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Oct 4, 2010

Glenmore Tr & 37 St SW

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Much has been said and written about this notorious intersection here in Calgary - mostly because it is a choke point for traffic and has been, until recently, the last stoplight on Glenmore Trail causing massive traffic headaches. From a cyclist point of view, this area was pretty scary and needed help. It is a very popular route for getting south towards the Weaselhead area (and even further south towards Fish Creek) and is also the northern route for cyclists heading towards Edworthy Park, the Bow River Pathway, and downtown. Bike route signage was spotty at best, useless at worst.
South side of Glenmore Trail roundabout.  The new pathway comes into the picture from the left and gives you 2 options for crossing 37 StSW.  Cross at the crossing shown or you can proceed left out of the picture to Lakeview Dr SW and cross there.

There was much specualtion that the Ring Road would eventually go through this area but the Tsu Tina Nation, the Province, and the City could not come to an agreement on the SW section of the Ring Road, leaving this intersection as a huge traffic problem that needed some improvements fast. The City has since changed the whole intersection - removing the traffic lights, installing roundabouts on the north and south side of Glenmore, and building a bridge connecting the 2 roundabouts. Also included was a pathway connecting the north and south to MRC and Lincoln Way SW.

View from the top of the bridge north towards MRC and Lincoln Way SW.  The pathway connector is shown or you can continue down to the left on the pathway towards 37 St SW and follow the pathway/sidewalk to 46 Ave SW/Richardson Way SW.

Overall, and considering the limitations that were in place (neighbouring homes), I think the city has done a good job of providing for bicycle access through this area and, in fact, offering a safer alternative to getting across Glenmore Trail than existed before. Signage is currently non-existent but, to be fair, the project appears to still be months away from completion. Previously, if you were cycling, you had to choose between "the lesser of 2 evils" - ride the road with aggressive, speeding motorists who were rushing to get on/off Glenmore Trail or 37 Street - OR - ride on the sidewalk. If you are cycling with children, the road is not an option, leaving the sidewalk, and the sidewalk is only on the east side of 37 St Sw with crappy connections everywhere.

Now, there is a much safer route. Here is my personal favorite:
- approaching from the north, ride north on Sarcee Rd SW (29 st sw turns into Sarcee Rd at 33 St Sw) till you get to the intersection of Sarcee Rd and Richardson Rd SW
- proceed straight through the intersection, with the road now being Lincoln Way SW. Follow it around until you see the new bridge over Glenmore Trail
- take the pathway up and over the bridge
- at Lakeview Dr SW you can cross 37 St SW and proceed south towards Weaselhead on a pretty safe road

This new link is by no means perfect - especially for pedestrians (adds at least 250m to cross Glenmore) - but it is a start. It would also be useful if bikeway signs are moved/replaced/added/changed to reflect the new route possibilities through Lincoln Way, MRC, and along the sidewalk on the east side of 37 St SW.

Thank you City of Calgary for ensuring there is ped/bike access through this vital area.

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