If you drive down Crowchild on your commute (or, for any reason), youâ€™ve definitely noticed the construction happening over the last year. Last September, the city knocked down the Flanders Avenue Bridge to replace it with a more efficient interchange.
You might chalk this up as just more road repairs and construction taking over our city, but for this project at least, we donâ€™t have to reroute and detour much longer: on November 1st, the Flanders Avenue Interchange over Crowchild Trail will officially open.
I know what youâ€™re thinking â€” why should I care about a new interchange? Well the reality is, this project and projects like it are transforming our city into a more livable, walkable, bikeable, and safe community for all of us.
One of the best things about Calgary is how you can bike, walk, or run between its communities, parks and other areas. In fact, it has the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America, so it only makes sense that the new Flanders Interchange would be intended to make Calgary even more of a connected city.
The interchange is made up of three large roundabouts, which include pedestrian walkways, cycling paths and expansive roads so that everyone can easily get from one community to the next. As you know, Iâ€™ve always said that Calgarians have a right to safe bike lanes, and changes like this that Iâ€™ve seen in the last few years make the city safer for commuters of all kinds. Less bikes on roads is a win-win for everyone.
Currie is especially excited about the project being finished. The Crowchild Trail/Flanders Avenue Interchange was actually part of the cityâ€™s revised plan for the Currie community, which recently doubled the number of people projected to live there. To meet increased demand, Currie is now offering a variety of housing, dining and retail options as well as employment opportunities and recreational activities, all within walking (or biking!) distance of each other.
According to them, both the new interchange and the community have been built on the principles of â€œNew Urbanism.â€ New Urbanism is a kind of design that aims to improve walkability, connectivity, quality of life and sustainability, among other things.
For the new bridge and roundabouts, that means creating architecture thatâ€™s aesthetically pleasing, as well as a well-planned network of safe streets and sidewalks that make walking and biking more fun and accessible. Landscaping on the interchange will be done by summer of 2017, but you can already bike through Currieâ€™s 23 acres of public green space.
Itâ€™s worth it to take your bike out for a spin in the area even when the cold winter months are officially here. Come join me â€” see you on the trails!