The public realm along – and near – the existing C-Train routes is not much of an attraction, but there could be a different approach for the new Green Line LRT, with the rapid transit rail route literally being green.
As an exercise for year-round placemaking, the City of Calgary is establishing a long-term vision of incorporating public gardens on sites within a 500-metre radius of the future stations.
The initiative will begin with six public garden projects, with additional projects to follow in further incremental phases. The first gardens will focus on six themes, such as community, arts and local history, seasonal and year-round, event-friendly, way-finding, and digital technology.
“The development of Public Gardens has the potential to benefit The City, Calgarians and visitors. Public Gardens would support Calgary’s commitment to invest in public spaces by leveraging past successes and continuing to lead in innovative design,” reads a city staff report.
“City Shaping looks for opportunities to provide services to enable programs that increase exposure to arts, culture, heritage and education in communities along the Green Line,” it adds. “Public Gardens has the potential to help deliver those services within the Green Line communities and transit is key to these outcomes as it provides a reliable and affordable service connecting Calgarians and supporting their needs.”
To achieve the project, the municipal government is exploring third-party investments, including sponsorship, to supplement city-supported funds for these new public spaces.
Moving forward, further planning will entail cost estimates, determining funding sources and implementation strategy, and public consultation. LRT station plazas could also benefit from enhanced landscapes, and privately-owned lands could even be contemplated in consultation with landowners.
After the 2026 completion of the Green Line’s first phase, entailing the first 14 stations and 20 km of new track, additional city-owned land could be made available for the use of public gardens.
“The outcome is a green ribbon of incredible garden spaces and community gathering places connected by the Green Line,” the report said.