Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

  • 1.4 million crossings on Peace Bridge 20 May 2015 You've seen the now iconic red bridge in Calgary. You've probably even taken a photo on it. But have you ever thought about how many people travel across the Peace Bridge each day?

    In April 2014, The City installed an automatic data counter at the Peace Bridge to collect information on the number of trips being made across it each day on foot or by bike. With a year’s worth of data now available, we can take a look at some of the trends we've seen this past year.

    Over the last 12 months, nearly 1.4 million crossings have been made by people walking and cycling across the Peace Bridge. That works out to be an average count of more than 3,800 a day.

    The graph below compares the total crossings with the maximum daily temperatures to give us an indication of how weather relates to the number of trips made. Based on these results, we know that July and August had the highest pedestrian and cyclists counts while November and December had the lowest number of counts during the year.

    Click to view large version.

    We're also able to look at the number of trips made on bicycle in each season. In winter, the number of trips made on average is down to 25 per cent of the summer volume but are only 38 per cent of the average, which shows us that people still ride on the bridge in the winter months.

    Click to view large version.

    These trends allow us to get a better understanding of how many people are biking or walking any day of the year, in all weather conditions. We can use this information to see how people are travelling now and how they will likely travel in the future, so we can better plan Calgary’s transportation system. Click here for more information on the Peace Bridge counter and other ways The City collects data.

    Fun Fact: On Canada Day 2014, close to 16,500 pedestrians and 3,400 cyclists crossed the Peace Bridge, the busiest day in the entire year.
  • Want to know what tree work is scheduled in your community to recover from last September’s storm? 19 May 2015 Now you can use an easy interactive map to see how we are helping public trees recover in your community.

    Tree work is planned in many Calgary neighbourhoods including pruning of public trees, the annual NeighbourWoods community partnerships, tree planting, and the life cycling of poplar trees.

    Tree recovery map.
    To understand how to use the map, click on ‘South Calgary’ as an example. You will see a window pop up that indicates NeighbourWoods is planned for this community, as well as tree planting and poplar tree life cycling.

    The Tree Recovery Map will keep you updated on what is scheduled for your community. Learn when trees near your home are being pruned or replanted, and find out if you live in a NeighbourWoods community. Click on your community to learn more!

    The unseasonal snowstorm last September caused significant damage to our urban forest. Estimates indicate 50 per cent of the 500,000 public trees and 1.5 million private trees sustained damage from the storm. With three times as many damaged trees on private property as on City land, recovering from the storm will require us to look after our trees together.

    More information can be found at

    Submitted by Althea Livingston, Parks

  • New 5 avenue lane reversal starts today 19 May 2015

    Calgarians now have another option when travelling west out of downtown during the afternoon peak period. Starting today two lanes of 5 Avenue S.W. will have a lane reversal to allow for westbound traffic between 7 Street S.W. and Bow Trail S.W.

    “This lane reversal will help to improve mobility by accommodating approximately 600 vehicles per hour on an alternative westbound route,” says Troy McLeod, Director of Roads. “As a result, it will reduce congestion on 4 and 6 Avenues S.W., which will improve traffic flow out of downtown for all vehicles, including transit.”

    This lane reversal will be operational between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, except holidays. The lane reversal will feature two westbound lanes and three eastbound lanes.

    Motorists in the left westbound lane will  turn  south onto 10 Street S.W., while motorists in the right westbound lane will continue  to a new  traffic light at 5 Avenue and the ramp to Bow Trail S.W. 

    “It is important that citizens’ pay close attention to all signage along the lane reversal route,” says McLeod. “There will be a lot of changes between 7 and 11 Street S.W. and we want to keep everyone safe while they adjust to the new direction.”

    The lane reversal will be in place for approximately six months as a pilot, after which time its success will be evaluated and next steps will be considered.  During the pilot, traffic barricades and other control devices will be used to operate the lane reversal.

