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Friday, October 17, 2014

Four key facts regarding bicycling in Calgary

On October 16, the Manning Foundation released a report on cycling in Calgary. The City welcomes the report’s recommendations, many of which reaffirm actions The City is already undertaking. In response to some of the statements found in the Manning Foundation report, Don Mulligan, Director of Transportation Planning, offers four key facts to help set the record straight.


Report: Only limited studies of the demographics of cyclists in Calgary have been conducted (page 7).

Fact: The City has conducted a variety of surveys to learn about different types of cyclists in Calgary. In 2006, a survey explained about the type of cyclist who commutes downtown. In 2009, a co-sponsored survey with University of Calgary looked at the demographics of cycling in the University of Calgary/West Campus area. In 2010, The City commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a city-wide telephone survey to learn more about the demographics of Calgarians who cycle and those who do not. Other research methods on demographics include the Civic Census, the Household Activity Survey and the Annual Bike Count Report.  

In addition to who and who doesn’t cycle in Calgary, the results of each survey informed The City that there is a strong support for more on-street bike lanes. Ultimately, these surveys assisted with the creation of the Cycling Strategy, which led to dedicated funds to improve conditions for bicycling outside and inside the downtown area for all demographics. Moving forward, The City will continue to reach out to citizens to help plan the right bicycle facilities in the right places, including the upcoming city-wide Bikeway and Pathway plan.


Report: Future design decisions must not continue to be made based on the city’s “typical cyclist” as they have been up until now (page 7).

Fact: The 2010 Ipsos Reid survey results identified that 80 per cent of respondents want to cycle more but do not, citing safety as a primary concern. The Council-approved Cycling Strategy provided the funding to plan, design and build more bike lanes and cycle tracks to attract a broader demographic than just the Calgarians who already cycle. Contrary to Manning Foundation’s report, The City’s 2011 Cycling Strategy includes specific actions that help make cycling a comfortable and safer travel option for more Calgarians, such as the recently opened cycle track on 7 Street S.W. and the future cycle track pilot project in downtown.

Report: The City’s Transportation department only conducted its first official bicycle count as recently as the summer of 2013 (page 16).

Fact: The City has been collecting data on bicycle counts for the past 20 years. The City uses a variety of data collection methods including manual counts, video cameras and in-pavement sensors. The City conducts field tests of new technologies before implementing them and expects to install several new automated counters next year, with data live on the web. Trends are captured in the Yearbook publication. Calgary is one of the first cities in North America to publish bicycle data in several different ways in one complete and comprehensive document.  The 2013 Bike Count Report is but one of the ways we collect and analyze data.

Report: Even when specific projects are being proposed, data is not being collected before, during, and after these projects are introduced, to measure their success.

Fact: The City collects and analyzes data before, during and after projects are introduced. Data is continually used to analyze impacts to traffic and gauge current and historic trends by the City’s Transportation Data Division. Analyzing various factors, here’s how data was used to help plan and design the new Bowness Road. For the 10 Street NW bike lane project, The City has released new data here and here.


For more information about The City’s effort to improve conditions for bicycling please visit Calgary.ca/bicycle. You can find more information on The City’s bike data at Calgary.ca/bikedata

Tuscany Station exceeds ridership estimates

Calgary's newest CTrain station is exceeding expectations in terms of ridership only a few months after opening.

Tuscany Station officially opened for service on Aug. 25, 2014. A passenger count in mid-September showed the new station is serving around 11,000 weekday customers, which exceeds the original estimate of 9,000 weekday customers.

A high percentage of customers are also getting to the station by taking the bus, walking, cycling or being dropped off. The roughly 40,000 residents in the communities of Tuscany, Royal Oak and Rocky Ridge have, at most, a 30-minute walk or 15-minute cycle time to the station. Below is a breakdown of the various modes of transportation customers are using to get to Tuscany Station:

  • 36% bus
  • 36% auto (26% drop off, 10 % Park and Ride)
  • 25% walk
  • 3% cycle

The recent survey also found that, among the 620 respondents, around 10% of customers using Tuscany Station are new transit users who previously made their trip using a car.

The customer survey also found 88% of customers reported that Tuscany Station has improved their transit travel experience, and 81% of respondents rated the bus service to the station as good or excellent.

To find out more about Tuscany Station, visit www.calgarytransit.com

Curbside tree debris pick up in Calgary communities wraps up

After September’s snowstorm, The City of Calgary visited all 227 Calgary communities to help remove tree debris. This work has now been completed three weeks ahead of schedule, in part due to good weather.

“We are extremely proud to have completed this work in just four weeks,” says Nico Bernard, manager of The City’s Tactical Operations Centre. “We can now focus our attention on removing tree debris from parks and some major roads, as well as continuing to cut down branches that pose a public safety threat.”

