Walking through Marlborough, many Calgarians may not be aware of the network of pathways that connect Marlborough’s grid-like streets and numerous parks. These hidden gems are what Marlborough residents call “Catwalks”.
Given that Marlborough has several parks and institutions, these walkways do a great job of providing connections for pedestrians to travel within and beyond the neighbourhood. Developed in the 1960’s, Marlborough can now be thought of as a neighbourhood ahead of its time. Planners of today strive to create connected neighbourhoods to make pedestrian movement easier and more direct. Some paved sections of the catwalks have deteriorated over time due to frost heaves and growing tree roots, and some areas have had less maintenance of vegetation and landscaping.
Did you know?
Catwalk care is considered the responsibility of residents who are located on either side of the pathway?
The placement and function of the catwalks had been well planned, however these pathways lack some key points related to accessibility and safety, namely the lack of curb cuts and lighting . In addition, barricades leading into catwalks, installed to restrict vehicular movement, also hinder ease of use for residents using wheelchairs, scooters and strollers.
Curb Cut: a ramp cut into the concrete of a street curb to allow for access by bicycles, wheelchairs, scooters, strollers and other wheeled modes of transport.
The needs of Marlborough have changed since its establishment in 1967. Taking a look at the 2014 civic census data, the demographics indicate an aging population. Considering an aging population resides within Marlborough, a predicted need for accessible infrastructure can be assumed. To attend to these needs, a series of changes could be made to improve the catwalks to increase usability for all sections of the demographic in Marlborough.
Ideas for catwalk rejuvenation include:
- Ground lighting (to avoid impact on adjacent neighbours)
- City maintenance of catwalk vegetation
- Curb cuts to increase accessibility
- Re-paving of walkways
- Way-finding signage