Starting Sunday, Calgary’s Crescent Road will reopen to vehicle traffic, to the dismay of many residents in the area.
Crescent Road was closed to traffic in April to allow for physical distancing outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Crescent Heights Community Association said the closure transformed the area and let more pedestrians, cyclists and dog owners use the street “without worrying about cars racing by.”
The group said Saturday it’s very disappointed with the city’s decision to allow cars back.
Association director John McDermid said he is hopeful for a workaround but the group has not had direct contact with the city beyond its councillor, Druh Farrell. McDermid said he learned of the reopening on Thursday.
“We contacted the city in late August requesting that the closure extend for six months so we could see how the space operated in autumn,” he said.
“People really have fallen in love with the space now that it’s closed to vehicle traffic.”
McDermid said the move is disappointing to the community because the association was planning programming around the closure to get people outside during winter.
“What are pedestrian tracks today will be tire tracks tomorrow.”
Farrell tweeted Saturday that she’s disappointed by the decision too, citing that many Calgarians enjoyed the closed road in the past few months.
“This was about an entire community, surrounding communities and visitors from all over Calgary, of all ages and abilities, having a space to safely enjoy iconic views,” she said.
The Ward 7 councillor explained that she is worried about the mental and physical health implications of a pandemic winter.
“We need to do all we can to help Calgarians enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company safely,” Farrell said.
Farrell said she is encouraged that the city’s transportation department is “committed to [allowing] easy temporary closures” so the community can have space for winter activities.
“The problem is there’s nothing normal about this coming winter,” she told Global News.
“We need to encourage, not stifle, creative ideas to embrace winter — not just with festivals but every day and where people live in their own neighbourhoods.”
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