Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Getting around construction on 17 Avenue S.

We started the big rebuild of 17 Avenue S. in April. Through May and June, the construction zone will extend from one block to three blocks, which means closing the Avenue in this area to traffic. In some cases through construction, 17 Avenue S. will be closed for four blocks. This full road closure on 17 Avenue S. is the best way to get the work done in a timely manner. But it also means closing these blocks to people driving to and through the area, including Transit routes.

As a solution, we’re switching 14-15 Avenue S. from two-way streets to one-way streets to accommodate the detour on May 23. It’s a big change, but a necessary one given the impact of 17 Avenue S. construction on how people travel in the area. There were a number of items we took into consideration when making this decision:

  • The one-way 14-15 Avenues allow room for Transit routes to stay close to their original routes on 17 Avenue S. when they need to be detoured from 17 Avenue
  • Maintains an east-west connection close to 17 Avenue S. for people visiting the area by vehicle.
  • Maintains on-street parking, although some parking will be temporarily removed to accommodate transit and bus stops.
  • Provides a predictable, consistent and formal route, as close as possible to the closed 17 Avenue S blocks that makes the detour safer.
  • Signs will direct people around the construction zone so people are encouraged to get back onto 17 Avenue S., once past the construction zone.
It’s our priority to maintain access for people walking, cycling and driving in the area during construction. The goal is to get people where they need to go, while balancing the needs of citizens who live in the area, while we rebuild 17 Avenue S.

We heard you! You want more information. For up-to-date information on the detour visit the Getting Around web page.


How do we balance the needs of people who live, work and visit 17 Avenue and the Beltline?

The City is investing in 17 Avenue and the Beltline by upgrading the road, utilities and sidewalks on 17 Avenue. This project will see up to three to four blocks of 17 Avenue S., plus minor intersections, closed for months at a time. People travelling by bus or by vehicle will not be able to use 17 Avenue S. in these areas.

To make sure people can still access their homes from the Avenue and the Avenue itself, plus to keep transit buses detouring as close to the 17 Avenue S. routes as possible, converting 14 and 15 Avenues to one-ways is the best means to achieve these goals.

Will 14 Avenue and 15 Avenue turn into busy roads like 11 avenue and 12 Avenue?

No. We’ll be signing the detour to encourage people to only use the two Avenues to bypass the construction zone- not to stay on the 14-15 Avenues for the entire length of the one-ways. At intersections, the existing stop signs and traffic controls will remain in place. On-street parking will remain on both sides and only be temporarily removed for temporary bus stops and near intersections. The result is a detour that will encourage people to get back onto 17 Avenue S. as soon as they can.

The City will also monitor the Avenues to ensure traffic is moving safely and efficiently.

Why did The City pick 14 and 15 Avenues as the detour and why one-way streets?

The City evaluated different detour plan options and determined that turning 14-15 Avenues into one-way streets to accommodate detours was the best option because:

  • One lane of traffic in one direction makes enough space to keep Calgary Transit buses operating on and close to their original routes on 17 Avenue S.
  • Maintains an east-west connection, which bypasses the construction zone, close to 17 Avenue for people visiting the area by vehicle.
  • Maintains the most on-street parking, although some parking will be temporarily removed to accommodate transit detours and bus stops.

How will this detour work?

  • It will be in place for the duration of construction on 17 Avenue S.: 3-4 years
  • People driving will only be detoured around the construction zone. Signs will be in place directing people off of 17 avenue S. at the construction zone and then back onto 17 Avenue S. after they’ve bypassed the construction zone.
  • One-way traffic will be in place between Macleod Trail and 14 Street S.W.:
    • 14 Avenue is one lane for westbound traffic with parking on the north and south side of the street
    • 15 Avenue is one lane for eastbound traffic with parking on the north and south side of the street
  • All walking connections in the Beltline community remain in place

If the actual detour is only three or four blocks, why does 14-15 Avenues need to be one-way between Macleod Tr. and 14 Street S.W.?

The main reason is consistency and predictability make the street safer. The full road closure on 17 avenue S. will continually move west over the three-four years and fluctuate between two to four blocks long.
Continually switching 14-15 Avenues to and from two-way to one-way numerous times over the year, means an unpredictable street that is constantly changing how people travel on it. This uncertainty and inconsistency leads to an unsafe environment.
It’s better to make the Avenues one-way for the duration of the project so people can get used to the new way to travel on 14-15 Avenue.
The City is currently looking at whether or not multi-modal solutions can be implemented on these streets to accommodate pedestrian and cycling traffic temporarily, while this conversion is in place.

Why does this change need to happen for three to four years?

After extensive conversations with the business community on 17 Avenue, we developed a three to four year construction schedule. This schedule means fewer road closures, fewer construction zones and more on-street parking open on 17 Avenue S. during the summer construction months. It’s a more balanced approach to rebuilding 17 Avenue S. than the original two-year construction schedule.
Converting the street to one-way traffic for the duration of construction results in a detour plan that’s safe, predictable, consistent and accessible, regardless of how you travel to and from the area.

Can we use traffic calming on 14-15 Avenues S.?

The existing stop signs and parking on both sides of 14 and 15 Avenues will stay in place. The stop signs and on-street parking are all traffic calming measures, which will encourage people to drive back onto 17 Avenue S, once they’ve bypassed the construction zone. We only anticipate people will use the 14 and 15 Avenues for up to four blocks at a time where construction is happening on 17 Avenue S.

Both Avenues are great streets for cycling and walking. Will this change?

Maintaining accessibility for all modes of travel is a priority. The City is currently looking into different temporary solutions to make this detour work, not just for transit and motorists, but pedestrians and cyclists as well.

Why didn’t The City consult with the community more?

The City evaluated a number of different options, both farther north and south of 17 Avenue S, through planning construction. Based on the limitations (even narrower streets and fewer through-streets) and impracticalities (11-12 Avenue S. is too far away for Transit), we chose the option that we believe balances the needs of people who live, work, visit and travel in the area.


  1. So Rick Bell's column was bang on. You did not warn community this was coming and now doing rapid CYA blog. This piece of crap you posted does not even cover how long traffic will be diverted. So you could not even squeeze that info in.

  2. It would be helpful if this post said WHERE ON 17th Avenue??? this is taking place!