Why you shouldn’t mind a few new neighbours

It’s time we embraced density

Lets try an experiment, take a minute to look at the two pictures below. What words come to mind?                 If you break into a cold sweat and the words panic, traffic and crime rush into your head, then you may be like many Calgarians’ who suffer from a fear of pleasant, walkable, dense places. What is often referred to as the “D-word” in planning, or density, has long been vilified and associated with traffic, crime and a

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Applying some basic design principles to the C-Train information system.

Improving C-Train signs

About a year ago, Calgary Transit changed the look of their digital signs that adorn every LRT station platform. My understanding is that the responsibility for these signs has shifted over to the signals and switches department. Anecdotally, I can attest that the accuracy of the real-time information has improved. This is key for a good transit sign. As a regular LRT user, I am assuming that the intended purpose of these signs are twofold: to provide customers with updated information

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What would a Green Line LRT/BRT hybrid look like?

Green Line: When bus meets train

Believe it or not, Calgary’s Green Line LRT was originally going to be a rapid bus service. The project included two parts: a North Transitway which was to be aligned on Centre Street, and a SE Transitway which was to proceed from the Centre City out into the Southeast, following the current Green Line alignment. As funding opportunities came from both the Federal and Provincial governments, we had the chance to turn the project into something truly forward-thinking: A massive LRT line

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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

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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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How rethinking our transportation choices can help us (and Calgary) weather the downturn

Feeling broke? Try driving less.

We need no reminder that we are currently in a recession, and many businesses are in the process of cutting costs and finding ways to become more efficient. Individuals are also rethinking their spending habits, and one of the easiest ways that we can save money is by reevaluating how we get around. Before you throw up your hands and claim that Calgary is an autocentric city and there is absolutely no way that you can travel otherwise, consider the

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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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Let’s toss out “core vs. edge” arguments and focus on building a great LRT system.

Hamilton’s LRT saga is a cautionary tale for Calgary

Last week was a busy one for Calgary’s new Green Line LRT project. On September 21 the Transportation and Transit Committee approved the fully-underground option through Crescent Heights and the downtown core. Also, after pressure from the Beltline Neighbourhood Association, area businesses, the Stampede, and (in the interest of full disclosure) myself the committee voted to put the high-scoring 12 Avenue underground alignment through the Beltline back on the table after it was removed solely due to its cost. What was most interesting about

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Cost-compromising of the past is out, “doing it right” is in.

Green Line can learn from Red and Blue

This week, the City held a second round of open houses which trimmed down the options of how the Green Line LRT is going to pass through the Beltline as it makes its way from Downtown into Inglewood and Ramsay. I’ve written before about the possibilities for getting through the Beltline, and even done some playing with what a street-level LRT might look like on 10, 11, and 12 Avenues. Since then I’ve become convinced that the best option by a decent margin,

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How we charge for transit reflects how we view its purpose

Should Calgary Transit go to a distance based fare?

One common discussion topic for transit has to do with fare, and how it is decided. Today we will look at three ways that Calgary Transit could set fares riders for using their service: fixed, distance based, and demand based fare. Each of these schemes has their own advantages and drawbacks, but the one we choose says a lot about our fundamental principles on what transit is supposed to be. I guess the first question is: what is transit supposed to be? Is it

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