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Bye-bye bus traps: Calgary ditches notorious traffic devices

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Calgary will soon be rid of all its bus traps.

The traps have existed in Calgary for decades, and were meant to stop cars from entering transit-only lanes.

"Fifty years ago, it seemed like a good idea to dig a hole in the middle of a transit lane and put bars across it to stop unauthorized vehicles from entering specific areas," said officials in a Wednesday news release.

The holes were built so that buses and emergency vehicles could pass over them without issue, but not commuters, who found themselves stuck in the trap if they entered the lane. 

"I’ve spoken with people who accidentally drove into a bus trap, and it was a terrifying experience for them," said Troy McLeod, the City of Calgary's mobility director.

He explained the traps are actually counterproductive because transit service was interrupted when vehicles became stuck.

Additionally, smaller transit shuttles and emergency response vehicles were not big enough to pass over them.

"When it comes to these old traps, the consequences are excessive, and they disrupt transit service," Macleod said.

"Removing them was simply the right thing to do."

New solution

Officials are in the process of filling the remaining bus traps with asphalt/concrete as they work to find a better way to keep everyone safe on the roads.

"Mobility is all about keeping people moving safely, whether they walk, wheel, drive or take transit," McLeod said.

"Where we can, we want to ensure disruption to transit service is minimized and that access for emergency response vehicles is maximized."

Former bus trap locations include:

  • Fourth Street N.E. at Beaver Dam Road N.E., filled in January;
  • North Haven Drive N.W. at Noseman Road N.W., filled in January;
  • 24 Avenue N.E. at 21 Street N.E., filled January;
  • Pinetown Place N.E. at 56 Street N.E., filled in January;
  • 58 Street S.W. at Strathcona Drive S.W., will be filled in this month;
  • Rockyvale Drive N.W. at Rockliff Landing N.W., will be filled in this month, and
  • Centre Street N at Beddington Trail N, will be filled in this month.

Officials are reminding drivers that the roadways the bus traps were on remain off-limits to personal  vehicles.

Transit-only lanes are not to be used by drivers as shortcuts through neighbourhoods or for any other reason.

Signage will be updated letting drivers know it’s a restricted area, and traffic cameras will be used to monitor and assist with enforcement, as needed.

For more information, visit Calgary.ca/bus-traps.

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