Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stoney Trail blues

So since November of last year, Calgary finds itself with roughly half of a ring road around the city, with the other half due sometime in the next decade or so [smirk]. Based on what I've seen so far though, I am a bit concerned. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that we have money to build roads. The issue seems to be that we don't actually have enough to complete them.

Starting from the west side of the city and working our way north and eastward, we've got 3 traffic lights, one interchange that's literally barely half done (more on that in a minute) and several interchanges that only have their approaches built (no overpass and in some cases, no connection). Back to that partial interchange. It's a great interchange if you live on the north side of Stoney Trail. It rocks if you're coming westbound and only want to go north on Shaganappi, or are coming south on the same road and want to get on Stoney Trail westbound. But that's it. All other access has yet to be built. Needless to say, a lot of folks are taking what exit does exist and doing u-turns to get to where they're going. It's just a matter of time before the police are all over this and/or there's a major accident.

Then there's the non-existent merge lane onto northbound Deerfoot Trail. You come around this expansive, Los Angeles grade fly-over and go to merge with this mega highway (the QEII) and your lane just dumps right onto the rightmost lane of the highway. There is literally no merge lane. At all. Folks think I'm making this up. I'm not. You have to pray that there's nobody in the right lane of the highway, otherwise, you seriously run out of options. Whoever decided that this was a safe state for a major road should be fired.

My point? When you announce that the new ring road is ready for prime time, you should finish the thing first. It's like a bunch of bakers patting each other on the back for a glorious cake, but there's no icing, half the ingredients are missing and some poor sod's going to bite into a knife that was accidentally left in the batter.

But the whole point of this post is that I am worried that this sets a new standard for future road construction in Calgary. Can we now look forward to future roadways only being half done in an effort to look like we can get things done, without really getting them done? I have lived in many places and have never seen a major road let loose on the public with so many problems. And keep in mind, I used to live in Montreal, where they couldn't even finish an Olympic stadium on time.

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