The intersections of 12 St. between 11 Ave. and 12 Ave. SW in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhood are fairly typical examples of where a local street meets a pair of arterial streets. Both 11 Ave. and 12 Ave. are 4 lane wide one-way streets, because of this where they intersect with 12 St doesn’t need to accommodate a full set of turn movements.
This photo, looking north towards the southeast corner of the intersection, was taken approximately eight hours after it snowed. Away from the intersection, the extra lane on the East side of the street is used for angled on-street parking. At the intersection, it’s wasted space. Adding curb bump-outs to the intersection where the parking lanes end before meeting the intersection would reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians and create new sidewalk space and pedestrian refuge areas in a neighbourhood with heavy walking traffic without impacting vehicle flow.
I’m going to ask you to use your imagination here. The only image Google Maps had of this intersection was of the angled parking partially closed for construction staging. There is currently angled parking there, so we’re just going to visualize it where the construction staging is.
You’ll notice that the curb extensions on the right are smaller than those on the left. This is because the parking lane on 11 Ave becomes a traffic lane at rush hour. On 12 Ave the parking is a constant so the curb extension wraps around both curbs.
This redesign cuts down the pedestrian crossing distance by almost 50% across 12 St. and just under 25% across 12 Ave. where the curb extension would be installed. There is no impact to vehicular flow; these improvements are created entirely out of wasted space.
The City of Calgary could utilize some of the fast a
nd flexible and inexpensive methods of repairing streets that the New York City Department of Transportation has been using for the past 10 years. By simply using flexiposts and road tape to deliver the safest improvement and reclaim space, it shortcuts full street rebuilds that cost hundreds of thousands with a flexible solutions that costs hundreds instead. Additionally these fixes can be installed quickly sometimes even in a matter of minutes.