Main-street makeover

City of Calgary Main Streets initiative aims to revitalize streetscapes and bring communities together

In late September, a throng of Bridgeland residents turned out for the first annual community-organized passeggiata, visiting cultural and business stops along the neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare, ending in celebration at the street’s General Square.

This passeggiata — a leisurely promenade or stroll in the Italian tradition — and other activities like it are exactly what the City of Calgary’s Main Streets initiative is designed to encourage across 24 different city streets.

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Calgary Transit reinforces Main Streets project

CREB®Now sits down with Calgary Transit senior transit planner Asif Kurji

Calgary’s Main Streets project is back in the news, with Calgary Transit recently outlining its involvement in the City-backed initiative.

CREB®Now recently sat down with Calgary Transit senior transit planner Asif Kurji to discuss everything from how upcoming transit projects will factor into Main Streets to why he believes the city doesn’t have any secrets.

CREB®Now: For those who are not familiar with it, what is Main Streets?

Kurji: The Main Streets initiative is a City initiative that is looking at 24 main streets in Calgary. The goal is to learn and understand each street, including their history and character, and then to create a strategy to enable growth along each of the main streets. Main streets provide an opportunity for mixed-use development such as residential, commercial and retail, and make a street great for people to live, work and play. Examples of main streets being look at include Centre Street N., Edmonton Trail N.E., Ninth Avenue S.E. in Inglewood and Kensington Road N.W.

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Beacon of Bridgeland

Bridgeland Market shines while other corner stores are going the way of the dodo

Fresh-baked cookies, cheese from around the world and pints of organic ice cream are just a few of the treats visitors will find at Bridgeland Market, one of a vanishing breed of family-run corner stores slowly fading from the Calgary landscape.

Run by the Traya family, which also operates Tazza Deli & Grill across the street, Bridgeland Market, like Lukes Drug Mart a few blocks away, has actually grown with the times to become a community mainstay. (more…)

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A look at Calgary’s Main Streets initiative

Looking to Calgary’s future growth, the City’s Main Streets initiative will both engage citizens and utilize economic research.

At present, the initiative is gathering local perspectives about main streets issues through a number or workshops throughout the city. There are 24 main streets currently in Calgary, according to the Municipal Development Plan, many of which were formed along historic streetcar lines.

The initiative will take approximately two years to complete under three phases, the first being learning and understanding, the second analysis and evaluation and the third implementation planning.

For information on community workshops, click here.

Included in the Main Streets initiative and recently brought up in council, is the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Laneway housing investigation.

According to the City, a number of recent land use redesignations that implement the area’s redevelopment plan have been adopted by council along the west side of 10th Street N.W. including an increase in building height and density.

The investigation includes the potential for laneway housing. With Calgary’s vacancy rate hovering around 1.4 per cent, one of the lowest in Canada, laneway housing has the potential to provide some relief. Laneway houses, as defined by the City, are referred to as a detached garden secondary suite or detached garage secondary suites.

“For any community that’s going through this kind of corridor or main street study, the technical work has now been done,” said Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell who added laneway housing is a real example how the back of a home and how neighbours adjacent to various Main Streets can actually benefit.

On Nov. 14, council approved long-term recommended design for the laneway, including separate pedestrian accommodation via a sidewalk on the east side, as well as retention of two-way traffic with implementation of lay-bys on the east side. The only councillors to oppose the vote were Sean Chu and Andre Chabot.

Current communities which utilize laneway housings include McKenzie Towne, Garrison Green and Garrison Woods.

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