The project involved the replacement of ten light rail transit stations and newly landscaped blocks along a 16 block section of a major downtown street. The masterplan envisioned 7th Avenue as a major transit and pedestrian corridor to replace the decrepit 1980s stations. Calgary’s transit system has among the highest ridership of any in North America and was bursting at the seams. The proposed solution was to increase the number of cars per train from three to four, necessitating longer platforms. The concept included twinned gateway stations at either end of 7th Avenue with alternating stations and landscaped blocks between; and connecting two major parks, Fort Calgary and Millennium Park.
The old stations were encumbered with narrow raised platforms, a complicated series of stairs and ramps with low shelters further enclosing the space. The result was a series of compact but crowded stations which acted as barriers between the shops and the street, and sparked the gradual decline of both the businesses and the quality of the street itself.
At the station blocks, the sidewalks have been raised to become the platforms themselves, providing expanded passenger areas and removing the barriers to adjacent businesses. The canopy covers as much of the street as possible to provide maximum enclosure for the transit users. The design provides height, openness and transparency to maximize the sky views and sun penetration.
Sidewalks are widened to double their previous width in order to accommodate a greater pedestrian population. A clear delineation is made between the active pedestrian ‘walking’ realm and the areas dedicated to transit related waiting and passenger loading. Trees are accommodated in tree trenches, a complicated technical feat given the wealth of infrastructure beneath the Avenue.
*in association with GEC Architects and Carlyle + Associates Landscape Architecture