What do you think are the benefits of active transportation (e.g. walking, riding a bicycle)?
There are tremendous individual and societal benefits garnered from living arrangements that facilitate broad participation in active transportation. These include a complex and synergistic interplay between individual and societal health and wellness and individual and societal financial sustainability – with environmental sustainability an importantly interwoven factor as well. I believe the critical challenge we face is not in how to broadly promote active transportation, but in how to broadly provide living arrangements where active transportation is the natural, obvious, and preferred choice. My previous career in sustainable urban design was focused on addressing this challenge and my entry into municipal politics three years ago was all about establishing an environment in Calgary where these outcomes are possible. To these ends, my Great Neighbourhoods Platform addresses the five-point transformation I’m pursuing at City Hall http://www.carra4ward9.ca/looking-ahead/ – while Active Transportation is not the focus of Great Neighbourhoods, it is an inevitable byproduct of habitat designed around the needs of human beings, as opposed to the needs of our automobiles.
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?
I didn’t become a politician because I believed the state of things related to the achievement of complete communities (and normalized active transportation) in Calgary was either sufficient or, beyond high-level policy documents, on the right trajectory. Over the last three years we’ve undertaken some important shifts in direction and begun to establish the right momentum. In the short term I am committed to improving a broad spectrum of mobility choices for Calgarians by:
establishing mid and ground-level policy (such as the Cycling Strategy);
securing funding for sidewalks, cycle tracks, pathways, parking designed to generate pedestrians in pedestrian environments, and transit; and,
nurturing the emergence of community-based leadership focused on urban issues.
Over the longer term I am committed to improving a broad spectrum of mobility choices for Calgarians by achieving a regulatory framework for Great Neighbourhoods as per my platform.
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?
Speeding, traffic calming, and cut-through traffic are major issues in every single community in Calgary – and particularly throughout every single community in my inner-city Ward 9. While I support the idea of lower posted speed limits within neighbourhoods, speed is simply a factor of environmental design – everyone drives as fast as they feel comfortable. I believe that effective traffic calming is not only a product of holistic, neighbourhood-scaled traffic calming measures, but is in fact the result of an even more holistic approach that includes community-based land-use planning and regional/corridor demand management. Until broad intra and inter-neighbourhood-based master planning (that includes traffic calming, and the promotion of active transportation alternatives) is achieved as per Great Neighbourhoods, I will have to continue to work with my constituents and City Administration to address speed issues on a problem street by problem street basis.
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?
Great Neighbourhoods: http://www.carra4ward9.ca/looking-ahead/
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?
Yes. The only caveat being that it would be an act of futility, and a waste of resources and political capital, to try to retrofit all of automobile-scaled Calgary to equal-share bicycle infrastructure. I believe, through retrofit, strategic reclamation, and intelligent new-build, we need to triage the project towards the creation of a parallel city of transit and active transportation. I’m extremely interested in retrofitting the service road along the South LRT as a cycle track, as well as designing the SETWAY with a parallel cycle track. Additionally, solving all-season bicycle access into our industrial areas, and particularly the SE, is also an important project.
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)?
Great Neighbourhoods: http://www.carra4ward9.ca/looking-ahead/
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?
Yes, but it’s difficult to draw parallels between Calgary and NYC. NYC was ripe for simple retrofit, presents a much different scalar situation than Calgary, and is a place where active transportation has always been the undisputed primary mode. Having said that, and with the success of the 7th Street SW cycle track, a cycle track network through the downtown is critical in the next five years with particular emphasis on an east-west connection north of the tracks. Additionally, and as per my response to question 5 above, there are interesting opportunities along the southern LRT rights of ways that we should move to capitalize upon quickly.
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?
Yes, but only to the extent that immediate moves work towards and do not to threaten to derail the larger project of achieving Great Neighbourhoods.