Wednesday, August 24, 2016

17 Avenue SW gets a facelift

After 30 years, we’re rebuilding 17 Avenue SW so it can continue to serve businesses and citizens for decades to come. What started out as a routine road maintenance project, turned into one of the more complex projects on The City’s docket. The biggest factor? It’s location.

Macleod Trail S.E. to 2 Street S.W.
Logan Tolsma, Project Manager
In the heart of one of Calgary’s most popular places to shop, dine, and do business, one does not simply dig up the 2.5km road between Macleod Trail and 14 Street SW, replace 3m deep utilities and then rebuild the road. In addition to this work, the project includes new sidewalks east of 2 Street SW, improved sidewalk space and pedestrian crossings at all intersections, new LED lighting and a new road design.

How is The City planning this project so the 17 Avenue SW area can continue to be a great place to visit during construction? Project manager Logan Tolsma explains, “We’re approaching this project differently because of its unique surroundings. We’ve been meeting with businesses and learning about their priorities for the past year. That includes regular meetings with BRZs and a questionnaire for businesses. It allowed us to learn about their busy times, deliveries, access, patio locations- all the things that combined, results in their success”. Tolsma adds, “In the end, this information feeds directly into the construction planning.”
Volunteer Way (Centre Street S.) Gateway

That intimate approach applies to how construction is now unfolding. “We actually changed the schedule once we heard that businesses wanted more predictability and lead time before construction started,” Tolsma continues. That means starting the less impactful shallow utilities this year, followed by the major work in 2017 and 2018. This two-phase approach also provides less risk to the project overall. Furthermore, a contractor will be hired seven month before the major work begins. The extra time means a better approach to planning and staging the construction in this busy entertainment district.

5 Street S.W. Gateway
“When it comes down to it, we want to make sure people can still get to the area safely while we’re doing this work,” Tolsma confirms. “While we can’t make the construction invisible, we can certainly do our best to make sure it respects the people and businesses that make the area a great place to be.”

14 Street S.W. Gateway

You can read more about the 17 avenue SW reconstruction project at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cycle Track Pilot Project set to reach one million bike trips (and other highlights)

Since the cycle track network opened last June, The City has been counting bicycle trips, using automated counters embedded in the pavement at 10 different locations along the network. Based on the data collected at the three middle count locations, one along each route of the network, we are set to reach one million trips this week.

We are holding an on-street event to commemorate this milestone and to continue to educate and connect with Calgarians as they walk, drive, take transit or bike along the network. Stop by, grab a cookie and chat with our team about some of the new bike data being released and general cycle track information.

When: Wednesday, August 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 5 Street and 9 Avenue S.W. by the CPR underpass

June 2016 was the busiest month on record with 116,621 trips, and although July 2016 was the rainiest in 90 years, it was still busier than July 2015 with over 100,000 trips last month.

Cycling census data shows a doubling of bike commuters
The one million cycle track trips milestone comes on the heels of the release of other cycling-related data. The City of Calgary Civic Census collected information from one working adult in the household about their mode of transportation to work in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Since 2011, 58 km of new bikeways (including the cycle track network pilot) have been constructed or improved around the city. Many communities adjacent to new or improved bikeways saw an increase in cycling as a way to commute. The percentage of Calgarians that reported travelling to work by bicycle doubled from 0.87% in 2011 to 1.75% in 2016.

According to the census data, in 2011 there were six communities which reported more than 4% of respondents commuting by bike. In 2016 there are 43. Communities like Rosedale and Wildwood have seen some of the fastest growth with more than 9% ridership, thanks in part to improvements such as the 10 Street N.W. and Spruce Drive S.W. bike lanes that were installed in 2011.

Cordon count data shows 40% increase in bike trips since cycle tracks installed
Every year in May, the Transportation Department conducts the Central Business District (CBD) cordon count. The cordon count is performed at 31 locations around the CBD over a three week period by counting every single person entering or exiting downtown and how they were travelling; whether on foot, by bicycle, on a C-Train or bus, as a passenger in a car, or as the driver of car.

The 2016 data showed that during the morning peak hour traffic, travelling into downtown, cycling increased from 1.9% in 2010 to 3% in 2016. During a 16-hour period, the number of cycling trips into and out of downtown almost doubled from 9,400 in 2010 to 17,200 trips in 2016. In 1996, 61% of morning peak period trips into downtown were by automobile; in 2016, 59% of morning peak period trips into downtown are now made by sustainable or active modes.

Friday, August 12, 2016

3804 businesses open in the first half of 2016; numbers holding strong

Business in Calgary may not be booming, but it’s not busting either, according to City licensing data.