    For more information or to provide feedback on the project, visit
  • Cycle Tracks Pilot Project construction update 15 May 2015
    Construction has begun on the new cycle track routes. New bicycle lane markings have been painted on many of the new routes, and some of the temporary barriers have been installed.

    While some of the routes may look nearly complete, they are still active construction sites. Routes are blocked by construction barricades and pylons, and we are asking cyclists not to use the cycle tracks until construction is complete.

    Once the lane markings have been painted and the temporary barriers are installed on each of the routes, green road markings will be painted to identify areas where all road users need to be aware of potential conflicts. The traffic signals will then be adjusted to ensure that timing works efficiently for all road users.

    In the coming weeks you will see City staff testing the cycle track routes on bicycles. They will be wearing safety vests and easily identifiable. Please refrain from using the cycle tracks throughout the testing phase.

    The cycle track network will be open by the end of June 2015.

    For more information on the cycle track network, including impacts to parking and construction updates, visit

  • The City of Calgary switches to electronic bidding 14 May 2015 The City of Calgary announced it is switching to electronic bidding for all publicly advertised contracts, effective May 25, 2015.

    Deputy Mayor Evan Woolley, speaking at an event at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said, “The electronic bidding project is a perfect example of The City’s Cut Red Tape Initiative in action: It saves our vendors time and money ... and it helps reduce environmental impact by reducing paper usage and traffic on the roads.”

    He added, “The impact on The City’s budget is small but favourable, but the impact on The City’s ability to do business efficiently and effectively is enormous!”

    Effective May 25, 2015, all new solicitations will be posted on the MERX4 portal at Vendors must register in order to have uninterrupted access to postings.

    Electronic bidding eliminates the hazards – and hassles – associated with paper files. Instead of printing, copying and rushing to get a time-stamp, suppliers will be able to simply upload their proposals electronically. No more courier costs, traffic delays or parking problems – and the environmental impact of printing and delivering proposals will be eliminated.

    The City recommends suppliers register as soon as possible to avoid missing any opportunities they might be interested in. Suppliers can buy an annual subscription of $89.90 for access to the system for one year or, if they’re only planning to bid on one project, they can pay $25.00 to download a solicitation and $25.00 to submit their proposal.

    Vendors currently preparing proposals should continue to follow the instructions already received – existing RFPs will not be moving to the new system. Only new opportunities will be posted on MERX4.

    MERX was selected as the supplier for electronic bidding as the result of a competitive bid process and successful pilot project. In the past, construction opportunities were posted on MERX3 – The City’s bid documents could be downloaded, but the site did not provide for uploading of proposals. Now, MERX4 has everything – suppliers can download and upload documents, eliminating entirely the need for paper documents.

    The City of Calgary issues some $1.5 billion worth of requests for proposals and other solicitations a year, generating more than 2,500 bids from suppliers, consultants and contractors.
  • Flood Readiness & River Safety: Understand. Prepare. Stay Informed. Stay Safe. 14 May 2015
    With May long weekend known as Calgary's unofficial start to recreational water season and the risk of river flooding greatest between May 15 - July 15, we'd like to update Calgarians on flood readiness and also remind everyone of river dangers.

    The City monitors river forecasts, soil moisture, rainfall and snow melt rates in the mountains. Current data shows mountain snowpack is at the low end of a normal range. Our 90 day precipitation is drier than average, but not rare. We could expect more precipitation between May and July due to El Nino.

    New flood inundation maps and river flow triggers are available to help Calgarians understand their personal and business flood risks.

    The City is better prepared to manage and minimize the impacts of a future flood. We’ve developed a comprehensive plan that incorporates the recommendations of our Expert Management Panel, trained more people, stock piled materials, repaired eroded river banks, built temporary barriers and created new inundation maps.

    Calgarians also play an important role in flood readiness and safety. Stay prepared, alert and at the ready by having an emergency plan and 72 hour kit.

    Stay Informed
    The City has tools and resources available to help Calgarians know their flood risk. Visit for the latest information including flood advisories. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter and download the Alberta Rivers: Data and Advisories mobile app.

