Plans for 17 Avenue SE could see Bus Rapid Transit continue to city limits
Wide roadway would have room for bike lanes, wide sidewalks
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Right now it’s basically fields and farmland, but the city already has big plan for the stretch of 17 Avenue SE east of Stoney Trail.
In 15 to 20 years, the road could be converted to a main thoroughfare with room for drivers, pedestrians, transit users and cyclists.
Heather Leonhardt, senior transportation engineer with the City of Calgary, said the 3.5 kilometre stretch of road from Stoney Trail reaching to the city limits will follow the design of the improvements coming to International Avenue.
She said the design was done with the city’s Complete Streets guidelines in mind.
Sidewalks will be three metres wide on both sides of the road, with buffered bike lanes in each directions, four lanes of traffic, and two Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes in the median.
“It was an opportunity to really have that type of a corridor because we came in ahead of development,” said Leonhardt. “The right of way was mostly there because it was a highway corridor before it was annexed. So we had the opportunity to plan for a complete street.”
She said now that the plan is in place and the right of way is known, the city will be able to quickly work with developers when they’re ready to build in that area. The city has approved an area structure plan for community called Belvedere, which will have about 60,000 residents.
She added that the BRT lanes could someday become LRT lanes.
“It’s a really long term goal,” said Leonhardt. “At this stage, the planning was ensuring it could be converted to LRT. From a design perspective, it could be converted.”
The city’s report puts an early estimated cost for the project at about $53 million.
Coun. Shane Keating, chair of the city’s Transportation and Transit committee, said for now this is just a plan.
“This is a vision of what may be built, and what you have to do is just protect the road right of way. There’s no guarantee the road will actually built according to what the cross sections are anyway,” said Keating.
He said development and usage would determine the final plan for the road.