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Inglewood and Ramsay residents raise concerns over impending permanent road closure
Published Wednesday, September 21, 2016 9:23PM MDT
Citing safety concerns, the City of Calgary will place concrete barriers across a section of 8 Street Southeast near 9 Avenue but some residents fear the obstruction could prove dangerous in the event of an emergency.
The barriers will restrict vehicles and pedestrians from crossing the railroad tracks that separates the communities of Ramsay and Inglewood. A timeline for the installation has not been released.
According to city officials, fewer than 3,000 vehicles use the street each day.
“The traffic counts on that route are low,” explained Sean Somers, City of Calgary Transportation spokesperson. “People aren't using it as a thoroughfare. All those factors considered, what made the most sense at this point was just to close the road.”
Residents of the neighbourhoods say their communities have become somewhat of an island thanks in part to the natural barriers of the Bow and Elbow Rivers as well as the rail yard. The planned LRT green line is expected to create another boundary within the area.
In 2013, the region encountered neighbourhood evacuations following a CP train derailment and severe flooding of the rivers. The events heightened concerns over emergency response times and access in the area.
Residents suggest permanently closing 8 Street S.E. will further isolate their communities. Many are upset the city made the decision without consulting those who live there.
“Essentially we have about 6 ways in and out of the neighbourhood,” said L.J. Robertson of the Inglewood Community Association. “Right now, our zoo bridge is under construction so we're down one.”
“The idea that, potentially in a situation of stress or public safety, we'd lose one of our points of egress is of huge concern.”
In addition to the safety concerns, residents believe the 8 St. S.E. closure will have a negative impact on traffic leaving the Scotiabank Saddledome and Stampede Park.
With files from CTV’s Alesia Fieldberg