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Calgary brainstorming changes to its iconic Stephen Avenue

JOC News Service
Calgary brainstorming changes to its iconic Stephen Avenue
CITY OF CALGARY - Pedestrians stroll down Calgary’s Stephen Avenue. The city is asking architectural firms to submit proposals to redesign the area.

CALGARY, ALTA. – Calgary is asking architects to help rethink the city’s famous Stephen Avenue.

City officials will accept proposals until April 19 from design and landscape architecture firms with ideas to redesign the pedestrian hub

The busy, walkable corridor has been an iconic gateway to downtown Calgary for more than 60 years.

“It’s time to rethink Stephen Avenue,” said Michael Magnan, public realm lead with the city, in a press release. “We are looking for a new design that will create short and long-term strategies that can be implemented over time to make Stephen Avenue better for Calgarians and visitors.”

The current pedestrian mall was built in the 1990s to protect the area’s heritage building from being demolished. The result was a corridor that grew into one of Calgary’s go-to destinations for dining, shopping and entertainment.

It also saw new developments integrate with heritage resources.

However, the city noted despite all this, Calgary has not fully embraced Stephen Avenue as a destination area beyond normal work hours

“Right now, once office workers leave at the end of the day, the vibrancy of Stephen Avenue drops off,” said Magnan. “We are looking to invigorate Stephen Avenue to help the area reach its fullest potential as a unique destination and place, whether it’s during the day, evening or weekend.”

Through a request for proposal process, the city is asking interested teams to try and achieve the following goals:

  • Increase street activity during peak and non-peak periods.
  • Establish a vibe that addresses existing character, heritage and attracts and sustains a range of established and unique business activity.
  • Create something for everyone, celebrate fun and encourage social mixing.
  • Find ways to address social disorder and help citizens feel safe.
  • Improve year round pedestrian connectivity from end to end.
  • Balance mobility for everyone such as pedestrians, cyclists, goods and vehicles.
  • Give users, occupants and owners an accessible, flexible space.
  • Propose temporary measures to address life-cycle deterioration of the public realm.

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John Lawlor Image John Lawlor

For a more vibrant Stephen Ave … to have open market stalls that rotate every two weeks. For Artists, farmers, food stalls and crafts, etc.
Power, light, and heat for the stall, similar to Ottawa market and many European towns. Of course those who wish to rent the space must present to the city their business plan.

Keeping new and ever-changing will pull people in to see what is new. Once a place becomes stagnant, it is hard to pull them back and drop the city parking when you present a receipt that you had supported one of these stalls.

John Lawlor


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