Bridge No More: Street level access comes to Victoria Park LRT Station

Kate Thompson, CMLC President and CEO, stood on the ramp leading up to the Victoria Park LRT station in Calgary on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The station had street level access via a pedestrian walkway on Macleod Trail and 17 Avenue SE added. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Pedestrians are about to save a lot of steps getting to their train at the Victoria Park Station.

Opened today, access to the LRT station and Stampede Park no longer requires pedestrians to cross a bridge over Macleod Trail at 15 Avenue SE.

“We have a huge part of the city that’s been underutilized, and this is the first step in allowing people easier access into the area,” said Kate Thompson, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation President & CEO.

The new street-level access points to the LRT station were located at 14 Avenue SE and 17 Avenue SE.

The CMLC said that the distance to cross Macleod Trail was seven times less with the street level access.

This was the first way for pedestrians to access Stampede Park without the use of a bridge in over 40 years. Victoria Park Station, then called Stampede Station, opened in 1981.

A pedestrian crossing did exist at Macleod Trail and 17 Avenue SE, but required transit users and park goers to climb a set of stairs to access the station and the park.

Prior to 2020 an estimated 13,000 transit riders used Victoria Park Station.

Further development coming

Starting this weekend, PCL Construction will be doing further demolition on the Victoria Park Station.

CMLC expected that by spring, Calgarians would have a new temporary LRT station.

“You’ll see early next spring, the temporary station in the same location, so Calgarians will see this project evolve and then be delivered jointly with the BMO expansion project,” said Thompson.

Further changes coming to the area include additional street level access points. Larger sidewalks, and increased mobility access to LRT service are also coming.

This redesign was also part of the CMLC’s overall Rivers District master plan.

“The master plan is trying to get people, Calgarians and others, down into this area,” said Thompson.

A rendered image of the 17 Avenue SE and Victoria Park Station changes coming to the west side of Stampede Park. CMLC

Safety across Macleod Trail

Thompson said that safety is a primary concern for the redesign of the crossing.

Other at-grade LRT crossings exist in Calgary, such as at the Sunnyside LRT station.

“Everyone has been thinking about that constantly, and there’s precedent for the at-grade crossings in the city,” she said.

“We know that there’s a lot of people going to be coming in and out of business. It’s not a normal city sidewalk; you need to be able to allow for the crowds and plan for the crowds.”

This year there have been two pedestrian incidents at Macleod Trail and 17 Avenue SE that required EMS to attend. The first was at 3:08 a.m. on July 10. The second was at 11:24 p.m. on Sept. 8.

A pedestrian waited to cross the road at the Victoria Park LRT station street level access in Calgary on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The station had street level access via a pedestrian walkway on Macleod Trail and 17 Avenue SE added. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

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