City of Calgary revamps its street design process to calm traffic

The City of Calgary is going beyond its traffic calming policy to give communities more options to slow traffic speeds in their neighborhoods.

In a city staff report presented Friday to the infrastructure and planning committee, the potential plan envisions replacing the traffic calming policy with a new neighborhood streets policy.

Beyond speed bumps and sidewalk extensions as ways to slow traffic, the new plan includes making streets more bike-friendly. In addition, the City wants to encourage art, temporary uses such as block parties and other ways to build community on side streets.

This change is focused on what is called a comprehensive approach to streets where all road users are considered, from pedestrians to transit users to drivers, rather than being as focused on the automobile in the current traffic calming program, according to the councillor. Gian-Carlo Carra, who chairs the city’s infrastructure committee.

“You were asking for the right to quiet the streets in your neighborhood and the way we did that was like we could do two neighborhoods a year,” he said.

“We have about 150 neighborhoods – everyone wanted it – and so you would end up on a waiting list and maybe be 75 later.”

Leslie Evans of the Calgary Federation of Communities told a city council committee today that she supports the new policy.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done around our roads and around that balance or that sharing of that public space where cars, bikes, and other forms of mobility are all trying to get somewhere,” he said. she declared.

Neighborhoods have been waiting for traffic calming for decades

The traffic calming policy dates back almost 20 years, but many communities are still waiting for action to be taken on their streets. City Council will debate the new policy at its meeting in early July.

Carra said unlike decades past, there’s a new recognition that doing things that cause drivers to slow down helps make streets safer and more livable for local residents.

“We have a whole suite of new tools we’re rolling out in that regard,” he said.

“Some are big infrastructure projects that are rolled out by the city, some of which are temporary measures that are rolled out by the city and some of which are tactical things that communities can roll up their sleeves and do with things like grants. ActivateYYC.”

The idea behind the new policy is to make quiet neighborhood streets a 30 km/h design environment. As traffic arrives on collector streets, designs will incorporate elements to separate the different users of pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles, Carra said.

“It’s about renovation. It’s about tactical urbanism. It’s about the idea that our urban streets are for all users and our neighborhood streets are low-speed environments where everyone is welcome to mingle safely.”

Council will vote on the new policy in July.

Abdul J. Gaspar