The work entailed a systematic pass through all residential areas to pick up tree debris piled by citizens at the edge of their properties, as well as debris found along roadsides, alleys, and high-traffic pathways. More than 19 million kilograms (or 19,000 tonnes) of debris from 25,000 loads have been taken to City landfills for mulching.

If you still have tree debris, please take advantage of the following disposal options:
  • City landfills: Fees are waived for all tree debris not mixed with garbage until Nov. 9.
  • Leaf & Pumpkin drop-offs: 32 temporary collection sites open until Nov. 9 for tree debris, leaves and pumpkins.
  • Small branches (no thicker than three inches) cut into three-foot lengths can be tied together and left inside black carts, or set next to carts for pick up if bins are full.
  • Citizens are asked not to create dump sites in parks or other areas of Calgary. Illegal dumping is subject to a $250 fine.
While the systematic neighbourhood pick-up is over, there is still significant work to do to recover from the early snow and restore the urban forest.

“There are over 500,000 public trees in Calgary, and preliminary assessments indicate that about 50% have been damaged,” says Bernard. “Some trees will require corrective pruning, which Parks will begin right away and continue until the end of next year. Others will need to be replanted, which we will start in the spring and may take up to two years to complete.”

Pruning work is prioritized according to the impact on the tree. Public safety hazards are dealt with first and are removed immediately to prevent injury or damage to property.

Citizens are asked not to remove ribbons placed on trees, as they indicate a tree has received a preliminary assessment and requires pruning to build resiliency into the tree. Trees that likely won’t survive, but are not yet hazards, will have signs posted to indicate removal at a later date.

More information can be found on Calgary.ca.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Downtown residential buildings and businesses return to normal operations

Downtown residential buildings and businesses are returning to normal operations today, as ENMAX successfully restored power to the downtown core at 5 a.m. this morning.

The area has been dealing with power outages since Oct. 11, when an underground fire located at 8 Street and 5 Avenue SW resulted in power loss to about 1,900 metered customers in 112 residential and commercial buildings.

“What started as a fire in a manhole became a major utility upgrade, major road closures and an effort to ensure the public safety and housing for approximately 5,000 residents,” said Ken Uzeloc, CEMA Director. 

“The past five days, my colleagues at The City of Calgary and our partner agencies have worked night and day to ensure that Calgarians could get around our city and have access to support services they needed until their power was restored.”

Information for returning residents and businesses

  • Re-entry checklists for returning residents, building owners/managers and commercial businesses are available on Calgary.ca.
  • For information on troubleshooting your telephone, cable TV or Internet service contact Shaw.
  • Citizens who require any additional social assistance support should contact 2-1-1.
  • Spoiled food items that are securely bagged to prevent leaks can be discarded in your facility’s usual garbage collection bin. If that bin is full, contact your property manager for bin removal or emptying. City of Calgary collection schedules are not affected, and regular pickup will occur according to your normal schedule. Should you have questions regarding private garbage collection service, please contact your property manager.
  • Citizens or business owners/operators with concerns about their building should contact their building operator.
  • Now that power has been restored, the Information Centre at Mewata Armoury will be closed at 9 p.m. this evening.

The City would also like to thank citizens and businesses who offered lodging, food, supplies to those residents displaced in the outage.

As a reminder, power outages can happen at any time. The City encourages residents to develop their own 72 hour emergency kit for such instances. A list of what should be included in a 72 Hour Emergency Kit is available at Calgary.ca/cema.

City Hall School celebrates 15th anniversary

Today, The City of Calgary City Hall School celebrated 15 years of teaching young Calgarians how they, as young citizens, can be directly involved in strengthening their communities and shaping their city.

The City Hall School program allows teachers to move their classrooms to the Municipal Building for a week-long, custom designed learning experience. This unique experience gives students the opportunity to meet with elected officials and work alongside City of Calgary employees.

“Students get an inside look at how The City works and how they can be involved in local government,” said Jody Danchuk, City Hall School Coordinator. “We are so proud to know that we’ve invested 15 years into giving young Calgarians a better understanding of the importance of civic engagement and being involved in their communities.”

To celebrate this milestone, Mayor Naheed Nenshi joined the staff, partners and friends of the program in a special cake cutting ceremony.

“I have the privilege of meeting, each week, with the students at City Hall School,” said Mayor Nenshi. “I’m always struck by the pride students feel for their community and how they are able to articulate their hopes for the future.”

Over the past 15 years, just over 10,000 students, from grades three to 12, have participated in the program.

“City Hall School helped me understand the role of government,” said Morgan McClaren, who attended the school nine years ago. “It made me understand the importance of voting. Being engaged in government is a right we should exercise.”

City Hall School is a partnership between The City of Calgary’s Community & Neighbourhood Services and Campus Calgary/Open Minds. For more information please visit calgary.ca/cns.