Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

Full Description

  • Green Line LRT project considers alternate route in Victoria Park and Ramsay 23 February 2017

    The Green Line LRT team has been evaluating alignment options in the Beltline since early last year. We began with more than a dozen options and, through several phases of evaluation, narrowed those options down to two: 12 Avenue S Surface, and 12 Avenue S Tunnel + Surface, shown in the graphics below.

    12 Avenue S Surface
    12 Avenue Tunnel + Surface

    Over the course of our detailed evaluation, we’ve discovered significant technical and operational considerations for the alignment east of 4 St S.E. (the East Victoria Park area). As a result, we have been considering alternative options to connect the Green Line from the Beltline to the Ramsay/Inglewood area.
    Considerations include:
    • Victoria Park redevelopment -Canada Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is currently developing its Rivers District Masterplan, which includes potential Calgary Next facilities and consideration of future Olympic infrastructure . The Green Line will be part of these discussions to ensure the LRT supports the future area transportation network to best serve Calgarians who travel by foot, bike, bus or car
    • Travel times – The alignment to the north of the Victoria Park Transit Centre would result in slower travel times for Calgarians, and costly wear and tear on LRT vehicles due to very tight turns
    • Existing transit operations – Operations of the Victoria Park Transit Centre would be significantly impeded by a Green Line alignment around the north side of the facility, impacting transit service reliability throughout the city
    • Budget –The Green Line does not have the budget to re-locate the Victoria Park Transit Centre, so the team is exploring alignment options that do not require the relocation. The team has also explored a tunnel option through Beltline and under MacDonald Avenue SE. This option, while technically feasible, has been removed from consideration due to cost.

    The City of Calgary’s Green Line team is now exploring the option of a street-level LRT on MacDonald Avenue SE to address the challenges created by the original 12 Avenue options. The MacDonald Avenue SE options are:
    12 Avenue S Surface – MacDonald Ave
    12 Avenue Tunnel + Surface – MacDonald Ave

    The City will present these four alignment options to City Council’s Transportation and Transit Committee on March 15, 2017. After further evaluation, we intend to take a single recommended alignment to City Committee and Council later this spring.

    We are committed to working with the communities to determine how the Green Line on MacDonald Avenue SE could best be integrated into the neighbourhood to create connections and build community spaces, if this option moves forward.

    There are a number of opportunities to get involved:

    • The City will continue to meet with the Ramsay community association and homeowners whose properties could be impacted
    • Join us at a public meeting on March 2, 2017, at 6 p.m. at The Hemmingway Room of The Commons, 1206 20 Ave SE. This presentation will be a preview of the update the Green Line team will provide to City Committee on March 15, which will include:
      • An overview of our evaluation and how we arrived at the MacDonald Avenue SE option
      • An overview of the trade-offs of each option
      • An outline of the next steps in the evaluation and decision process 

    We will provide more opportunities for public and community involvement this spring. Watch for more information about other upcoming opportunities to get involved.

  • What you should know before renovating your home 14 February 2017 Home renovations can be a lot of fun – styling your home with your own look and personality. As you begin planning your next improvement project, here are three things you should consider:

    1. Do your research

    One of most important steps, but often overlooked, is planning. Do your research first, so that you are not overwhelmed by the time, cost and requirements later on. A good place to start is for information on your project and the permitting and inspection requirements to make sure your home is safe.

    2. Hire the right professional

    Do-it-yourself projects can end up costing more in the long run, if you make mistakes or aren’t sure of the safety requirements. Hire a professional if you aren’t skilled in certain areas. If you are going to hire a contractor, make sure you ask for references and a written contract. You should also ensure they are licensed; use The City’s search tool to verify a licensed trade contractor.

    3. Get the right permits and inspections

    Depending on the extent of your renovation, you may need a permit. This is to ensure your project meets Alberta’s safety codes and bylaws, so that your family, neighbours and tenants are safe. Your permit includes City of Calgary inspections – so you have a certified plumber, gas fitter or electrician familiar with Alberta’s safety codes looking at your work. Our safety codes officers can answer your questions before or during your home renovation. Contact our Technical Assistance Centre for code related questions.

    To learn more about home improvements, inspections, hiring a contractor and more, visit

  • Seeking input on the Southwest BRT Project 9 February 2017

    The City of Calgary is moving into the last phase of design for the Southwest BRT project, and we’re seeking stakeholder and public input. An online tool will collect input from Calgarians beginning February 22, and a facilitated session in March will gather feedback from representatives of area community associations, institutions and citizen groups.

