Bike Calgary's picture

Crowchild Trail Corridor - Phase 5 Recommendations & Feedback Opportunity

Image: Crowchild Trail NW near 5th Avenue NW (from

Have your say...

The City of Calgary has entered into Phase 5 of the Crowchild Corridor Study.  This phase presents draft recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term upgrades that will, in the long-term, complete an urban freeway spanning from Calgary’s northwest boundary to Glenmore Trail SW.  Ultimately a project of this scope brings with it not only the potential to directly impact adjacent communities, but to influence mobility trends city-wide.

How does an urban freeway project impact cycling?

The draft recommendations include proposed new pathway connections, tying into the existing pathway network and the existing and proposed bikeway network, that have the potential to significantly enhance active modes mobility across and along the corridor, north of the Bow River to the University of Calgary.  Additional new pathway connections are also identified south of the Bow River, that similarly tie into the existing pathway and existing and proposed bikeway network and have potential to enhance mobility across the corridor.  Of importance, it appears that most of the pathway connections near to the corridor will be behind sound attenuation walls.

Image: Overall corridor plan for Crowchild Trail (from

Highlighting specifics is difficult with the size of the project, so your best option is to take a look at the overall concept plan (pdf map) for the study area, linked here, to get a feel for what’s proposed.  More detail (pdf maps with comments), specific to each area, can downloaded from the project webpage, or you can go directly to the feedback portal (28-Sep to 19-Oct) to see the same maps and comments and provide your input.

Alternatively, to provide feedback in person, two open houses will be held;

Open House #1 - Saturday, October 1
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Sunalta School, Main Gym – 536 Sonora Ave. S.W.

Open House #2 - Monday, October 3
Time: 5 to 8 p.m.
Location: Red and White Club, McMahon Stadium – 1833 Crowchild Tr. N.W.

Previous Bike Calgary Crowchild Trail Corridor references; (November, 2012)




mikewarren's picture

Major Barrier

Cycling in Calgary is already an exercise in "how to cross major barriers". We have several large freeways that greatly limit cycling connections already, and of course Crowchild is one of them (along with the two rivers, Shaganappi, Stoney, Deerfoot, Country Hills, Nose Hill, etc. etc.)

It's really sad that City planners can't come up with anything different than "more of the same" for all modes: more sidewalk-"bike"-ways, way more driving, and "maybe" some more pedestrian overpasses. All these things are bandaids on the core problem of using cars to move people around (or, at least *trying* to move people around) at huge cost to our health and overall city-scape.

Really, a big missed opportunity to do something innovative, especially given the scale here -- e.g. a correspondingly large "cycling" component would mean a proper north-south cycle-way that can move thousands of bicyclists (including children etc) safely. Instead, you *might* get a sidewalk painted to look like a road and failing for both walkers and riders.


mikewarren's picture


...and the above of course doesn't even mention something *actually* forward-looking like streetcar (or other transit) to take further cars off the road.

Even the "medium-term" plan doesn't take any attempt at tacking existing, serious problems like "oh, just rip through the parking-lots kids!" approach to the pedestrian bridge at Banff Trail. Those dashed green arrows are "giving up" in diagramm-ese...


giving up on McMahon

CPat's picture

Agreed, not doing the

Agreed, not doing the University Dr on top of Crowchild just turns this into a traffic sewer, doesn't matter what wall art they use  Look at all the wasted land especially at the 16 Ave interchange, so that the cars can maintain a higher speed around corners.  With them changing the Memorial-Crowchild interchange, couldn't they have doubled up the MUP, so there were separate ones for pedestrians and cyclists?  Major lost opporunity.

I'm concerned the map is labelled pathway/sidewalk.  If they only want to build sidewalks, then come right out and say it.  They should have separate labelling for both MUP and sidewalks. The flipsnack, slide 3, shows what they're projecting to do for cyclists: Will it get lost and default to pedestrian-centric or completely to sidewalks though not being on the main map?  i.e. turn geometry, smoothness, stairs vs ramps, etc.

24 St SW is good.  It's quiet enough it doesn't really need a separated path like a cycletrack, but it'd be great if they did more separation especially if redevelopment occurs.  Richmond Rd and 5 Ave NW at the intersections would be good too.

bclark's picture

Lots to digest

The plan has so much to digest...

