International Avenue BRT construction: Short-term pain for long-term gain

New road development has begun on International Avenue, and Calgary drivers in the southeast are frustrated with the constant traffic changes and temporary lights.

Colin Chapman, the project manager for the 17th Avenue S.E Bus Rapid Transit Project, explained that the road development is designed to enhance safety for drivers, pedestrians, and transit users.

According to Chapman, there will be a limited bus stop that provides quick transportation to the downtown core, stations with real-time travel information, and heated shelters.

Chapman says the project will affect residents who live in the communities around International Avenue as well as transit users, businesses, and pedestrians along the avenue.

“The road developments are designed to create better traffic flow and faster commute times,”  said Chapman.

According to the transportation section of, some of the south side construction has already been completed.

The website also states that construction and road removals started on the north side during the week of Sept 11.

“International Avenue is culturally diverse and unique, and the city is working to maintain that. Whether it’s working with businesses or residents, the design for the project reflects the uniqueness of the avenue and the community’s desire to create a great space for everyone,” said Chapman.

Current resident of the Forrest Lawn area, Corrina Pelletier, has been driving in southeast for about 12 years and has never experienced such traffic congestion before.

“Sometimes it’s so busy and hard to get through. I take the back roads and do my shopping in a different community,” said Pelletier.

“It’s comforting sticking with the norm, but the driving is so terrible right now it’s easier to go elsewhere,” she said.

Bethany Fudger, 21, has lived near International Avenue almost all her life.

Fudger has experienced difficult driving conditions since the development began in early September.

“It is beyond frustrating driving behind someone who doesn’t know what they are doing,” said Fudger.

She is expecting to hear about more accidents as she feels some people just don’t care enough to pay attention for others or the construction.

“I am worried that because they added a new left turning lane people are going to cause accidents,” said Fudger.

Fudger and many of her fellow community residents are excited for construction to end and for normality to be restored.

The new road developments are scheduled to be completed sometime in the spring of 2018, and residents in the area are impressed with how quickly things are moving.

“It is almost sad watching the changes be made to our old community but I think in the end it will be very beneficial and a nice uplift to the area,” said Fudger.

For updates on construction progress, see the City of Calgary website.

Pavement Aplenty: Construction workers prepare the bus lane along International Avenue at 52nd Street Calgary on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. When completed, the revamped road will enable quicker commute times into downtown. (Photo by Courtney Lovgren/The Press)
About Courtney Lovgren 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Courtney Lovgren worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.