Calgary plans permanent closure of Inglewood and Ramsay at-grade rail crossing
Calgary's historic 8 Street SE was one of the few connecting paths between sister communities Inglewood and Ramsay
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Ramsay and Inglewood aren’t islands, but as the city embarks on several projects in the secluded communities, residents are feeling the walls closing in as roads close up.
The City of Calgary will work with CP rail to close 8 Street SE permanently due to ongoing initiatives to cut down on at grade crossings where vehicles, bikes and pedestrians might come across a train.
“There’s a lot of unintended consequences of the closure,” said resident Peter Rishaug. “When we talk about the closure of a vital link between the two communities in the north side it becomes a very great concern, because there’s so many people that use it.”
Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra said it’s a shame the closure to the historic connection between Inglewood and Ramsay is coming to a head quickly – but he knew it had to close.
“CP rail, as we negotiate with them to build the Green Line, has basically said look, this is something that is alright to ask for and it’s something we very much want. There’s not much we can do about it,” said Carra. “I think the conversation has to turn to what are our alternatives…we need a grade separated connection that is delivered around the same time that 8th closes.”
Sean Somers, spokesman for Calgary Transportation, said the road isn’t considered a busy road with 3,000 cars crossing the tracks daily.
“The next best option is to simply close the road, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Somers said, noting there wasn’t another feasible option to reroute traffic because of land constraints. “It’s around risk management...avoiding interactions the best we can is the safest option.”
Somers said he’s not aware of any plans for other at-grade crossings in the area, adding for other rail crossings the situation is a little different: they are single entry and exit points to residential areas.
But 8 Street SE isn’t the only way in and out. There are alternative routes to Ramsay that don’t include a rail crossing. Carra noted, however, for connectivity reasons regarding all transportation modes, the communities simply don’t have enough links.
Rishaug said this doesn’t address the volumes community members see when a Flames games is on, or the Stampede is in full swing, or when there’s emergencies in the community.
“Cutting it off is against the city’s own policies promoting connectivity of pedestrians and cyclists to the river banks – it’s not just cars,” Rishaug said. “It’s just baffling to me.”