What do you think are the benefits of active transportation (e.g. walking, riding a bicycle)?
I see the benefits to be numerous – from personal health to educating our children and youth about healthy lifestyles. I also believe active transportation helps to relieve congestion on our roadways and benefits our environment, particularly air quality.
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?
This is an area that has been done well in South East Calgary. Calgary as a whole is certainly a leader when it comes to number and length of biking/walking paths. If elected, I would focus on repairing the existing paths that were damaged as a result of the flood. I would like to see more buses equipped with bike racks and of course I would like to see the South East Transit Way built before 2048. I would also involve the community associations in Ward 12 in these discussions as they play such an important role on this front. Safety is a topic I have heard a lot about in speaking with residents. I support more lighting on pathways, more closed circuit cameras, really any measure that would increase safety and security of all Calgarians.
Taking city-wide view of this issue, I would like to see more discussion around roads where we see multiple forms of transit (bikes, buses, cars, etc.) combined in a manner that is efficient and effective.
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?
This is a concern I have heard from several residents in Ward 12. I have had mothers tell me they are prepared to roll balls and baby carriages in to the middle of the road to get drivers to slow down. I would like to see more electronic signs that display your speed and 4-way stops at intersections. At intersections that have stoplights, I’d support more red-light cameras. In some cases speed bumps may be appropriate as well.
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 believe the communities in South East Calgary benefited from planning that incorporated the walkability and vibrancy you speak of. McKenzie Towne has been used as a positive case study in university classes on urban planning. I would certainly work with other members of City Council to improve walkability and vibrancy in communities across Calgary, especially in older neighborhoods.
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?
If there is a safe, cost effective and efficient way of doing it I would certainly support looking at proposals to do so. We have to keep in mind that the city has a limited amount of resources and there are several competing priorities.
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)?
Ward 12 residents have made it very clear that getting the South East Transit Line built is their number one priority. It’s mine as well. An LRT line in South East Calgary will create a domino effect and help to increase multi-modal trips in this part of Calgary. Residents I talk to are not pleased to have seen this vital project move from the top of the priority list in the last municipal election to the bottom of the pile over the last 3 years. Presently, the north transit line is at the top of the city’s priority list. Residents are also not impressed with the 35-year timeline associated with the project. I too would like to see an LRT line in South East Calgary before 2048. For this to happen we need to start with three things:
1. We need to change the criteria used to prioritize the transit lines. While cost per passenger was a key criterion, future growth and need was not and that needs to change. Ward 12 is experiencing the largest growth in the City and that needs to be recognized, not passed over.
2. Work with all levels of government to secure funding. Transit projects of this size are very complex and will not happen without large infrastructure dollars from the Federal and Provincial governments. Those conversations need to start happening sooner rather than later.
3. We need to look for and evaluate private public partnerships. Vancouver had much success with this and their Canada line, Ottawa has just entered into an agreement and Waterloo is also exploring options.
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?
No, however we should definitely learn from the experiences of other cities as we move forward on these issues.
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?
I will certainly support solutions that improve transit options, relieve congestion on our roads and improve traffic flow. Whether or not the city can afford to implement them is another story. My priority on transit is to secure funding for the South East Transit Way so that the residents of South East Calgary have access to a much needed and affordable transit alternative.