How to Make Calgary a More Pedestrian-Friendly Winter City – Part 2 of 3

 

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winter walkers of Calgary – check out more here.

In our last blog post, we mentioned 5 key concerns in our neighbourhoods in regards to walking in the winter;

  1. Lighting
  2. Snow Removal
  3. Benches
  4. Signage
  5. Doors on the Streets

Here are some of our ideas that we think will improve walking in the colder winter months.

 

Designated Winter Walking Routes

The City of Calgary has designated Snow Routes for cars and transit – specific streets that the city focuses snow-clearing efforts for car and transit use. We think that our city also needs designated Winter Walking Routes. We think that the city should designate heavily-used pathways or sidewalks as winter walking routes, make clearing these routes of ice and snow a top priority and mark these routes with pedestrian-friendly signs.

We recognize that the City has limited capacity for removing snow and clearing ice from pathways, however we think designated winter walking routes will ensure that pedestrians have safe, well-marked routes, while acknowledging current capacity limitations for snow removal.  These streets should have well cleared sidewalks and crosswalks, be well lit, safe and attractive and be well marked.

school route

here’s a similar idea in which municipalities have designated safe routes for children walking to and from school.

Heat Sources Along Popular Walkways

In our last post, we mentioned that there were few areas to for walkers to warm up along the popular walking route we audited in Bridgeland. We think that Calgary needs more heat sources along popular walkways that will allow people who are walking to take a rest and briefly warm up.

A number of cities have started installing heat sources in popular public spaces in order to offer passersby a brief solace from the cold weather – including several LRT stations in Calgary. We think public heat sources along well-used sidewalks could be a great solution to help encourage winter walking in Calgary.  For seniors specifically, this has the potential to increase mobility and decrease winter isolation, specific problems that have been identified by seniors in Bridgeland.

heat source

heat source2

source: http://popupcity.net/keep-yourself-warm-with-the-public-heater/

Do you have any ideas on how to make our city better for winter walking? Comment below or send us an email at celia@sustainablecalgary.org.

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Talking about Winter Walking: Winter Retrospective 1 of 3

During our work in the Bridgeland community over the last few months, we have heard a lot about difficulties residents face when walking in the neighbourhood during the winter, specifically difficulties seniors living in the neighbourhood face.

This past January we followed the same route a local group of seniors “walk-audited” last autumn in order to better understand some of the barriers to winter walking.

Conditions: sunny, -16C

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1) Lighting 

As we walked along 9th Street by the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Centre, we noticed that there were only a few street lights in the area, all of which were directed at the street rather that at the sidewalks and pathways. We also noticed that the one crosswalk in the area was very dimly lit. During the darker winter months, it is critical that our sidewalks and crosswalks are better lit in order to make people feel safer and more comfortable walking in our neighbourhoods during all times of the day, even when it gets dark at 4 in the afternoon.

 

2) Snow removal 

The sidewalks adjacent to seniors’ complexes were generally well-maintained, however the sidewalks leading to the Bridgeland’s main streets had major mobility barriers, including snow piled at intersection corners and unshoveled sections of the sidewalk. Snow removal is repeatedly mentioned by seniors as a key issue limiting their mobility in the winter, and from what we saw, it would be very difficult for those with walkers or in scooters to navigate these sidewalks.

crosswalk Jan25walkway jan25

 

3) Benches

While working in Bridgeland, we have repeatedly been told that the neighbourhood’s streets need more benches. We think this is a great request because it means that people actually want to spend time on sidewalks and streets rather than just quickly passing through. During our walk, we noticed that there were very few benches for walkers to pause and catch their breathes at, specifically around the neighbourhood’s retirement communities where there are more older walkers who may be more willing to walk if there are a few spots to rest along the way 

 

4) Signage

Throughout our walk, we noticed that crosswalks, sidewalks and pathways were not well marked for pedestrians or vehicles. Signs marking out crosswalks and sidewalks are often marked on the pavement, meaning that they are often covered in snow or ice during the winter. We noticed that there were some vertical signs marking crosswalks, however these signs were directed to the road and were not at eye level, meaning that they were designed to be seen by cars rather than pedestrians. We think Calgary’s sidewalks, crosswalks and pathways need more vertical markers that are walker-friendly.