    The input collected online will be used at the March session to inform the workshop of the themes and comments provided by their fellow Calgarians. The in person sessions will have up to three representatives from stakeholder groups to ensure a balanced conversation about the topics The City is seeking input on. Calgarians and stakeholders will be asked to provide their input on:

    • Pedestrian overpass at 90 Avenue S.W. 
    • Construction staging and phasing 
    • Station connections (including pedestrian overpass at 75 Avenue S.W.) 
    • Parking 
    • Landscaping 
    • Noise attenuation 

    Once we’ve heard from the Calgarians living and working near the future route, as well the Calgarians who may someday make use of the city’s BRT network, we will compile and analyze all feedback, which will help inform the final design for the Southwest BRT project. Calgarians input along with technical and engineering considerations will inform the final design for the SWBRT. The City will post a “What We Heard” report which will be made available online in April.

    The City is committed to providing opportunities for Calgarians to provide input into the final design for the Southwest BRT, so sign up for the mailing list to get up to date information on the online engagement that begins on February 22.

    The Southwest BRT is one of four BRT projects that fill important gaps in Calgary’s primary transit network and provide reliable, efficient transit to communities. Along with the Southwest BRT, The City is implementing the North and South Crosstown BRT and the 17 Avenue S.E. BRT to provide more transit options for Calgarians.

  • Working together to build a great city 8 February 2017 The City is planning for the future of our youngest citizens today. We’re focused on balancing growth and development while maintaining liveable community design and planning for the future.

    The total construction value for new building permits submitted to The City declined in 2016, but remained strong. In 2014 and 2015, Calgary experienced record highs for these types of applications (about $6 billion in each year), and in 2016 we saw numbers on par with 2011 and 2012. We issued over $4.7 billion in building permits, an indication that a good amount of construction was applied for in 2016. For those major projects applied for in 2016, construction is likely to have started or will start and continue over the 2017 and 2018 period.

    Here are a few highlights of our work in planning and development in 2016.

    Industry/City Work Plan

    In 2016, we processed key application types faster than previous years as part of the Industry/City Work Plan. These application types are:

    • Infill development permits: A planning application that allows the city to review a new home in a developed area to ensure it meets the rules of the Land Use Bylaw.
    • Development permit and land use amendment initial team reviews: a review to make sure your application is complete. The decision is whether to accept the file for review or not.
    • Development permit detailed team reviews: A review of your plans, with comments, that inform what you need to get an approval.
    • Development permit decisions with applicants: A planning application that allows the city to review a development to ensure it meets the rules of the land use bylaw.

    Inspections and permits

    City representatives continue to provide technical expertise and consult on provincial and national building, technical and environmental code standards. Last year, we verified that all new buildings and renovation projects met quality and safety standards by conducting almost 200,000 building and development inspections.

    In our Planning Services Centre, we connected with over 170,000 customers in person or over the phone last year, helping to answer questions about Alberta’s safety codes and The City’s Land Use Bylaw. We continued to put new permit types online, ending the year with all residential building permit types available on We took in 3,391 building and development permits through this system in 2016.

  • Newcomers and refugees continue building their lives in Calgary 6 February 2017 Hundreds of newcomers and refugees met new faces at “Building a Life in Calgary”, an event designed to connect them to City and community resources, services and programs.

    The event, which took place on Saturday, February 4 at the BMO Centre, was hosted by the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP). “Building a Life in Calgary” is part of CLIP’s ongoing response for refugee resettlement in Calgary.

    It was day of learning and family friendly activities for the attendees, most of whom arrived in Calgary in the past year or so. Attendees participated in many activities, including:

    • A cultural exchange with newcomers from Vietnam, South Sudan, and Colombia who shared their experiences settling in Calgary 
    • Educational workshops about volunteer opportunities, career development, English language supports, and financial literacy
    • A resource fair featuring City business units and community organizations, and  
    • Family-friendly activities, including cultural performances and wagon rides and crafts, courtesy of the Calgary Stampede. 

    Honouring the victims of the Quebec City shooting

    At  1 p.m., attendees gathered together to observe a moment of silence to honour those who were injured or killed during the Quebec City mosque attack on January 29.

