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

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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

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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

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A much needed walkable improvement for one of Calgary’s busiest pedestrian spots.

Chinook LRT to Chinook Centre walkway improvements

As Council continues to sink it’s teeth into fixing decades of city design that has lead to about one pedestrian hit per day in 2015, the City has announced a $9-million dollar improvement to the walk between the Chinook LRT station, and Chinook Centre. The City’s official page on the project can be found here. From the visioning report, it’s clear that people have a good idea of what isn’t working in the area, and what can be done to improve them.

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Speed traps and pedestrian collisions point to places where roads may be designed for too high a speed.

Can roads be over-engineered?

Nobody likes a speeding ticket, but “speed traps” might be an indicator of a larger design problem. I’m sure many Calgarians can identify places in the city where the police like to set up and catch speeders. For me, Memorial Drive Westbound near 14 St. NW (by the CBC building) and John Laurie Boulevard as it passes 14 St NW are two places that immediately come to mind. There are many others. I’ve often wondered why there are these specific places where people speed so

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We can all get involved in improving 11 and 12 Avenue.

Playing with the street: Green Line LRT in Beltline

On a Jane’s Walk through the Warehouse District of the Beltline that will see part of the new Green Line LRT, Councillor Evan Woolley suggested that the LRT is likely to come down either 11 Ave S and/or 12 Ave S, or perhaps further entwine the coupled nature of 11 and 12th Avenues by running one direction on each street. Either way, the cost to put that small section underground is prohibitively high, so it’s likely that it will run street

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Look at the telltale signs of people, they will tell you what the street needs.

Calgary’s hidden desire lines

There’s a wonderful urban planning principle that what we build for, we will get. The idea is if we build for cars and traffic, we will get cars and traffic. If we build for people, we will get people. The problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what exactly “building for people” looks like. People are behind the wheel of all those cars, after all, but they are also increasingly on foot, bicycle, and transit. The needs of cars have been studied extensively for many

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