Worries are growing over public realm improvements promised along Centre Street North that were to coincide with the delivery of the north portion of Calgary’s $5.5 billion Green Line.
The Crescent Heights Village BIA and the Crescent Heights Community Association have both called on the City of Calgary to push forward on planned improvements along the Centre Street N corridor.
They’ve both sent separate letters to the City outlining their concerns.
Centre Street N is the planned path for the Green Line LRT once it moves north of the Bow River. However, when the project was split into two phases, with the City reviewing the feasibility of the north portion as they see costs for the south stretch, the BIA’s executive director Camie Leard said she knew there could be trouble.
“The uncertainty is really, really hard on business,” Leard said.
“Any sort of investment that is going to happen on Center Street is sort of waiting on this thing that may or may not happen. And if it does, it’s probably many years down the line at this point.”
When the City approved the current Green Line program, it was to come with public realm improvements along Centre Street. That was part of the proposed bus rapid transit proposal sought for the area as an interim.
The City said they’d received the letters from the community association and the BIA and will continue to work with them.
“Planning improvements within communities can take an extended period of time due to numerous factors including future infrastructure development and funding,” they wrote in an email response.
“We understand that these timelines are not ideal for those anticipating improvements through a previous plan.”
Realize the community potential: CHCA
The province didn’t mention the Green Line in the Transportation Minister’s mandate letter, but mentions of the Blue Line extension and airport connection were prominent.
The slow progress on potential public improvements and uncertainty on the timeline for the north leg of the Green Line stifles confidence in the neighbourhood, according to the community association.
“The community of Crescent Heights needs to be allowed to reach its full potential, a community that has a welcoming Main Street with a progressive public realm which promotes economic vitality and investment,” said Marie Semenick-Evans, co-chair of the CHCA Transportation Planning and Mobility committee.
“Green Line construction came with many promises including new sidewalks, pedestrian safety measures, improved public realm, seating areas and other improvements to Centre Street, all of which are important to making Crescent Heights a vibrant, walkable and safe community.”
Semenick-Evans also said that response from the city to calls for interim solutions have been “sluggish.”
Leard said they’re looking for small improvements that could help in critical areas. She said it doesn’t need to be a big investment to make a difference.
She said the main reason the community and the BIA have supported the Green Line was because of the reduced traffic flow in the area and the public realm upgrades. With all the uncertainty, the groups decided it was time to take action again.
“We want to make sure that Centre Street doesn’t continue to deteriorate in the meantime,” she said.
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who has been a proponent of pushing the north leg of the LRT forward, said it’s time to move forward on development of the corridor. When they do move ahead, public realm has to play a key role.
“That is something that is high priority for the city and for this council,” she said.
“I would say that we just need to get moving on that project