    “We send our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and communities of the victims,” said Jessica Pauletig, an issue strategist with Calgary Neighbourhoods who helps coordinate The City’s role in CLIP.

    The moment of silence was followed by a performance by the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra (CMO), a youth program run by the International Avenue Arts & Culture Centre.

    A smile means ‘welcome to Canada’

    Afran Hajj Hammoud and Nour Yassin, two youths who arrived from Syria last February, helped to emcee the cultural performances. Nour, who didn’t speak English when she first arrived and is now attending high school, describes her first year as amazing.

    “Our lives are getting better every day,” said Nour. “I don’t feel like I’m just a Syrian refugee – everyone has been so helpful.”

    Afran, who arrived with her husband, brother-in-law and two young children, adds: “I love how everyone smiles here. That smile means ‘welcome to Canada’. It means everything to me.”

    Approximately 1150 refugees arrive in Calgary each year. From November 2015 to March 2016, Calgary also received an additional 1400 Syrian refugees as part of the federal government’s response to the global Syrian refugee crisis.

    About the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership

    The Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP) is a multi-sectoral partnership designed to help improve the integration of immigrants and strengthen the city’s ability to better integrate and address the needs of newcomers. The Government of Canada works with municipalities to establish local immigration partnerships across Canada. For more information about CLIP, visit

  • Have a vote on public art in your community 26 January 2017
    Learn how artworks are selected, discuss issues with artists, City staff, fabricators and other professionals and see how public art evolves from an idea to reality.

    How it works

    All artists commissioned through The City of Calgary Public Art program are reviewed by a selection panel. Each panel consists of three community members, three arts professionals and one City employee, who vote to choose an artist and their concept for a particular public art project. You can sit on one selection panel per year and will be considered for all opportunities throughout 2017. We typically hold 5-15 selection panels per year and the time commitment is usually 4-6 hours per panel.

    Who should apply

    Anyone with an interest in public art in our city and in their community is welcome to apply. The selection panels present opportunities to learn about public art projects and programs and to participate in the selection process.

    We are committed to making our city vibrant and diverse and giving you a voice on what art pieces are selected and displayed. For more information and to apply for the Public Art Selection Panel.

    We would like to extend huge thanks to our 2016 panelists:

    Emily Promise Allison
    Rajesh Angral
    Alana Bartol
    Vicki Brunet
    Naeem Chaudhry
    Jason Clark
    Erin Contreras
    Marc Dionne
    Douglas Driediger
    Kirstin Evenden
    Sandy Grewal
    Heather Huston
    Megan Kerluke
    Mary –Beth Laviolette
    Roger Leach
    Maria Loaiza
    A.J.A Louden
    Skye Louis
    Brendan McGillicuddy
    Joseph Mosca
    Illyas Pagonis
    Dean Peterson
    Teri Posyniak
    Nora Spencer
    Andy Smardon
    Monika Smith
    Rick Smith
    Su Ying Strang
    Diane Stevenson
    Lisa Thomson
    Joleen Toner
    Twyla Wehnes
    Kris Weinmann
    Charlene Wilcock
    Reinhold Winterer
    Perry Wilford
    Will Yee
    Gary Young

    Submitted by Roisin Haughey, Recreation
  • Langevin Bridge gets a new name: Reconciliaton Bridge 26 January 2017 The signs on Calgary’s Langevin Bridge will be replaced at a later date to reflect its new name — the Reconciliation Bridge.

    The change comes after Council voted to rename the bridge on Monday “as a sincere act of reconciliation on behalf of the citizens of Calgary.”

    The Langevin Bridge was named for Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, the Minister of Public Works who authorized the funding for the first bridge’s construction in 1888. While Langevin made great contributions to Canada and played an important role in Confederation, he also played a foundational role in the establishment of the Indian residential school system.

    During this time, the Government of Canada removed several generations of Indigenous children (over 150,000) from their families and communities and placed them in the residential school system — a system that inflicted abuse on its students and left a legacy of intergenerational harm.

    The recommendation to rename the bridge came out of the White Goose Flying Report, written by the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 2015 final report.

    CAUAC suggested, “The City of Calgary to consider re-naming the bridge to a name that signifies building communities rather than dismantling them is a powerful symbol of mutual respect for the future.”

