When Transportation hit the malls to speak with Calgarians about our programs, services and funding options, we were not sure what to expect. Now we’re sifting through hundreds of written comments and sorting data collected from about 700 people who stopped at one of five mall events over the past two months.
We talked with Calgarians about a multitude of items, from the Airport Trail tunnel to the Province’s plans for the ring road and Deerfoot Trail; from road maintenance to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
In addition to conversations, we collected almost 300 written comments during sessions at Bankers’ Hall, Chinook Centre, Sunridge Mall, Southcentre and Northland Village. About 150 people completed our interactive program on infrastructure investment to show their priorities for capital spending over the next decade.
By far the most popular topic was public transit and future expansion plans. Dozens of people had questions about the BRT to the southeast and future southeast LRT. Many more wanted to know about future service to the airport.
We understand calls for more transit service to the airport to meet the needs of airport workers and a growing number of air travelers. The new tunnel and proposed plans for future extension of LRT in the northeast will allow for a transit link (LRT, tram or bus) to YYC from northeast Calgary. In the longer term, rail service should link to the west via 96 Avenue NE with connections to the future North Central LRT and proposed Calgary / Edmonton high speed rail line. These are currently in early planning stages.
Calgary Transit is working with the airport authority to improve current bus terminal facilities and provide for a future bus / rail corridor within the Airport Master Plan. In the meantime, we are making adjustments to current bus services on Routes 100, 300 and 430.
We heard from transit riders wanting more routes, less crowding, more frequent service, longer hours, less waiting, fare payment options, adjusted scheduling and better stations and stops. We appreciate the kudos for drivers on specific routes and we’ve passed those along.
The Calgary Transit Funding and Fare Strategy report outlines the need for a more sustainable approach to funding transit services. We’re looking at a combination of higher fares, a higher percentage of tax support and new revenue sources to finance service improvements.
In recent years, the gap between the cost of providing service and fare revenue has grown, meaning tax-supported contributions have increased. Calgary Transit wants to keep fares affordable and in line with what other cities charge, however fare hikes are necessary to keep pace with growing operating costs and service demands. At the same time City Council works hard to balance impacts to property taxes and rising costs for services.
We spoke with dozens of people about cycling and responded to questions about our Council-approved cycling strategy, planned bikeway improvements and where cycling fits into The City’s overall long range mobility strategy.
The mall sessions provided an opportunity for citizens to share how they’d prioritize infrastructure spending over the next decade. In general, people favoured optimizing and maintaining existing infrastructure and investing in mobility hubs and transit corridors, which include mixed-use, cycling, public transit and pedestrian-oriented developments.
We gave away Android tablets to five lucky visitors who entered our draw. We are contacting winners now.
For information on mobility in Calgary please visit www.calgary.ca, www.calgarytransit.com and www.routeahead.ca.