Thursday, September 29, 2016

Planning Chinatown: Listening to the Community

Over the last four months, The City’s Planning Chinatown team has been engaging Calgary’s Chinese community and other stakeholders to understand how to preserve Chinatown’s unique cultural identity while shaping a vibrant and mixed-use area that can be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Earlier this summer, the project team went out into the community to gather input on the future of Calgary’s Chinatown. Through online engagement, a walking tour and pop-up events, more than 3,600 ideas from nearly 2,000 participants were gathered and analyzed.

“The team was thrilled with the level of involvement from the community,” said Allison Chan, Planning Chinatown project manager. “We spent the summer listening to those who live, work and visit Chinatown and have heard many different viewpoints about how Chinatown should grow and change over time. With such a large and diverse community it’s important to consider all opinions, they are both helpful and welcome.”

The ideas collected in Phase 1 were sorted into broad themes and formed a set of draft planning principles, which were then reviewed by stakeholders during Phase 2 of the project.

“Over the past two weeks, we’ve held four interactive workshops as well as an open house and heard from nearly 300 participants,” continues Chan. “The sessions were well-attended by a diverse group of stakeholders, who reviewed the guiding principles and shared honest feedback about the issues and opportunities affecting the community.” Although the group was diverse, a common theme emerged, Chan explains, “Almost everyone agrees it is vital that Chinatown retains its distinct cultural look and feel.”

The feedback will be collected and summarized in a report to Council on December 5, 2016. To learn more about Planning Chinatown and to stay connected, visit Calgary.ca/planningchinatown or subscribe for email updates.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Calgary builds resilience with help from global network

In May of this year, Calgary was selected to join 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation as part of the final wave of cities to join the global network.

100RC was launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in 2013 to enable 100 cities across the globe to better address chronic stresses and increasing incidents of acute shocks being faced by cities in the 21st century.

This week begins Calgary’s first official step as part of the 100RC Network – with a kick-off visit from Calgary’s 100RC Liaison and Advisor, Katya Sienkiewicz, Associate Director for City and Practice Management at 100RC.

This visit will give The City an opportunity to understand her role, learn more about the 100RC program and Calgary’s role within the network. We will spend the week orienting Ms. Sienkiewicz to City Administration and identifying action items to prepare for the next step in the program.

“This is an exciting time for The City,” says Christine Arthurs, Director of Resilience & Infrastructure Calgary. “Being part of 100RC means we will be able to tap into resilience experts around the world to elevate the resilience work that is already underway at The City and in Calgary.”

The next few years will be full of exciting opportunities as we participate in the 100RC Network. Without question, being a member of this global network will yield great benefits for The City, the community, our citizens and the region.

It is Calgary’s time! We will collaboratively rise to the challenge of building a more resilient city, and apply our learnings, strategies and vast support networks to achieve that goal.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Green Line committee update – what was approved and what it means

Council’s Transportation & Transit Committee has approved a fully tunneled LRT route in Calgary’s downtown core. This recommendation will now be taken forward to Council on October 3 for a final decision.

Since December 2015, the Green Line team has been studying five possible routes in downtown to find the best way to integrate the Green Line into Calgary’s core, and connect across the Bow River to the communities along Centre Street North. After extensive analysis and public engagement, the fully tunneled option was found to be the best investment in Calgary’s future.

The fully tunneled option would see the Green Line LRT run underground from the Beltline, under 2 Street S.W., and under the Bow River. The line would resurface north of 16 Avenue N along Centre Street N.


Why is underground the best recommendation for Calgary?
While this option requires significant up-front investment, it offers the best opportunities for future generations of Calgarians. It allows us to maintain the pedestrian, cycling and vehicle connections in the core, while enabling future development to occur unhindered in our city’s economic centre.

Consider this:
  • All five options evaluated in the downtown core would require some length of underground tunnel in order to connect with the existing Red and Blue LRT lines. It would not be possible to connect with these lines with a street-level system due to technical challenges with operating three intersecting LRT lines in addition to the existing road network, and the requirement to be under or over Canadian Pacific Railway’s main line.
  • The fully tunneled option enables the road, cycling and pedestrian network to remain intact in downtown.
  • The fully tunneled option reduces potential impacts to Prince’s Island Park and the Bow River valley.
  • The cost of the options varies from $1.5B (street level) to $1.95B (fully tunnelled).
  • The fully tunneled option was highly supported by the public, and stakeholders including Chinatown BRZ, Crescent Heights Community Association, Eau Claire Community Association the, local developers and residents.
What happens next?
The Green Line team will now continue their analysis and public engagement on the route in the Beltline. We are currently reviewing 10 Avenue and 12 Avenue S as potential routes. As per Councillor Woolley’s amendment to the recommendations at Committee, the Green Line team will explore both surface and underground options along both 10 Avenue and 12 Avenue S. A final recommendation for the Beltline is expected to be brought to Committee in December 2016.