    The renaming of the bridge is also being done as a way to spark discussion. As the TRC summary states: “Reshaping national history is a public process, one that happens through discussion, sharing, and commemoration. As Canadians gather in public spaces to share their memories, beliefs, and ideas about the past with others, our collective understanding of the present and future is formed.”

    While the name change takes effect immediately, an official ceremony will take place in the coming months to rededicate the Langevin Bridge as the “Reconciliation Bridge” and to foster healing and reconciliation within the community.

    City Administration will also work with the Mayor’s Office, interested Members of Council, Treaty 7 Knowledge Keepers, CAUAC and the Calgary Heritage Authority to develop a plaque for the bridge that will explain the history of the bridge structure, as well as the stories of both Hector Langevin and the Indian residential school system’s impact on Canada’s Indigenous community.

    More information will released about the ceremony once it is known.

  • Secondary suite successes: programs boost number of legal suites 23 January 2017 It’s a sweet time to build a secondary suite – or at least, that’s what 383 families decided after The City of Calgary introduced a development permit exemption for basement suites and an online suite registry in September 2015.

    That’s over 400 per cent more secondary suite applications than The City received previously on a monthly basis.

    “It’s a faster, cheaper and easier process to build a basement suite in areas where they’re already permitted; you can go straight to the building permit phase,” says City of Calgary Senior Special Projects Officer Cliff de Jong. “Because of that and the introduction of the registry, we’re seeing more Calgarians than ever before build a new suite or make their existing suite safe and legal.”

    Applicants can skip the development permit process entirely if they meet the rules of the Land Use Bylaw, saving up to $2,000 in application costs, which includes commissioning architectural drawings. In some instances, you may still require a land use redesignation or development permit; in which case, the fees for both are currently waived. The exemption is a pilot project that could end in March 2017, but is up for discussion at City Council on Feb. 13 (after being deferred at the Jan. 16 City Council meeting).

    “I think as a homeowner, it’s easy to say, ‘I can get this basement development permitted in a day, but a secondary suite development takes three months,’” says Calgary secondary suite owner Sean Hayes. “Now, with the development permit exemption, you may be able to get that secondary suite development in a day or two as well.”

    The launch of both secondary suite programs has helped to create conversations between The City and citizens in person and on social media, says de Jong.

    “We’ve been talking to people on a number of platforms and getting a lot of positive feedback about the online registry and development permit exemption,” says de Jong. “We know the process can be confusing; sometimes people are misinformed about what it takes to build a legal and safe suite. Social media is an easy way to direct them to the correct information and for us to be a part of the online conversation.”

    Calgary basement suite owner Kim Ketchum says that in particular, the online secondary suite registry has helped her talk to her neighbours about secondary suites.

    “The registry is important for the community,” Ketchum says. “I think it’s really important that the image of secondary suites is enhanced within the city. I think the registry can help do this, because my next door neighbour, somebody down the street or two blocks over can go to the website, pop in my address and see whether or not the suite is legal. When they see that it is registered, then that can help change perceptions around secondary suites and people will know all of Alberta’s safety code requirements have been met.”

    To learn more about renting or building a secondary suite, visit

  • Celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at a winter fun day – January 28 20 January 2017

    The weather is cold, but Calgarians are warming up to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary throughout 2017!

    The City of Calgary invites Calgarians to come out for a free winter fun day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28 at five park locations throughout the city. Bring your ice skates and enjoy Calgary’s outdoor skating rinks, participate in nature education games, and warm up with complimentary hot refreshments (while quantities last), next to a toasty fire. Winter fun day locations are at select parks where outdoor ice skating is offered:

    Each winter fun day site is unique and offers a beautiful setting with a variety of activities:

    • Prince’s Island Park will feature free horse drawn wagon rides from 12 to 2 p.m. as part of this all-Canadian winter fun experience.  
    • Big Marlborough Park will feature a mobile adventure playground, offering a new way for kids to explore, create, imagine and learn. This type of playground contains a variety of items such as buckets, tires, tarps and rope that children are free to use to build, demolish and assemble as they desire.

    Refreshments at Confederation Park, Carburn Park, Prince’s Island Park and Big Marlborough Park are courtesy of Tim Hortons. Refreshments at Bowness Park are courtesy of Seasons of Bowness Park.

