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Southwest ring road: Convenience or concern for Tsuut’ina Trail connections

When first opened, the southwest ring road was initially applauded for giving commuters a clear path around the city’s southwest.

Questions earlier this month at Calgary city council suggested that traffic volume and speed are growing concerns on the feeder routes in the area. Some communities, however aren’t really seeing anything they didn’t expect.

At the July 5 combined meeting of council, Coun. Jeromy Farkas said he’s received a growing number of frustrated calls to his office since the southwest leg – Tsuut’ina Trail – came online. The road opened to traffic from Highway 8 to Fish Creek Boulevard on Oct. 1, 2020.

“Fast forward to the most recent opening of the ring road, many areas in my ward, including 90 Avenue and Southland Drive, the residents in the area have expressed significant concerns about speeding and traffic volumes in the area,” said Farkas.

Farkas said in the meeting he was “loathe and reluctant” to raise the issue in public, but he felt his constituents needed action to avoid any needless tragedy. He questioned administration on what they were doing to address these issues in his ward. He also referenced ward 6 and 13.

City traffic data for the area

City of Calgary Transportation GM Doug Morgan said they’ve been working with the Calgary police and the communities to track traffic in these areas. Morgan said the average speed along 90 Avenue slightly exceeded the posted limit. Roughly 15 per cent were 12 or 13 kilometres over.

“Unfortunately, this is relatively common for this type of roadway, and there are several roads similar to 90 Avenue where higher speeds and lower compliance are observed,” said Morgan.

Morgan said they would work with the Calgary police in order to address driver behaviour.  Morgan also said that a traffic study would be done in the fall along 90 Avenue at Palliser Drive and Oakside Gate.

Some concern was raised by community members in the past about a lack of wildlife fencing. Otherwise, many have said the route provides convenience.

Streamlined commute

Despite the concerns of Coun. Farkas, Southwood Community Association president Becky Poschmann said the ring road has streamline road travel in the area. Southwood is bordered by Southland Drive on the north side, 14 Street SW on the west side and Anderson Road on the south side. Anderson Road is a direction connection to Tsuut’ina Trail. Southland Drive connects near the 90 Avenue interchange.

“It takes pressure off our major corridors like Crowchild, Glenmore, and Macleod Trail and keeps it moving so that people don’t have to necessarily go through the city to get out of the city,” Poschmann said.  

Poschmann also said there are already major roadways around Southwood. The residents have no problem adapting to the change.

“We understand when there are going to be higher volumes based on the time of day but it’s pretty consistent and we’re able to get in and out of our community relatively smoothly,” said Poschmann.

Poschmann said the ring road saves time for those looking to get out to the mountains.

“I know 15 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot but if you are doing that trip every weekend to go to the ski hills in the winter then it saves you a lot of time,” said Poschmann.