Changes could be coming to a picturesque inner city stretch of Calgary roads that area residents say has become problematic.
Earlier this week, the City of Calgary released the Crescent Road master plan to address concerns that include street racing and loud late-night gatherings on the road that overlooks McHugh Bluff, the Bow River and downtown.
“It’s late-night randomness,” Mike Macdonald told Global News. “At two in the morning, somebody will start their car up here, just running around or they’ll get in a fight, or all these things happen and it’s random.”
The 35-year resident of Crescent Road N.W. put up CCTV cameras on his property to record some of the shenanigans, footage he’s shared with authorities.
And though Macdonald’s wife’s car was hit by an apparent street racer, he said the unpredictable nature of the nuisances makes posting a police officer on location a waste of public resources. He’d rather see stop signs.
The master plan proposes a variety of measures to calm traffic, including raised intersections, raised crosswalks and chicanes. The chicanes would add more turns through the straight sections of Crescent Road between 1 Street and 4 Street N.W.
“(Racing and stunting) challenges cannot be fully addressed with only infrastructure solutions, however, infrastructure improvements can help mitigate some of these issues,” the plan reads.
“I know the community had asked for permanent closure of Crescent Road N.W. between 1 Street and 2, and perhaps even 3 Street, and thereby mitigating any cars coming through here,” Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong said. “But, you know, we can’t do that.”
The area councillor said the on-road measures have a specific outcome for drivers.
“You have to really be careful when you drive. (Raised intersections and chicanes) are ways that we can slow the traffic down.”
The plan also outlines improvements for people who walk and use other active methods of getting around the area.
Gates adjacent to Crescent Heights Park would close off vehicular traffic during special events, a suggestion that resonated with Macdonald.
“I think that’s a fantastic idea: being able to shut down the street and have festivals and things like that, because this area belongs to all of us. It doesn’t belong to me because I happened to live here,” he said.
Enhancements to area sidewalks and boulevards, adding a multi-use pathway, and the development of amenity spaces and a feature plaza are also part of the plan.
The road’s master plan is the result of rounds of virtual and in-person consultations with the Crescent Heights community, and working with Indigenous community members and Elders.
Alex Anastas, a resident of nearby Tuxedo, frequently comes down to the area for a walk with a view. He fears the changes will make it difficult for him and other Calgarians to enjoy the same.
“I think they’re taking an area that’s beautiful that all of Calgary should enjoy and they’re strangling it,” he said. “So it’s making it hard for other people to come here and to sit down and enjoy the river and the views.”
The Crescent Road master plan is only a plan, the area councillor said. It has yet to be priced out and funding has not been committed, meaning road construction in the area isn’t imminent.
Wong recognized that there are ways to bolster the planning document to help alleviate residents’ concerns.
“I think most people are satisfied with it. There’s a general concern about how do you stop the (misbehaviour) at nighttime,” the Ward 7 councillor said.
“That is a greater response with more on the enforcement side, ensuring our parking authority, our bylaw officers and Calgary police are regularly patrolling in the area.”