    Chris Hicks, City of Calgary Program Advisor, encourages Calgarians to “dress warmly and bring your Canadian spirit to celebrate our country and our city. Winter is a shared Canadian experience and we hope to see Calgarians come out and celebrate our city!”

    More Canada 150 events and initiatives will be announced for Calgary throughout the year. Visit for more information.

    Venez célébrer le 150e anniversaire du Canada et vous amuser lors d’une journée d’hiver

    Les journées sont froides, mais les Calgariens se réchauffent pour célébrer le 150e anniversaire du Canada tout au long de 2017!

    La ville de Calgary invite tous les Calgariens à venir se divertir en cette journée d’hiver du 28 janvier 2017. Les activités sont gratuites de 11 heures à 15 heures dans cinq parcs à travers la ville. Vous pouvez aussi participer à des jeux éducatifs et vous réchauffez grâce aux rafraîchissements chauds gratuits (jusqu’à épuisement des stocks), offerts près d’un feu. Les activités sont offertes dans les parcs qui comprennent des patinoires extérieures. Apportez vos patins à glace et venez vous amuser aux parcs suivants:

    Chaque endroit est unique et offre une gamme variée d’activités. Vous retrouverez en plus :

    • Au parc de Prince’s Island: Afin de représenter l’hiver au Canada, il y aura des promenades gratuites en wagons tirés par des chevaux de 12 h à 14 h.
    • Au parc Big Marlborough: Ce parc mettra en vedette une aire de jeux mobile d’aventures qui offrira aux enfants une occasion d’explorer, de créer, d’imaginer et d’apprendre. Ce type de terrain de jeu contiendra une variété d’articles tels que des seaux, des pneus et des cordes que les enfants pourront utiliser pour construire, démolir et assembler comme ils le désirent.

    Les rafraîchissements qui seront offerts aux parcs Confédération, Carburn, Prince’s Island et du Big Marlborough sont une gracieuseté de Tim Hortons. Les rafraîchissements du parc Bowness sont gracieusement offerts par Seasons of Bowness Park.

    Chris Hicks, l’un des organisateurs des activités pour la ville de Calgary, encourage les Calgariens à «s’habiller chaudement et à revêtir leur esprit de solidarité canadienne afin de célébrer notre pays et notre ville. L’hiver est une expérience canadienne et nous espérons que tous les Calgariens viendront fêter avec nous. »

    Plus de 150 événements et initiatives seront annoncés tout au long de l’année dans la ville de Calgary. Visitez pour plus d’informations.

  • Calgary AfterSchool has a variety of free programs to keep kids active, creative and social 6 January 2017 With our shorter days and freezing temperatures, it’s not uncommon for the winter blues to set in. It can be a challenge to keep your child or teen active and engaged as they settle back into the school grind.

    A great cure for the winter blues is to help children and youth find new and stimulating activities to keep them active, creative and sociable. An easy remedy is to have kids or teens drop into one of The City of Calgary’s free, safe and fun after school programs.

    We have a variety of programs to get kids and youth thinking, creating, moving and socializing. Our unique programming is designed to help children and youth do better in school, stay productive, learn new skills and make new friends.

    Best of all, parents will never hear the words, “I’m bored” again.

    Held after school hours on school days, there are dozens of locations across the city.

    Give Calgary AfterSchool a try. Visit to find a program that’s right for you.

    Submitted by Eric Michalko, Calgary Neighbourhoods

  • What to do when snowfall turns into windrows 29 December 2016 Since snow stopped falling on December 25, crews have completed maintenance on Priority One and Two routes, which include major roads like Crowchild Trail and most bus routes. Crews continue working in accordance with The City’s Seven Day Snow Plan, which means plows are now in residential areas and playground zones.

    On residential roads, you may see vehicles “flat-blading”, which means turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack, so it is easier to drive on. Sometimes, this results in windrows, which many Calgarians have questions about.

    What is a windrow?

    According to The City’s Snow and Ice Control Policy, crews are mandated to maintain the driving lane on residential streets to a safe, reasonable winter driving condition. Crews do this by “flat-blading,” turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack so it is easier to drive on. Flat-blading causes a continuous a build-up of snow along the side of a roadway, also known a windrow.

    While this is good for motorists, the snow left over after crews have flat-bladed can create some extra work for property owners.

    There is a windrow in front of my driveway. Who is responsible for clearing it?

