Relief may be on the horizon for residents in a southeast community who have been longing for another way to exit their neighbourhood.
For years, Mahogany residents have been critical that the community is essentially landlocked with no additional exits aside from two on the area’s west side. Both exits, within close proximity to one another, pour traffic onto a busy 52 Street SE.
Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer said that a solution is in the works that should provide some relief for citizens, but there’s still work to be done to get there. Spencer posted a history lesson on the issue on his Ward 12 blog site, outlining some of the challenges over the years.
“Because of where the community is built out most of the back of the east portion of the neighborhood has been built, and they have they only have to two ways through the community to get out,” Spencer told LiveWire Calgary.
Back in 2014, citizens tried to petition the City of Calgary, the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada to get a fix for the area. That effort, thus far, has been unsuccessful.
“THAT, the residents of Mahogany are having their safety put at risk by the declaration of the through fair [sic] of 88 ST not permitting the original Bus and Emergency Access or the use of 88th Street to reduce the amount of Traffic entering the community,” the petition posted in a Mahogany Facebook group read.
“The designs of the roads, especially at the traffic circles, do not allow for safe driving or pedestrian conditions throughout the community.”
Coun. Spencer said after working with city administration and the developer, Hopewell, south exits that were planned are now closer to fruition.
South exit under review
Instead of forcing all of the traffic out onto 52 Street SE from those two access points, Spencer said two additional exit points can be added onto Rangeview Road (196 Avenue SE). That’s on the south side of the community.
Now, in some sense, it’s delaying the inevitable trek up 52 Street, as you’ll empty out onto Rangeview Road and meet the intersection at 52 Street to the west.
“It will alleviate some of the pressure we have right now,” Spencer said.
“It will divert some traffic but likely those backups at the schools, and the longer commute if you’re in the back northeast corner of the neighborhood, is there to stay, to a degree.”
Neighbourhood hopes of an 88 Street exit on the east side of the community aren’t going to pan out, Spencer said. There are just too many trade-offs for it to happen. That’s despite it being mentioned as a potential exit point – at least for transit – on past community development maps.
Spencer said while complaints of traffic backup in the area aren’t overwhelming, they’re steady. Even he, as a Mahogany resident, arranges his commute around the traffic pressure.
Still, there’s no guarantee yet that a fix can be completed this year. Spencer said that Hopewell has approvals for an exit.
“There are some challenges in terms of the design and safely building the design for that entrance,” he said.
“It’ll be similar to the 52nd and Rangeview intersection with jersey barriers and temporary signage because it doesn’t make sense for them to construct the full signalized intersection right out of the gate.”
That, coupled with construction delays due to labour shortages and other factors could push this into next year. Spencer’s trying to keep the city and the developer motivated to take action, and he’s optimistic something can get done soon.
“Every conversation I have I get the warm fuzzies that that’s the case but of course, there’s many priorities that everyone has on their table,” he said.
“So, I’ll just try and keep up the pressure as best as possible.”