Well, it took a while, but Calgary finally has an elevated station, and if you’re only going to have only one of something, you might as well do it up right.
The construction of this station intrigued me, way up in the sky like that, I just couldn’t stand the suspense of seeing the finished project. It seemed to take forever for the huge concrete supports to go in and more waiting as the elevated track was installed one section at a time. The station itself looked open and exposed for the longest time, but it all came together in the end.
The station has a lot of windows for those who enjoy the view. I’m not afraid of heights, not even a little bit, but I could see some people having trouble with it here. Then again, everything is enclosed and you can always think about the large number of stairs. Halfway down is the mezzanine level and the overpass crossing 9th Avenue which gives access to the Greyhound Bus Station. A little public plaza on the south side of the station is still under construction, waiting for spring weather to get completed. The best way to show off the Sunalta Station is with pictures. The infographic also contains more information than I include in the Blog, and if all else fails, this station is worth visiting in person.
I took more photos of this station than any other, just because I thought it was so darn stylish and interesting. I’m sure I could take a whole lot more if I came back after dark. Lighting something up adds a whole new dimension to the urban landscape. (Las Vegas comes to mind).
Sunalta is the last of the six new stations constructed as part of the west leg of the LRT. I really enjoyed exploring all of them and I think will continue on down the line. I’ve been all the way to Saddletowne at the far end of the NE line and I’m sure some of the stations between here and there deserve a closer look.
Without getting too political about it, I want to say that long term planning for extending and expanding the LRT lines should be a priority. I think that Calgary has not put as much priority on public transit as it should. I haven’t visited enough large Canadian cities to make proper comparisons to the C-Train, but a little bit of research shows me that other cities in Canada have much larger transit systems and better long term planning.
One place I have been is the west coast. Metro Vancouver has the Skytrain as part of their Translink system. Images of Skytrain. The Skytrain has long stretches of elevated rail, and I really enjoyed the view as it travelled unimpeded between elevated stations, and Translink has development plans looking as far ahead as 2040.