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Calgary Transit - North Crosstown BRT

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It's exciting to be looking at the routing for the North Crosstown BRT, something that's been definitely needed to provide better E-W connections along 16th Avenue. I think this route would provide a frequent link between a couple of hospitals (major employment centres), help with the development in University District in west campus, and also spur some development for more high density developments along 16th Avenue. Only issues I see with the route is the lack of separated lanes or traffic priority at major intersections such as Centre Street, Edmonton Trail and 19th Street NE which hurts reliability and travel times. Currently, Eastbound 16th between 10th and Edmonton Trail is horrible for congestion during the PM rush, and this doesn't look like it would have any priority in this stretch of road. A problem with BRT branding and subsequent appeal is the lack of time savings over a conventional bus route, so I am not too sure if this would be successful in shifting over current passengers from the current routes (One of the issues with the 306 for example which had to be massively scaled back due to low ridership).

More information from the City of Calgary here:

http://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TI/Pages/Transit-projects/North-Crosstown-Bus-Rapid-Transit-(BRT).aspx

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It really is a shame that there was no consideration for future bus lanes when 16th Ave got widened from 4 to 6 lanes. The queue jump lanes will help a bit but it's still going to be congested.

Regarding the route, it looks like they're going to use 32nd Ave NE. I always thought a connection at Village Square would have made sense but I guess not? It also looks like it's going straight along 16th without a direct stop at Lions Park station. The good thing is not having to detour off of 16th Ave to service the station, the bad thing is well, not servicing the station. I suppose if the 19 still exists, it's not a big deal and overall it's better for those going to Foothils/University from the NE.

Which leads to my next point. It looks like they're aiming for 10 minute headways during peak hours at launch. We've had some examples of BRT routes which duplicate parts of existing local routes (305 and 306) and we all know how those have turned out over the years. They really need to do a good job advertising and branding our wave of upcoming BRT routes (North Crosstown, South Crosstown, 17th ave SE) and encourage people to use them as an alternative to the LRT or even local bus routes. That being said, the BRT's themselves need to be comparable to these other services.

For example, if taking a north crosstown from NE -> NW isn't much faster than taking the train downtown and hopping onto the other line, this isn't going to take off. Suppose it is faster and you end up saving 15 minutes, then the headways need to be competitve with the LRT. If it drops off to the usual 20/30 minute headways during midday/evenings, it wouldn't surprise me if people would rather take the train. The issue is that the current 19 doesn't even run at 10 minute headways during peak. Sure we can launch the route at 10 minute headways alongside the 19 but i'm pretty sure people aren't going to flock to this new route quite that easily.

Just my 2 cents!

 

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In my opinion it makes perfect sense for a BRT route to not waste all that time going into and out of Lions Park station. A major source of traffic for that station is the North Hill Centre which the route still serves. As for the buses at Lions Park, getting to those will require just a short walk through the mall. I do agree that this route probably won't be a very enjoyable ride without bus lanes, and as a result may fail to compete with the CTrain. I wouldn't consider anything a true BRT if it takes forever because it keeps getting stuck in traffic. Time will tell I guess.

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I agree that traffic on 16th will slow this down at peak times, but the slowest part of the 19 otherwise is the long route from Deerfoot to Rundle, so this new route going directly along 16th will make it a faster trip from the NW to NE. I still don't really understand how staying on 16th to skip Lions Park really helps. I live there, so I just walk a bit further to the new stop, but it'll make it complicated to transfer to and from the train (Especially when the mall is closed; walking from 19th and 16th to the station is about 5 min unless you walk fast). Is the time the 19 spends left turning at 19th and 14th/waiting for the mall crosswalks really more than the 5 minutes of walking from 16 av?

I notice that it skips Village Square and Foothills Hospital in the same way. If the N Crosstown really goes every 10 min, people might walk (except in the winter), but if it doesn't, it will be out-competed by the 19 and 91 which go directly every 20 min. 

The South Crosstown page was also updated. 

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7 hours ago, Mark Walton said:

For the longer term, maybe an airport extension?

Airport service remains virtually the same until LRT as per RouteAhead plan. There is a possibility of having the Route 300 service both the downtown and a NE LRT station, via Airport Tunnel, with the Route 100 being rerouted away from the airport to favour industrial and business parks north of Airport Trail and the high ridership and demand for service within.

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A new update was posted on the North Crosstown page recently:

Quote

Project Update – March 2017

The North Crosstown BRT is now in the design phase. Stations will either be built or upgraded as part of construction. There are some existing stops along the alignment like the Brentwood and Saddletowne LRT stations, which already include amenities such as digital schedules and heated shelters. Several locations along the alignment, such as on 16 Avenue North, cannot accommodate a new station within the road-right-of-way, so existing stops will remain as they are. The new BRT stations will feature identifiable pillars that are easily visible from a short distance; visit the station concepts section to view images.

Interesting that they mention Brentwood and Saddletowne already having digital schedules. I haven't been to those stations in a while but i'm pretty sure the only digital signs are on the train platforms unless they added new ones to the bus terminals too?

