its at least "transit oblivious". And of course there is lots of local specific factors that aren't always obvious at a glance (e.g. old landfills dictating development, logistic or circulation reasons etc.) and the tons of rules that get in the way (e.g. parking minimum requirements). Much like our heritage building challenges, the timing of our peak-growth in auto-crazy post-war 1960s-2000s certainly didn't help.I've always thought it was a huge missed opportunity to build the Telus Spark where the zoo parking lot is, which would have allowed easy access to the LRT station. Instead, it's a punishing 15 minute walk through parking lots and industrial land to get from the LRT to Telus Spark.
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Regardless of the reasons and level of intention, the outcomes are the same: our institutions are wildly anti-transit.
- South Calgary Health Campus: there was an interesting discussion on this forum a while back about how the proposed land switched from a South LRT adjacent parcel to Seton back in the 1990s. The result is an enormous auto-oriented employment centre located far from transit, ironically the very existence of it is one of the primary justifications for another enormous project in the Green Line.
- Peter Lougheed Hospital: frustratingly close to LRT, but with terrible connectivity and complete auto-orientation otherwise. The LRT was well in the works when this was built in the late 1980s.
- Alberta Children's Hospital: auto-oriented as far from LRT as possible, built in mid-2000s well after LRT was established. Helpful that University District and Max lines change this, but from an institutional planning perspective transit adjacency was clearly not valued.
- Telus Science Centre (as mentioned)
- Calgary International terminals: built far as possible from the city centre 1972, still without rapid transit (48 years). Even if we kept the runways in the same location you could save 10km off the average trip if you put the facility at the SW corner rather than the NE corner.
- Mount Royal University only recently got rapid transit access (in theory, not yet in practice) in the form of the MAX routes in 2019. It's been at it's current campus location since 1972 (47 years).
- Looking past the physical locations, all hospitals and universities are incredibly auto-oriented. Part of that is a feedback loop (i.e. why make them less auto-oriented when we put them in auto-oriented locations). But part of it is that "transit obliviousness"
- SAIT: while arguably the most transit-oriented institution on the city, prior to the New Central Library - it was completely auto-oriented, only improving slightly with the late 2000s expansion and remodelling. That expansion remains remarkably car-oriented for $500M of spending by late-2000s post-secondary standards compared to other universities.
- Foothills Medical Centre: while it's location can't be faulted alone - Foothills predates the existence of modern rapid transit. However it's continued expansion has some of the most inaccessible sidewalks and connections of any institution anywhere. Connectivity is a complete afterthought to parkades and vehicle circulation.
- Telus Science Centre (as mentioned, particularly on the sidewalk connections to the LRT being ridiculous for something built in the last 10 years when we should have known better).
It's going to take a lot of transit expansion, but also a major change in how these institutional places think about their relationship to transit and the wider city to see any significant change on these issues over the coming decades.