Thursday, March 15, 2012

Residential Street Design Policy

In 2009, Calgary City Council approved both the Calgary Transportation Plan and the Municipal Development Plan. The vision of these plans set the stage for a more attractive and sustainable city for all to enjoy well into the future.

However, this vision would be difficult to achieve using today’s standards in Calgary - a city with some of the narrowest residential sidewalks in North America, typically found on only one side of the street, and featuring asphalt and concrete landscapes.

In order to bring back the community features we all value, The City worked extensively with many stakeholders and partners to develop guidelines that would ensure those features are standard in new communities. More room for trees and sidewalks was added, recognizing the role these features play in our quality of life, our health and our sense of community and well being.

These stakeholders included groups like the Urban Development Institute (UDI), and the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) and several City divisions responsible for delivering the many services that contribute to healthy vibrant communities.

Based on those accepted and approved guidelines, The City drafted the Residential Streets Design Policy. The draft policy aligns with several key City documents including Council’s Fiscal Plan for Calgary from 2011.

Features of the draft policy include:
  • Limiting narrow (less than 10-metre width) front-drive garages that can’t accommodate front yard trees to 20 per cent of streets in a new community 
  • A variance mechanism for developers wanting to exceed to the 20 per cent threshold 
  • Wider sidewalks predominately on both sides of residential streets 
  • Landscape options that provide enough room for trees along residential streets 
  • Highest quality street standards where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic 
  • Options for innovative street designs
The draft policy will be discussed at the Calgary Planning Commission, at Council’s Transportation and Transit Committee and at Council later this year.

The policy objective is to shift our residential streets from the "street design type one" to "street design type two" as identified in the images below.

Street design type one

Street design type two

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