Plus 15 Facts
The first bridge was built in 1970 linking the Westin Hotel and Calgary Place across 4th Avenue. The system soon became called the "Plus 15 System" because it is roughly 15 feet above ground level.
From the first parts of the system which were built 30 years ago, over 16 kilometres and 57 bridges have been constructed since then. The system today is the largest of its kind in the world.
The system is provided as a part of commercial development that takes place in the Downtown. New developments are required to connect into the system by providing walkways and bridges that connect the development to neighbouring ones. In exchange for this, the developer is allowed to add more floorspace to the proposed building: this is known as "bonus density".
Sometimes it is not physically possible to connect up to adjoining buildings. In such circumstances the developer contributes the monetary equivalent of the connection into a fund (the "Plus 15 Fund") which is managed by the City. As and when missing connections can be made in the future, the Fund is used to finance those connections.
While the system is focussed on the "Plus 15 level" there are parts of the Downtown that have "Plus 30" and "Plus 45" levels. These are in the main retail area in the Bay-Eatons-Bankers Hall area.
The extent of the area within which the Plus 15 will operate is, 9th Street SW in the west, 10th Avenue S in the south, 3rd Avenue S in the north and 3rd Street SE in the east. Although a considerable part of the system has been built there is more to come as the Downtown continues to grow, not only as a major employment centre in the city but as a residential area and an area where Calgarians come to shop, recreate and be entertained.
Paper copies are available from Planning Information Centre (3rd floor, Municipal Building), or phone 3-1-1.