    Stay Safe
    The City’s Partners in Water Safety want to remind all Calgarians where there’s water, there’s risk. Before hopping on boat or river raft:
    • SCOUT the river for potential hazards,
    • ASSESS the level of danger and,
    • DECIDE if it’s safe to proceed.
  • Right tree, right location: selecting the best tree for your yard 13 May 2015 This past weekend, our Urban Forestry Lead, Jill-Anne Spence, along with Kath Smyth, from the Calgary Horticultural Society, talked about the importance of tree and shrub selection with Global Calgary.

    To help you select and plant a healthy tree that is the “right tree for the right location” here are some of the tips they shared:

    Plant hardiness
    : Make sure that the type of tree you are planting is hardy for the climate and will grow. Further information on selecting the right tree type for the area here.
      Shop local: Choose trees that have been grown locally, where possible. Check with the nursery as to where they purchased their trees. Trees that are grown locally have adapted to local weather conditions and will be more successful when transplanted.
        Check for utilities: Utilities can be both above ground (such as power lines), and below ground (such as a gas line). We’ve found this handy chart outlining what to plant in relation to power lines. And always remember to call or click before you dig.
          Right conditions: Different trees have different needs, so check soil, moisture and sunlight requirements. Planting trees in the right conditions will give them the best opportunity to thrive, including less susceptible to pests and diseases.
            How much will it grow?: Consider the size and shape of the tree at maturity and make sure that it is given enough room to grow. For example, do not plant large growing trees next to the foundation of your home or a retaining wall.
              Mix it up: A sustainable urban forest is one that has many different types of trees. Look around your neighbourhood and see if one tree type is is more common. Consider planting something different so that if a pest or disease is introduced, not all trees will be lost.    

                Watch the full Global TV: Your Calgary Garden segment.

                And for more information on trees, including our ReTree YYC fairs, visit

                Submitted by Althea Livingston, Parks

              • Don’t miss Disaster Alley tomorrow 8 May 2015 This Saturday you are invited to the sixth annual Disaster Alley hosted by The City of Calgary! This fun, free family event, organized by Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), showcases first and other responders and gives you the opportunity to learn about how to be better prepared to withstand an emergency or disaster.

                The day starts off at 10 a.m. with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Stampede Community Development Committee. Once your tummy is full it’s time to feed your curiosity with Disaster Alley opening its doors at 11 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. Both events are taking place in the east parking lot of McMahon Stadium (1817 Crowchild Tr. N.W.)

                Who is going to be there?

                For the past five years, Disaster Alley has become a family favourite, with exhibitors such as Alberta Health Services, ATCOGas, the Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Police Service, 9-1-1, and ENMAX.

                Returning this year is STARS and HAWCS – you see them in the sky and Disaster Alley is a chance to get up close with both helicopters on the grounds (weather permitting).

                Gibbs, one of two accelerant detection dogs working for the Calgary Fire Department, will be making the rounds and is always a hit with the kids. You can also meet our very own disaster response team Canada Task Force 2 (CANTF2) – one of only four such teams in the country.

                New exhibitors this year include Corporate Security, EMS Foundation, and North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH).

                Parks will also be on hand to talk about how to care for your trees after the September 2014 snowstorm. You can also pick up free mulch at Disaster Alley!

                Why come out to Disaster Alley?

                Preparedness is a shared responsibility, and guests will learn what simple, easy steps they can do to be better prepared themselves. This includes knowing the risks, making a plan, and stocking a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit.

                Disaster Alley also helps close out Emergency Preparedness Week, an annual event coordinated by Public Safety Canada to build a culture of preparedness across Canada.

                To learn more about being prepared or about Emergency Preparedness week visit or Join our event on Facebook to see who else is attending.

                Submitted by Cara Katterhagen, CEMA

              • Winter survey results show Calgarians appreciate the level of Snow and Ice Control service provided 8 May 2015
                Every two years, Roads conducts a survey to examine opinions about its Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) services. In February 2015, another wave of the survey was conducted by HarGroup Management Consultants Inc. by telephone (both landline and cell phones) with 803 respondents.

                The results from the 2015 Snow and Ice Control Program Citizens’ Survey found that a significant majority of Calgarians (88%) are satisfied with travel conditions due to snow and ice control services when driving or in a vehicle on Calgary roads.

                “Roads Maintenance staff are committed to providing excellent Snow and Ice Control services for Calgarians,” said Bill Biensch, Manager, Roads Maintenace. “The bi-annual winter road conditions survey is important in helping us understand how citizens view our service level so we can make adjustments if need be.”

                Half of respondents (51%) stated satisfaction with snow clearing on residential roads, while half felt it could be improved. Biensch said he is not surprised by the results as The City’s residential snow clearing policy is to flat-blade snow to a hard pack to reduce rutting; it does not include snow removal.

                “Our residential snow clearing policy is meant to provide some Snow and Ice Control on residential roads while maintaining fiscal responsibility and minimizing the impact of windrows,” Biensch said, adding that despite mild temperatures this winter, conditions were actually typical of most winters in Calgary and that resulted in similar survey results as previous years.

                “This winter’s snowfall accumulation was 140 cm this winter compared to 179 cm in 2013/2014, which was higher than normal,” he added.

                Other key survey findings include:

                • Approximately eight in 10 respondents (78%) stated that travel time during morning rush hour after winter snow storms is very or somewhat reasonable. 
                • A significant majority of respondents (89%) stated they were satisfied with The City’s efforts to inform citizens about travel conditions and those who stated very satisfied is significantly higher than previous survey waves. As well, the vast majority of respondents who use sources offered by The City of Calgary stated the information was very or somewhat helpful. 
                • Almost three-quarters of respondents were satisfied with the timing of traffic signals when snow events occur (74%). 
                • Approximately six in ten respondents were satisfied with travel conditions on bike lanes (63%) and cycle tracks (62%). 

                For more information on The City’s Snow and Ice Control program and to see the full survey results visit

              • Students celebrate Arbour Day and the importance of trees 7 May 2015 Grant MacEwan Elementary School has special ties to Arbour Day. In 1958, it was at the direction of the school’s namesake, then Alderman Grant MacEwan, that seedlings were distributed to students.

                Students tied blue tartan in honour of MacEwan.
                Each year a different Calgary elementary school is awarded the honour of hosting the official Arbour Day ceremony, and an official Arbour Day tree is planted on the school's grounds.

                The staff and students at Grant MacEwan School were thrilled to host this special day with the community and students from St. Jerome School, the host school for next year’s Arbour Day.

                It's all about the trees

                “My favourite thing about Arbour Day is the trees!” One student said enthusiastically. Another student added, “it really helps us understand how important our environment is and how we need to protect it.”

                With origins in 1905, Arbour Day is the longest running civic greening project in Calgary. The event is celebrated on the first Thursday in May each year.

                Students take home trees to plant

                An estimated 425,000 tree seedlings have been distributed to Grade One students in celebration of the day.

                For more information on Arbour Day and the importance of trees in Calgary, visit

                Submitted by Althea Livingston, Parks

              • The slower you go, the more time you both have. 6 May 2015
                To kick-off two weeks of traffic safety education, The City of Calgary is celebrating both the UN Global Road Safety Week  (May 4 to 10) and National Road Safety Week (May 12 to 18).
                As the weather warms and more people are on the roads, including more children and pedestrians; The City of Calgary is reminding motorists to slow down and watch for children, especially near schools and playground zones. 
                Follow these tips to increase safety while driving or walking.
                Tips for motorists
                • Stop for all pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk – it's the law.
                • Ensure proper visibility of your vehicle. Make sure your windshield and headlights are clean and don't obstruct your view.
                • Drive at a safe speed and be aware of pedestrian activity around you.
                • Never pass a vehicle at a crosswalk.
                • Wait until the pedestrian has completely cleared the intersection before proceeding.
                • Make eye contact.
                • When turning left at an intersection, check to your left to make sure there are no pedestrians.
                • Don't park within five metres of a marked crosswalk or intersection to maintain clear visibility.
                • When turning right, check both ways to ensure there are no pedestrians nearby.
                Tips for pedestrians
                • Ensure you are crossing the street safely.
                • Use the Point, Pause and Proceed method to make motorists aware you are trying to cross the street.
                • Wear light-coloured clothing and reflective devices so you are visible to motorists.
                • Never jaywalk between intersections or against a signal.
                • Understand and follow signals.
                • Research indicates that children under the age of nine should always be accompanied by a responsible adult or elder.
                Follow @yyctransportation for more tips to keep you safe on Calgary streets this spring.

              • Calgarians pitch-in to clean up 6 May 2015 Last weekend cleaning was top of mind for many Calgarians who participated in both local Community Clean-ups and the 48th annual Pathway and River Cleanup.

                Councillor Ward Sutherland with staff and volunteers.
                Each year, from April to September, we team up with local community associations to help you get rid of their unwanted household items and property waste for free.

                Community Cleanup in action around town

                The Montgomery Community Association hosted this year’s kick-off event during their Community Cleanup on May 2. With five truck loads of waste weighing over 18,000 kilograms and one truck load of organics weighing over 3,300 kilograms, the community really pitched in to help pitch out.

                “It was a huge success. People were impressed with how quickly the line moved and some even came back two and three times,” says Marilyn Wannamaker, Montgomery Community Association president. “The Community Cleanup is a great initiative to get residents involved with their community association. It’s a great example of people working together to create a better community.”

                With 112 Community Cleanup weekend events scheduled this year, a 15 per cent increase from last year, there is a clear demand from citizens for this type of service.

                The City of Calgary supplies three packer trucks (two for waste and one for organic materials) to each registered community for each cleanup. Community associations register through 311 to run a Community Cleanup.

                48th annual Pathway and River Cleanup

                Calgary’s weather forecast predicted showers and possibly even snow. Thankfully, Mother Nature cooperated and brought nothing but sunshine for the 48th annual Pathway and River Cleanup on May 3.

                More than 2,900 volunteers generously donated their time on Sunday morning to collect approximately 4,000 kilograms of garbage. A total of 132 volunteer groups, 31 City staff volunteer drivers and assistants, and 14 City bike volunteers participated in this year’s event helping to remove hundreds of bags of litter from our parks and green spaces.

                A number of interesting items were uncovered during the event, including a pair of skis, 300 CDs, a table top and a baby gate. Check out our Storify from this year’s Pathway and River Cleanup, including some of the strange and unique objects found and the amazing volunteers who helped make this event possible.

                To learn more about the event, or to find out how you can volunteer for next year’s Pathway and River Cleanup, visit

                Feeling inspired?

                Here are some other ways you can get involved:

              • May 3-9 is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada 4 May 2015 If an emergency or disaster happened today do you know what you would do to stay safe?

                Emergency Preparedness Week is dedicated to helping share information on how to take care of yourself and your families for the first 72 hours of a disaster if you are not in distress. This allows first responders to assist those who need it most.

                There are three easy steps to get prepared:

                1. Know the risks. In Calgary, we are subject to many kinds of emergencies and disasters. Disasters can be weather-related (flooding, hail, lightning, etc.), utility outages, hazardous materials release, civil unrest or pandemics. Listen to local media; follow authorities on social media, and sign up for the Alberta Emergency Alert app
                2. Make a plan. In the age of speed dial, many people don’t memorize important phone numbers. If you couldn’t access important numbers, how would you get in touch with your family? Discuss with your family how you will contact each other if disaster strikes when you are not together. Know what your children’s schools’ emergency plans are. Know your emergency plan at work. 
                3. Get a kit. Be prepared to take care of your family for 72 hours. Build a kit with enough supplies (food, water, first aid kit, radio, flashlight, etc.) to last at least 72 hours. Have your kit in a convenient place and keep it ready to go if you are asked to evacuate. You may be asked to stay in your home, but you may be without power or heat. 

                More information on personal preparedness is available from The City of Calgary’s Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA).

                Disaster Alley – May 9, 2015

                You can get more preparedness information at Disaster Alley, Calgary’s largest preparedness event, hosted by CEMA. Join our Facebook event for updates and information.

                Join first and other responders at McMahon Stadium on Saturday, May 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This fun, FREE family event features over 30 exhibitors like the Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Police Service, Alberta Health Services, ATCOGas, ENMAX, and many more.

                New this year is a free Stampede breakfast to kick off Disaster Alley from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The Stampede Breakfast and Disaster Alley take place in the McMahon Stadium east parking lot.

                To learn more about being prepared or about Emergency Preparedness week visit or

                Submitted by Cara Katterhagen, Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)

              • Pathway and River Cleanup: Making our communities cleaner, safer and better for all 1 May 2015 This Sunday, keep your eyes open for the over 2,800 registered volunteers participating in the 48th annual Pathway and River Cleanup. Together, they will pick up thousands of kilograms of garbage along nearly 200 kilometres of Calgary’s pathways and river banks.

                The event is held each spring to help clean up litter accumulated over the winter in our parks and along our rivers and pathways. But the Pathway and River Cleanup isn’t just about picking up garbage. It’s about promoting environmental sustainability and reminding us about the importance of caring for our parks and green spaces year round.

                Get involved
                TLC Kits can be picked up at 9 locations across the city.
                Keeping Calgary clean is a shared responsibility. Volunteer registration for the Pathway and River Cleanup has closed, but it’s never too late to get involved in keeping our city clean. Always pick up and properly dispose of your litter year round, including pet waste and cigarette butts.

                You can also get your friends and family together and organize your own community cleanup! Pick up The Litter Cleanup Kits (TLC Kits) equipped with everything you’ll need for a group of ten. More information about the kits and pick up locations.

                Stay connected
                Zebra-print underwear found near the Bow River.

                Many unique and bizarre items have been discovered over the years at Calgary’s annual Pathway and River Cleanup, including: a plastic flying pig, a fur coat, a fully-decorated Christmas tree and a giant pair of zebra underwear.

                Interested in seeing photos of some of the unique items found during this year’s event? Follow The City of Calgary Parks (@CalgaryParks) on Twitter and Instagram using #yyccleans for live updates and photos throughout the cleanup.

                More information about the Pathway and River Cleanup.
              • City of Calgary goes even greener and safer: latest Environment, Health & Safety annual report shows innovative leadership 1 May 2015

                With over 15,000 employees and complex operations in both field and office environments, The City of Calgary can have a big impact with the way it conducts its operations.

                The City, in its 2014 Corporate Environment, Health and Safety annual report, highlights innovative ways it is reducing its environmental impact and ensuring the health and safety of employees. 

                “As a municipality, we are proving you can still be passionate about protecting our natural resources while providing quality public service,” says Sharon Young, Director of Environmental and Safety Management. “It involves constantly looking for new ways to reduce the impact of our operations and making sure we are investing in the health and safety of employees who provide that service every day.”

                “I’m proud to work for a city that solves problems and provides services for citizens in as responsible a manner as possible,” adds Young. “We have more work to do but we are making that investment every day.”


                Some of the highlights from 2014 include:
                • The City’s Green Driver program teaches City employees to lower their emissions through simple driving techniques such as accelerating slowly, reducing idling, and maintaining optimal tire pressure. With over 4,000 vehicles in its fleet, these small actions add up to big impacts.
                • Through leak detection, The City replaced nearly 4,000 metres of leaky water mains, saving up to 16 million litres of water per day – the equivalent of the daily water use for over 41,000 citizens.
                • Weeds are kept in check using specially selected beetles that feed on the foliage and roots, providing a natural and non-chemical form of pest control.
                Visit learn more about what The City is doing and how you can do your part to reduce your environmental impact.

                You can view The City of Calgary's full 2014 Annual Report on
              • A piece of Flames history on display at Municipal Plaza 1 May 2015
                When the Flames won the cup in 1989 a Flames ‘C’ was built by the City of Calgary welding and fabrication shop at Manchester Centre. The ‘C’ was built with a special mounting piece to hold the Stanley Cup for the victory parade. It was then displayed at the Municipal Building with the Stanley
                Cup and thousands of Calgarians came down to take photos!

                That ‘C’ ended up at Manchester Centre and was on display when the Flames went on their playoff run in 2004. This time around employees hatched the idea of moving the ‘C’ to the Municipal Plaza so it could be shared with all Calgarians. By displaying the ‘C’ at the plaza it will be visible for all Calgarians and help everyone get into the Flames spirit!

                After a quick sandblast and fresh coat of paint the 800 pound and eight foot tall ‘C’ has made its way back to the Municipal Building (800 MacLeod Trail S.E.) to help a new generation of Calgarians cheer on the Flames. 

                Check out the photos below to see the transformation of the Flames ‘C’.  

                The ‘C’ before getting sandblasted and painted.
                City employee sandblasts the ‘C’
                The sandblasted ‘C’ is prepped for paint at the body shop

                Applying the finishing touches to the ‘C’
              • Community Cleanups save you a trip to the landfill 30 April 2015 As you start your spring cleaning, don’t forget to look for a Community Cleanup event near you. Each year, from April to September, The City of Calgary teams up with local community association volunteers to help dispose of unwanted household items and property waste that may not fit in your black, brown or blue carts — like furniture or old fencing, free of charge.

                City of Calgary staff lend a helping hand.
                More events than ever

                With 112 Community Cleanup weekend events scheduled for this year, a 15 per cent increase from last year, there is a clear demand from citizens for this type of service says The City of Calgary lead for community cleanups Cheryl Herperger.

                “The Community Cleanups provide a fantastic opportunity to get rid of all those ‘treasures’ in your basements, garages and yards by dropping them off at a participating community centre,” says Herperger. “And if the date doesn’t work, residents can take their items to any Community Cleanup listed in the schedule.”

                “We value education, voluntary bylaw compliance and community-based solutions so residents may live side by side safely while respectfully being considerate of the needs and rights of others,” says Herperger.

                One million kg of waste collected

                Last year, a record 1 million kilograms of waste and nearly 200,000 kilograms of organics were collected.  The City of Calgary supplies three packer trucks (two for waste and one for organic materials) to each registered community for each cleanup.

                Take part in your Community Cleanup

                On the designated Community Cleanup days, some community associations offer additional recycling services like electronics, clothing, metals, bicycles, car seats, tires and paint (check with your community association for details).
                Disposing of yard waste at a cleanup event.

                Some community associations organize a free store — a free garage sale where you can drop off or take items and keep them out of the landfill.

                Community associations can register through 311 to run a Community Cleanup. This weekend there will be events in Montgomery, McKenzie Lake, Edgemont and Highland Park on Saturday, May 2. On Sunday, May 3 there are cleanups planned in Inglewood, Taradale, Fairview, and Killarney Glengarry.

                If you’re able to help out with a Community Cleanup, or if you would like to find out more details about your local event, please contact your community association.

                Please visit us online for more information on the Community Cleanup program. See the full schedule here:

                Submitted by Jondrea De Ruyter, Animal & Bylaw Services

              • How do Calgarians commute to work? You told us... 29 April 2015
                Calgarians commute to work in a variety of ways, but more and more people are choosing to carpool, take transit or ride their bicycle. Beginning in 2011, the Transportation Department has included a question every three years on the Civic Census asking Calgarians how they commute to work. 2011and 2014Civic Census shows that over a three-year span, Calgarians have been using more sustainable ways to travel to and from work.  

