Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Main Streets: More than just streets

Main streets are important to the long-term growth of our city because they are vibrant areas for people to live, work and visit. Not only do they offer a variety of diverse lifestyle choices for housing and transportation, they form part of the fabric of daily life. Main streets are more than just streets, these are the places where you grab coffee, run errands, meet friends and are unique and vital destinations.

The Main Streets initiative aligns to the long term growth goals of the Municipal Development plan by directing growth to existing main street areas. These areas have the capacity to support future population increases and commercial opportunities, and are located along a Primary Transit Network for easy accessibility.

To understand the unique requirements of growth in these areas, The Main Streets initiative considered:
  • Calgarian’s desires for their main street areas
  • Market demand for the location and timing of new development
  • Local planning and policy goals
Throughout an extensive public engagement process, in which Calgarians thoughtfully provided their input, some of the most important outcomes expressed by main street users included:
  • A vibrant public realm
  • A variety of retail and small businesses
  • A unique character
These desired outcomes were considered along with market demand (i.e. development and investment interest) and local planning (i.e. current zoning and policy goals). Based on this approach, seven main streets were identified as ready for change and redevelopment in the short-term. City planners then looked at the solutions that would work in these areas to enable desired growth and change.

1 Avenue NE: supporting a growing population



Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want more community gathering spaces and a high quality street while maintaining a small town feel
·         868 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years driving commercial and retail opportunities

·         The Bridgeland/Riverside Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) provides policy that promotes and encourages growth along 1 Avenue NE
·         Current zoning does not allow population and employment levels to fully meet MDP growth targets

36 Street NE: enabling a more creative use of existing space



Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want a safe and comfortable multi-modal main street with high quality public transit facilities and more landscaping
·         214 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020
·         Many sites have potential for larger scale projects including medium-term opportunity for residential, office and retail development

·         Local planning does not provide the proper framework for main street development as envisioned by the MDP
·         Current zoning does not facilitate mixed used development and makes more creative use of large commercial sites a challenge

16 Avenue NW (Mongtomery) and Bowness Road NW (Montgomery): encouraging population growth


Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want safe and vibrant main street sidewalks, a variety of businesses and effective reuse and renewal of older retail
·         Both main streets have not been overly active locations for new development
·         Commercial and retail opportunities will be driven by population growth in the immediate area
·         The Montgomery Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) provides policy that encourages pedestrian focused commercial and mixed use buildings along the main streets
·         Current zoning does not allow population and employment to reach MDP growth targets

17 Avenue SE: better aligning to MDP growth targets



Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want more amenities, gathering spaces that showcase cultural diversity, employment opportunities, safe and vibrant main street sidewalks and improved connectivity to the city
·         1,794 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting between 2016 and 2020 and gradually increasing.
·         Many sites along 17 Avenue SE have potential for larger scale projects including short to medium-term opportunity for residential, office and retail development

·         Current zoning does not match up with the City Council approved Southeast 17 Corridor: and does not allow for development to reach the growth targets outlined in the Municipal Development Plan


17 Avenue SW (from Crowchild Trail to 37 Street SW): encouraging more commercial and retail development


Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want development of vacant sites and Tecumseh site, and to retain character
·         Approximately 3,340 homes are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020
·         Potential for further retail and commercial development opportunities
·         Killarney/Glengarry ARP provides land use policy that support MDP goals
·         Westbrook Village Station Area Plan is directed by the goals of the MDP
·         Current zoning allows for a range of mixed use and apartment development but restricts commercial uses and there is limited opportunity for street-level access forms of multi-residential development


37 Street SW: encouraging more commercial and retail development


Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want more of a destination, more vitality and better managed parking
·         Approximately 3,208 homes are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020.
·         The Westbrook Mall site has potential for office and general commercial retail development at a larger scale than most main street sites.

·         The current zoning does not allow the street to grow over time to meet MDP growth targets


Drop by an upcoming information session in October to review the proposed solutions and the specific tools and techniques that will be used to enable growth and change in these main street areas. Visit calgary.ca/mainstreets for event details.

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