Transportation choice Calgary style: Part 2

I had lots of fun with my last post so I’m thinking of doing a running series showing examples of bad transportation design in Calgary. There are so many examples that it’s hard to know what to pick but for this second installment I only had to step out the door of Fast Forward’s office in Ramsay.

The building on the left is the Ramsay Design Centre where Fast Forward has its office. Red Point Media is also in our building along with a bunch of other employers. Another building to the east houses iStockphoto. So between these two buildings there’s a lot of employees using that gravel road shown at the end of the sidewalk in the photo. Most of these employees use cars even though the building’s inner-city location makes it ideal for cycling.

You’ll notice there’s no crosswalk anywhere in sight. So here are your choices if you’re a pedestrian and you want to cross 11 Street S.E. Either you’ve got to jaywalk sprinting across four lanes of traffic — traffic that often includes concrete trucks and other large vehicles. Or you can walk a block and a half south to the nearest stoplight cross there and walk a block and a half north again.

In other words you can walk three blocks just to cross the street. Or you can illegally run across the street without the protection of a crosswalk. I choose the latter every day.

But it gets better! If I want to walk home from work I quickly run out of sidewalk. It just ends. Look:

You can’t see it super clearly in this photo (another cellphone shot — my apologies) but the sidewalk ends and leaves pedestrians stranded. There’s a sidewalk on the other side of the street but since there’s no crosswalk you have to gamble in traffic again. At 5 p.m. when all four lanes are humming with vehicles it’s not exactly easy to cross safely.

And what about cycling? Is that a choice here? I bike here almost every day and it’s terrible. Because there are four lanes many people drive faster than 50 kilometres per hour. And there’s no shoulder. It’s dangerous. I ride it anyway but it’s dangerous.

11 Street S.E. was built for vehicles and excludes everyone else. This is what traditional developers call "choice."