In terms of "bike stuff" it actually looks to me like some of the pathways will provide pretty decent continuity along the corridor, bolstered by the fact that there's actually been some foresight put into including underpasses (hopefully nice wide and well lit ones like the active modes underpass beneath the TCH in Canmore) beneath some of the major roadways, i.e. 16th Avenue and 24th Avenue.  If they recognize that the travel distances along the corridor are probably more amenable to cycling than walking, and can do a decent pathway design as well as proper multi-use crossings...hopefully permissible under the Traffic Act by the time this is doing away with some of the unnecessary speed-encouraging channelized turns, then maybe they won't be too bad.  I'm also encouraged to see that there's some thought towards on-street cycling infrastructure on 5th Avenue and 24th Avenue.

I will admit though, I don't know what to think about the University Drive spaghetti, either from cycling standpoint, a pedestrian standpoint, a driving standpoint or a land-use standpoint.  It does look like it might make a good go-cart track though!  

The comment about potentially twinning the Bow River Pathway along Memorial...absolutely, I think preserving space for that, by shifting the road alignment slightly is essential and something that needs to make it into the comments.  During that, perhaps the City can consider also relocating utilities (power poles and light standards) so that they are not on or near the pathway and creating a safety hazard.

Of course, the much larger debate that should be had is whether developing an urban freeway is really the right way to go in terms of 'influencing long-term mobility trends' noted in the header post.

mikewarren's picture


...that's a lot of "if"s

You can go and look at the state-of-the-art and recently-completed "sidewalk MUPs" adorning all areas around the University to see what you'll get *at best* alongside Crowchild. Conclusion: not great.

Just this year, they completed a re-jig of the intersection at 24th and Crowchild, and while there are things that are good (more ramps! a desire-line paved!), it's overall pretty "cut-n-paste" from the last 20 years of sidewalk-MUPs. Better than before? Probably (except for narrower road-space, so bad for me personally). But it's not going to be hosting east-west riding kids (or any of the "timid" demographic) any time in the next 20 years, that's for sure.

mikewarren's picture

stepping back

...and yes, all these nit-picks detract from the overall point that this is first and foremost a "moar cars, moar faster" project and certainly nothing *remotely* "progressive" or innovative as far as an overall "transport solution.

mikewarren's picture

20 minute detour

This gets more and more depressing and shitty as I look deeper.

There will be NO ridable crossing of Crowchild (which would include people with strollers, Chariots, cargo-bikes or anyone who can't carry a bike up 40 stairs) anywhere between 5th Avenue and 22nd Avenue (Banff Trail train station) which *itself* is nearly impossible to fit a 2-kid chariot through (because railings + posts). And even then, once you *do* cross Crowchild there, the "medium -> long term" vision is that you still are spit out into the gentle, loving environs of McMahon parking-lot with zero indication of where you go to connect west.

(Spoiler: you can't! You have to "choose your own adventure" through the neighbourhoods until you get to the "regional sidewalk" near the Children's Hospital, which itself dead-ends in a mudheap and illegal crossing of Shaganappi). Fun! that amounts to a detour of up to 1.6km just to cross a *single* road for anyone who has the audacity to want to cycle or walk from Kensington/Sunnyside to the whole other side of Crowchild.

After Council has directed planners to make 50-year plans which *promote* walking, cycling and transit (through imagineCalgary *and* Plan-It Calgary) why aren't they just fired when they produce this shit? And yes, I'm completely serious.

paperthick's picture



winterrider's picture

Theres a path on the map

On the medium range plan there looks to be a green MUP heading north south on eithe side of Crowchild. One could take this two blocks north to 24th where there is already a MUP heading west. It's only 350 metres.

There are MUPS on both the north and south sides of the new 16th Ave interchange which appear to head west to the Hospital.

There is a new overpass at 12th Ave which I presume will be better than the current one (ie they'll have nice ramps I presume).

There is a new overpass at 9th Ave.

There will be an overpass at 5th Ave with what looks like bike lanes and a MUP.

There is a new overpass at 2nd Ave.

