Evan Woolley

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

There are numerous benefits to active transportation. Walking and riding a bicycle regularly are good for the health and well being of a citizenry. When we make it more practical for people to commute by walking or cycling we begin to see other positive outcomes.

In Ward 8 safety on our streets is always a top concern. However, there’s more to safety than just policing. Research shows that bustling public spaces are safer. That is in part why I’ve made Vibrant Streets one of the pillars of my Neighbourhoods First platform.

In Ward 8 we see a lot of traffic going through our neighbourhoods en route to downtown. Obviously, there’s a limit to how wide we can build our roads and how many parking spaces we can accommodate. That is why it is important to build infrastructure that makes commuting by foot or bicycle a viable option. By doing so, we can alleviate vehicle traffic congestion.

Lastly, reducing vehicle traffic by supporting active transportation will improve our air quality and reduce our impact on the planet. It’s not uncommon to see a brown haze over the city during morning rush hour. We can have a positive impact on our environment by making active transportation a viable choice in our neighbourhoods.

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?

There are many areas in Ward 8 that were clearly built without multi-modal transportation in mind or that have simply not kept up with the increased traffic we see today. While it’s unfortunate that infrastructure in the ward has not kept pace with growth, I see enormous potential to get things back on track.

The Beltline and other inner city neighbourhoods have experienced a large influx of new residents in recent years. Focus now needs to be placed on improving pedestrian access. Not only should this include repairing crumbling sidewalks as is needed throughout the ward, but replacing them with larger, more pedestrian friendly boulevards where there is clearly a need.

First, it is important that we ensure the necessary funding is in place to repair pedestrian infrastructure like sidewalks, which have been neglected in many neighbourhoods across the ward. We must also look at revitalizing major streets that have inadequate sidewalks and replace them with larger, more pedestrian, bike and transit friendly boulevards.  By doing so, residents in Ward 8 can enjoy the benefits of a more active lifestyle.

The City has plans to revitalize streets and underpasses leading into downtown from the south (ie 8th Street SW and 1st Street SW). However, without a strong advocate for these projects on council, they will remain unfunded.

Everytime I’m on 10 Avenue and see the bumper to bumper traffic and the ambiguous part-time bike lane my heart sinks. This is a perfect example of where leadership is needed to bridge city planners with the community to finish the work on planning and implement a comprehensive cycle track network in the inner city communities that make up Ward 8.

Cycle tracks are bike lanes that provide a separate space for cyclists by means of a physical barrier between the cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians. They’ve been implemented in other cities with great success. If elected, I will provide leadership in ensuring a cycle track network is implemented in a way that best serves the entire community, including residents and businesses. I will fight to ensure that it receives the funding it needs from city council so that we’re not waiting 10-20 years for it to happen.

On a busy day jam-packed #3 busses will often blow pass stops on 4 St because they are completely full. There are similar stories like this throughout the ward and the incumbent alderman has failed to take this issue seriously. If elected, I will fight to ensure we have adequate capacity on our busy bus routes, which have some of the highest ridership in the entire city.

It’s also time we take a better look at bus routes within the ward and focus on making it easier to get across the ward, not just downtown.

The beauty of all these things is that by increasing the safety and convenience of one mode of transportation we positively impact all others. There is so much we can improve on for all modes of transportation within the ward and would be thrilled to work with the city and the communities on this, if elected.

In Ward 8 we’ve had very slow progress with respect the above. We can do better.

Lowering speeds to 30 kph in residential areas improves road safety for all users, especially children and seniors[iv].  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?

The residents of Sunalta in Ward 8 are familiar with this issue. 11 and 12 Avenues SW are one-way streets that send speeding traffic right through the heart of the neighbourhood. It’s time we take a serious look at the benefits of returning these to two-way streets and making the neighbourhood safer.

I believe it is important to make sure that the neighbourhoods of Ward 8 are safe and desirable neighbourhoods to raise a family. I look forward to working with our communities to make our streets 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?

Vibrant Streets is one of the core focuses of my Neighbourhoods First platform. Lively sidewalks and streets filled with people are a hallmark of great cities around the world. Research shows that bustling public spaces are safer and also support healthier and happier citizens.

Affordable housing forsters rich, diverse, and interesting neighbourhoods. In Ward 8 we have seen parts of our community suffer as affordable housing becomes more and more scarce. That is why I will fight alongside Mayor Nenshi to ensure secondary suites are regulated across the ward and the city.

We can strengthen the vibrancy of our streets by supporting local artists and cultural projects. In Ward 8 we are home to many great events and festivals, but we can do more to ensure the city works to make it easier for cultural events that enrich the city to start and grow.

Lastly, residents in Ward 8 have seen their fair share of tax dollars leave the ward to subsidize the development of new suburban communities on the far flung edges of our city. It’s time we have a councillor that will fight to eliminate these subsidies so that established neighbourhoods like those in Ward 8 can reinvest in and revitalize our neighbourhoods.

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[v], 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?

Yes. In Ward 8 we have the misfortune of having what is perhaps the best example of a poorly implemented bike lane, on 10 Ave SW. Our present alderman has shown little leadership in addressing this issue and it’s time we get on with the important work of implementing a proper cycle track network.

In 2012 the city hired its first Cycling Coordinator, Tom Thivener, a world renowned expert in the implementation of cycle networks. If elected, I will fight to ensure funding is available for his team to architect and build an efficient cycle track network across the City Centre and Beltline.

Cycle tracks are bike lanes that provide a separate space for cyclists by means of a physical barrier between the cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians. While this may require the loss of a parking lane in some cases, our neighbourhoods will benefit from reduced vehicle traffic overall as cycling becomes a safer, more viable alternative.

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)?

On a busy day jam-packed #3 busses will often blow pass stops on 4 St because they are completely full. There are similar stories like this throughout the ward and the incumbent alderman has failed to take this issue seriously. If elected, I will fight to ensure we have adequate capacity on our busy bus routes, which have some of the highest ridership in the entire city.

It’s also time we take a better look at bus routes within the ward and focus on making it easier to get across the ward, not just through it on the way to downtown.

I strongly support working with Calgary transit and the communities to find ways to make it easier to cycle and use transit. Improved inner city bus routes with bike racks may be one solution.

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’m generally familiar with the increase of bike lanes and public spaces in New York during this period. While Calgary has many differences in New York, we also have assets including more space to work with, a highly-used transit system and an active population. The first step in improving our cycling, transit and pedestrian infrastructure is to elect representatives who will fight relentlessly for better sustainable transportation infrastructure.

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?

Residents in Ward 8 have seen their fair share of tax dollars leave the ward to subsidize the development of new suburban communities on the far flung edges of our city. Our existing councillor has voted to support the continuation of sprawl subsidies. It’s time we have a councillor that will fight to eliminate these subsidies so that established neighbourhoods like those in Ward 8 can reinvest in and revitalize our neighbourhoods.

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