Calgary SW Ring Road Through North Discovery Ridge: The Stakes Are High!
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Myself and many concerned residents will be significantly impacted by the imminent Ring Road that will skim the periphery of our once peaceful neighborhood. We, the residents of Discovery Ridge, continue to voice our concerns with regard to the close proximity of the 8 lane high-speed roadway, together with the on/off ramps.
We note from the latest alignments that the approximate distance from the nearest residence to the on-ramp is a mere 50 meters (150 ft.); and to the actual main freeway is a mere 100 (300 ft.) meters. We note that a shallow berm is proposed for the segment west of 69 Street, and NO protection is currently proposed for the neighborhood East of 69 Street. We therefore present our concerns in two main parts:
I) Physical Safety
In discussions at the November 29th Open House Information Session The project manager, Garry Lamb, has acknowledged the risk of vehicles “ending up in someone’s back yard” during a high-speed upset. There have already been incidences of vehicles leaving the road (Highway 8) and travelling several meters off the embankment. The number of lanes, increase in speed, and mix of domestic and heavy truck traffic increases this risk dramatically.
ii) Quality of Life: Acoustic Protection
AT is designing the road for an average sound level of 65 DBa over 24 hours.
Note that 65 Dba would simulate conversational speech, which we note is quite audible even through closed windows, and can become disturbing if heard outside one’s house on a consistent basis. This is particularly true during nighttime (sleep) hours.
A “Draft” sound study from CH2M and Patching was reviewed. The key observations were as follows:
It Appears that the scope of the study stops at point 46, and that the sound level exceeds 65 DBA here. (Please confirm.) Hence, a berm or a sound wall is warranted, even with the report as is. The study, however, has excluded much of the area east of 69 St.
It does NOT appear that any modelling of the Acceleration effect of vehicles on the Acceleration ramp has been made. This would be twice as loud and a few times the emissions as compared to vehicles at cruising speed, and, combined with the main roadways, would very likely contribute to unbearable living conditions for residents along this segment.
The following mitigation measures need to be made for residential areas both EAST and WEST of 69 St along the proposed road alignments.
3.1) A COMPLETE AND REALISTIC sound study needs to be conducted, accounting for realistic effects of acceleration and deceleration along the nearby proposed on and off-ramps. Input from the community impacted is critical.
3.2) Included is the City of Calgary’s Noise Policy, TP003, “Surface Transportation Noise Policy” which specific addressed residential areas along proposed roadway development. (See attachments) The criterion must be 65 DBA measured over a PEAK HOURS, as per the City of Calgary’s Noise Policy, NOT 65 DBA over 24 hours. The latter design basis is suitable for rural highways, NOT Urban freeways. The areas of Discovery, Springbank and Signal Hill are well within City limits.
3.3) The RISK of vehicles leaving the roadway should be mitigated and prevented, with consideration of a protective earthen berm and ditch, or guard wall, whichever is more effective to arrest vehicles that would otherwise easily careen or fly into our neighborhoods.
Note that it may be possible and reasonably economical to design and construct a berm /ditch grade suitable for both acoustic and barrier mitigation applications. Indeed, if planned before the start of construction, earthwork may be suitably planned for approximately 1 km along this stretch, and would likely have a negligible impact on project cost. The above suggestions to protect the Safety and the quality of life of those impacted should be an integral part of project planning, good practice and adherence to codes of ethical conduct. They should not merely be an afterthought. We are happy to participate in productive planning accordingly. (See attached City Noise Barrier Retrofit table)
Finally, we insist on Meaningful consultation, and believe this is vital to the success of any large scope project. Information sessions only provide an initial opportunity for people to see what has already been planned, NOT become involved in the planning process. This means treating stakeholders respectfully, recording conversations especially regarding safety and quality of like, informing of revisions and modifications, and following up accordingly.
In Summary, we all value our safety, our children and our quality of life. We have worked very hard to earn the privilege, of living in some of the best areas of the city, and we will continue to be vigilant and proactive to protect them accordingly.
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