There are MUPS on the Kensington overpass.

That's a crossing every 3 to 4 blocks. I know it's in the medium term plan so it might be a ways out, but they have clearly planned a lot of bike crossing on Crowchild, so what are you talking about Mike? 

Or do you have info that all of these new MUP overpasses will be of inferior design? I'd be surprised if that happens given the quality of overpass the City is currently installing (for example the new overpass at Shaganappi and Northland Mall).

If your gripe is timing then make that clear.


bclark's picture

Crowchild Open House

I stopped by the open house at the Red and White Club tonight.  Couple things I heard;

Along the floodplain, Crowchild Trail will be sunk something like 2m below grade, basically in a shallow trench between 5th Avenue and where it comes up over the river (there will be sumps for water issues).  Kensington and 5th Avenue will both cross on overpasses at effectively the same grade as they are currently situated.  The entire corridor will be isolated by sound attenuation walls.  From the looks of it, these will seem quite high when on Crowchild, but look less imposing when in the communities.  All of the mid block pedestrian overpasses will have ramps for access.

I asked specifically about the Bow River pathway along eastbound Memorial.  I was told there was insufficient space to adjust the easbound lanes of Memorial to allow for more space, but that given the scope of the project, there may be ways to gain additional space river-side if riverbank encroachment issues are deemed minimal or solveable.  I did specifically ask, even as part of the short-term plan, if there is the opportunity to move the light standards to the north side of the eastbound lane of Memorial and reposition the big wooden Enmax pole so that it's off the pathway.  This seemed to get some positive reception, so if anyone else is providing comments, please stress the importance of the pathway corridor and need to additonal space.

In terms of the underpasses at 16th Avenue and 24th Avenue (the active modes ones), the examples cited were similar the TCH underpass in Canmore (they even had a photo of it), so at least at this stage, they are thinking of something that may be more appealing from a safety and mobility standpoint than the typical culverts we've seen.

I did stress to a number of City representatives that I hope we can do better than the typical crossings we see at roadway intersectons today and possibly see high-quality safe, efficient and comfortable multi-use crossings.

Bottom line though, it's an urban freeway project and it seems like the City is keen to push forward on it.  I actually think there's some promise in what they are showing for accommodation for bicycles along the corridor (considering Complete Streets doesn't really even require cycling along skeletals), but, as they noted, right now a lot of the pathways are just placeholders and the exact designs will likely vary in alignment with final designs to be determined.

Anyway, there's lots of time to have your say on the design or even voice a position against an urban freeway project all together, if that's your position.  After the feedback is collected, the comments will be incorporated into the next stage and then the plan is to go before Council in the New Year.

bclark's picture


I thought I'd heard 2m for the trench, but that's not much if the cross streets are at grade (watch your head!).  Looking at the photo I took of the cross section it looks to be 4-ish meters, with maybe some additional clearance by arching the cross streets and bridges.  Hopefully the city posts the display boards.

Bike Calgary's picture

Crowchild Trail - Open Houses (Nov 29 & Dec 3) & Feedback

The City of Calgary is providing opportunities for citizens to comment on the draft plan for Crowchild Trail.

Public Information Session #1

Tuesday, November 29 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Red & White Club, McMahon Stadium – 1833 Crowchild Tr. N.W.

(No RSVP required)

Public Information Session #2

Saturday, December 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunalta School, Main Gym – 536 Sonora Ave. S.W.

(No RSVP required)

An opportunity to review the final recommendations and provide your input online will be available starting November 29.

NOTE: We've uploaded a copy of a letter we sent to the Project Manager with respect to cycling-specific considerations for Crowchild Trail to the main thread of this forum

You can also link to the letter here:

Bike Calgary's picture

Crowchild Trail Study - to SPC Transportation & Transit 19-Apr

The Crowchild Trail Study will be presented at SPC Transportation and Transit on 19-Apr-2017.  

Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Time: 9:30 a.m. 

Location: 800 Macleod Trail S.E. (Council Chamber)

Additional details, including a 7 minute video highlighting the Study recommendations, can be found on the project website  There are a number of comments with respect to changes targetted at improving cycling connections along and across the corridor.

Phase 6 info session boards can be found at