Southwest transitway has Calgary residents wanting more public consultation on bus rapid transit

Residents say more public consultation is needed on the southwest transitway — a planned rapid bus service (BRT) that will link downtown and southwest Calgary communities.

$40M project includes bus-only lanes along 14th Street S.W.

Long-time resident Hilda Smith says traffic congestion is already a serious concern near Glenmore Trail and 14 Street S.W. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Residents say more public consultation is needed on the southwest transitway — a rapid bus service (BRT) that will link downtown Calgary with southwest communities.

The $40-million project includes dedicated bus lanes to be built along 14th Street S.W. between Glenmore Trail and Southland Drive.

The goal is to improve transit service to downtown and key destinations such as Mount Royal University, Rockyview Hospital, Glenmore Landing, Heritage Park and Lincoln Park.

"I'd like to see them sit down with the people who use this road on a daily basis and find out the pros and the cons where it's not working, where it's very dangerous," said concerned resident Lori Rabey, one of more than 100 people who attended an open house Thursday night.

"It has now been made even more dangerous," she added.

Southwest Transitway plan (City of Calgary)

Rabey says the city hasn't received enough feedback on the BRT, especially the plans for the bus-only lanes on 14th Street S.W.

Another resident, Hilda Smith, said she was concerned that her thoughts, as well as the input of everyone else, would not be taken into consideration.

"The question I have tonight is, 'Am I at a meeting that is a fait accompli?' meaning that something has already been put into motion," Smith said.

The southwest transitway is a key element of the city's 30-year strategic plan for transit called RouteAhead.

"Our intent is to offer another alternative to the south LRT," said city engineer Howard Kai.

"We want to offer them another alternative to get downtown that would be competitive in terms of travel time and speed to the LRT."

Aside from 14th Street, one segment of the project will see bus-only shoulder lanes, while the rest of the line will see buses sharing the road with regular traffic.

Construction is slated to start as early as next June. BRT service is expected to begin at the end of 2018.

Planned construction includes:

  • Extension of the Crowchild Trail bus-only lanes.
  • Construction of bus-only lanes along 14th Street S.W.
  • A new underpass structure at 90th Avenue S.W. to maintain traffic flows from surrounding community.
  • Modifications to the existing pedestrian overpass at 75th Avenue S.W.
  • In-street bus operations between Southland Drive S.W. and Woodbine.
  • 36 new stations along the transitway corridor.
  • Terminal station and facilities developed at Woodbine park.

The provincial government recently announced that the southwest Transitway is being awarded $26.7 million in GreenTRIP funding.

Once completed, the transitway will stretch 22 kilometers, extending from Woodbine to the downtown core with a total of 36 stations along the route, including Mount Royal University and Rockyview Hospital. (City of Calgary)

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