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Urban Development and Proposals Discussion

darwink

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The parking for customer concerns I agree with y'all. The parking for streetside delivery access only? I agree with the BIA, it requires a great deal of care to accomodate with a protected bike lane. A simpler solution? A woonerf with intersections that only let 1 traffic lane in or out of the east-west blocks, with vehicle traffic being one way only, with posted speed limits of playground zone speed or less.
 
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artvandelay

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I don't see how the cycle track option on this block is damaging, could you please elaborate? The design I see keeps the wide sidewalks, keeps every single one of the many driveway, alley and sidewalk loading zone accesses (half a dozen in one block!) and keeps all of the parking; the main effect of the cycle tracks is to remove the westbound direction of traffic. Which to me isn't much of a loss; it's easy to go around the block either on 2nd or 4th ave. Most recent 6 hour intersection counts have around 900-1000 vehicles eastbound and only 300-400 westbound.

The block west of this one, between Centre St and 1 St W does have around 12 spaces less parking with the cycle track scenario, but fortunately there's a very large surface 200+ stall parking lot in that block that Chinatown has preserved.

(edited to fix mistake around directionality of traffic; most is eastbound, the direction that would be left if 3rd went to one-way in this block.)
It's not the end of the world, but it's certainly not optimal (I'm speaking about option 2, option 1 will be fine).

Street-front retail viability hinges on the perception of accessibility. Shifting from two-way to one-way traffic hurts that perception, even if the change is negligible in actuality. On-street parallel parking is similar: its mere presence on a street serves to create the perception that parking is widely available, even though the parking count provided by on street stalls is often insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

A good example of this is the recent overhaul of 17th Avenue. I live a few blocks away and in reality, there were very few issues with traffic and accessibility while the avenue was closed. However, the perception that 17th Avenue was a traffic mess to be avoided took hold in the public consciousness resulting in a perceptible decline in destination traffic from outside the area.

While I'd agree that a good potion of the retail clientele in Chinatown accesses the area on foot or via transit, it is also a destination retail node that hosts visitors from across the city who arrive by car. It's important to ensure that this reality is considered.

I don't really understand the strategy of utilizing third for this corridor. I see why the picked it - as there is a wide ROW west of 1 Street SW with plenty of room and limited vehicular traffic, but the same conditions do not exist in Chinatown. Why try to shoehorn a cycle track into a block with limited dimension and existing vibrant retail frontage?

If you look at Vancouver (which has an excellent cycle network that we should emulate here), the main routes run parallel to retail high streets typically 1 or 2 blocks away. Can someone explain to me why this should be on 3rd Avenue and not 4th?

- 4th is overbuilt with traffic lanes and can easily accommodate a cycle track
- It's better located in relation to existing bike infrastructure (network would be nicely spaced at the river path, 4th Ave, 8th Ave, 12th Ave, and 14th/15th)
- There is far less street-front retail to be disrupted, and in my opinion a cycle track would actually improve the streetscape and the viability of retail on 4th
 

ByeByeBaby

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It's not the end of the world, but it's certainly not optimal (I'm speaking about option 2, option 1 will be fine).

Street-front retail viability hinges on the perception of accessibility. Shifting from two-way to one-way traffic hurts that perception, even if the change is negligible in actuality. On-street parallel parking is similar: its mere presence on a street serves to create the perception that parking is widely available, even though the parking count provided by on street stalls is often insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

A good example of this is the recent overhaul of 17th Avenue. I live a few blocks away and in reality, there were very few issues with traffic and accessibility while the avenue was closed. However, the perception that 17th Avenue was a traffic mess to be avoided took hold in the public consciousness resulting in a perceptible decline in destination traffic from outside the area.

While I'd agree that a good potion of the retail clientele in Chinatown accesses the area on foot or via transit, it is also a destination retail node that hosts visitors from across the city who arrive by car. It's important to ensure that this reality is considered.

I don't really understand the strategy of utilizing third for this corridor. I see why the picked it - as there is a wide ROW west of 1 Street SW with plenty of room and limited vehicular traffic, but the same conditions do not exist in Chinatown. Why try to shoehorn a cycle track into a block with limited dimension and existing vibrant retail frontage?

If you look at Vancouver (which has an excellent cycle network that we should emulate here), the main routes run parallel to retail high streets typically 1 or 2 blocks away. Can someone explain to me why this should be on 3rd Avenue and not 4th?

- 4th is overbuilt with traffic lanes and can easily accommodate a cycle track
- It's better located in relation to existing bike infrastructure (network would be nicely spaced at the river path, 4th Ave, 8th Ave, 12th Ave, and 14th/15th)
- There is far less street-front retail to be disrupted, and in my opinion a cycle track would actually improve the streetscape and the viability of retail on 4th
Whose perception of accessibility? It's not implausible that traffic volumes past businesses in this block would increase with the option 2 cycle track; it's just the number of wheels that would be different. There's over 1000 cyclists bypassing Chinatown every day along the river; around 25,000 scooter users last year along that section of the river path. Certainly a lot of them are enjoying the river and won't detour, but bike volumes on the western side of 3rd Ave are already at 500+ people per day. The difference between bike traffic and car traffic is that I can jump off my bike and grab a bubble tea or banh mi and be back on my bike before a car has even found parking.

