Sturgess Architecture re-designs Calgary's Light Transit Corridor
Calgary's downtown light rapid transit (LRT) corridor had deteriorated since its construction in the 1980s. Street lights were ill-placed, catenary wires were suspended from buildings and carparks opened directly onto the street. Calgary's LRT cars had high floors and required raised platforms for entry. Narrow platforms, access stairs and ramps created a barrier to the street and sparked the decline of retail businesses and the street.
The 2003 17-block master plan re-envisioned the corridor as a 'linear park' connecting two major parks at either end, renewing two more and creating a centrally located plaza. Increased ridership mandated lengthening the platforms to accommodate longer trains. Nine new stations were seamlessly connected via raised sidewalks to retail grade, eliminating the previous barrier.
A clear delineation was made between the active pedestrian and passenger realms; sidewalks were widened to accommodate additional pedestrians and green space was added. Custom light standards were designed to house street and pedestrian lighting, banners, traffic signals and support catenary wires. Double stations create canopied gateways at either end of the linear park.
For every station, the high steel and glass canopy provides protection from the weather, with transparent glass panels designed to maximize sun exposure and provide unobstructed views. The expressive steel structure of the canopy repeats in the light standards and street furniture, and the redesign of two pedestrian bridges. The project presents the opportunity for higher density development near public transit and an increased, seamlessly connected pedestrian realm driving downtown rejuvenation.