Wide load: Sidewalk space to grow as Main Streets project hits Bowness Road

Bowness Road, 17 Ave SW and 37 Street SW begin major revitalization projects under Main Streets program

Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley points at the stamp on 90-year-old sidewalks in the neighbourhood of Montgomery. ISAIAH LINDO / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Montgomery’s main street along Bowness Road will see sidewalk space double and cycle lanes added as the street receives a facelift.

On Wednesday, city officials and community leaders came to the corner of Bowness Road and 46 Street NW to celebrate the latest of Calgary’s community thoroughfares to receive a redesign as part of the city’s Main Streets Program.

The Bowness-Montgomery project has to total construction budget of $13.4 million that will improve mobility in the area. The construction is expected to take two seasons, the city said.

Street sidewalks will be extended and barriers will be put in strategic places to better suit community members’ needs. ISAIAH LINDO / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

“Our member businesses are very excited to see long overdue public space upgrades occur in Montgomery,” said Marion Hayes, Executive Director of the Montgomery on the Bow Business Improvement Area.

“Our Main Street is the economic and social driver for our community and having a Main Street that focuses on community health and multiple transportation options only benefits our businesses.”

Naz Virani, Killarney-Glengarry community association director said the project was much anticipated by Bowness residents.

He hopes it will raise the quality of to street to a “world-class neighbourhood Main Street.”

Cross section of Bowness Road from 45 Street to 46 Street NW. CITY OF CALGARY

“There’s been a significant amount of engagement, over the past few years, to help us understand the vision of what the main street should look like,” he said.

“And to see it come to fruition with shovels in the ground. I think the community’s overall excited about that.”

How the Main Streets Program is changing communities

City of Calgary’s Main Streets Program is the city’s way of making community main roads a vibrant, enticing place for residents to come together.

The city devises a “Streetscape Master Plan” to assess what the main street needs in terms of accessibility, safety, and beautification.

This master plan also assesses what will make the street more functional. It also takes into consideration what residents want the street to look like.

Specifically, at the intersection of Bowness Road and 46 Street, Virani said the community’s main concern was walkability and functionality.

“This condition where we have a sidewalk that butts upright on to the lane is sometimes dangerous. Especially for people walking strollers or if you’re walking a four-year-old or five years old,” he said.

“I mean, it’s not as safe. So the city’s plan is to create a barrier so that it separates people walking from the actual traffic that’s on the road.”

Mainstreets around the city will reflect the community’s needs

Bowness isn’t to the only community that has received this neighborhood update. Calgary has begun work on 17 Avenue SW (Crowchild Trail to 37 Street SW) and 37 Street SW (Bow Trail to Richmond Road SW).

These two main street updates fall into Coun. Evan Woolley’s Ward 8. Woolley appeared at the Bowness Road construction to show support for the renewal projects.

“In some neighborhoods, those sidewalk stamps are from the 1930s, and those sidewalks are crumbling,” he said.

“Seeing those crumbling sidewalks, those stamps are representations, oftentimes of the last time we made investments in those sidewalks.”

These pylons outline how far the curb will be extended into the street to create better walkability and slow down car traffic. ISAIAH LINDO / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Woolley said that area residents want to explore the communities where they live. The Main Streets Program is a way the city is realizing that goal.

“As you can see, there’s a lot of small businesses around this neighborhood. As these neighborhoods are becoming denser, you’re seeing more pedestrian traffic, more cycling traffic, and frankly more car traffic,” he said.

“So as we see these neighborhoods evolving it’s really important that the streets reflect a walkable, livable, multi-modal community.”

The total investment in these streets is $60 million, according to a City of Calgary news release.

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