‘Plan B’

In 2009, five years of planning and negotiating for a ring road in Southwest Calgary was voted down by the members of the Tsuu T’ina (more here). When the province walked away from further discussions, they declared the Tsuu T’ina option dead and were anxious to move on; to develop another option entirely within the city of Calgary. This would be called the ‘Plan B’.

On November 27 2009, only five months after the rejection of a Tsuu T’ina alignment, the City of Calgary and the Province of Alberta signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly explore the 37th street SW corridor for the purposes of building an 8-lane freeway entirely within the city limits. The scope of the MoU was eventually expanded to consider alternative routes to 37th street SW, and the study was meant to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2011 with a proposed route.

Was there really no ‘Plan B’?

When the 2009 deal was initially defeated, then Mayor Dave Bronconier stated that they did not have a Plan B for the City and Province to fall back on.

Every transportation plan since 1959 planned for an extension of Sarcee Trail to become the primary north-south freeway on the west side of Calgary (essentially the ‘Plan A’). Though there have been a few alternatives proposed throughout the years, mainly involving on 37th street SW, these concepts had never been fully explored, and none have ever been approved (you can see these preliminary concepts here).

Continue reading “‘Plan B’”

37th Street SW, Glenmore Trail to 66th Avenue SW

This is the first of three articles on the role of 37th street in the ring road story. Part two, from 90th avenue SW to Anderson road can be found here, and part three here.

Since it was first paved, 37th street SW in Lakeview north of the reservoir between Glenmore Trail and 66th Avenue SW has been a quiet residential road with a single lane in each direction (and a third for parking on the east side). Its purpose has been to feed into Lakeview, the Married Officer’s housing on the Harvey Barracks, North Glenmore Park and the Weaselhead. Prior to this the road existed as a gravel road, and was a small but important link in a road that served both the Tsuu T’ina reserve and the area of Priddis beyond.

Currently along 37th street SW in Lakeview there are 105 homes (single family and duplex) that occupy the east side of the street, and approximately 45 feet of grass on the west side. At the north end of Lakeview, there are also 2 apartment buildings (comprising 66 units) that directly adjoins the road. While access to the Tsuu T’ina reserve (and previously the Military base) at 37th street has long been in use, in recent years that connection has seen increasing use by the public. The Tsuu T’ina opened a casino near the intersection of 37th street SW and Glenmore Trail in 2007 which is reliant on this connection. While the casino has increased the demand on the road, and the casino expansion will surely increase the demand further, casino traffic is largely contained to the area closest to Glenmore Trail. Continue reading “37th Street SW, Glenmore Trail to 66th Avenue SW”

The Grey Eagle Casino

1996 is the earliest public mention of plans by the Tsuu T’ina to develop a casino, the same year the Harvey Barracks was closed, and a full decade before the land was cleared and returned to the Nation. The original plans called for a casino, hotel and entertainment complex, and on June 30, 2004, the Nation voted to proceed with the Casino portion. Groundbreaking on the 84,000 square foot casino was held September 14 2006, and was open to the public in December 2007. The casino was controversial from the very beginning, especially in regards to access. Continue reading “The Grey Eagle Casino”

The 2009 Agreement

(For information about the 2013 ring road agreement including maps, click here)

In my last post, I talked about the road design that was part of the 2009 proposal, which was eventually defeated in a referendum of Tsuu T’ina members. While this design formed a large part of the 2009 agreement, the details of that agreement are equally as important when it comes to understanding the history of the road. By all public accounts, the reasons why many members of the Tsuu T’ina voted against the 2009 deal were contained in the details of this agreement.

Soon after the deal was rejected by a vote of about 60.5% against, Tsuu T’ina Chief Sanford Big Plume made comments that the Tsuu T’ina were interested continuing negotiations. While stating categorically that they were not asking for more money, more land or a different route, he did identify a few details of the agreement as being part of the reason the vote failed. Rather than rejecting the entire agreement, he implied that the Nation had voted against certain clauses that were unacceptable. While the Nation were on record as wanting to continue the negotiation process (the deal was only ever put to a vote that one time), after the rejection the deal was declared dead by the Province.

