Better streets for everyone

The journey to complete streets starts with a single step.

The City of Calgary has a long-term goal of getting its citizens up and moving. That means more walking and cycling and less driving. That seems like a pretty modest goal, but it has huge implications for how the city grows and changes. 

The City lays out its goals in the Calgary Transportation Plan, which came into effect in 2009. The plan sets a host of targets to hit by 2069. These include:

  • 20-25% of trips to made by walking or cycling
  • 15-20% by transit
  • 55-65% by car

The most recent update came in 2018. It found some progress in walking and cycling, but that transit use had declined slightly. (Trips made by car were at 73.9%, down 3.1 percentage points from 2005.)

It’s a bit of a mixed bag – one step forward, one drive back, you might say. Work remains and it has big implications for the City’s climate change and sustainability goals. Those are lofty concepts, but the actual work of getting us moving around in different ways is as basic as it gets.

If more of are going to walk, cycle or hop on a scooter to commute or run errands, roads and sidewalks need to change. And that means construction. That work is guided by the Complete Streets policy. Among other things, it “strives to accommodate all transportation modes, including walking, cycling and transit and driving.” 

What this looks like will soon be on view on 42 Ave. SE. Construction will begin on a host of improvements to the streetscape this spring. The project is interesting because the work is a response to how the area has evolved in recent years.

One significant change is the presence of 10 craft breweries in the area. Together, they bring a significant number of people to what has long been a light-industrial area. In the summer, many of those people are on bicycles. 

The planned work goes well beyond the stretch of road that serves the breweries, however. The goal is to provide better sidewalks and biking to Stanley park and to a future Green Line station further east along 42 Ave. SE.

These long-term improvements should be kept in mind by those faced with construction hassles this summer. The work is being done to make it easier to move around the city, and that is a goal worth toasting

March 23rd, 2020

Streets need to change as neighbourhoods evolve.