Calgary’s seen an increase of 293 more new business licenses taken out in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year. This could be attributed to a boost in home-based and consulting businesses, says City of Calgary Business Registry Coordinator Sherry Bourque.

“Anecdotally, we’ve seen more people come in for these types of businesses, perhaps to make some extra cash on the side in a fluctuating economy and use their expertise in a different way,” says Bourque. “But for both businesses licenses opened and closed overall, the numbers we’re seeing are pretty status quo.”

New business licenses taken out by quarter, from 2013 to 2016

Closed, moved or changed address business licenses by quarter, from 2013 to 2016

If you’re thinking about operating a business in Calgary, The City’s online registration system can help you determine what approvals, permits and licenses you may need. Visit for more.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Fall Recreation Program Guide helps you stay active and save money

Registration for our fall programming starts today, with nearly 3,500 options to get you and your family up, out and active.

In the Fall 2016 Program guide, you’ll find a wide variety of wallet-friendly programs in art, fitness, sports, sailing, nature, and much more. Our goal is to make sure that everyone can get active, regardless of their financial situation.

All programs are priced to be affordable, and the program guide also lists several programs you can try for a toonie -  so you can see if you like the class before registering.

Our Fair Entry program is also available to qualified individuals and provides fee assistance to recreation programs and services throughout Calgary.

Programs are suitable for all ages from prenatal to active aging; and all levels of ability ranging from adapted fitness to marathon training. Some of the fun and affordable programs you’ll find this season:

  • YYC Barre fitness class – try the new fitness technique that’s gaining recognition across the country
  • Snorkelling – to get you ready for that next trip to the beach 
  • Ballet classes for kids – or adults
  • Programs just for the winter holidays – for when the kids aren’t in school
  • Rock climbing – did you know there’s a 40 ft outdoor climbing wall at Beltline Aquatic & Fitness Centre?
  • Learn how to make your own teapot
  • Introduction to sailing – life can be a breeze 
  • Free family events throughout the city
  • Parent & baby fitness
  • “Real Men Do Yoga”

So get planning, and give us a call at 403-268-3800. Or visit us online to find more programs and to register today.

Submitted by Joshua Hesslein, Calgary Recreation

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Road paving is heating up - long weekend construction blog

Heading into the long-weekend, paving is heating up across the city.
“Paving is essential for maintaining our roadways. It helps restore a smooth surface and keeps the base layers intact to prevent costly and large impact roadwork from happening down the line,” says Chris McGeachy, Communication Advisor, Roads.
The long weekend is always an excellent opportunity for crews to get work done without the large volume of 9-5 traffic during the week. Here are some areas where motorists can expect delays this weekend:

  • Edmonton Trail is being paved from 16 Avenue N.E. to 42 Avenue N.E. on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Motorists can expect a single lane of traffic in each direction during the work.

  • Crowchild Trail N.W. will have lane reductions in both directions at the University LRT Station beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 30. Motorists can expect reduced speeds and delays in the area. This closure remains in place until 4 a.m. on Monday, August 1.
  • Banff Trail N.W. will be closed to all northbound traffic at 16 Avenue N.W. beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29. This closure continues through 4 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and accommodates work on the Banff Trail C-Train station.
  • The exit ramp from northbound Crowchild Trail N.W. to Northland Drive N.W. is closed beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 28. This closure continues until 10 p.m. on Monday, August 1 and accommodates paving.
  • Centre Street N will be reduced to a single lane in each direction at 31 and 32 Avenue N.W. beginning on Saturday, July 30 at 6 a.m. This closure continues until Sunday, July 31 at 8 p.m. and accommodates utility work.

  • Centre Street S is closed between 6 Avenue and 8 Avenue S.E. beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29. This closure continues until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and accommodates construction.

  • Anderson Road S.W. will be paved between 14 Street S.W. and Macleod Trail. There will be various lane closures along this stretch daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning on Saturday, July 30. These closures also occur daily during these hours on Sunday, July 31 and Monday, August 1. Motorists should expect delays in the area and use alternate routes when possible.
  • 17 Avenue S.W. between 8 Street and 9 Street S.W. will be closed beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29. This closure continues until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and accommodates deep utility installation. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to north and southbound 9 Street S.W. to 14 Avenue S.W. Westbound traffic will be detoured north of 8 Street to 14 Avenue S.W. and south on 9 Street to 17 Avenue S.W.
Intersection Approach Paving
From 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 there will be a various lane closures in certain intersections as part of the intersection approach paving program. Motorists should expect delays in the area.
  • 16 Avenue at 6 Street N.E.
  • 16 Avenue at Deerfoot Trail
  • Memorial Drive at Deerfoot Trail
For more information on all these projects and more, visit