Much to the delight of Calgarians who have come to enjoy their recreational bike rides and strolls along RiverWalk, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has announced the completion and opening of Phase lll of the infrastructure program. RiverWalk now stretches two kilometres along the Bow River from Centre Street Bridge, through East Village, around Fort Calgary to 9 Ave. SE.
Phase lll of RiverWalk, which represents 423 linear meters of pathway, includes a small gateway plaza that opens near 9th Avenue SE and showcases Fort Calgary’s traditional buffalo statue; a small interpretive area at the rivers’ confluence with signage curated by Fort Calgary, and two small step-down decks so users can move off the path to relax and reflect.
“We’re halfway there,” noted Michael Brown, CMLC president and CEO. “RiverWalk is a four-kilometer long pathway that links neighbourhoods from Centre Street all the way to Lindsey Park. This phase marks the mid-point in its delivery.”
As per the previous two phases of RiverWalk, Phase lll, has separate, delineated paths for cyclists and pedestrians. The divided commuter bikeway and the pedestrian pathway reflect the same surfaces and materials as previous phases; however, the pedestrian route is much more relaxed in terms of its meandering curves and absence of crossings and impediments. Plantings and vegetation include native and ornamental grasses that are reflective of the prairies and Bow River landscape. In tribute to the North West Mounted Police, who founded Fort Calgary, red cube-styled seating is featured along the path.
Calgarians have played a major role in shaping RiverWalk design and delivery. In 2008, CMLC sought public input on the project’s design through a robust public engagement program. The result has been the creation of a key public amenity for Calgary, which delivers safety through design elements such as dedicated cycle and pedestrian lanes, emergency services call boxes and enhanced pathway lighting. RiverWalk Plaza has become an active programmed outdoor space attracting Calgarians and prospective buyers to the riverbanks for special festivals, concerts and open-air craft markets.
In 2013, CMLC begins an extensive planning period for the final phases of RiverWalk which will see the path continued south along the Elbow River toward Lindsey Park. The schedule for that work has yet to be determined.
The vision for East Village is that of a thriving, mixed-use, inner city community where 11,000 new residents will live, work and play. The area boasts key cultural and recreational amenities, like the National Music Centre, RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island and the proposed New Central Library.