Foothills hospital parking changes coming to make room for new Calgary cancer centre

The government decision to build a new cancer centre at the Foothills site and the replacement of an old parkade means shuttling some staff and potential traffic issues for neighbours at the province's largest health-care facility.

Staff to use temporary lot on university land near Alberta Children's Hospital and ride shuttle buses

Matt Law lives near a temporary parking lot expected to open just south of the Alberta Children's Hospital. He hopes the impact of the "necessary development" can be reduced for nearby residents. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The replacement of an old parkade at the Foothills hospital will be the trigger for some parking changes at the province's largest health-care facility. It will mean shuttling some staff and possibly some added traffic headaches for residents in the area.

Lot 1, a two-storey structure with 1,200 stalls in front of the main hospital, will be replaced in two stages.

Overlapping that project is the construction of a new cancer centre, which will wipe out Lot 7 — a surface lot with 800 stalls.

The public parking spots will move into other nearby lots so the walk to the hospital is convenient.

Shawna Syverson, the senior operations officer at the Foothills Medical Centre, says that means Alberta Health Services must lease space from the University of Calgary for a temporary lot for its employees.

The gravel parking lot will be constructed on land just south of the Alberta Children's Hospital. Employees will ride shuttle buses provided by AHS to get from the temporary lot to the Foothills.

"Parking is near and dear to everyone's heart so it's certainly a solution that needs to come in advance of the cancer centre," Syverson said.

The plan works like this:

  • In 2016, land south of the Alberta Children's Hospital is cleared for the new temporary parking lot (pictured on the map below in yellow) and, once it opens, AHS will close the 1,200-stall Lot 1 for phased redevelopment.
  • In 2017, AHS closes 800 stalls in Lot 7 (pictured on the map below in purple) as new cancer centre construction starts on that site and open 830 stalls in the initial phase of the new Lot 1 parkade.
  • In 2019, AHS completes an additional 1,200 stalls in Lot 1 parkade (pictured on the map below in red) and relocates staff parking to that parkade from temporary lot to Foothills site.

University District development

James Robertson, the head of the West Campus Development Trust, said AHS had originally wanted to lease land north of the children's hospital for its temporary parking lot.

However, that land is unavailable now as the trust is expecting to soon sign leases for tenants who will move into the mixed-use development known as the University District. 

Robertson said helping AHS with its parking problems is the right thing to do.

"It's not something that's primary to our business. If they didn't need the temporary parking, we wouldn't be doing any temporary parking on our property," he said.

The plan needs a couple of approvals from the City of Calgary to go ahead. The trust will be asking the city to amend the land use for the site to allow it to be used as a parking lot. AHS will submit a development permit for the lot and operate it.

The neighbouring University Heights Community Association had suggested AHS look at using parking lots at McMahon Stadium for its employees while the Lot 1 and cancer centre projects are under construction.

Matt Law, who lives near the temporary site and speaks for the community association, said they will try to ensure the lot has minimal impacts on University Heights. He's worried about cut-through traffic, as well as security and lighting for the lot.

"It's our objective here to reduce the impact of what appears to be a necessary development," Law said.

There will be a public meeting to let residents and interested stakeholders see specific details and ask questions at the Foothills Mennonite Church, located at 2115 Urbana Road N.W., on Thursday from 5-8 pm.

This is the field where a temporary parking lot will be set up for Foothills staff who then have to take shuttles to the hospital, which can be seen in the distance. (Scott Dippel/CBC)


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