The frustration is real. Many of the concerns legitimate. Traffic access in Mahogany is a problem right now. Learn more about the history of the issue and impending future relief.
We will start by going back to the beginning...
Original Plan for Mahogany Circa 2006: Mahogany – B&A | Planning, Design, Engagement (bastudios.ca)
How we got here:
The Community Plan for Mahogany was approved by Council in September of 2006. As Hopewell moved the application through The City, an access point onto 88th Street was proposed by Hopewell. Unfortunately, this proposal was never accepted by the Transportation Department as it didn't meet the geometrical requirements to operate safely. The issue was the designation of 88th as a future urban expressway (or freeway). Expressways (now called Skeletal Roads) are planned to accommodate larger volumes of traffic and higher speeds necessitating interchanges to optimize traffic flow. The Mahogany border along 88th finds itself sandwiched between the interchange at Stoney and a future interchange at 196th (now Rangeview Blvd). This future interchange would create a conflict between an east access acceleration lane and the onramp to the interchange, against applicable standards.
Now, the original community plan did envision a bus-only access alongside of the regional path alignment. From those I interacted with about the 88th access in Mahogany, it is largely agreed that this is the source of any belief that Mahogany would have public access onto 88th. Over the years there was likely multiple culprits feeding this misinformation and I have yet to see anything official that would indicate otherwise.
Unfortunately, vehicular access was never planned for at any point along the Mahogany 88 Street SE interface.
The Ward 12 Office has a long history of advocacy on this issue dating back to 2014-15 when there was a move to redesignate the road to an Arterial so that the East access could be accommodated. An amendment to the Land Use in Mahogany came through the Calgary Planning Commission and then Cllr. Keating utilized this opportunity to direct the Transportation Department to work with Hopewell to explore the possibilities of having a full intersection at Masters Road and 88th Street. I have been told that advocacy unfolded over the course of a few months and turned into upwards of six meetings with both Hopewell and The City. The 196 Avenue and 88 Street Functional Planning Study by Stantec, 2011 had recently been completed and the Skeletal (expressway/freeway) designation was solidified in consultation with Alberta Transportation and the Southeast Stoney Trail Project. This comprehensive and recent review brought the Ward 12 office's advocacy push to an end.
Will there still be a bus-only access?
The 2007 version and the most current version of the ASP shows bus-only access and a regional path alignment extending eastward to 88 Street SE from Mahogany Boulevard SE, generally aligning with Masters Boulevard SE (the highlighted portion shown above). The Outline Plans (a more detailed and complete version of the plan, submitted to get Land Use and permission to start building) show the regional path about 350m to the south, aligning with Masters Road SE. No bus-only access was shown on the Outline Plans and City Administration has been unable to find reports or records (tied to bylaws, file numbers, or meeting minutes) showing conversations about this possible access. Calgary Transit currently has no plans to route the Mahogany Bus Routes 75 and 79 along 88 Street SE. The Mahogany bus routes currently operate back and forth from Mahogany to the Seton, South Heath Campus terminal.
88 Street SE was designed and constructed in 2020 / 2021 by the City of Calgary. The Issued for Construction (IFC) drawings did not include a bus access to 88 Street SE & Masters Road. However, the designers confirmed that a bus-only access connecting across 88 Street from Masters Drive to 178 Avenue could be accommodated in the future based on the grades and sight lines, assuming the future bus connection is a two phase, stop controlled design.
Could 88th still be changed to an Arterial?
No. In order to downgrade the 88 Street SE Street classification to Arterial, Alberta Transportation would need to be consulted and intersection spacing from the Stoney Trail ramps would need to be satisfactory to meet Provincial regulations. Even if the existing road could be downgraded, trying to retrofit 88 Street SE rights-of-way, to accommodate an at-grade intersection at Master’s Road, would be extremely challenging, disruptive and expensive. Homes have already been built along Master's Road without the volumes and impacts considered in the design.
Major and unplanned impacts to homeowners in Mahogany to end up with traffic flow problems on 88th Street in the future is not a smart tradeoff.
Disclaimer: This is what I have been able to reconstruct from talking with The City and those who were around at the time. If you have information that I do not, PLEASE reach out by email to: [email protected]
Mahogany traffic access, current and future state:
My office and I have been receiving a lot of concerns about traffic access in Mahogany. I have heard of commutes taking 20 minutes or more to reach 52nd, especially when conditions are exacerbated by poor weather and local construction. Although there will not be any exits directly onto 88 Street SE, there will be additional exits onto Rangeview Blvd providing easier access to 88th and 52nd.
I am happy to report that The City released full construction permission to Hopewell for an area that includes access to Rangeview Blvd. This approval, given on Sept 1st, will lead to a publicly accessible South access point as early as Fall of this year (2023). There are a few challenges that will need to be overcome as this work progresses, primarily related to safety. Design discussions around how the intersection will operate are ongoing. Potential solutions currently include both temporary jersey barriers and signage. I will be tracking these conversations and pushing for public access as soon as safely possible. Even without approved public access the construction traffic will be immediately detoured to the new South entrance as construction of the road completes.
My commitment is to keep the Ward up to date on this project in anticipation of a far better commute for all.
As always don't hesitate to reach out with feedback on this or any other questions or concerns related to The City and Ward 12.
Email: [email protected]
Cllr. Ward 12