Starting on the evening of Nov. 24, Calgary Transit will be undertaking the largest ever replacement shuttle service over nine days as the final track work is completed on the new Victoria Park/Stampede LRT station.
The track work is set to close all of the Red Line LRT stations between Chinook and City Hall/Bow Valley College stations, including the 39 Street Station, and Erlton Station.
Calgary Transit will be instead running replacement buses in five minute intervals at each of the affected stations, with stops at each station, along with direct bus routes from Anderson Station and Heritage Station to replacement stops along 9 Avenue.
“We will make every effort to minimize disruption, but we know this will be a challenging week for travellers in this area,” said Doug Morgan, General Manager of Operational Services at the City of Calgary.
“I want to thank the customers for their patience as we get through the nine day closure… I’d also like to make a special request for patience with our transit operators and ambassadors during this time. They will be working hard to get you on your way and help you find the bus.”
Calgary Transit will be running additional shuttle buses during major events, such as during Calgary Flames games and the Dec. 3 Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss.
The City of Calgary has also partnered with Heritage Park and the Calgary Stampede to provide park-and-ride options, with 1,000 parking spots at Heritage Park, and 600, $7 per day spots at Stampede Park. Customers parking at Heritage Park can catch the MAX Yellow directly to downtown or MAX Teal buses to the Westbrook LRT for downtown access.
Delays on northbound Macleod Trail expected
Morgan said that there was likely to be additional slowdowns entering downtown on northbound Macleod Trail, as work is completed around the Victoria Park/Stampede Station.
Those slowdowns would be a result of lane closures throughout the entire period. Lanes are planned to remain open during the morning rush hour from 6 to 9 a.m. from Nov. 27 through Nov. 30.
“We have our mobility team with our operations centre that are going to be watching carefully the operations. We will also be providing information signs to help people to divert out of the area, as well as optimizing the signals to try to maximize the throughput,” Morgan said.
He said that any Macleod Trail congestion leading to delays in replacement bus service would be monitored.
“If more resources are required as far as capacity for the shuttle buses, we will have those in real time,” Morgan said.
The passenger capacity would be similar but not equal to that the of the LRT,” Morgan said.
“While we won’t replicate the great service that our train can provide, we’ve come we think fairly close to providing that capacity replacement.”
He said the goal was to give Calgary Transit customers and drivers the options to still be able to access the downtown core.
“While we recognize it’s not always an option, we’re also encouraging those that can consider staggering their work hours to avoid the peak times. If carpooling is an option, that will also help us reduce traffic congestion,” Morgan said.
“We would say try to adjust your travel patterns. That may be working from home but not something we think needs to be done. It’s more around just planning your travel a little bit more deliberately for the nine days.”
As a result of the shuttle bus plan, Morgan said that Calgary Transit would be emptying their garages and adjusting maintenance schedules for vehicles to ensure the maximum number of buses are available for customers.
He said that there was likely going to be some impacts to bus routes in other areas of the city, as buses are re-tasked to provide shuttle replacement service.
Significant work to be done to complete Victoria Park/Stampede Station
Clare LePan, Vice President of Communication and Strategic Partnerships for the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, said that a lot of careful analysis had been done to weigh different options of how to proceed with the final stage of construction by CMLC, the City of Calgary, and by Calgary Transit.
She said that the nine-day window was a way to ensure that there wasn’t a series of construction shutdowns of the LRT network, and that it would minimize the risk of unexpected additional shut downs.
“It’s quite a complex site. It’s also quite a constrained site because we want to ensure that the work happening is done within a safe perimeter for pedestrians and others that are in the area,” she said.
LePan said that among the work being performed during the nine days would be to re-align the permanent track from the temporary track that was installed for the temporary LRT station, signals work, and construction that will allow for users to begin using the new Victoria Park/Stampede Station in December.
She said that during the nine-day period, construction crews would be working 24/7 on the project—and that there had been risk assessments and scheduling done by CMLC to ensure that the work would be completed in that time period.
The cost of the replacement service had already been factored into the total budget for the Victoria Park/Stampede Station construction project, LePan said.
A full list of transit options from Nov. 24 to Dec. 4, is available at www.calgarytransit.com/content/transit/en/home/news/cutover.html.