Now that the province’s southwest ring road has kickstarted plans to build out Calgary’s deep southwest corner, a developer is bidding to begin home construction there before the highway is complete.
Residents below Fish Creek Park have long pleaded for an easier commute, with 37th Street, Macleod Trail and Highway 22X as their over-clogged escape routes.
They’ve applauded the Alberta government’s plans to complete the ring road, as soon as 2020.
But while people in communities like Bridlewood and Evergreen feel their existing roads can’t handle more cars, a land company believes a new suburban neighbourhood can start rising on empty fields to the west before the transportation network gets expanded.
After waiting years for a ring road deal to unlock their edge land’s development potential, Dream Development and Qualico have paid the city to launch an area structure plan for the 789-hectare swath known as Providence. It spans from the ring road corridor to 85th Street S.W., and from the Tsuu T’ina reserve boundary at 146th Avenue to 22X.
Most of the site needs massive water and sewage system extensions, and will likely have to wait until the ring highway’s completion. But the segment at the northeast corner can feed off existing pipes, said Dream Development.
Traffic projects show that 37th Street’s western turn-off south of Fish Creek can handle the initial phases. The ring road would massively add road capacity during build-out.
It’s unclear whether council will allow more fast-tracked edge development. In the last year, councillors agreed to open up lands in Calgary’s far northeast corner and above Coventry Hills because developers said they were running short of ready-to-build lots.
The city will show off early concepts for Providence at a public session Thursday evening at the South Fish Creek Recreation Centre.
There, officials are likely to hear plenty from southwest residents wary of adding even more cars or LRT passengers to their morning and squeezes.
There’s already a five- to 10-minute wait at traffic lights to get onto 37th, said Alia Vanzhov, who lives in Bridlewood and leads the community association.
Even adding show homes west of Evergreen will make life harder for residents, she said.
Developers have set aside their lands closest to the ring road corridor for office, retail and light development. Eventually, Providence will be home to 35,000 people — a “small kind of city” served by a bus-only transitway on 162nd Street S.W.