Northeast residents say voices aren't being heard on Stoney Trail bridge plan
80th Avenue residents worried about plans to build flyover right outside homes
People living in a handful of new homes at the dead end of a northeast Calgary street say they have huge concerns about a flyover being planned there, with the possibility of a ramp starting right outside their front doors.
Right now, the end of 80th Avenue N.E. in Taradale is a quiet cul-de-sac with a basketball net where kids play outside.
Residents say they had no idea when they bought their new homes a couple of years ago that an $8.5M concrete overpass project would be built just metres away from their driveways.
The flyover will connect 80th Avenue with new and future communities being built on the east side of Stoney Trail.
A second connection over Stoney Trail is planned further south at 64th Avenue N.E.
People who live nearby say the city hasn't done a good job of making residents aware of the project and its implications.
Harmandeep Maheru lives in the second last house from the end of 80th Avenue and says there's little public awareness of the plans in the community.
"It's a huge concern because there's no awareness, they're not aware, and this plan was already approved in 2018 when these homes were being finished," said Maheru, "but nobody knew."
"The slope in the plans starts coming up from the third house down, so how are we supposed to get out of our driveways? It's a safety concern," she said, adding the views from their homes will be taken up by the structure.
"These houses are way too close. I want to ask the city, 'is there anywhere in Calgary where there's a flyover or bridge that's so close to residential property?'" she said.
Residents here already live with the constant buzz of traffic going up and down the east side of the city on Stoney Trail, a short distance from where their street currently ends.
With 2,000 new homes being built, as a new community rises directly east of 80th Avenue on the other side of Stoney Trail, residents and the two community associations on the west side of Stoney in Saddle Ridge and Taradale are worried about an already busy stretch of road getting much worse in the future once the two are connected.
"Who's going to pay for the depreciation in our property values? Is the city going to take responsibility for that? We're just really lost," said Maheru.
Maheru is also worried about heavy construction happening so close to their houses and any possible impacts on the structural integrity of their homes.
Maheru says she met virtually with city officials earlier this month and was shown a sketch of the bridge, but even with a visual aid she says it's still not clear exactly how the bridge will look and exactly how it will impact them. She says it was confusing.
"It's still not being clearly communicated to us," she said.
She's worried the approved project will be pushed through, regardless of their input and impact to local residents.
"I feel like that. It's weird because nobody knows it's approved," she said.
Others say they didn't find out about it until a letter appeared in their mailboxes this summer.
"We weren't aware of this until we received a letter from the city," said resident Gurpreet Singh.
"We are very concerned about the value of our houses and our safety," Singh said.
"This will block our houses and driveways. We want to be able to enter and exit our homes," said Singh.
Singh says he is due to meet with the city this week online but notes so far municipal officials don't seem to be taking residents' concerns seriously.
"This is a small public road, it's not a main road, and we've already had so many traffic concerns here," Singh said, speaking about long-running problems on a notoriously busy 80th Avenue.
The city says the flyover is a requirement to allow fire and emergency vehicles access to the new community being built east of Stoney Trail, ensuring an acceptable response time from Fire Station No. 32 in Saddle Ridge. It would also be a connection for pedestrians and bicycles.
While opening the flyover to regular vehicular traffic wasn't the main focus of the project, it's a real possibility that is already being discussed. Residents are worried that once built, the flyover will eventually open to regular traffic as residential development east of Stoney Trail increases.
"Eightieth Avenue is the best connection for this," said project manager Zoran Carkic, with the City of Calgary's transportation and planning department.
The city says it's been engaging with residents while developing different concepts for what the crossing might look like. There are now three concepts on the table.
"Now we've developed those concepts, we're collecting all the feedback, including feedback from the residents," said Carkic.
"This is going to be used in an evaluation process in determining whether additional public traffic could be accommodated there or not," said Carkic.
Carkic says there will be independent safety reviews of each concept. He says there have been public information sessions and consultation efforts to keep residents informed.
The city will host a live online public event on Oct. 7 to update residents on the project and design concepts.