If this is a destination node that draws people from all over the city by car, having to drive an extra couple of blocks shouldn't matter. (and any frequent visitor would know that there's no parking on this block anyway).

I don't think 17th is a great example; there's a bit of a difference between an active construction site with fencing and machinery and an open cycle track, don't you think?

As far as 3rd vs 4th, one great failing in the existing cycle track network is the city's inability to connect them to the river pathway system. The west end of 3rd already ties in well to the pathway system, including the LRT bridge. The west end of 4th has a complicated multi-directional intersection, including the LRT tracks, a lane reversal on the Louise bridge and so on. The east end of 4th is equally complicated, with the flyover and Reconciliation bridge. In general, I agree that a cycle network offset from high streets makes sense; the specifics of this alternative I think makes 3rd a lot better than 4th. The block we're talking about is a nice block, but I wouldn't call the entire length of 3rd a high street by any stretch.

You're also fundamentally assuming that a cycle track disrupts retail somehow; swing past Native Tongues or Alforno or the SImmons Block and see how cycling facilities are disrupting them.
 

Silence&Motion

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The parking for customer concerns I agree with y'all. The parking for streetside delivery access only? I agree with the BIA, it requires a great deal of care to accomodate with a protected bike lane. A simpler solution? A woonerf with intersections that only let 1 traffic lane in or out of the east-west blocks, with vehicle traffic being one way only, with posted speed limits of playground zone speed or less.
I agree that a woonerf is definitely the way to go given the narrowness and complexity of these streets. I hate one way streets, and think the city should try to avoid them as much as possible.

Reducing street parking to make walking and cycling more pleasant would be a good thing, IMHO. One of the problems with Chinatown is that it is overrun with cars:
chinatown cars.jpg


I know business owners in Chinatown (almost all of whom I would guess live in the suburbs) are incredibly protective of parking spots and believe that they are losing customers to suburban establishments with ample free parking. But the fact is, that Chinatown is never going to compete with suburban malls based on parking. No one is going to drive 45 minutes downtown if all they want to do is park in front of a restaurant, eat, and then drive straight home. What Chinatown has to offer is the whole neighbourhood experience. It's a day trip for suburbanites, not a quick stopover. It needs to be a pleasant place to spend a few hours, but it is made less pleasant by how much of the land has been given over to parking.
 

Duck Lightning

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Not really urban development related, but interesting how Calgary looks in the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. They use Bing Maps in the game so it's quite realistic.

Bing's map is still older than Google's though as you'll note that the Guardian Towers are still under construction
 
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Duck Lightning

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Speaking of maps, when is google going to finally update their satellite maps of Calgary. Last I looked, Telus Sky is only halfway up! It must be at least 2 years out of date.
Closer to 3 years I think as the building that sat where Park Central is now is still on the map and it was demolished in early 2018
 

Surrealplaces

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Bing's map is still older than Google's though as you'll note that the Guardian Towers are still under construction
Yup, the maps aren't as good as Google's. One thing I've noticed is there are a few buildings visible in the video that are missing and some buildings that don't actually exist. Like this random tower in the middle of Brentwood lol. Also the U, and the Foothills medical area are missing some buildings.

Image18.jpg
 

outoftheice

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Some pictures and more info on the Glenbow expansion.

Our redesigned building will feature:
  • An accessible open-air lobby and gathering spaces for people to congregate and connect
  • A restaurant and enhanced retail shop offering a one-of-a-kind cultural entertainment experience to both Glenbow guests and the public
  • Innovative gallery spaces designed to accommodate large-scale exhibitions and installations
  • Flexible education spaces that facilitate immersive learning experiences and hands-on access to the collection
  • New technology providing more ways to engage and interact with exhibitions and items in our collection
  • A financially and environmentally sustainable design guided by industry best practices and architectural standards

1b_exteriorNEnight3-768x559.jpg


1a_exteriorNE_crop3-1400x479.jpg

Street-view-building-usage-page-1400x754.jpg


1. A reimagined Glenbow brings art to the city and the city to art. Expressive form and visible programming transform the existing, inward-looking building into a revitalized cultural landmark and a critical wayfinding link, connecting downtown Calgary’s most exciting cultural spaces, from Contemporary Calgary in the west to Arts Commons, the New Central Library and the National Music Centre to the east.

2. Visitors are greeted by a new double height entrance on the corner of 1st Street SE & Stephen Avenue, opening the museum to Olympic Plaza, and framing guests’ arrival into Calgary’s cultural heart.

3. A revitalized retail space and new at-grade café are just two of the key amenities within the museum’s open public space accessible from Stephen Avenue.

4. Every corner of the building is activated. An active interior event space located at 1st Street SE and 9th Avenue animates the intersection and can easily accommodate event specific transformations of 9th Avenue, such as parades or street festivals.

5. A re-imagined loading zone dramatically improves the at-grade frontage along 1st Street SE.

6. The first two floors offer transparency into and out of the building. Special galleries push up against the facade, connecting educational, innovative and creative programming with the public, ensuring there is always something to discover as you walk by the new Glenbow.

https://www.glenbow.org/join-give/capital-campaign/

My thoughts are it is a bit underwhelming given the high standard that has been set by the new central library and the re-clad of the engineering building at the UofC but it will still be a large improvement over the status quo.
 

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