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What Do You Think? Latest ideas attract comments, corrections

Jun 19, 2011

With the Mission Road charrette entering its final phase, the project team presented its latest versions of design approaches to the community on Sunday afternoon. The presentation represented refinements of ideas tested on Saturday. And the version at Tuesday night’s wrap-up at 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn will integrate the community’s input from throughout the week.

Charrette leader Andres Duany told attendees that the week’s discussions with community members and City of Calgary staffers had convinced him to propose approaches that take advantage of the City’s invitation “to experiment outside the system that now exists.” Chief among the experiments will be a request to establish an Innovation Neighbourhood designation for projects like the Mission Road district, exempting them from several layers of regulation.

That’s a proposal that’s intended to address some of the district property owners’ suspicions that plans emerging from the charrette might get bogged down in red tape before they have the chance to prove themselves. If the planning is in harmony with the City’s broader goals and can demonstrate community support, “the City should just get out of the way,” said Duany.

Among the ideas attendees reviewed on Sunday were:

  • The team’s refinements of designs for retail frontage along the north side of Mission Road with residences patterned after London mews behind the commercial buildings.
  • An expansion of the study area to include a half-mile “pedestrian shed” from the key intersection of Macleod Trail and Mission Road.
  • A proposed move of the transit station closer to the Macleod/Mission Road crossroads to further enliven the commercial potential of the district.

You can review the presentation images and meeting notes from the presentation by going to the DOCUMENTS section in the toolbar above.

For the most part, community attendees seemed pleased with the suggestions and the images Duany presented. What persists, however, are worries over traffic congestion, particularly in adjacent neighbourhoods where cars often cut through to avoid back-ups on Mission Road.

“I cannot promise you there will be less traffic,” said Duany. In a successful mixed-use district, “there will always be more traffic. But we can suggest better ways to manage the flow.”

The team is exploring the use of traffic circles at key points and restrictions against using certain routes through neighbourhoods at rush hour times.

Come to the final presentation on Tuesday night to see how the ideas evolve over the next two days. And please share your comments and ideas below.

2 Responses to “What Do You Think? Latest ideas attract comments, corrections”

  1. Gary Ellis says:

    I have a number of comments and queries based on the sessions I attended. I am hoping to drop by the open studio later today to discuss.

    As a sampler here are a few- given the potential retail on MR will likely be on the north side, how will pedestrians from the south side cross MR?

    My other queries are around viability, retail mix, development management and operational management. How it’s all packaged.

    I love the concepts of the mews and their potential to develop a quaint secondary street years from now aka Quebec City. I also like the proposed street behind Macleod Trail on the east side for economical vitality. And the wrap around 4 posts of the renewed activated space. The anchors of the market and the signature stand out amenity on the western gate make sense( existing Enmax building).

    I have several ideas to enable the final plans with innovative design and community capital.

    I keep coming back to the objective- to improve the neighborhood by making it more of a ‘ complete community’ that is within the 10 minute walkable envelope. It must meet those needs and yet be viable and economically sustainable from a commercial and developer perspective.

    The housing mix , while within the 4 floor cap, must be attractive from a developer and buyer perspective. The retail needs to be viable from a seasonal perspective-I have some ideas here.

    I am most interested in seeing this innovative and much needed infusion of ‘ complete neighbourhood product into Calgary and Mission Road/ Parkhill Community seems like a potential for success on a small scale to be an ideal pilot.

  2. Michael M says:

    While I applaud the overall scheme, I fail to understand why all of the artistic renderings depict traditional, old looking buildings that are going to be newly constructed. It really has no relation to the City of Calgary – our culture, our built heritage, or our environment.

    It would be refreshing to see the team drop these traditional, outdated forms of architecture for something that is more aesthetically pleasing and environmentally appropriate. While these traditional buildings are alluring when rendered by an artist, they are typically constructed with a lot of faux materials that are poor quality and fail to withstand our extreme climate. Stucco, fake stone, vinyl and plastic replicas of old buildings are not built with the same quality as old buildings that use real stone, real wood and steel. Replicas will not withstand the forces of time and nature, and are promoted by developers in order to maximize profits by providing low quality, cheaply constructed buildings.

    Great job thinking outside the box on the large scale, needs a lot more work promoting innovative building design. Where’s the innovation in architecture? I don’t see any.

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COMMENTS POLICY: We invite questions and suggestions related to the post above. The online rules are the same as they'd be if we were meeting in person. We'll respect one another and keep on topic. And we'll work together to create a compelling vision and implementation strategy for Mission Road.

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    Project Logo

    This is the moment we’ve all been planning towards.

    Beginning Wednesday, June 15, 2011, citizens, landowners, and City staff sat down with an international consulting team to translate years worth of lessons learned into a plan for healthy growth along Mission Road. Just as important, they used this week-long planning workshop as a test run for how Calgary's residents, business people, and government might better go about charting the future of our neighbourhoods together.

    That’s why we’ve described this project as: Neighbours on a mission. In reality, we’re all neighbours. And we have to work together to get where we want to go. Read more here.