    The clearing of windrows in front of driveways left by snow plowing equipment is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, much like sidewalk shovelling. Plow operators make every attempt to keep driveways clear or keep windrows as small as possible, but any spillage that does occur is the responsibility of the property owner.

    What does The City do about windrows?

    City forces do their best to keep windrows small by evenly distributing the snow on either side of the road, however, after heavy snowfalls windrows can build up. Under extreme circumstances, if a windrow is impeding a resident’s ability to enter their driveway, a crew can come by and assess the windrow and remove if required.

    Citizens should contact 311 if they have concerns about a windrow.

    Visit for more information on how The City clears snow.

  • City services respond to the needs of vulnerable Calgarians during cold weather 14 December 2016 As Calgary continues to experience a deep freeze, we are working with partner agencies in Alberta Health Services and across Calgary to make sure our more vulnerable citizens have options to stay safe.

    Thankfully, the Government of Alberta has informed us that shelter beds are available in Calgary for those who would like to come in from the cold at night. As well, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has an emergency plan in place if shelters become overwhelmed. They also work with shelter and other agency partners to help ensure the needs of the homeless are met during the cold months.

    Our Community Standards Partner Agency Liaison (PAL) Team has been busy this week, along with the Calgary Police Service and the Downtown Outreach Addictions Program (DOAP) , visiting locations where homeless Calgarians have been known to sleep. These teams check up on people who may need help during the cold weather and to pass out items such as warm socks and other clothing items, and bagged lunches provided by The Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre (SORCe).

    This is a time of year when we all need to watch out for one another. If citizens see a person in distress or who is unresponsive, they should call 9-1-1 immediately. If you see a person who needs help, call 311. Here are a few tips for anyone trying to help out a homeless person, or person who is struggling in this frigid climate:

    • The person you are helping may have special needs such as a mobility or emotional wellness issue, so be sure to take this into consideration before acting.
    • Always keep the person informed of what you are doing and ask for their agreement before taking any action.
    • If the person does not agree to the help you are offering, call 311 or 911, depending on the urgency of the situation, to ask for help and guidance. 

  • A look into the transformation of The City’s Historic 8 Street S.W. underpass 14 December 2016
    The 8th Street underpass opened fully to the public today. We sat down with Ben Barrington, Centre City Implementation Program Manager, to learn about what citizens can expect from this important infrastructure investment.

    Q: How does the new underpass increase pedestrian safety?

    We’ve approached safety from a number of angles which we think citizens and local businesses will appreciate. Complementing new security cameras and call boxes, are design features that include improved lighting, new sidewalks, new stairs and an interactive art installation. These elements contribute to a safer, more enjoyable, experience. Our approach has transformed, what some folks previously thought, were just poorly lit “sidewalks” into a place that is that feels much bigger,  brighter, and more welcoming and  interesting, which  substantially enhances safety.

    Q: How many people use this particular underpass?

    Situated along the 8 Street S.W. Corridor, this underpass is one of the most used by Calgarians, averaging around 9000 pedestrians a day.

    Q: What will be displayed on the public art installation?

    Panels along the sides of the s-curve installation will scroll across the snippets and fragments of Calgary’s past;  bits of old advertising, classified  ads from 100 years ago, personal  reminiscences on details of daily life. The installation will help present-day Calgarians understand a snapshot of the history of the underpasses and the role of the railway in shaping our city. As they enter the underpass it’s as if they are experiencing the past.

     An interesting aspect of this artwork is that pedestrians will have opportunity to interact with the scrolling texts using their smartphones. This feature won’t be functional until late January. By sending keywords to the controlling computer, passers-by can influence the content of the script by finding story from the data base. For example, sending the keyword “oyster” might dig up advertising copy for fresh oysters that were regularly brought to Calgary daily by rail in the 1910s.

    Q: Will other underpasses be getting similar treatment?

    Yes, in Centre City we’ve been investing in our Corridor program, and underpass improvements are the first phase of these improvements. This is the third underpass improvement project, having recently completed 5 Street S.W. and 1 Street S.W.,  and in 2017 will start construction on the 4 Street S.W. underpass. Planning for the remaining underpasses will start in the next two years.

    For more information, visit
  • Your Guide to Safe Holiday Hopping 8 December 2016 The weather outside may be frightful, but your holiday hopping shouldn’t be! Stay safe this holiday season with these helpful planning tips.

