Since development began in East Village six years ago, connectivity has been a priority – the 4th St. Underpass opened EV to Stampede Park and Victoria Park, and the St. Patrick’s Island Bridge will soon bring the island and community of Bridgeland within reach. Now the Elbow River Traverse, the smallest of the East Village connectors at approximately 63 meters (just over 200 feet) is about to link downtown Calgary and East Village with the communities of Inglewood and Ramsay to the east. The traverse and accompanying landscaping work began in the spring of 2013 and will be finalized in 2014.
The span, which will connect the west bank of the Elbow River at Fort Calgary to the east bank in Inglewood, has been in the works for the past 18 months – and is an integral part of the master plan for RiverWalk. Public engagement during the RiverWalk master plan process revealed inadequate connectivity to Inglewood and Ramsay and safety challenges facing pedestrians and cyclists using the high-volume Inglewood Bridge, which sees more than 25,000 vehicles a day. (If you’ve ever had to walk or bike across the Inglewood Bridge, you know how nerve-wracking the experience can be.)
When it’s complete, the traverse will make Inglewood and Ramsay easily accessible from East Village, RiverWalk and the downtown core – for an estimated 800 to 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists every day. It’ll improve connectivity along the Bow River and Elbow River pathway systems, facilitate continuity of existing pedestrian and cyclist pathways east and west, and provide a safe connection to the newly installed 9th Avenue bike lane.
“It’s a simple, elegant solution,” says Neil MacKimmie, senior development manager for CMLC, “a short traverse that goes a long way to solving an old problem.”