City of Calgary says Crescent Road long-term plan not coming until 2022

Residents living in the inner-city community of Crescent Heights will have to wait until early 2022 to find out if appeals to keep a section of Crescent Road N.W. closed to traffic will be successful.

The scenic street that overlooks downtown Calgary was closed to traffic from First Street N.W. to 6A Street N.W. in April 2020, to provide space for residents to get outside during COVID-19, before it reopened in October that same year.

Neighbourhood residents protested the reopening, saying the closure encouraged socializing outside. The city said it also heard renewed concerns about disruptive behaviours, including stunting and vehicular noise.

Calgary closed the roadway again — this time from First Street N.W. to Fourth Street N.W. — on June 19. It will reopen later this year.

The city has since been collecting and documenting feedback with a goal of making adjustments where possible, city administration said Wednesday.

Stephanie Ho Lem, who lives in Crescent Heights, told city council’s transportation committee that only a long-term closure of the road will solve the issues.

“When the road closed, the silence was deafening. What was previously an intimidating, exclusionary environment to families, children, residents and the elderly, it became a place of safety and enjoyment,” Ho Lem said. 

“We felt the road wasn’t closed. It was finally open to families, children and the elderly, because they flocked to the road and to the park.”

Coun. Druh Farrell says greater enforcement will not solve the problems on Crescent Road N.W., adding it will take a redesign to make the road an asset for residents and the wider community. (James Young/CBC)

Druh Farrell, the city councillor for the area, said it’s clear that physical changes are needed in the area.

“It’s been going on for years and … through COVID has gotten much much worse,” Farrell said. 

“So it cannot be managed through enforcement alone. It needs something more.”

The city’s next steps involve informing a “master plan” for Crescent Road using feedback from community members and visitors, with first phases of engagement slated for August and September.

For now, several residents told the committee they’re glad Crescent Road is closed to vehicles and some said they hope it never reopens to traffic.

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