Calgary Street Layout

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Central Calgary

  • The older, more central part of Calgary is built on a grid system.
  • Avenues run east-west, and are numbered sequentially as they move outwards, north and south of Centre Avenue.
  • Streets run north-south, and are numbered sequentially as they move outwards, east and west of Centre Street.
  • Each street address ends in NW, NE, SE or SW, and that tells you which quadrant of the city it's situated in.
  • To find out, roughly, what the cross street or cross avenue is, knock off the last two digits of the address. For example, the address of a downtown building called Bankers Hall is 888 - 3rd Street SW. If you knock the last two digits off 888, you're left with 8. That tells you that the nearest avenue that crosses 3rd Street is 8th Avenue.
  • You could use the same logic for a building whose address was an avenue, for example, Sun Life Plaza at 144 - 4th Avenue SW. Knock the last two digits off 144, and you're left with 1. That tells you the the closest cross street is 1st Street.


Suburbs

  • Some time after WW II, Calgary abandoned the grid concept.
  • Newer suburbs, beyond the centre part of the city, have curved streets that are aligned to the terrain.
  • These newer suburbs have what might be called theme names.
  • Take the community of Silver Springs, for example. The name of every road or street in Silver Springs starts with "Silver." Hence the neighbourhood has streets like Silver Springs Boulevard, Silver Hill Road, Silver Brook Way, Silvergrove Rise, and so on.
  • Even a community with theme names, however, often has the occasional numbered street or avenue that gives you some sense of how far from downtown that community is.
  • For example, 162 Avenue SW separates the communities of Shawnessy and Somerset. The fact that the avenue is in the high 100s tells you that these neighbourhoods are far from the centre of the city (by Calgary standards).


Maps

  • Here is a map of the C-Train lines -- also known as the LRT (Light Rail Transit) system.
  • If you want to find directions and the estimated driving time from one Calgary address to another, use Google Maps.
  • Click on Get Directions.
  • Plug one address into the Start Address box, e.g., 83 Deerpoint Road SE, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Plug another address into the End Address box, e.g., 999 - 36 Street NE, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Google Maps will give you written directions, estimated driving time, and a map.
  • Assume that estimated driving times are for off peak hours.
  • Double the estimated driving times for rush hour.

Public Transportation

  • Here is a Trip Planning feature that you can use to find out what combination of buses and/or trains you need to catch to get from Point A to Point B and how long the journey will take you.
  • Be warned, however, that the Trip Planner assumes the most optimistic conditions. In real life trains and buses may be delayed, you may miss a connection, etc.
  • Here is information about Fares.
    • Once you have purchased a transit ticket, you can use the same ticket to make as many transfers as are nececssary to complete your journey.
    • If you board a bus, but will be continuing your journey on another bus or train, ask the bus driver for a transfer.
    • Note that ticket dispensing machines on train platforms and bus drivers do not give change.
    • You have the option of giving the exact fare or overpaying.
    • You can buy books of 10 tickets from many retail outlets, e.g., supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.
    • Tickets that are bought in books are undated, and can be used at any time.
    • The same stores that sell books of tickets also sell monthly transit passes that are valid on any bus or train, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Monthly passes are dated, and are valid only for the relevant month.
  • Here, again, is a map of the C-Train lines.
  • Use of the C-Train is free along 7th Avenue, in the downtown core.
  • You may not drive on 7th Avenue in the downtown core. It is for trains and buses only.

Estimated Walking Times

Street Level

  • If you want to estimate the walking time that you'll need to allow to get from one downtown address to another downtown address, assume 2 minutes per block.
  • You may very well get from Point A to Point B more quickly than that.
  • However, the estimate of 2 minutes per block allows for contingencies, e.g., waiting at red lights, etc.
  • The blocks tend to vary in length out in the suburbs.
  • Suburban blocks also tend to be much longer than downtown blocks.
  • The walking time estimate provided here is for the downtown core only.


Plus Fifteens

  • Many of the buildings in Calgary's downtown core are connected by glass-enclosed, pedestrian tunnels known, collectively, as the Plus 15 system.
  • They derive their name from the fact that regulations dictate that they be built 15 feet above street level.
  • They are a godsend in really cold weather, as they allow you to navigate the downtown core without a coat and boots.
  • If you want to use the Plus 15 system to get from one point to another, you should allow extra time. The Plus Fifteens may involve a more circuitous route than the one you could have used at street level.

Related Information

  • This is one of a series of British Expats Wiki articles on Calgary.