Thursday, December 8, 2016

Your Guide to Safe Holiday Hopping

The weather outside may be frightful, but your holiday hopping shouldn’t be! Stay safe this holiday season with these helpful planning tips.

Safety is always in style

‘Tis the season for holiday parties and events and we want to remind you of the different options to get around the city safely after late night revelry. Transit, taxis, limousines and rideshare can help you get where you need to go — but each mode requires a little planning.

Taxi, limousine and rideshare:

  • Don’t wait in the cold. Know where the nearest taxi stand is located.
  • Learn the difference between fares and rates to get the best deal.
  • Respect the ride. Know your rights as a passenger and a driver.
  • Know your limits. Taxis and limousines can charge you a cleaning fee if a passenger soils a cab from having too much alcohol.

Transit:

  • Find the fastest route with a little planning and get regular updates on transit service.
  • Special holidays call for special service. Calgary Transit is once again providing extended service on New Year’s Eve. CTrains and 12 major bus routes will be running until 3 a.m. from downtown.

And remember, the winter weather can cause all sorts of delays, so although your plan may involve traveling from your car into a heated parkade, Frosty the Snowman may have a different plan in store. It’s a good idea to always prepare for inclement weather by ensuring you have warm clothing and winter boots in the car!

Make it to the party. And then make it home. Safety is always in style.

Have a safe and festive holiday season!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

City launches annual Snow Angels campaign

With more snow in the forecast, it seems winter is here to stay for a while. The snowy weather brings with it the need to keep walkways clear of ice and snow, something that is challenging and dangerous for many older adults and others with limited mobility.

Today we launched the 13th annual Snow Angels campaign asking Calgarians to help neighbours in need this winter. Being a snow angel is a great way to get out, meet your neighbours and help build community spirit.

“We can all be Snow Angels – it’s simply neighbours being neighbourly and clearing the walkways for people who may not be able to do it themselves,” says Geoff Moore, program coordinator. “Snow Angels has two parts: help shovel someone’s walk and, recognize someone who shovels walks.”

Keeping walkways free of ice and snow helps all community members move safely through neighbourhoods. For many Calgarians, this means getting out of the house and exercising, connecting with neighbours, and showing what it means to be a community.

“For most pathways it is just a few extra minutes of shovelling to help a neighbour – especially if you get to it before foot traffic packs it down,” says Moore. “You wouldn’t believe how much it means to those with limitations.”

If someone has cleared your sidewalk, we would love to know so we can recognize them as a Snow Angel. You can nominate your Snow Angel online or by calling 311.

All nominated Snow Angels are officially recognized by Mayor Nenshi and entered into a prize draw. For more information, visit: calgary.ca/SnowAngels.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Safety on the roads a shared responsibility this season

After an unusually warm and dry fall season, it’s finally starting to look like winter in Calgary. With snow on the ground and colder temperatures in the forecast, The City is reminding Calgarians to be prepared for winter driving conditions.

“The accumulation of snow and ice on the roads can impact traction. This winter, take a bit more time to get where you’re going so that you can get there safely,” says Roads Maintenance Manager Bill Biensch.

Crews are out there working hard to maintain our streets, but we need your help. Here are a few ways you can help keep everyone moving safely this winter:
  • Move your vehicle from designated snow routes during a snow route parking ban.
  • Winterize your vehicle and consider installing snow tires.
  • Clean snow and ice off your vehicle and ensure your headlights and windows are clear.
  • Leave extra distance between you and vehicles in front of you, including equipment such as sanders and graders.
  • Give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
  • Remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of your home within 24 hours after the snow stops falling. 
When planning your commute this winter, make sure to stay informed about weather, road conditions, and traffic flow, too.

Follow @yyctransport on Twitter for frequent snow clearing updates, road closures, and incident alerts. If you have questions about road conditions, traffic or other road projects, we’ll find you the answers.

Visit Calgary.ca/snow, a one-stop-shop for all things related to snow and ice control. Find out if a snow route parking ban is in effect, see a map of pathways that are cleared of snow, and learn about the Seven Day Snow Plan.

The new map at Calgary.ca/roadconditions shows traffic camera images and plow progress across the city to help you keep moving safely and efficiently.

Take advantage of calgarytransit.com to sign up for email alerts, teletext, teleride, and download the mobile app. Follow @calgarytransit on Twitter frequent services updates and answers to any of your transit questions.

Although there may be a few more months of cold weather ahead, we can work together to keep all Calgarians on the move safely this winter.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Cycle track pilot project summary

The Council-approved 18 month Cycle Track Network Pilot Project will end in December. The final report and recommendations from Administration will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit on December 8, 2016 and then to Council on December 19, 2016. At these meetings, Council will determine the future of the network.

The public can attend and speak at the December 8 meeting or submit a letter with their comments about the pilot. The December 8 meeting will be held in Council Chambers and will begin at 9:30 a.m. People interested in submitting a letter or presenting at Committee can find out how to do so online.

