What do you think are the benefits of active transportation (e.g. walking, riding a bicycle)?
I see this as an important part of a healthy city and a good way to help encourage health in the general public.
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?
These are methods of travel that are close to my heart. Calgary has a very good system of bike paths throughout the city but there are areas where it could be improved. All new communities and business/industrial areas must be designed with access to effective bike paths and City Transit must be updated and routes improved for more effective access and use.
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?
That is something that needs to be addressed on a case by case basis and will involve those who live in those areas. Doing everything from adding in turning lights to make intersections more usable and safer to adding a speed bump to reduce the speeds to something safer.
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?
Ward 4 is well set and has excellent access to bike paths and park space to be quite walkable. Future areas will have to continue that and community layouts are being looked at that will essentially be mini-cities within the city giving easy access to amenities and helping reduce the need to drive up to across the entire city to and from work. I think this layout is the best plan for Calgary’s future.
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?
This plan has worked well in cities like Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle but to date the experimental lane has been severely underused. I am withholding judgement until I have seen the experimental lane through the winter and it’s effect on traffic and it’s continued use or non-use for a full year.
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)?
One of the major ways I want transit improved is the addition of the LRT up through the central corridor and Ward 4 and this done sooner rather than later. As anyone who has done it can tell you outside of peak hours the use of transit and bikes is quite easy and effective if you have more buses equipped with the bike racks or are using the LRT. We just need to get more buses, ideally all, equipped with them.
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?
I am not familiar with this but would like to find out more if it is to help improve transit within the 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?
Making changes to transit and improving it’s effectiveness are well stated priorities for me. As is improvements to the present taxi system. With the access that Ward 4 has to pathways and park space it has not been a major focus but I believe they are important to the whole city and would be willing to sit and discuss what specific communities wanted changed or improved in their area.
I am encouraged by these responses from Michael as he seems to be supportive of increased cycling infrastructure in the city. However, I am concerned that he may not have some of his facts straight.
Perhaps the one that sticks out to me the most is his assessment of the “experimental” dedicated bike lane he refers to. I assume he is referring to the 7th Ave Cycle Track in downtown. Michael claims that it is “severely underused”, which conflicts with the City Transportation survey that was conducted specifically to measure how much usage the track was getting. The initial numbers are double what they had initially forecast (http://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TP/Documents/cycling/Cycling-Route-Improvements/7st%20cycletrack_project%20update%20September%2019%202013.pdf) and it can be assumed (rather safely, I believe) that usage will increase as more riders work it into their route planning and new riders take advantage of how much more comfortable it makes them feel while commuting.