$14M facelift planned for Third Street S.E. in Calgary's East Village

It's the last street in the East Village to get a makeover but now a $14-million project will give Third Street S.E. a new look.

Busier future projected for the street behind City Hall so it needs to be ready

An artist rending of what a revamped Third Street S.E. will look like. (Calgary Municipal Land Corporation)

It's the last street in the East Village to get a makeover but now a $14-million project will give Third Street S.E. a new look.

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is in charge of the redevelopment of the area and it's planning to make the street behind City Hall more user-friendly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Third Street S.E. has seen plenty of construction in recent years. 

But it's been all about the buildings on the street, like the Bow Valley College expansion, the new central library and a new retail site being built by RioCan between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

'Highly congested' area

Susan Veres, CMLC's senior vice-president of strategy and business development, says the busy street does present challenges.

"It's highly congested," she said. "There's pedestrians mixing with bicyclists mixing with trains and buses and cars so the public realm there is really quite a mixed bag of transportation modes."

The plan is to make Third Street S.E. more visually appealing while shifting it from a traffic-dominated route to a better, multi-modal space where pedestrians and cyclists get more room to move.

A $14-million project to improve Third Street southeast in the East Village is now underway. (CBC)

The corner of Third Street and Seventh Avenue S.E. will get some special attention. 

There's a pedestrian crossing at the corner where C-Trains will enter the tunnel, which runs under the new downtown library.

"It's timely to do that now because in the next 18 months, the new central library will be opening," said Veres. "More and more people will be coming to that location and then six months later, the shopping centre opens."

The plan is to start working on the stretch between Ninth Avenue and Fifth Avenue S.E. — a $10-million project and work will be completed by the end of next year.

Modernizing the final stretch of Third Street — from Fifth Avenue to the Riverwalk on the Bow River — will cost $4 million. She said that work will happen in 2019 and 2020.

Municipal building will also see changes

The missing piece of the puzzle is what the city plans to do to activate the street level of the municipal building. It's been working on a plan to make that side of Third Street S.E. more lively, but no announcements have been made.

Veres said that's not a CMLC project but the goal is to complement the new streetscape that's going in. 

While part of the makeover is to make Third Street S.E. a better place to cycle, exactly how that will happen hasn't been determined yet.

"Whether it's just delineated cycle lanes or cycletracks or some combination thereof, there needs to be consideration for bicycles at the new central library and up the street," said Veres.