Monday, October 5, 2015

5 Avenue S.W. to be converted to two-way street

After a successful trial of the 5 Avenue lane reversal downtown, The City is moving forward with phase two of the project – converting 5 Avenue S.W. between 5 Street S.W. and the west-end into a two-way street.

Proposed extension of the 5 Avenue lane reversal is marked in blue.
On May 19, 2015 The City of Calgary implemented a trial lane reversal system on 5 Avenue S.W. between 7 Street S.W. and the west-end of downtown.  This optimized the use of existing transportation infrastructure and aided outbound traffic flow from the downtown core during the afternoon peak period.

“Since May, the Transportation Department has monitored the 5 Avenue S.W. lane reversal,” said Ravi Seera, City of Calgary Traffic Manager. “Over time the lane reversal has shown increased use, providing Calgarians with another option for travelling west out of downtown.”

Traffic counts conducted in late September show over 840 vehicles used the reversed lanes between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., including almost 470 vehicles during the 4:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. peak hour. This one-hour traffic volume represents over 60 per cent of the capacity of the lane reversal.

To further optimize the use of 5 Avenue S.W., the Transportation Department is implementing the following changes to the operation of 5 Avenue S
.W. on a trial basis beginning, Thursday, October 15:

  • 5 Avenue S.W. between 5 Street S.W. and the west-end of downtown will be converted to a two-way street at all times except during the morning peak period (6 to 9 a.m.) on weekdays.
  • Motorists will be required to park facing westbound, on the north side of 5 Avenue S.W. between 5 Street S.W. and 10 Street S.W. at all times.
  • Morning and afternoon peak period parking restrictions will apply. Please obey all posted parking signs.

“During the lane reversal trial we heard from citizens that a two block extension would make westbound travel on 5 Avenue more convenient,” Seera said. “Allowing two-way traffic operations for most of the day will improve congestion and provide better traffic circulation in the area using the city’s existing infrastructure.”

The two-way conversion will be in place for approximately six months as a pilot, after which time its success will be evaluated and next steps will be considered.  During the pilot, temporary traffic barricades and other control devices will be used, similarly to the operation of the current lane reversal.

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  1. I used to commute eastbound on 5th Ave through downtown to where I work in the northeast, but stopped after experiencing the two way traffic situation once. I commute between 9-10 am. Now I use Memorial Drive. Since the traffic was backed up on northbound Crowchild Trail yesterday, I decided to try 5th Ave again. I only saw one vehicle going westbound and eastbound was bumper to bumper. This was at about 9:30-9:40 am. Four or five traffic lights are not synchronized going eastbound which adds to the problem. Is increasing the CO levels in the downtown core part of the city's strategic plan? Having vehicles idle unnecessarily at stop lights would seem to be a good way of fulfilling that plan. The lights are really out of sync westbound on 4 avenue between after 6 pm. Anyway, there is not much traffic heading westbound through the city during most of the morning, so why doesn't 5 Ave convert to two way traffic at 11:00 am just before the lunch rush? Even 10:00 am would be better than 9:00 am. With construction taking place on the south side of 5th Ave between 9th and 10th street a real bottleneck can form there even when there are 4 eastbound lanes let alone 2. Please amend the time that the two way traffic begins to a later time!

    1. Two-way traffic on 5 Avenue S.W. is still a pilot project so your feedback is appreciated. We have noticed some issues with eastbound traffic shortly after the lane reversal goes into effect after 9 a.m. and are working to adjust signal timings to favour eastbound traffic for a longer period of time on weekday mornings. We’re hoping this will help with eastbound congestion.

      If you have any other feedback on the 5 Ave lane reversal please let us know through our online feedback form: