On the 7th October, Bike Calgary presented a written submission along with an in-person presentation to the committee at City Hall as part of the Committee for Planning and Urban Development.
Our speech, supported by the Calgary Climate Hub who also presented, was to highlight to the committee that the 5A Map (Always Available for All Ages and Abilities) should be split into phases and the city should use this to access federal funding to enable the plan to be initiated in 2021.
How can you help? Well you can help by writing to your councilor and ask them to not only support the plan to initiate phase 1 but ask them what phase 1 would look like in your Ward. Some councilors voted “no” to the city’s overall plan (Cllrs Farkas, Chu and Maggliocca). Perhaps if you live in their Wards (11, 4 and 2) you may wish to establish why and what their plan is?
Our three step requests were:
Step 1: As with any other major project, divide 5A into phases. Dividing the network implementation into clearly-defined stages will enable the City to prioritize where the need is greatest and fill in the gaps. Most importantly, having a project divided into shovel-ready phases will enable the City to pursue external funding, such as the funds for active transportation projects that the federal government indicated in its Throne Speech only two weeks ago. If Calgary is to compete with other cities for these funds, Phase I of the 5A network needs to be shovel ready.
Step 2 is to make sure that Phase I of the 5A network addresses the most significant, high-priority gaps in Calgary’s existing network, and does so in a way that benefits all parts of Calgary – not only the downtown core. With the most extensive urban pathway network in North America, Calgary already has great options to walk and wheel throughout the city. Unfortunately, segments are often fragmented and disconnected. Priority number one should be to address these gaps, often less than a kilometer long, and focus on communities underserved by the existing infrastructure.
Lastly, Step 3 is to continue the conversation. The current version of the 5A map before you is incomplete. While its overall vision is strong, the proposed network lacks many of the lateral connections needed to get safely from Point A to Point B and combine trips with other modes of travel. The solution is to consult with local communities and organizations on how to make each phase practical for them. Bike Calgary has engaged many communities and has submitted suggestions to the City. Please, let’s keep this conversation alive and community-driven.