Also, the part about certain stops on 16th Ave remaining as they are seems worrisome. Hopefully don't just put up a fancy new pole with the "station" name on the sidewalk and call it a day...

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Haven't been to Saddletowne recently, but Brentwood definitely doesn't have digital schedules - I suspect that sentence was meant to say "amenities such as digital schedules and/OR heated shelters", the latter being available at Brentwood.

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Is there any hope of the BRT service in Calgary adopting off-board fare payment and turning the buses into POP zones?  Would be great to load a whole ton of students at SAIT or wherever through all the doors instead of having everyone Board through the front door...

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From the North Crosstown project page:

Quote

Project Update – May 2017

Construction on the North Crosstown BRT station platforms will be getting underway in mid to late May. Calgarians can expect to see crews starting in the northwest in multiple locations along the route. Work will include the removal of some bus shelters, excavation, underground utility work, concrete placement and construction of new BRT shelters. While stops are being replaced, temporary stops will be in place with directional signs on site to assist commuters.

From an email update I received today:

Quote

What Can I Expect?

For stage one which runs from mid to late May through Fall 2017, residents and businesses adjacent to the following areas, can expect to see work related to station platform construction:

·         16 Avenue and 19 Street N.E.

·         16 Avenue and 19 Street N.W.

·         16 Avenue and 17 Street N.W.

·         16 Avenue and 12 Street N.W.

·         16 Avenue and 29 Street/Uxbridge Drive N.W.

·         16 Avenue and Centre Street North

·         16 Avenue and Russet Road N.E.

·         16 Avenue and 4 Street N.W.

·         16 Avenue and Edmonton Trail N.E.

·         Falconridge Boulevard and Saddletown Circle N.E.

 

·         Falconridge Boulevard and Taradale Drive N.E.

·         Falconridge Boulevard and Castleridge Boulevard N.E.

·         52 Street and 44 Avenue N.E.

·         52 Street and Whitehorn Drive N.E.

·         32 Avenue and 52 Street N.E.

·         32 Avenue and Rundleside Drive N.E.

·         32 Avenue N.W and 31 Street N.W.

·         36 Street and Rundle Station N.E.

 

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Work well underway at the south stop 37st @ 26 ave sw for the south cross town and the north stop was just closed today for the start of work!

 

does anyone know if there are plans to build any stations @ MRU ? Or will they just use the loop and stop on the south side as is?

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17 minutes ago, vicinity said:

Work well underway at the south stop 37st @ 26 ave sw for the south cross town and the north stop was just closed today for the start of work!

 

does anyone know if there are plans to build any stations @ MRU ? Or will they just use the loop and stop on the south side as is?

They're just going to use the existing stops at MRU

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55 minutes ago, vicinity said:

It could use an upgrade ;) to help with the branding!

That's true. There's not even a sign at the current terminal

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I hadn't realized until today that the station on the map that looks like it will be at 19 St NW is the one listed as "16 ave and 17 st NW". They've dug up the sidewalk for it at the North Hill Mall pedestrian bridge. 

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19 hours ago, DarkKeyo said:

I hadn't realized until today that the station on the map that looks like it will be at 19 St NW is the one listed as "16 ave and 17 st NW". They've dug up the sidewalk for it at the North Hill Mall pedestrian bridge. 

Hmm, is that on the north side of 16th where the Centex gas station is? I'm not sure where the south station would go though. There's not really a sidewalk on the south side of 16th where the overpass is so the station would have to go further west of the overpass closer to 19th.

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2 hours ago, Transit Fan said:

Hmm, is that on the north side of 16th where the Centex gas station is? I'm not sure where the south station would go though. There's not really a sidewalk on the south side of 16th where the overpass is so the station would have to go further west of the overpass closer to 19th.

Yup, it's beside the gas station. I'm not sure where the south half would go either

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Can't believe we're still over a year away before we'll be able to see these new routes in service. Although it's still not really true BRT (in terms of having fully dedicated lanes), the fact that we're actually building "stations" this time with signage, real time info and heated shelters is a step in the right direction compared to our existing "BRT" service.

Any insiders have any info on when we can expect to see bus service reviews conducted in the BRT areas like they did with the NW recently? I keep getting told later in 2017 for the 17 Ave and Marlborough area. I suspect we'll be seeing similar changes for the areas near the Crosstowns around the same time?

 

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1 hour ago, Transit Fan said:

Can't believe we're still over a year away before we'll be able to see these new routes in service. Although it's still not really true BRT (in terms of having fully dedicated lanes), the fact that we're actually building "stations" this time with signage, real time info and heated shelters is a step in the right direction compared to our existing "BRT" service.

It won't be "over a year". Possibility exist as early as December.

1 hour ago, Transit Fan said:

Any insiders have any info on when we can expect to see bus service reviews conducted in the BRT areas like they did with the NW recently? I keep getting told later in 2017 for the 17 Ave and Marlborough area. I suspect we'll be seeing similar changes for the areas near the Crosstowns around the same time?

The same time as these BRTs launch. Possibility exists as early as December.

1 hour ago, Transit Fan said:

I suspect we'll be seeing similar changes for the areas near the Crosstowns around the same time?

Yes.

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