Project Update - November 2023

We are excited to share that the Conceptual Streetscape Master Plan design is now complete!

The Master Plan is a guiding document that provides a framework and conceptual design to achieve the vision set for a revitalized 8 Street S.W. Construction budget confirmation will determine how and when the project moves to implementation.

To learn more about the Master Plan, please visit calgary.ca/8street

Next Steps

The Revitalize 8 Street S.W. project continues to progress with plans to use the feedback provided by the community, along with technical studies to advance and refine the conceptual design.

There are plans in the works for a public reveal of the final concept design this fall. Dates are being finalized and we will reach out again soon with further details. Thanks for your patience and looking forward to sharing more in the near future.

REIMAGINING THE FUTURE OF 8 STREET S.W.

8 Street S.W. is a vital place and important community connector between Downtown West and the Beltline. It links 17 Avenue S.W. to the Bow River along the west edge of our downtown. Planning for 8 Street S.W. as a livable, vibrant urban destination and community connection will support the overall success of our downtown and the strategic moves identified in Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan.

Building off the Master Plan we created together between 2012-2016, we have revised the conceptual design based on our understanding of current policies and standards, best practice in street design, technical evaluation, and feedback received during public engagement in February 2023.


STEP 1: REINTRODUCE - ENGAGEMENT SUMMARY

We gathered feedback from the public on the current use of 8 Street S.W. and opportunities and challenges along the street, and with further technical studies we built off of the 8 Street S.W. Master Plan, to refine the draft conceptual design for 8 Street S.W. that we are presenting today.


During the first step of engagement, The City asked for feedback from the public on how they currently use 8 Street S.W. and the opportunities and challenges along the street.

Below is a summary of what we heard from that engagement and how it is considered in the updated concept plan.

HOW DO WE MAKE DECISIONS

Public Engagement is one of many factors influencing the Revitalize 8 Street S.W. Concept Plan.

There have been several changes to plans and policies since the approval of the 2016 8 Street S.W. Master Plan like the Calgary Transportation Plan, the Greater Downtown Plan, and the Climate Strategy to name a few. These new plans and policies need to be considered along with other factors such as technical assessments, updated best practices, current site conditions and costs.



ABOUT THE PROJECT

Reimagining the future of 8 Street S.W.

The City is investing in the future of 8 Street S.W. by transforming this vital place and important community connector for Downtown West and the Beltline.

We are embarking on a journey to reimagine 8 Street S.W. and position it for a renewed era of success. As a flagship project for Calgary’s Downtown Strategy, this project provides a foundation for The City to collaborate with Calgarians to advance the approved 8 Street SW Corridor Master Plan (2016) to meet the current and future needs of these thriving downtown neighbourhoods.

8 Street S.W. and the Greater Downtown Plan

8 Street SW is guided by the Council-approved Greater Downtown Plan (GDP), which highlights it as a key capital public realm project for improving vibrancy in Calgary’s downtown.

The strategic moves, outlined in the Greater Downtown Plan, that the Revitalize 8 Street SW Project supports include:

Neighbourhoods for a vibrant urban life

  • Create mixed-use neighbourhoods with gathering places, housing choices and all of the amenities residents need close by.

A green network for a healthy environment

  • Build a green network by connecting parks, natural spaces, and river frontage with downtown’s main streets.
  • 8 Street SW is part of downtown’s green network. Streets within the green network prioritize providing opportunities for walking and wheeling and place an emphasis on pedestrian safety, quality of landscaping, recreation and the natural qualities of the street.

Streets for people

  • Design streets for walkers and wheelers first, with regional pathways stretching along riverbanks and underpasses, and bridges and on-street mobility tracks connecting to neighbouring communities.

Where we are now – Phase 1: Conceptual Design Development

The 8 Street SW Master Plan was completed in 2016. Since then, and a lot has changed since then.

Societal Changes

  • Increase in office vacancies
  • Increased use of alternative modes of transportation
  • Shift in Calgarians priorities toward active transportation modes
  • Increased bike lane infrastructure downtown
  • Increased concerns around crime, public safety and social disorder
  • Community needs have evolved

Planning & Policy Changes

Neighbourhood Changes

Building off the 2016 Master Plan, Phase 1 will focus on advancing the conceptual design for 8 Street SW to consider the above changes and reflect the current and future needs of this important north-south community connection.

The first step of Phase 1 is to Reintroduce 8 Street S.W. to the community and seek feedback on how 8 Street SW functions today, and how it could function in the future to meet the vision and guiding principles of the 8 Street S.W. Master Plan. This feedback, along with technical studies, will be used to advance and refine the conceptual design for 8 Street SW as part of the next step of Phase 1 (Refine).