Before we look at the details later identified as needing revision, lets look at what the agreement actually contained: Continue reading “The 2009 Agreement”

2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Opening Day Stage

(For information about the 2013 ring road agreement including maps, click here)

In my previous article (found here) I wrote about the design of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road, and included the road diagrams. Those diagrams showed the ‘Ultimate Stage’ of the road, which showed the road as it would be once fully built out, something that would happen only once Calgary’s population reached the 2.1 million mark. However, they do not represent what would initially be built in the short term if this road becomes reality. This article covers the ‘Stage 1’ or ‘Opening Day’ design for the road that would be built if (or when) a deal is reached.

THE FUNCTIONAL PLANNING STUDY

Focus Engineering designed the road from about 2005 to about 2008, and did so with on behalf of the Province, with input from the City of Calgary, the Tsuu T’ina and stakeholder groups. The final road design is contained in the final Functional Planning Study (FPS) document.

‘OPENING DAY’ ROAD DIAGRAMS

The following diagrams are of the ‘Opening Day’ stage of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road, taken from the Functional Planning Study. The number in the circles on the road indicate lane count. Please click on the images to see a much larger version. (Note the direction of North, as the orientation changes from diagram to diagram).

101st Street SW and Highway 8 to 69th Street SW. Continue reading “2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Opening Day Stage”

2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Ultimate Stage

(For information about the 2013 ring road agreement including maps, click here)

The 2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road plan was the culmination of not just 5 years of study and negotiation, but of decades of transportation plans. While the negotiations were rejected by the Tsuu T’ina in June of 2009, that agreement will form the basis of the current negotiations. Both parties have stated that while the terms of the agreement need work, the road and alignment would not change in the renewed negotiations. But what exactly did the plan entail?

The 2009 Plan was initiated in 2004, with the signing of an ‘Agreement in Principle’ by Premiere Ralph Klein and Chief Sanford Big Plume, followed in 2005 by the signing of a ‘Final Framework for Infrastructure’. This Framework agreement set the stage for the Province to begin the work of determining a route, planning the road and negotiating for the land required.

While the design plans for most of the Stoney Trail (the Calgary Ring Road) calls for a road of 2-4 lanes in each direction (4-8 lanes total) the Southwest portion was designed to accomodate 16 lanes. The Tsuu T’ina agreed that if they were to sell land for a road, it would be done only once. Since the Province have long term plans for a second ‘Outer’ Ring Road around Calgary, and with no further opportunity to purchase more land from the Tsuu T’ina, the Southwest portion was to be designed to accomodate not only the 8 lanes from the current Stoney Trail Ring Road, but an additional 8 lanes for a future, ‘Outer’ Ring Road (shown below). The ‘Opening Day’ scenario details a road of 4-6 lanes, while the ‘Ultimate’ stage, not expected to be built for 50+ years, details a road of up to 16 lanes.

Outer Ring Road small

Continue reading “2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Ultimate Stage”

1959, 1963 and 1967 Transportation Plans

In 1959, Calgary produced it’s first ever transportation plan, called the Calgary Metropolitan Area Transportation Study. This was the first time the City produced a comprehensive, forward-looking plan that laid out the basic road network for a growing city.

Part of this document, plus the revision in 1963 and the Calgary Transportation Study (CALTS) in 1967, showed for the first time (*see edit below) a plan for a major north-south road connecting Glenmore Trail to the areas south of the reservoir, called the ‘West By-Pass’. The City planned this section of the road to be a continuation of what would eventually be called Sarcee Trail, from Glenmore Trail, heading south through the Harvey Barracks (Sarcee Camp), through the Weaselhead area, and then south along the 37th street SW corridor from about 90th avenue SW. Because the Harvey Barracks was at that time owned by the Canadian Military, and both it and the Weaselhead area were within Calgary city limits, this original routing was contained entirely within the City of Calgary, and required no land from the adjoining Tsuu T’ina reserve.

Continue reading “1959, 1963 and 1967 Transportation Plans”