 

5) Doors on the Streets

Many urban planners and community experts argue that the number of doors on the street affects the walkability of a neighbourhood in warmer months, and in the winter, these doors on the street act as warm places for walkers to warm up before continuing their walk through the neighbourhood, assuming that some of those doors lead to businesses, organizations or acquaintances.  Along our route, we noticed that there were many businesses with doors on the street in which walkers could spend sometime in along the neighbourhood’s main street (9th Ave), however along other streets there were absolutely no warm places pedestrians would be able to spend time in (McDougall Road, and 12th Street). 

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Next up: our ideas, how you can suit up for the weather, and a survey of practices in other winter cities.  Check out this link for a preview.

 

 

 

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Cyclists of Calgary – Winter 2014/2015

For years, the majority of people in our city have assumed that once the temperatures drop below 0 C and the snow drifts begin to build up, we put away our walking shoes, tuck our bikes into the garage and bundle into our cars for 8 months until the walking and cycling weather returns.

But this winter, the Active Neighbourhoods team spent a lot of time thinking about walking and biking in our winter city, and we started to realize just how many people walk and bike in Calgary, even through those -20 C conditions.

We decided to start talking with these people we were seeing, firstly to figure out exactly why they were walking and biking in the winter, and secondly to make sure these people are getting recognized, to give the winter pedestrians and cyclists of Calgary a voice.

Simon and Kristina, -20 C

Simon

Christine

“The best part about biking in the winter is being able to eat more desserts afterwards.”

Graham, -12 C

graham

“Our city’s bike lanes are great in the winter, the city has them ploughed by 5 in the morning! And my tip for biking in the winter is that cyclists should stay off the roads. As a biker, I should have equal access to roads but drivers still don’t really know how to treat cyclists and with all this snow and ice it can be really dangerous.”

 

 

Warren, -18 C

warren“my favourite thing about cycling in the winter is that it’s warmer than waiting at a bus stop”

 

 

Kate2-150x150Kate Beck is an aspiring urban planner who’s passionate about streets, social justice, bicycles and rock climbing. She spent the summer helping to connect Active Neighbourhoods with the Bridgeland community. She has recently finished a degree in geography at University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

 

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Pedestrians of Calgary – Winter 2014/2015

For years, the majority of people in our city have assumed that once the temperatures drop below 0 C and the snow drifts begin to build up, we put away our walking shoes, tuck our bikes into the garage and bundle into our cars for 8 months until the walking and cycling weather returns.

But this winter, the Active Neighbourhoods team spent a lot of time thinking about walking and biking in our winter city, and we started to realize just how many people walk and bike in Calgary, even through those -20 C conditions.

We decided to start talking with these people we were seeing, firstly to figure out exactly why they were walking and biking in the winter, and secondly to make sure these people are getting recognized, to give the winter pedestrians and cyclists of Calgary a voice.

Noel and Jarred, -15 C
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Tip for walking in the winter “keep moving”

Mary Anne, -17 C

maryanne
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“walking in the winter isn’t that bad but it’s a lot easier when people shovel their sidewalks well”

 

Vi, -12 C

Vi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I actually don’t like walking in the cold much, I really wanted to buy a bike to commute to work this winter, but my condo building doesn’t have bike racks.”

 

Ricki, -12 C

ricki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I walk to work in the winter because I love the fresh air, and my tip for walking in the winter is to wear long underwear!”

 

Will and Paul, -8 C

Will and Paul

“Walking in the cold is a great way to relieve a hang over on a Sunday morning.”

 

Lindsey and Christie, -10 C

Lindsey and Christie

Winter walking tip: Good Footwear

 

Bridgeland couple

“Walking around Bridgeland in the winter is a great way to get us out of the house each day and avoid cabin fever, especially now with the baby.”
Winter walking tip: “Well I walk everywhere, and when its colder I just walk faster”

 

Kate2-150x150Kate Beck is an aspiring urban planner who’s passionate about streets, social justice, bicycles and rock climbing. She spent the summer helping to connect Active Neighbourhoods with the Bridgeland community. She has recently finished a degree in geography at University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

 

 

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Panel Discussion and AGM: March 30 @7PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.32.34 AMMarch 30 @7PM Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association, Hall, 917 Centre Ave NE

Join Sustainable Calgary for an evening of engaging discussion as part of our Annual General Meeting.

This is an opportunity to meet the board and active members of Sustainable Calgary, and to learn more about us and how you can get involved – or just renew old acquaintances.

