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Plans for upgrading Deerfoot Trail may not be realistic says one expert

Last Updated Jan 14, 2021 at 7:42 am MDT

A shot of Deerfoot Trail from 32 Ave NE on Nov. 28, 2019 (PHOTO: Saif Kaisar, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The Deerfoot Trail report is recommending many upgrades to the busy roadway but an expert in the field is asking whether or not we should commit to major changes before studying the trends that could be on the way.

The report, released this week, proposed several changes to Deerfoot Trail including carpool lanes, improvements at several interchanges, and better multi-use pathways.

Construction on these upgrades could take the next thirty years to finish with some projects to be expedited in the first decade.

However, Francisco Alaniz Uribe with the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture said we don’t really know commuting and driving trends in the next few years, especially because of COVID-19 and telecommuting.

“What we are going to see is that more telecommuting companies are going to be considering having, maybe, a few days of home office for their employees. They have recognized that it continues to be productive in many cases and even improving the well-being of their employees.”

He added it’s hard to figure out what the city will look like in two years, let alone 30.

He said until those unknowns are a little more hammered out, it’s a better use of money to invest in transit instead of road changes that might not be utilized.

“Forecasting is a lot more difficult. I don’t think they have the data to do that properly. We have seen big changes, obviously with the pandemic. Those changes, I don’t think they’re considered there.”

The new report is the result of a study that began in 2016 to look at ways to improve Deerfoot Trail for future use.

In March 2019 the former NDP government announced over $470 million dollars in funding to improve parts of Deerfoot Trail while the UCP government will provide $210 million from its recent Capital Spending plan.