Calgary

Calgary looks to buy dozens of 'slivers' of private land along 17th Avenue S.E. bus rapid transit route

Calgary is aiming to buy up dozens of pieces of land from businesses along 17th Avenue S.E. as it prepares for major construction of a bus rapid transit route along the busy stretch, commonly known as International Avenue.

Redesigned route to include dedicated bus lanes, widened sidewalks and new cycling infrastructure

Calgary's 17th Avenue S.E. is also known as International Avenue for the variety of stores and restaurants featuring food, clothing and other items from around the world. (Google Maps)

Calgary is aiming to buy up dozens of pieces of land from businesses along 17th Avenue S.E. as it prepares for major construction of a bus rapid transit route along the busy stretch, commonly known as International Avenue.

City councillors will discuss the land acquisitions — some 43 separate items, in total — behind closed doors on Tuesday.

The land mainly consists of "slivers" of property adjacent to 17th Avenue S.E., said Alison Karim-McSwiney, executive director of the International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ).

The acquisitions shouldn't impact any commercial buildings, she said, although some businesses would lose stalls in parking lots near the roadway, but those are to be replaced by new angle parking on side streets.

"We're starting this month on angle parking,"  Karim-McSwiney said.

"That's all being dealt with in actually quite an organized manner."

This interactive map shows the proposed land acquisitions. Zoom in and out and click on individual markers for specific addresses:

The city typically doesn't speak about land acquisition matters in detail until they have been dealt with by council.

But the city has identified sections of land on either side of 17th Avenue S.E. that would need to be used for the bus rapid transit project, much of which is currently privately owned.

The project will include the construction of bus-only lanes and new stations for the express buses that run on them.

It also includes widened sidewalks, new cycling infrastructure, and a makeover to overall esthetic of the street.

The shaded areas in red show the areas where work is set to be done to construct the 17th Avenue S.E. transitway. Much of the land on either side of the existing roadway is currently privately owned. (City of Calgary/Screenshots)

Some work has already begun on underground utilities along 17th Avenue S.E. and major construction is scheduled to begin in 2017.

Karim-McSwiney said the BRZ has been meeting with city staff every two weeks about the project and is looking forward to seeing it come to fruition after a long period of thinking and planning.

"We've been working on this project for 17 years now," she said. "It's been a concerted effort to move forward on the revitalization and improvement, and that included the redesign of 17th Avenue."

The addition of bus rapid transit to 17th Avenue is part of the city's long-term plan to build a more grid-like network of rapid transit (both buses and light rail) across Calgary.

The city's long-term plan for rapid transit throughout the city. (City of Calgary)

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