                More Calgarians are choosing sustainable ways to get to work.
                The answers given to the census question help us analyse trends in Calgarians’ choices for travelling to work. They also give us a better understanding of how travel behaviour changes after major transportation projects open. “Due to the opening of the West LRT in 2012, more people in the southwest area of Calgary reported taking transit to work in 2014,” said Ekke Kok, Manager of Transportation Data.

                By telling us how you commute to work, we are able to track whether or not we are meeting our Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP) targets. One of our primary CTP targets is to increase the number of people choosing to commute to work by walking, cycling, or taking transit. The census data shows that this has already begun to happen, as there was a positive change in the number of people walking, cycling and taking transit between 2011 and 2014 in many communities. At a glance, it is easy to see areas where significant change has taken place due to infrastructure improvements and areas where more choices should be provided so that it is easier to make more sustainable transportation choices.

                Individual maps showing the responses for walking, cycling, carpooling, transit, and driving alone to work can be found on the Transportation Data webpage.

                Civic Census Data - Click to see larger version.
                For more information on how this data was collected, please see
              • Neighbour Day celebration of community spirit back again this June 28 April 2015 Mayor Naheed Nenshi has invited Calgarians to celebrate Neighbour Day – taking place this year on June 20. Join our Facebook event for regular updates.

                Make this the day you host a block party, a picnic at your local park or even introduce yourself to a neighbour and lend a helping hand.

                We want to make this as easy as possible by waiving the fees for block party permits, and park venue booking, and providing planning and promotional tools to get you started.

                Please note the deadline for block party permits and green space applications is May 29, 2015.

                For ideas for events, promotional tools and information about permits and other logistical considerations visit

                Submitted by Stacey Scott, Community and Neighbourhood Services
              • Announcing the winners of The City of Calgary Hackathon 27 April 2015 After three days of intense brainstorming, programming and pitching, three teams have come out on top at The City of Calgary Hackathon.

                The event, which kicked off on Friday with enthusiastic opening remarks by Mayor Nenshi and his first ever "selfie-stick selfie", wrapped up on Sunday with even greater excitement. Over the weekend, fourteen teams used their expertise in programming, business modeling and research to create technology-based solutions to make the lives of Calgarians better. The groups then pitched their ideas to the panel of judges for the chance to win $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place.

                The winners of the 2015 City of Calgary Hackathon are:
                1. Calgary Alerts
                A notification website and app that will alert users of City events, traffic and transit updates, voting reminders, emergency alerts, and parking restrictions based on their interests and location.
                Team members: Anthony Lukach, Edward Keeble, Lewis Sobotiewicz, Peter McCaffrey, Jeromy Farkas, and Justin Bumstead

                2. My Lamp Post
                A website that provides all community-related information in one place.
                Team members: Guy Obrecht, Scott Blenkhorne, Ardalan Naghshineh, Matthew Koepp, Brian Halsey, and Nathan Lau

                3. Open Data Analytics
                A website that provides open spatial data to inform important public policy decisions.
                Team members: Jeremie Blais and Barend Dronkers

                “It has been an incredible weekend with amazing amounts of talent and creativity shown by all participants,” said Walter Simbirski, Open Data Strategist with The City of Calgary. “The goal of this hackathon was to engage citizens and provide incentives to use The City’s Open Data for solving problems at the grass-root level. I think we have definitely achieved that!”

                The Hackathon was an opportunity to promote the use of open data and encourage citizens to create innovative solutions to deliver City services in a more efficient and effective manner. Open data refers to data that is available to the public at no cost, and can be used for any purpose including commercial use.

                “This is about facilitating conversations, supporting the tech community and encouraging people to think collaboratively,” said Simbirski. “Our hope is that the participants have had a chance to network during this event and potentially leverage those relationships to further develop their ideas and concepts so they can be implemented.”

                For more information on The City of Calgary’s Open Data Catalogue, visit

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