We are very good at calculating costs, but bad at tabulating benefits.

Green Line: Let’s talk about money

If you are a semi-occasional reader of Spur, you might have noticed that I tend to avoid talking about costs when discussing projects like the Green Line. I very rarely talk about specific dollar values, and when I speak on the radio I tend to avoid them as well. Part of the reason is that I often don’t have access to meaningful numbers. Sure, reports come out here and there about how much the project is going to cost, but these

Read more

New projects may ‘get it’, but we need to fix what we have

The Calgary pedestrian experience

Last weekend, I had the chance to be part of the planning process for the Southwest Transitway that is part of the larger expansion of the city’s primary transit network. The meeting was full of great input from community advocates who know their neighbourhoods like the back of their hand, and I learned a lot about that part of the city and about the project itself. One thing that stood out to me about the input during the breakout sessions

Read more

Why the city has everyone scratching their heads in Victoria Park

The bus barn brain teaser

Back in December, both the Transportation & Transit Committee and City Council as a whole agreed that the Green Line LRT should travel along 12 Avenue S as it made its way through the community of the Beltline – the only thing left to decide was surface or underground. This was after months of careful detailed analysis by the Green Line team, including input from community organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders. It was, by all appearances, exactly how transit planning

Read more

If transit is about serving people, a strong core is everything.

The Green Line through the lens of density

There’s been a lot of hubbub about the Green Line in the past few weeks. First, a Herald article about an internal document on phasing the project – building the city centre parts of the route first, and adding on as funding allows. Then, Mayor Nenshi’s response about avoiding phasing. More recently, the city has floated some possible changes in the alignment through Ramsay, to the ire of some residents. It seems that the Green Line project has gained some

Read more

Calgary’s now-permanent cycle infrastructure opens new doors of convenience

SoBi: Hamilton’s route to bike share success

By simple virtue of there being may cities in the world, most innovative transportation and urban planning ideas will not be new to Calgary. We can, and we should, learn from other cities around the world. While it is easy to insist that “Calgary is not Amsterdam”, or “Calgary is different”, the fact is that most cities face the same challenges of geometry and mobility. Solutions that work in other cities have promise in ours. Bike share systems are one of those innovative

Read more

“Pass or fail” doesn’t work in transportation systems. Nuanced understanding does.

Cycle Tracks: When numbers and politics collide

It’s been quite an interesting week for Calgary’s cycle track pilot project. The December 8 Transportation and Transit meeting ended at 9:30pm without an official recommendation, leaving the project in limbo until Monday’s city council meeting. During that committee meeting, Peter McCaffrey, “Director of Research” from the conservative think tank Manning Centre, threw a frantic list of accusations at city officials, claiming that officials had changed their target numbers for the pilot project halfway through to make the targets easier

Read more

Arenas and large venues should embrace the power of transit

How Green Line can serve the Stampede

This week, the city’s Transportation and Transit Committee will hear about the work being done narrowing down the route the Green Line LRT will take through the Beltline. As it stands currently, the 12 Avenue corridor is looking the most promising. Much of the discussion about Green Line in the Beltline has been focused on the eastern portion, namely the section East of the McLeod Trail/1St. SE Couplet, up to the river. For reference, here’s a map of the suggested

Read more

The Green Line will not be immune to crowding, so how do we plan for it?

Relieving C-Train Crowding: More trains or longer trains?

The C-Train certainly gets a lot of heavy use, especially during peak period. This is largely in part due to Calgary’s high downtown parking rates and relatively poor road access to the core, but the steady increase in ridership is thanks to the lengthening of the network including the addition of the West LRT arm, and a gradual intensification around C-Train stations that is all part of the move towards transit oriented development. At this point it doesn’t seem to matter when

Read more

Vision Zero calls for 30km/h limits for a solid reason: physics.

Let’s talk speed limits

Earlier this year there was some noise made in city council about reducing residential speed limits to as low as 30km/h. In general I would say that the idea was met with scepticism from councillors and the public alike. Since Councillor Carra brought the issue up again on Twitter while at RailVolution, I was inspired tackle the discussion that I had avoided back in April. The main driver for discussing this change is pedestrian safety. For that reason, the discussion that follows is based on

Read more

We need to protect the most vulnerable people first

What do “Beg Buttons” really represent?

When I watched the American presidential “debate” last Monday, I was not expecting anything from that spectacle to tie into an article on pedestrian crossings, but here it is. For me, the most poignant thing I heard in that debate was during the discussion on racial issues. Clinton said, quite simply, that we are all implicitly biased when it comes to racial issues, and she is right. I like to think that we have, in the recent past, come to

Read more
1 2 3