Great photo! That entire stretch along 9th Ave was former rail sidings until the 1960s /1970s if aerial pictures are to be believed. This was a rare inner city story where the surface parking lots today were actually a *slight* improvement in the public realm, depending on how folks feel about walking by random train yards. Most other surface parking in this photo replaced houses, apartment blocks and other buildings - an obvious net loss to the city that has yet to be made up.That entire row of parking lots near the train tracks =/
We have made such great progress intensifying our core, but have a long way to go before we see surface parking disappear like it (for the most part) has in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Also great shot of our super-wide downtown arterials, the from Day-1 over-built 5th and 6th Avenues most prominently. Would be great to cut 2 lanes off of these guys each one day and actually have consistently wide sidewalks with pedestrian amenities.
Now that a critical mass of residents and investment has been achieved in a few small areas (with more on the way), I see the next phase of urban Calgary being about addressing the increasingly obvious public realm gap. We are successfully achieving density and pockets of vibrancy, but we haven't yet cracked the old-school machine that prevents, delays or compromises the pedestrian-focused improvements on a scale that is required to support a residential-focused core.