City of Calgary Accessibility Awards

On December 20, the City of Calgary announced that the Alberta Ability Network and Bike Calgary were the recipients of the City’s Transportation Opportunities Award. The award recognized Alberta Ability Network and Bike Calgary’s “Safe and Accessible Pathways” initiative.

Here is a video that the City put together interviewing the award recipients. Mayor Gondek presented the award to Mezaun Lakha-Evin, Director of Government Relations and Advocacy with the Alberta Ability Network.

Bike Calgary began a partnership with the Alberta Ability Network (AAN) in Fall of 2020 and regularly sends a representative to AAN’s monthly Affordable and Accessible Transportation Table meetings. We quickly learned that there were some shared advocacy goals with AAN around issues like road safety, snow clearing for sidewalks and pathways, and concerns around user comfort and safety on shared / multi-use pathways. 

In June 2021, AAN hosted a webinar focused on Safe and Accessible Pathways. The event included panelists representing several different organizations including:

Colin Cantlie – Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

Peter Quaiattini – Calgary Access Design Committee

Vanessa Urschel – City of Calgary Parks Pathways

Jacquelyn Oriold – City of Calgary Transportation Education 

Karly Ross – Bike Calgary

Ankush Karwal – Neuron Canada

Christopher Gordon – CNIB (Panel Moderator)

Following this event, Bike Calgary developed an online survey that was distributed to members of both Bike Calgary and AAN. The survey aimed to gain understanding of how and why people use Calgary’s shared pathways, and what barriers detract from people being able to use the pathways safely and comfortably. The survey also included an opportunity for a follow up conversation to gain more insight into the respondents’ experiences, and Bike Calgary facilitated several follow-up conversations.

Moving forward, Bike Calgary and AAN plan to develop educational materials around how pathway users of all different modes (walking, jogging, wheeling, using mobility devices, etc.) can safely and comfortably share our great pathway network. We also hope to use the knowledge gained from this education initiative to help inform future advocacy on new pathway design and existing pathway upgrades. 

Bike Calgary would also like to recognize volunteers Karly Ross and Jon van Heyst for establishing this partnership with Alberta Ability Network and for their time and efforts on the Safe and Accessible Pathways initiative.

The Alberta Ability Network an initiative of the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta, is a collaborative of organizations, businesses and advocates from the disability community, whose main goals are to:

– Impact policy, decision making and systems change

– Build and strengthen community capacity

– Create action plans which will improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities

There are five working tables that make up AAN: Human Rights, Transportation, Poverty Reduction, Recreation, and Newcomers with Disabilities.

​At our five working tables, partners work together to address issues, increase awareness and education and link the community and government around the remaining challenges facing persons with disabilities. 

To learn more, visit https://www.ababilitynetwork.ca/.

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