A major Calgary blueprint will revive calls for river crossings at 50th Avenue S. W. and Shaganappi Trail — only this time, they won’t be for cars.
The draft version of Plan It Calgary, to be released next month, envisions the bridges to allow only mass transit, pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles. It’s one of many recommendations the city’s new master plan and transportation plan will include to give preference to transit over the automobile.
It comes 15 years after environmental and community groups forced car-friendly Bow and Elbow River crossings out of initial drafts of the Go Plan — Plan It’s predecessor — and those parties are mixed on whether the new proposal helps mute their concerns about the old one.
“I don’t think a cyclist would be more pleased it was a bus instead of a car going 30 kilometres per hour up the coulee trail as he was going downhill,” said Fred Fenwick, president of the Edworthy Park Heritage Society.
The draft plan envisions that in the next 15 years or more, the crossing will be needed to link Shaganappi Trail with the south shore of the Bow River, cutting through Edworthy Park. The 50th Avenue link would connect Altadore and Windsor Park in the east to Mount Royal College in the west, cutting across Sandy Beach and the Elbow River.
In both cases, the bridges would help create crosstown bus routes that get people to and from MRC and University of Calgary without filing them through downtown.