 

 

Panelists include:

Tom Babin: author of Frostbike, The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling

Jason Ponto: PhD Candidate, comparative Study of Cycling in Calgary and Europe

Kimberley Nelson: BikeCalgary, President

 

The panel discussion is $10 or free with a $20 Sustainable Calgary Membership.

RSVP for Peddling Through the Process (and Politics) of Cycling here.

 

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Tom Babin @SafeandSmooth, March 19

Tom BabinTom Babin - author of widely acclaimed book Frostbike, editor for the Calgary Herald and bike blogger - is a leading expert in Calgary on the topics of complete streets and our city’s developing bike culture. Babin also writes for the blog “Pedal”, one the most widely read cycling blogs in Canada.

Frostbike 

Frostbike, Babin’s first book, delves into the environmental and urban design changes, as well as the attitude changes, that are required to make cycling in Calgary’s winters safe, fun and a viable way to commute around the city. Babin not only looks at cities abroad that are doing winter cycling “the right way”, he also focuses inwards on the unique winter cycling needs of Calgary and other Canadian cities.

TomBabin2

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Robert van Dongen @SafeandSmooth, March 19, 9:00AM

RobertHow the Green Environment Affects Behaviour

Robert van Dongen is a lecturer at NHTV Breda University, one the Netherland’s most renowned schools in transportation design and planning, where his research focuses on environmental psychology, urban green spaces, and governance and policy.

Van Dongen will be hosting a participatory session focusing on the ways in which natural elements affect travel choices . Van Dongen’s session will be held at the Safe and Smooth Symposium on March 19th at 9:00 am. Buy your tickets for the event here.

 

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Ben Hamilton-Ballie @SafeandSmooth, March 18, 11:00AM

Designing for Self-Organizing Shared Spaces

BenBen Hamilton-Ballie is one of Britain’s leading experts in transportation, best known for his work in Shared Spaces, Safe Routes and Home Zones.

Hamilton-Ballie is a landscape architect, urban designer and partner of Hamilton-Baillie Associates. He has worked with government agencies, developers and community groups to develop policies and provide innovative solutions to traffic movement through public space.

Hamilton-Baillie will be speaking at the Safe and Smooth Symposium on March 18th at 11:00 am. Buy your tickets for the event here.

Shared Space

The Shared Space approach to transportation planning involves incorporating pedestrian, bike and car traffic into the social and cultural dynamics of cities and towns. This approach recognizes streets and roads as public spaces that all groups of people should have access to, and uses innovative strategies to reduce traffic speed and collisions.

Check out more about shared space in this interview with Ben Hamilton-Ballie.

Ben2

Image from: http://www.architecturenorway.no/stories/people-stories/hamiltonbaillie-11/

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Paul van de Coevering @SafeandSmooth, March 18, 2:00PM

PaulHow the Built Environment Affects Behaviour

Paul van de Coevering, a researcher at Netherlands Institute for Spatial Research and Phd student at Tu-Delft, is an up-and-coming expert in the area of the built environment and travel behaviour. In 2012-2013, Van de Coevering introduced his project Retrofitting Car-Dependant Cities in Calgary.

Van de Coevering will be speaking at the Safe and Smooth Symposium on March 18th at 2:00 pm about his current research, focusing on how the built environment influence our attitudes and behaviours as street users. Buy your tickets for the event here.

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Lori Beattie @SafeandSmooth, March 19, 11:00AM

LoriLori Beattie, the author of Calgary’s Best Walks, Calgary’s Best Hikes and Walks, and Calgary’s Best Bike Rides and Trails, is one of our city’s leading experts on walking, biking and urban hiking. She has written for the Calgary Herald, for Avenue Magazine, and leads walks, hikes, snowshoe and cross-country ski events in Calgary.

Calgary’s Best Walks 

Beattie has recently published a beautiful guide to the best strolls in our city. From Downtown art walks to walks along the Bow River, Bridgeland and Nose Creek, Beattie cleverly incorporates art, culture, nature, and visits to unique, small businesses into each of her walks. Check out sample walks from her book here.

Lori2At Sustainable Calgary’s Safe and Smooth Symposium, Beattie will be speaking about walking and cycling in Calgary with kids during the colder, darker winter months. She will be speaking on March 19th at 11:00 am. Buy your tickets for the event here.

 

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