    Safety is always in style

    ‘Tis the season for holiday parties and events and we want to remind you of the different options to get around the city safely after late night revelry. Transit, taxis, limousines and rideshare can help you get where you need to go — but each mode requires a little planning.

    Taxi, limousine and rideshare:

    • Don’t wait in the cold. Know where the nearest taxi stand is located.
    • Learn the difference between fares and rates to get the best deal.
    • Respect the ride. Know your rights as a passenger and a driver.
    • Know your limits. Taxis and limousines can charge you a cleaning fee if a passenger soils a cab from having too much alcohol.


    • Find the fastest route with a little planning and get regular updates on transit service.
    • Special holidays call for special service. Calgary Transit is once again providing extended service on New Year’s Eve. CTrains and 12 major bus routes will be running until 3 a.m. from downtown.

    And remember, the winter weather can cause all sorts of delays, so although your plan may involve traveling from your car into a heated parkade, Frosty the Snowman may have a different plan in store. It’s a good idea to always prepare for inclement weather by ensuring you have warm clothing and winter boots in the car!

    Make it to the party. And then make it home. Safety is always in style.

    Have a safe and festive holiday season!

  • City launches annual Snow Angels campaign 7 December 2016 With more snow in the forecast, it seems winter is here to stay for a while. The snowy weather brings with it the need to keep walkways clear of ice and snow, something that is challenging and dangerous for many older adults and others with limited mobility.

    Today we launched the 13th annual Snow Angels campaign asking Calgarians to help neighbours in need this winter. Being a snow angel is a great way to get out, meet your neighbours and help build community spirit.

    “We can all be Snow Angels – it’s simply neighbours being neighbourly and clearing the walkways for people who may not be able to do it themselves,” says Geoff Moore, program coordinator. “Snow Angels has two parts: help shovel someone’s walk and, recognize someone who shovels walks.”

    Keeping walkways free of ice and snow helps all community members move safely through neighbourhoods. For many Calgarians, this means getting out of the house and exercising, connecting with neighbours, and showing what it means to be a community.

    “For most pathways it is just a few extra minutes of shovelling to help a neighbour – especially if you get to it before foot traffic packs it down,” says Moore. “You wouldn’t believe how much it means to those with limitations.”

    If someone has cleared your sidewalk, we would love to know so we can recognize them as a Snow Angel. You can nominate your Snow Angel online or by calling 311.

    All nominated Snow Angels are officially recognized by Mayor Nenshi and entered into a prize draw. For more information, visit:

  • Safety on the roads a shared responsibility this season 6 December 2016 After an unusually warm and dry fall season, it’s finally starting to look like winter in Calgary. With snow on the ground and colder temperatures in the forecast, The City is reminding Calgarians to be prepared for winter driving conditions.

    “The accumulation of snow and ice on the roads can impact traction. This winter, take a bit more time to get where you’re going so that you can get there safely,” says Roads Maintenance Manager Bill Biensch.

    Crews are out there working hard to maintain our streets, but we need your help. Here are a few ways you can help keep everyone moving safely this winter:

    • Move your vehicle from designated snow routes during a snow route parking ban.
    • Winterize your vehicle and consider installing snow tires.
    • Clean snow and ice off your vehicle and ensure your headlights and windows are clear.
    • Leave extra distance between you and vehicles in front of you, including equipment such as sanders and graders.
    • Give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
    • Remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of your home within 24 hours after the snow stops falling. 

    When planning your commute this winter, make sure to stay informed about weather, road conditions, and traffic flow, too.

    Follow @yyctransport on Twitter for frequent snow clearing updates, road closures, and incident alerts. If you have questions about road conditions, traffic or other road projects, we’ll find you the answers.

    Visit, a one-stop-shop for all things related to snow and ice control. Find out if a snow route parking ban is in effect, see a map of pathways that are cleared of snow, and learn about the Seven Day Snow Plan.

    The new map at shows traffic camera images and plow progress across the city to help you keep moving safely and efficiently.

    Take advantage of to sign up for email alerts, teletext, teleride, and download the mobile app. Follow @calgarytransit on Twitter frequent services updates and answers to any of your transit questions.

    Although there may be a few more months of cold weather ahead, we can work together to keep all Calgarians on the move safely this winter.

