An artist's rendering of the 17th Avenue S.E. extension and Victoria Park/Stampede Station rebuild project. Courtesy of Calgary Municipal Land Corp.

A major two-part project aimed at improving connections within east Victoria Park should keep interruptions to a minimum when work starts later this year.

The next step in the Rivers District Master Plan – Calgary Municipal Land Corp.’s (CMLC) 20-year vision for the area – includes a redesign of the Victoria Park/Stampede LRT station and an extension to 17th Avenue S.E. that will take it across Macleod Trail and into Stampede Park.

Work on the LRT station is slated to start sometime this spring. At press time, a schedule for the project was not yet available. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2023.

“We wanted to find a way that would better facilitate connections both north-south and east-west,” said Clare LePan, CMLC’s vice-president of marketing and communications.

“As it exists today, there is a real physical barrier where the Red Line and that station exist that really blocks off the entrance to Stampede Park and the balance of that portion of the district from the rest of the western Beltline.

“As new development occurs in that area – new residential development, new commercial development – then facilities like the event centre progress, it provides an important connection east-west.”

“Come this spring, you’ll be able to cross to the station through a level crossing right across Macleod Trail. It’s really been a goal to put pedestrians at street level rather than having to take them up and over.” – Clare LePan, Calgary Municipal Land Corp.

When plans for the project were being drawn up, one of CMLC’s objectives was to avoid disrupting transit commuter access to the station during construction. A schedule and process are in place that achieves this, says LePan.

“We are anticipating that there will be five weekend closures over the duration, so from now to 2023, where we have to do work within the track,” she said. “We are confident that the transit-commuter experience is maintained through the construction.”

A temporary station will be in place once construction on the new station is in full swing to maintain operations throughout the various stages of the project.

The new station’s accessibility is expected to improve the pedestrian experience.

“We’re removing the station head, which is the upper structure of the station, and the Plus-15 across Macleod Trail. We’ll be putting pedestrians at grade,” said LePan.

“Come this spring, you’ll be able to cross to the station through a level crossing right across Macleod Trail. It’s really been a goal to put pedestrians at street level rather than having to take them up and over.”

The project should also have a minimal impact on drivers in the area.

“From a vehicle perspective, the only impact will be … a lane closure northbound on Macleod Trail on the most easterly lane, as it’s closest to the station, so we can accommodate the amount of pedestrian space that we need at the station,” said LePan.

The work of putting systems in place to prepare for construction on the project started last year. This includes an LRT siding track that offers additional capacity to the station if the track needs to be diverted for maintenance.