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City of Calgary and partners rethink Stephen Avenue

JOC News Service
City of Calgary and partners rethink Stephen Avenue

CALGARY, ALTA. – The City of Calgary, the Calgary Downtown Association and Gehl Studio are working together to rethink Stephen Avenue, the city’s downtown pedestrian hub.

The three entities will work together to design the entire length of Stephen Avenue, from 11 Street S.W. to its terminus at Olympic Plaza, focusing on extending the pedestrian mall to the west and create a program to increase private investment and redevelopment. Gehl Studio will begin work this month with a public engagement process with a new concept for the avenue scheduled for spring 2020.

According to the City of Calgary’s site about the Stephen Ave. project, the current configuration of the avenue serves downtown workers during the day but is underused during evenings and weekends, which would be addressed under the redesign.

Gehl Studio is known for their work in the fields of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and city planning and will consult with design team members in Stantec’s Calgary office, the release stated.

“We’re very excited to have Gehl Studio bring its decades of experience in creating well-planned public spaces to explore the future of Stephen Avenue. The current version of the pedestrian mall was created in 1980s and was designed to meet the needs of that era. We have the opportunity to create a 21st century street experience that embraces all modes of transportation and the conditions needed to spur private investment along Stephen Avenue,” City of Calgary public realm lead Michael Magnan said in a City of Calgary release.

“Stephen Avenue is a key cultural and economic hub for downtown Calgary and we believe it’s critical to reshape and improve the experience of this iconic and historical avenue. It’s vital that we have the right team and expertise to build an ambitious plan to reshape a unique and sustainable experience. This is not just about creating a beautiful street, it’s about creating conditions that will attract private investment, economic growth, and amenities that can entice residents and visitors for years to come. It’s an important step in our effort to revitalize downtown,” Calgary Downtown Association Marco De Iaco added.

Updating Stephen Ave. is a “fundamental piece of The City’s Downtown Strategy – the effort to support and incentivize private investment, generate visits and spending, and provide amenities and services to enhance the quality of life for people living and working in Calgary’s downtown,” the release stated.

“Updating our historic pedestrian hub goes beyond designing an improved physical streetscape. It involves developing strategies to encourage economic investment and redevelopment of private space, while creating a plan for programming the public space to ensure residents and tourists are drawn to Stephen Avenue for years to come,” the release said.

More information about the project is available at calgary.ca/stephenavenue.

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