Ward Sutherland

What do you think are the benefits of active transportation (e.g. walking, riding a bicycle)?

Active transportation can help individuals maintain healthy lifestyles by incorporating exercise into their daily routine, and on a larger scale, reduce carbon emissions. When feasible, it can be a great method of transportation.

Research recommends enabling biking and walking for transport as an important public health measure. What are your thoughts on the current state of the infrastructure for active transportation in the city? How will you increase the convenience and safety of all modes of transportation, including walking/using a wheelchair, riding a bike, and transit?

Walking or using a wheelchair in Calgary is currently quite viable during the warmer months, as many roads have sidewalks with ramps. Proper maintenance for existing walkways and pathways is key and the appropriate departments need to be good at their jobs.  Overall, the challenge is that Calgary has low density, so travelling from one’s home to a workplace or other location may take a long time just on foot or bike. Mixed methods of transport, such as walking to the LRT station, are probably a more effective means.

Lowering speeds to 30 kph in residential areas improves road safety for all users, especially children and seniors.  Calgary citizen groups in many communities are calling on the City to act against speeding. If elected, how will you work to reduce vehicle speeds in residential areas in Calgary?

Previously, as president of the Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association, I found that simply reducing speed limits may not be the best solution, since it fails to address the fundamental problem: people going faster than the current limits. Instead, I laid the groundwork for Calgary’s first pace car program. Residents can volunteer to have bumper car stickers reminding people to maintain the speed limit. This program was featured on Global TV and will be implemented in the near future.  If elected councillor, I will work with citizen groups and community associations to incorporate low-cost yet effective traffic calming initiatives such as these to reduce speeding in residential areas.

Vibrant communities depend upon everyday people using city streets to shop, eat, linger, and walk. Several factors play into the walkability of communities including: intensity, mixing of different types of uses, connectivity, and quality of the urban realm. If elected, how will you increase the walkability and vibrancy of Calgary’s communities?

I will support Calgary’s pathway system, which is one of the best in North America. This directly encourages walking and alternative forms of transportation, increasing the vibrancy of Calgary’s communities.  Design of communities needs to be addressed on a continual basis.

Bicycle access to amenities (e.g. work, school, recreation) requires bicycle facilities that extend beyond our pathways. In addition, this summer we saw how reliance on a pathway network built primarily in a river floodplain resulted in a loss of viable travel routes for many Calgarians. Of its 18,000 lane-km of roads, Calgary has only 26 km of marked on-street bike routes. Given that 98% of Calgarians are uncomfortable riding in traffic, do you support reallocation of roadway space to provide people on bicycles with equitable, reliable, safe, comfortable, and efficient access to the amenities they need to reach?

Reallocation of roadway space for bicyclists presents a challenge, since bike lanes are not necessarily safer. For example, some bike lines are directly beside car parking spots, such that bicyclists could be inadvertently hit by someone opening a car door. Traffic is also a problem and diverting road space solely for bicycles may increase overall congestion and travel times. The Calgary Cycling Strategy, released in June 2011, provides a number of effective ideas to improve cycling in Calgary, including bicycle education programs to improve understanding and reduce conflicts between drivers and bicyclists when they do have to share the road.

How will you increase the convenience and appeal of transit as a mode of choice, as well as facilitate the possibility of multi-modal trips (e.g. walking & transit, riding a bike & transit)?

Almost 87% of Calgarians choose to live in planned communities outside of the city core and that fact may not change significantly in the near future. Given this, it may not be possible to perfectly serve all residents; the challenge is how to best provide them with viable opportunities to choose transit for their work commute.

 

Are you familiar with the New York experience from 2007-2013? How can we replicate most of that success here in the next five years?

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to visit New York several times. Although a number of lessons can be drawn from the New York experience, Calgary is fundamentally different in that its density is less than 15% that of New York City. Currently, it would not be possible to use New York as the “end all and be all” of city planning models. However, as Calgary grows, it will be important to consider how to improve the methods of transportation within our city.

Will you advocate for the prioritization of cold hard cash directed towards alternative transport options, and an urgent move to make on-the-ground changes immediately?

Calgary has recently faced a tremendous challenge due to the flood, and the city has spent over 500 million dollars to date. Since we do not yet know the details of how much funding we will receive from the provincial and federal governments for flood repair or mitigation, it would be irresponsible right now to commit funds. Nevertheless, there are a number of cost efficient measures that could be implemented to address these transport related issues, some of which I have outlined above. As councillor, I will continually work to make Calgary an exceptional city for all our residents.

One Comment on “Ward Sutherland

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