Last month we told you about the City’s upcoming budget decisions. Time has flown, and the decisions are almost upon us. We have a refresher, an update with new information, and a renewed call to action.
Council is about to set the budget for the next four years, and now is everyone’s chance to be heard. The main programs affecting biking in Calgary are Community Mobility and Missing Pathway Links. There have been a few opportunities to provide input on the budget, and now the remaining ones are to email councillors directly and to present to Council on November 26.
Since our last post, the City has published its proposed budget. Of course, the budget for a city the size of Calgary is a complicated beast, but here’s what we know about the portions affecting biking:
Community Mobility has been divided into two Activities: 481400 and 481404 (pages 294 and 313). The on-street portion has been allocated $7.625 million over four years. (For context, the centre city cycle track network pilot cost about $5.5 million.) The sidewalk portion has been allocated $22.375 million.
Missing Pathway Links
The budget proposes to cut back on investing in missing pathway links (page 292), explaining that
While sidewalks and pathways have a widespread impact on Calgarians, constrained capital funding for the 2019-2022 budget cycle will result in reduced planning, lifecycle work and fewer major upgrade projects. This budget proposes to operate and maintain the existing network, although the reduced capital funding will increase pressure on operating costs associated with maintenance.
Call to Action
Bike Calgary will be presenting our views to Council, and we encourage you to do the same. Here’s what you can do:
1. Email Council directly.
You can email the entire Council here.
You can find your councillor and contact them here.
- Make your request clear and explicit. If you want budget for biking, say so.
- Personalize your message. How does biking touch your life? How about your family’s?
- If you’re writing your local councillor, tell them, and talk about local issues.
- Be polite. Nobody responds well to rudeness.
- Be brief.
- Copy us (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can track feedback.
- If you don’t know who your councillor is, you can look it up here.
2. Present to Council in person on November 26.
Council will be listening to public presentations before making their final decisions, and these presentations do make a difference.
- Read the logistical details on the City’s web site in advance.
- You don’t need to register ahead of time, but if you do you’ll speak sooner.
- Presentations start at 9:30 am and will likely take several hours, if not all day. Book the day off if you can.
- You will have five minutes to speak. Plan out your presentation in advance, and take notes if that helps you.
- It’s natural to be nervous. Take your time, and remember that what you have to say is valuable.
- Speak about what you know. Your authenticity will show through.
- Councillors may ask you questions after your presentation. If your five minutes had run out before you finished, one of them may generously ask you if there was anything you wanted to add to your presentation. This is your chance to finish saying what you had planned to say.
- We’ll be there too. If you have any questions or want to discuss ideas, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help how we can!
3. Bring a friend!
The more voices, the better. Talk to your friends and family members about how important biking is to you. See if you can get them to send an email or speak to Council. Input from friends and family can be very powerful.