City works to keep Calgarians on the move past construction

Post Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013
The City of Calgary is working with the construction industry to make it easier and safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists to get past and around construction--a great way to improve the streetscapes of our Centre City and the result of a Notice of Motion from Mayor Nenshi and Alderman Druh Farrell.

City works to keep Calgarians on the move past construction

Calgary’s downtown core is a hotbed for major construction projects. As we approach the busy “construction season”, Council and City Administration have taken a closer look at how to keep traffic of all kinds on the move. The Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP) provides direction on supporting multiple modes of transportation for all travellers, including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and those with limited mobility.

With a significant focus on pedestrian traffic in the CTP, and to ensure sidewalks remain clear and unobstructed, The City and our external construction partners, such as the Calgary Construction Association (CCA), have made strides in addressing the need to keep sidewalks open and accessible for pedestrians. Additionally, a newly created collaborative review process has allowed internal City partners such as Roads and Development and Building Approvals to work together at an earlier phase of planning to better serve the transportation and safety needs of Calgarians.

The City has been working closely with developers and construction companies over the last year, and all agree that pedestrian access is critical, especially on key routes. One option The City offers is more flexibility on the timing of work, and in some cases, relaxing the noise bylaw to allow for late night construction.

“We’ve made great strides in finding alternative measures to preserving our pedestrian network, which can be seen all over city centre,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Calgary is going to continue to grow and with that comes construction, however we still have a responsibility to Calgarians to keep them safe and keep them moving.”

Construction projects lasting for extended periods of time often obstruct multiple sidewalks. In such a highly concentrated pedestrian area as Calgary’s downtown core, The City recognizes that this can be quite an inconvenience for the travelling public.

“Pedestrian safety and convenience are priorities for Council,” says Ald. Druh Farrell. “ I'm encouraged to see industry and The City working together to provide better access to public sidewalks during construction.”

Gord Elenko, Manager of Traffic Engineering for Roads, says it’s not good enough to push pedestrian traffic out onto the roadway and block a traffic lane. While that maintains access for pedestrians, it negatively impacts cyclists and motorists and creates potential safety hazards.

“The City recognizes sidewalks are an essential part of our transportation network, especially in the downtown core and Business Revitalization Zones,” he said. “This is why we've made it a priority to better maintain accessibility to pedestrian walkways surrounding a construction site, without compromising anyone’s safety.”

Currently there are 20 long-term, major construction sites in the downtown core where sidewalks have required on-street detours or overhead hoarding structures to maintain an open walkway.

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- Release cross-posted from City of Calgary Newsroom