11th Street S.W. train delays irk Calgary commuters
Coun. Evan Woolley says train congestion will only get worse with population growth
The 11th Street southwest train crossing in downtown Calgary has been causing some headaches for commuters in the area.
Michael Petch has lived in the area for 18 years and says trains stopping on or near the crossing is a weekly occurrence.
He let his camera roll for 15 minutes on Tuesday to capture how a train, which wasn't even blocking the crossing, can cause some serious traffic congestion. Some pedestrians even risked crossing the tracks despite the warning bells.
"So everybody here is stopped for a train that is going nowhere," Petch says in the YouTube video.
Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway apologized for the delay, but called it an isolated incident caused by human error.
But CP is also reminding Calgarians that crossing tracks even when a train is stopped and the arms are down is both dangerous and illegal.
Underpass being considered
"I'd like to see something done where they either get rid of this roadway or put it underneath," said Petch.
The area councillor agrees.
Coun. Evan Woolley says at least 5,000 cars and as many pedestrians travel over the tracks every day.
He says the congestion will only get worse as more people move into the area.
"The density is moving to the westside of downtown westend and to Connaught here on the other side," he said. "We've got 7,000 people moving to the Beltline in the next five years. We've got to figure out way to move these people across this track."
Woolley says talks of an underpass are already underway. He estimates the cost will be more than $20 million.
"We need to — and the conversations are happening — to put this road below these tracks, not unlike the rest of downtown," he said.