Later in Spring 2023, public feedback will be sought on the refined draft conceptual design for 8 Street SW. Based on feedback from the Spring 2023 engagement and further technical studies and assessments, the final conceptual design for 8 Street SW will be shared in Fall 2023.

The project is targeted to be construction ready in 2024.


8 STREET S.W. MASTER PLAN (2016)

The 8 Street SW Master Plan (Master Plan) was completed in 2016 and approved in 2017. The Master Plan establishes a strong connection along the high-use corridor between the Bow River and 17 Avenue S.W. It provides a vision that addresses neighbourhood needs and enhances the pedestrian experience by focusing on improving areas such as sidewalks, street crossings and urban design. It lays the foundation for growing 8 Street S.W. as a livable, vibrant, and thriving community corridor.

The vision established in the 2016 Master Plan for 8 Street S.W. is:

“To create a contemporary, pedestrian focused urban destination area with a distinct identity that connects people, parks and neighborhoods supported by vibrant retail experiences and a variety of transportation modes.”

Find out more about the history of the 8 Street SW project, about the previous public engagement and how this vision was established here: 8 Street SW Corridor Master Plan (2016).

The five guiding principles to achieve this vision, outlined in the 2016 Master Plan, are:


SUSTAINABILITY

  • Implement public / private partnership and incentive programs for private development (new and existing upgrades)
  • Allocate maintenance budgets to support enhanced urban infrastructure
  • Implement green technologies (rainwater harvesting, recycled materials and etc.)
  • Enhance urban forest and green space
  • Engage the outdoor environment (bringing people back to the street and the city)
  • Ensure adequate budget to achieve high quality public realm
  • Create partnerships to program and manage events and activities

CONNECTIVITY

  • Encourage potential for 7 Street S.W. bike use
  • Introduce widened pedestrian walkways
  • Connect the riverfront to various districts to the south all the way to 17 Avenue S.W.
  • Capitalize on existing greens space / parks and enhance linkages
  • Develop anchors at 17 Avenue S.W. and river terminuses
  • Enhance underpass experience and north/south connections
  • Enhance east/west connections to 17 Avenue S.W., 13 Avenue S.W. Heritage Greenway, Stephen Avenue (8 Avenue S.W.) mall and river promenade
  • Ensure fire and EMS functionality

SIGNATURE + IDENTITY

  • Unique, engaging and exciting urban expression
  • Four-season activities and interest
  • Integrated public art
  • Feature lighting
  • Distinct materials, paving and street furniture
  • Enhanced pedestrian environment through lower vehicle speed
  • Distinctive urban landscape

DESTINATION + VIBRANCY

  • Transform from a place “to go through” to one “to go to”
  • Create a place like no other in the city
  • Attract and engage people, encourage social interaction
  • Provide for outdoor cafes, street performers and seasonal events
  • Allow and encourage informal activities (pop ups, social networking, food trucks)
  • Provide significant gathering spaces (for 2,000+ to 25,000+ people)
  • Create an attractive and inviting environment for all ages and demographics

DIVERSITY + UNITY

  • Define and enhance 5 distinct character precincts while ensuring unified overall expression
  • Provide elegant spaces and places along the overall corridor (scale, materials and textures and elements)
  • Acknowledge and engage adjacent neighborhood character and zoning (ie residential, commercial and business character)
  • Develop cultural and consistent sophistication throughout including celebration of heritage components
  • Create unified street with unique, engaging, exciting destination nodes along the corridor


PROJECT AREA

STEP 1: REINTRODUCE - ENGAGEMENT CONTENT

The Revitalize 8 Street S.W. Project will focus on public realm improvements north and south of the 8 Street S.W. underpass of the CP Railway. Improvements to the 8 Street S.W. underpass were completed in 2017.

NORTH SECTION—DOWNTOWN

The north section of the project is in the downtown core and extends from 8 Avenue S.W. to the Bow River. This includes the interface between where 8 Street S.W. ends at the riverfront park area on the north end, North Anchor park area.

SOUTH SECTION—BELTLINE

The south section is in the Beltline and extends from 10 Avenue S.W. to just south of 17 Avenue S.W.

Why is it important to revitalize 8 Street S.W. now?

8 Street S.W. is a vital place and important community connector between Downtown West and the Beltline. It links 17 Avenue S.W. to the Bow River along the west edge of our downtown. Planning for 8 Street S.W. as a livable, vibrant urban destination and community connection will support the overall success of our downtown and the strategic moves identified in Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan.

Building off the Master Plan we created together between 2012-2016, the time is now to advance the conceptual design to reflect the current and future needs of this important north-south community connection.


