News / Calgary

Pedestrian strategy yielding for answers

An updated report addressing council's concerns will be presented in April

Groups of Calgarians cross 2 Street SW on Wednesday afternoon.

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

Groups of Calgarians cross 2 Street SW on Wednesday afternoon.

Calgary's pedestrian strategy is going to have to take another lap after committee members voted to refer the report back to a meeting in April. 

The 100-page document with 50 recommendations titled Step Forward went before the standing policy committee meeting on transportation Wednesday where it was met with some praise, some push back and a laundry list of questions. 

Transportation boss Mac Logan opted to address the concerns and incorporate them into an updated report which administration will present again in April. 

"We're putting the referral in with a list of items that have been addressed today," said Coun. Shane Keating. "Council and committee will have a choice about whether they want to implement those changes…as we go forward." 

It's a report that was long-awaited by local activist groups like SlowDownYYC and other communities eagerly anticipating pilots to lower speed limits in their neighbourhoods. 

Coun. Brian Pincott was in favour of moving the report forward as quickly as possible, but did ask some pointed questions about its contents. 

"If we're talking about a pedestrian strategy, how does this then work with complete streets, because complete streets is about trying to accommodate more pedestrians and more cyclists within an auto environment," said Pincott. "A real pedestrian strategy, a real complete streets strategy, is about finding out how that environment works for everybody – this again, feels like a report about making an auto environment safer." 

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Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

Groups of Calgarians cross 2 Street SW on Wednesday afternoon.

Katherine Hiscocks considers herself a pedestrian 50 per cent of the time, but isn't so sure the city's Step Forward plan, especially introducing a 40 kilometre per hour speed limit in residential areas, will help curb car culture. 

"If they can’t manage it at 50 how are they going to manage it at 40?," she said. "I think people are still going to speed, regardless of the posting, you could post it at 20 and there’s still going to be people ripping through those residential zones, so that’s my concern. How can you balance the cost of lowering it and then managing it as well?"

Among the concerns on a three-page long document administration has to look over are issues between blanket mandating 40 kilometres per hour city-wide, or piloting the idea in sever neighbourhoods – something Edmonton has done already – the placement of mid block crossings and how to decide the allocation of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons.

Calgarians react to 40 km/hr residential roads

Kenneth Ip

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

"I’d consider myself a pedestrian. I think the change would have a really good impact and could work well for the smaller streets."

Devin Kelly

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Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

"I don’t own a car, so I’d say I’m a pedestrian. In a lot of suburban places, it’s kind of risky crossing the streets, because you’re never sure if the cars are going to stop or not. "

Tabby Khumalo

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

"I was driving around in my area, there were kids playing street hockey and one car ahead of me was speeding through, and I just think it’s very dangerous for the children."

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