Results
The cycle tracks give Calgarians a safer and more predictable way to travel by bike to downtown destinations. Over the past 18 months, the project team collected data on 82 performance measures while monitoring the operation and safety for all road users. Many of the performance targets were met and a report summarizing the results is available online. Here are a few highlights:
The primary performance measures for the pilot were:
  • Percentage of people cycling, walking and driving satisfied with the pilot (evaluated using a random phone survey)
  • Safety (evaluated using number of collisions)
  • Bicycle volumes (evaluated using automated counters and manual data collection)
  • Travel time for cars during the peak periods (evaluated using GPS and stopwatch trials)
  • Incidents of unlawful bicycle riding (evaluated using manual observation)
We found the following results for each of these metrics:

Satisfaction
A third-party telephone survey was conducted city-wide in September 2016 to track awareness, understanding, attitude and support for the project.
  • 46% - 54% of people ‘liked’ their most recent driving experience on the routes (51% - 60% in 2014) 
  • 65% - 82% of people ‘liked’ their most recent cycling experience on the routes (12% - 71% in 2014)
The survey also found that 67% of people support the cycle track pilot and 68% support the Stephen Avenue bicycle pilot. The same survey was conducted in 2014 and 2015, and support remained consistent.

Safety
Safety along the network was closely monitored during the pilot period. Collision information was collected by Calgary Police Service, and during one year of the pilot (June 18, 2015 - June 18, 2016) there were 39 reported collisions between a bike and car and zero fatalities along cycle track corridors.

We reviewed locations where an incident occurred and put in dashed green paint, changed parking or added signs to raise awareness of potential conflicts at these locations.

Bicycle volumes
We have been using automated counters to count the number of bike trips taken each day since the network opened. To date, there have been 1.2 million bicycle trips since June 2015, based on the data at the three middle count locations. Ridership has tripled along the network, and the number of women and children riding has also increased.

Travel times
We anticipated travel time for drivers would increase on the roads with cycle tracks, since typically we had to remove a driving or parking lane to create the bikeway. The Transportation Department recorded travel time for drivers travelling from one end of each cycle track to the other for each route, during the morning and evening rush hours. They found that the longest delay was 90 seconds, on 12th Avenue from 11 Street S.W. to 4 Street S.E. during the morning drive.

Incidents of unlawful bicycle riding
Overall, unlawful sidewalk riding has decreased from an average of 16% (before the cycle tracks) to 2% after the cycle tracks. There were no observed instances of careless riding or near misses on Stephen Avenue during the time the data was collected.

You can learn more at our presentation to Committee on Thursday or visit calgary.ca/cycletracks.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Recognizing Calgarians who improve life for people with disabilities

With upcoming Federal Government accessibility legislation and the increasing need for more accessible services, what can we do to make Calgary a more inclusive city?

Today we celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities by recognizing local organizations and innovators who are leading the way to improve life for people with disabilities in Calgary.
2016 ACA annual award recipients and special guests.

“People with disabilities have so much to contribute to our communities and our economy,” says Nabeel Ramji, a member of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA). Nabeel works as the Manager of Strategic Atlantic and Real Estate Finance at Strategic Group. He also has cerebral palsy. “This is why we chose the theme of ‘Live, play, work and thrive in Calgary’ for this year’s event. Regardless of one's ability, as a community we can collaborate to ensure that everyone has access to equal opportunities towards a full and active life in Calgary.”

Awarding Calgarians who make a difference


Mayor Nenshi recognized the contributions of those who work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Calgary. The winners of the ACA’s annual awards are:

  • The Access Recognition Award was awarded to Darlene Boyes of Calgary Recreation for her expertise in supporting the Recreation Accessibility Study. The study audited 45 City-operated facilities and recommended improvements to increase accessibility. Darlene’s passion, advocacy and expertise help ensure City facilities are physically accessible, welcoming and inclusive.
  • The Advocacy Award recognized Mark Burzacott of Between Friends, an organization dedicated to creating social, recreational and self-development opportunities for people with disabilities to connect, grow and belong. Through Mark’s work, he removes barriers of isolation and participation. He recently developed a Sensory Room, a therapeutic space for members, at the Between Friends Camp Bonaventure.
  • The Ella Anderson Accessible Transportation Award was given to Stephen Hansen for the formation of Access Calgary, now Calgary Transit Access. A visionary in accessible transportation, he was instrumental in creating Access Calgary in 2001 to ensure people with disabilities could use transit to meet their diverse needs. Today, Calgary Transit Access provides over one million trips each year to nearly 15,000 Calgarians that are unable to use Calgary Transit services due to a disability.

Sandra Jansen provided greetings on behalf of the Government of Alberta and Sheila Serup presented two 2016 Awards of Excellence to Ms. Lynn Wheadon and Dr. Dorothy Badry on behalf of The Premier’s Council on the Status of People with Disabilities.

These awards acknowledge only a small fraction of the total contributions by Calgarians to support the well-being of people with disabilities in our city.

Making accessibility a priority for everyone


Minister Kent Hehr spoke about the importance of developing an upcoming Canadian Accessibility Act. Nicole Jackson of Accessible Housing talked about Accessible U which includes toolkits and practical information about accessibility in the residential environment. Councillor Druh Farrell concluded the formal portion of the event by sharing how The City is improving accessibility. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with local organizations who support a variety of disabilities in Calgary, including Deaf and Hear Alberta, CNIB, Accessible Housing, Between Friends and March of Dimes Canada.

The City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility provides advice on important issues that impact the needs of people with disabilities, including building design, transportation and services.

Happy #IDPD2016 everyone! For more information about what The City is doing to improve accessibility, visit calgary.ca/accessibility.

Watch footage from the ACA annual awards and International Day of People with Disabilities event.