Provide Your Input

We want to understand how you currently use 8 Street S.W. from the North Anchor park area by the Bow River to 17 Avenue S.W., and the various public spaces (i.e., sidewalks, parks, plazas, etc.) along the corridor. Help us understand what is working well, what you would like to see improved, and opportunities you think could improve this space in the future to:

  1. Achieve the vision and guiding principles (Sustainability, Connectivity, Signature & Identity, Destination & Vibrancy, Diversity & Unity) from the Master Plan (see Master Plan tab above for additional details).
  2. Support the neighbourhoods for a vibrant urban life, a green network for a healthy environment and streets for people strategic moves from the Greater Downtown Plan.

Feedback is now closed. Thank you for your submissions.





REFLECTING CHANGING VALUES AND CURRENT POLICIES

What We See Today

As defined in the Greater Downtown Plan, 8 Street S.W. is part of the downtown’s green network. Streets within the green network prioritize providing opportunities for walking and wheeling and places an emphasis on pedestrian safety, quality of landscaping, recreation and natural qualities of the street. The current condition of 8 Street S.W. does not support this. It has limited pedestrian interest and amenities to invite and engage people. Elements like seating, shade, comfortable lighting, and visual interest are lacking. The following map indicates some of the challenges and constraints along the corridor, as well as areas of concerns.


text

Creating a Street For All

The Greater Downtown Plan identifies 8 Street S.W. as part of the downtown’s Green Network. Streets within the Green Network prioritize opportunities for walking and wheeling, and emphasize pedestrian safety, quality of landscaping, recreation and the natural qualities of the street.

Along with the established polices and standards are several principles identified in the Master Plan to guide the design of 8 Street S.W. These guiding principles are described in the 8 Street S.W. Master Plan (2016).

We have defined several strategies to ensure that we deliver a safe, equitable, and beautiful street that satisfies the Master Plan intent. These strategies fit into two main headings: Building a Green Network and Creating Opportunities for Public Life.


Building a Green Network

Creating Opportunities for Public Life

To Build a Green Network, we need to first support a multi-modal network, which means building a street that offers a range of safe and inviting choices for how people will move through the Downtown. We also need to increase the Tree Canopy, so that Calgary can advance its targets to improve its urban forest, achieve greater climate resiliency, and provide a comfortable walking experience. Another strategy is to support biodiversity, which means we want to expand the range of both plants and animals that exist along 8 Street S.W.

To Create Opportunities for Public Life, we seek to provide spaces along the street that support -- and are supported by -- the uses that take place on the ground floor of buildings along the corridor. Examples of this include outdoor seating in front of cafes and restaurants. As social beings, people enjoy meeting up with others, in either a casual or formal way. Bumping into a friend or neighbour when out for a walk is a simple joy and contributes to one’s fond memory of a place. We want to support this most human of behaviours by providing spaces for gathering. Related to this is the basic need to rest when walking along the street. Making sure we have comfortable seating at regular intervals will reinforce the strategies noted above and provide a welcome respite for those for whom walking is sometimes a chore.



KEY STREET DESIGN COMPONENTS

8 Street S.W. is not the same everywhere. In some parts it has active uses on the ground floor of buildings, in others there are blank walls such as parking structures. To help respond to the various conditions that exist along the street, we have defined three basic design components that will apply to the planting and furnishing zone - the space between the pedestrian clearway (sidewalk) and the cycle track.

These designs allow us to adapt to the local context along the corridor. The three basic design components include the ”trees in hardscape”, ”social rooms”, and ”open planter”.

Using the three design components noted above, the following three images suggest how we will respond to areas with differing levels of activities and varying relationship to adjacent buildings and spaces.

In segments with low to medium activity, the street will include open planters for trees and other vegetation with space in-between for elements like bike rings, benches and waste receptacles.

Please note, refer to the roll plot in the 8 Street S.W. Concept Refresh for where a sample of these areas are located along the corridor.


In segments with high activity, the street will have fewer open planters so more of the planting and furnishing zone is available for outdoor seating in various arrangements. Like the above, these are the parts of the street people will want to “go to”.

In segments with blank walls and little activity in the ground floors, the street will include more open planting than social spaces. These are the parts of the street people will mostly likely want to “move through”.

A thoughtful design for 8 Street S.W. also needs to consider what is happening beneath the street. The following image shows the placement of large room sized vaults that are necessary to deliver electricity throughout the city. There are many other services and utilities such as sanitary and storm collection, water supply, gas, and telecommunications that occupy space below the surface. The location of these elements will inform the types of planting and paving that are possible.


Cross Section Comparisons

REFLECTING CHANGING VALUES AND CURRENT POLICIES

The 8 Street S.W. Master Plan was completed in 2016 and a lot has changed since then. The following images show how the concept for the street will be rebalanced to achieve the goals set by the current policies.


