Kensington streetscape improvements get underway this week

After years of discussions the city is spending $4.5 million to replace uneven paving stones, add new trees as well as improve lighting and seating on Kensington's two main streets.

City spending $4.5M to revitalize the popular area's two main drags

Kensington is about to get a $4.5 million facelift that's been seven years in the planning. (Google Maps)

Work is starting this week to give a popular community in Calgary's northwest a fresh — and safer — look.

The city is spending $4.5 million this year to revitalize the two main streets in Kensington. The project starts this week on the east side of 10th Street between Memorial Drive and Second Avenue N.W.

Uneven paving stones installed decades ago will be replaced by smoother concrete slabs. New trees and planters will replace old or dying ones.

New benches and bike racks will be installed. As well, LED street lights will be added and decorative pedestrian lighting will eliminate dark spots on the streets for those on foot.

Money from parking surplus

Jessica Bell with the city's road department said some of the street infrastructure on Kensington Road and on 10th Street is getting "a little old" so it's time for a refresh. 

"Some of the sidewalks have started to heave and it's creating trip hazards. So we're trying to make the public realm in that area, which is widely used by pedestrians, a little bit safer and more accessible," she said.

The money, which comes from a surplus at the Calgary Parking Authority, will help give the area more of a uniform look — stop at the corner of Kensington Road and 10A Street and you can spot seven different kinds of street lights. 

Seven years in the making

The head of the Kensington Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) is excited about the changes coming to the neighbourhood.

Annie MacInnis and her group have been working on the project with the city for the past seven years.

"It's important that it looks nice down here, that it's clean and that people feel safe. That it's well lit, that you're not tripping and spraining your ankle while you're trying to walk around," said MacInnis.

The city plans to do the work one block at a time to minimize the inconvenience to area businesses. It's expected each block will take two or three weeks to complete.

The entire project is scheduled to be done by the end of October