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Light Rail Transit (LRT)

A major issue affecting Hillhurst/Sunnyside (the community where we operate) over the last decade has been the contentious routing of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system through the community. The City of Calgary Transportation Department recommended an alignment along 9A Street which required the demolition of four blocks of high quality housing.

Syntax became involved in the issue, providing organizational support to the community. Three board members and several members at large lived along the transportation corridor. The posters developed out of an awareness that the issue, its implications, and community resolve to find an acceptable solution (underground in residential communities) had to be kept in residents' minds. This required that advertising for fund-raising events should spotlight the issue in a non-compromising yet non-threatening manner. Most of the posters were to promote fund-raising events for legal fees.

This "riddle" was produced as a lawn sign, as well as a car bumper sticker. (1980)

This poster formed part of a comprehensive campaign to collect 20,000 signatures calling for a plebiscite on LRT routing through residential neighbourhoods. The 20,000 signatures were collected and submitted to the city clerk. The petition was rejected by City Council as being insufficient (3% of the electorate was required by law). The city clerk used 1981 census figures in her rejection of the petition. The figures supplied by the city clerk's office to the community to calculate the required number of signatures were for 1980. 1981 figures were not made public until three weeks after the petition was submitted. The petition would have qualified if the figures supplied to the community had been used by the city clerk. The decision, appealed in court, was rejected on a technicality. (1981)

The final alignment was placed along 9A Street, but on the other side of the road. It destroyed fewer houses but it doubled the width of the transportation corridor. This will impact the community more in the long term since development pressures for high density housing and commercial development will increase.

"Your Government-Working Hard!"
A facsimile of the "official" government signs which were placed at various points along the construction zone. Four billboards were placed in each of the four communities affected by the alignment. The four large signs were connected by smaller signs placed at intervals of approximately 35 meters. Outlining the route in this manner made it clear that the alignment was taking the cheapest route possible - through residentially zoned property or city-owned land which was currently public park land or children's playgrounds. (1985)

"Ralph Klein's Famous Last Words"
The subtext to this poster points out that in spite of such statements by the mayor, he continually refused to champion community initiatives on the issue, as well as the recommendations of his own task force. (1985)

A series of posters to promote fund raising events to pay for legal fees and other expenses.

"King Kong"
Produced at the time of the De Lorentis remake of the King Kong movie. Victoria Park, Bridgeland and Eau Claire are Calgary inner city working class communities which have been decimated by insensitive re-zoning and transportation planning. (1980)

"Demolition of Railways"
The illustration for this poster was found by accident in a World War 1 British Army manual. (1981)

"Rock against Trains on 9A Street"
The illustration for this poster was put together using a well-known advertisement for Maxell audio tape. (1983)