Existing Condition (as shown above)

  • Four to five vehicle lanes
  • Turning lanes at some intersections
  • Off-peak parking possible in some locations
  • No bike and wheel facilities for entire corridor
  • Trees planted in low soil volumes condition for some of corridor.

2016 Master Plan Concept (as shown above)

  • Four vehicle lanes
  • Turning lanes at some intersections
  • Off-peak parking possible in some locations
  • No bike and wheel facilities for most of the corridor
  • Trees planted in low soil volumes condition. Focus is on total number of trees.

2023 Master Plan Proposed Concept (as shown above)

  • Two vehicle lanes
  • Single turning lanes at all intersections
  • No off-peak parking
  • Dedicated bike and wheel facilities for most of the corridor
  • Trees planted in optimum soil conditions. Focus is on large, healthy, and useful trees.

Parking

Proposed removal of off-street parking along 8 Street S.W.

Off-peak hour street parking is proposed to be removed along 8 Street S.W. with the space reallocated to provide for expanded planting and furnishing zones, and for a protected bike and wheel lane.

The map below shows almost 5,100 publicly available parking spaces within a short walking distance of the corridor (5 minutes, less than 200 metres). The publically available parking spaces considers other Downtown projects currently underway within the project area.

There are 80 on-street parking spaces proposed to be removed, which represents approximately 1.5% of the available spaces within 200 metres of 8 Street S.W.


Underpass

Existing Conditions

The existing image of the underpass section below helps us to understand how it works and looks today. The pedestrian area was improved in 2017 with upgrades to the finishes, lower-level lighting for pedestrians, feature lighting in the railing, and public art features along the wall and above the roadway. The four-lane roadway section was not improved or changed at that time. Since the bicycle lanes were not introduced in 2017, there has been some confusion as to where bicyclists should be cycling - on the sidewalk of on the roadway - causing conflicts and safety concerns. The 2016 Master Plan vision was to remove one travel lane in each direction and introduce a bicycle lane.

Proposed Street

The rendering of the proposed underpass section below demonstrates how the design comes together to satisfy the Master Plan principles. Dedicated space for bicycling and wheeling is created outside of the pedestrian area and separated from motor vehicles. This provides a clear path of travel for all modes, and further improves connectivity between the Riverfront, Downtown and the Beltline. Opportunities for building terraces in the areas next to the underpass, as shown in the 2016 Master Plan, will be explored with the existing landowners at the time of development for privately owned parcels. Terraces would help improve accessibility between 8 Street S.W. and the adjacent land uses.

2023 PROPOSED CONCEPT REFRESH

8 STREET S.W. PROPOSED CONCEPT REFRESH

The following images illustrate how the strategic direction from the Greater Downtown Plan, and the vision and guiding principles from the 2016 8 Street S.W. Master Plan will be applied to 2023 Proposed Concept of 8 Street S.W. Building from the 2016 master plan concept, the 2023 refresh was updated to reflect current policies and best practices, consider recent feedback from engagement and through technical analysis of the area.

Please note this is a concept design to show general design and uses. Final placement of features and amenities will be determined during the detailed design stage.


VIEW A: North Anchor Park, view north towards Bow River Pathway

text


VIEW B: Century Gardens, view south at Century Gardens

text


VIEW C: 8 Street at 10 Avenue S.W., view south on east side of 8 Street S.W.

text

VIEW D: 8 Street at 11 Avenue S.W., view north on west side of 8 Street S.W.

text

VIEW E: 8 Street at 12 Avenue S.W., view south on west side of 8 Street S.W.

text


VIEW F: Tomkins Park, view south on east side of 8 Street S.W.

text

PROVIDE YOUR INPUT

Feedback is now closed. Thank you for your submissions.

We Need Your Feedback! Please review the information on the concept above and review and answer the related questions below.

The topics we would like your feedback on are:

1. Proposed Concept Design for 8 Street S.W.

2. Proposed Ideas for Spaces Next to North Anchor Park

3. Proposed Ideas for Spaces Next to Century Gardens

4. Proposed Ideas for Spaces Next to Tomkins Park

5. Any Additional Feedback

This feedback, input from City advisory groups, and further technical analysis and assessments will be used to refine the conceptual design. The final conceptual design will be shared in Fall of 2023.


Provide a short summary of your question.

You have 150 characters left

Provide detailed information relating to your question.

You have 500 characters left

Select a respondent from the list that you would most like to answer your question.

Moderation Policy

These are the people that are listening and responding to your questions.

City of Calgary Project Team

{{ question.title }}

{{ question.username }} asked

{{question.description}}

{{ answer.respondent.name }}
| Edited

Answer this question

Select the respondent who will be marked as answering the question

Provide the answer to the question. Answer can be saved as draft and published when complete.

No questions found