Public engagement is ongoing to refine the route in the north, and land use policy planning is now being refined in the southeast. Final recommendations for the full Green Line route alignment will be brought forward by June 2017.

Costs
We often get questions about the expected price tag of the Green Line – so we thought we’d provide you with an update on what we know to date.
Where we started: Earlier in the planning process, it was estimated that the Green Line could cost between $4.5 and $5 billion. This estimate was based on per-kilometer costs of past LRT lines in Calgary, and did not include the results of public engagement, a full analysis of land requirements or the recommendation for underground stations. 
Where we are today: As of today, we know that there will be four underground stations and a tunnel in the downtown core. Public engagement and design is ongoing on the route alignment in the Beltline and along the northern portions of the Green Line. Once the route alignment is refined in these areas, cost estimates will be adjusted to reflect the updated route and land requirements.
What’s the deal with funding?
The Green Line will be a long-term investment in Calgary’s future, and will likely be constructed in phases over a number of years. Discussions are currently progressing among all three levels of government.
Federal Government: In July 2015, the Government of Canada announced support for the Green Line for up to $1.53 billion from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. The City is currently awaiting application guidelines to be released in order to apply for this funding.
Provincial Government: Funding discussions are ongoing with the Government of Alberta. The City applied for funding through the Province’s Green Transit Incentives Program (GreenTRIP) on August 31, 2016.
Municipal Government: In December 2015, The City committed $1.56 billion over 30 years, contingent on receiving support from the Provincial government.
Stay tuned over the coming months to learn more about the cost estimates as they become further refined. Visit Calgary.ca/Greenline to find out how you can get involved in the public engagement process.

Centre Street North paving project to begin this weekend


In order to extend the life of one of Calgary’s busiest roadways, Roads crews will be paving Centre Street North between 7 Avenue and Beddington Boulevard N.E. starting this weekend.  

 “We’ve identified sections of the roadway that are in immediate need of rehabilitation along Centre Street and hope to have the work completed over the next couple of weekends,” says Chris McGeachy, spokesperson for Roads.

Due to the scope of the work, crews will have to close various lanes which will have an impact on traffic.

“To maximize efficiency, we will begin work on localized sections of the northbound lanes this weekend, weather permitting, and then turn around and head southbound the following weekend,” adds McGeachy.

The first weekend closures will be focused on the northbound lanes, with milling work starting on Friday, Sept. 23.
  • Milling on Centre Street N will take place on Friday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from 7 Avenue to 16 Avenue. The road will be reduced to a single lane in each direction at various areas throughout this closure. Police will be onsite to detour traffic when milling work occurs in the intersections
  • Milling and paving work will occur from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25. During these times, the northbound lanes of Centre Street will be closed and two way traffic will be in place in the southbound lanes between 7 Avenue and Beddington Boulevard N.E. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes when possible.
While the schedule for the following weekend (Sept. 30 – Oct. 2) has not been finalized, motorist should expect to see similar closures in the southbound lanes during that time.

The City of Calgary’s Surface Overlay program helps rejuvenate our transportation network and provide a smooth surface for road users. For more information on paving, visit Calgary.ca/paving.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The new Green Line LRT: Shaping the way we move

Over the past 20-30 years the city of Calgary has seen tremendous growth, both in jobs and population. Since the creation of Calgary’s first LRT line in 1981, Calgary has grown from a city of 600,000 to over 1.2 million people. Transit ridership has followed the expansions of the LRT network, averaging 320,000 passengers per day in 2016; the highest LRT ridership per capita in North America. Now with the Green Line LRT, we have another opportunity to plan for future growth of the city by providing Calgarians with even more ways of getting around.
At our last speaker series session, the team explored “Building transit villages” and on September 20 you’ll learn more about the past, present and future of mobility options in Calgary and hear how the panelists shaped mobility in their respective cities.
Panelists include Tamim Raad, former Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority, Brian McCarter, Principal at ZGF Architects in Portland, Oregon and Allison Brooks, Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative in San Francisco, California.
We hope you’ll join us for a brief presentation followed by our panelists who will be answering your questions on mobility trends.
Tuesday September 20, 2016
Glenbow Museum Theatre,
130 9 Avenue S.E.,
Doors open at 5 p.m., presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. 
Event concludes at 7 p.m.Light refreshments will be available, seating is limited so please arrive promptly
Upcoming in the series (more details coming soon):
  • Calgary’s Potential – October 2016
If you missed the previous sessions, watch the video recaps:
Follow the Green Line story on Twitter @yyctransport #GreenLineYYC, and for more information on the project, visit Calgary.ca/greenline. For questions about the Green Line project, please email greenline@calgary.ca.