  • Cycle track pilot project summary 5 December 2016 The Council-approved 18 month Cycle Track Network Pilot Project will end in December. The final report and recommendations from Administration will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit on December 8, 2016 and then to Council on December 19, 2016. At these meetings, Council will determine the future of the network.

    The public can attend and speak at the December 8 meeting or submit a letter with their comments about the pilot. The December 8 meeting will be held in Council Chambers and will begin at 9:30 a.m. People interested in submitting a letter or presenting at Committee can find out how to do so online.

    The cycle tracks give Calgarians a safer and more predictable way to travel by bike to downtown destinations. Over the past 18 months, the project team collected data on 82 performance measures while monitoring the operation and safety for all road users. Many of the performance targets were met and a report summarizing the results is available online. Here are a few highlights:

    The primary performance measures for the pilot were:

    • Percentage of people cycling, walking and driving satisfied with the pilot (evaluated using a random phone survey)
    • Safety (evaluated using number of collisions)
    • Bicycle volumes (evaluated using automated counters and manual data collection)
    • Travel time for cars during the peak periods (evaluated using GPS and stopwatch trials)
    • Incidents of unlawful bicycle riding (evaluated using manual observation)

    We found the following results for each of these metrics:

    A third-party telephone survey was conducted city-wide in September 2016 to track awareness, understanding, attitude and support for the project.

    • 46% – 54% of people ‘liked’ their most recent driving experience on the routes (51% – 60% in 2014) 
    • 65% – 82% of people ‘liked’ their most recent cycling experience on the routes (12% – 71% in 2014)

    The survey also found that 67% of people support the cycle track pilot and 68% support the Stephen Avenue bicycle pilot. The same survey was conducted in 2014 and 2015, and support remained consistent.

    Safety along the network was closely monitored during the pilot period. Collision information was collected by Calgary Police Service, and during one year of the pilot (June 18, 2015 – June 18, 2016) there were 39 reported collisions between a bike and car and zero fatalities along cycle track corridors.

    We reviewed locations where an incident occurred and put in dashed green paint, changed parking or added signs to raise awareness of potential conflicts at these locations.

    Bicycle volumes
    We have been using automated counters to count the number of bike trips taken each day since the network opened. To date, there have been 1.2 million bicycle trips since June 2015, based on the data at the three middle count locations. Ridership has tripled along the network, and the number of women and children riding has also increased.

    Travel times
    We anticipated travel time for drivers would increase on the roads with cycle tracks, since typically we had to remove a driving or parking lane to create the bikeway. The Transportation Department recorded travel time for drivers travelling from one end of each cycle track to the other for each route, during the morning and evening rush hours. They found that the longest delay was 90 seconds, on 12th Avenue from 11 Street S.W. to 4 Street S.E. during the morning drive.

    Incidents of unlawful bicycle riding
    Overall, unlawful sidewalk riding has decreased from an average of 16% (before the cycle tracks) to 2% after the cycle tracks. There were no observed instances of careless riding or near misses on Stephen Avenue during the time the data was collected.

    You can learn more at our presentation to Committee on Thursday or visit

  • Recognizing Calgarians who improve life for people with disabilities 2 December 2016 With upcoming Federal Government accessibility legislation and the increasing need for more accessible services, what can we do to make Calgary a more inclusive city?

    Today we celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities by recognizing local organizations and innovators who are leading the way to improve life for people with disabilities in Calgary.

    2016 ACA annual award recipients and special guests.

    “People with disabilities have so much to contribute to our communities and our economy,” says Nabeel Ramji, a member of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA). Nabeel works as the Manager of Strategic Atlantic and Real Estate Finance at Strategic Group. He also has cerebral palsy. “This is why we chose the theme of ‘Live, play, work and thrive in Calgary’ for this year’s event. Regardless of one’s ability, as a community we can collaborate to ensure that everyone has access to equal opportunities towards a full and active life in Calgary.”

    Awarding Calgarians who make a difference

    Mayor Nenshi recognized the contributions of those who work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Calgary. The winners of the ACA’s annual awards are:

    • The Access Recognition Award was awarded to Darlene Boyes of Calgary Recreation for her expertise in supporting the Recreation Accessibility Study. The study audited 45 City-operated facilities and recommended improvements to increase accessibility. Darlene’s passion, advocacy and expertise help ensure City facilities are physically accessible, welcoming and inclusive.
    • The Advocacy Award recognized Mark Burzacott of Between Friends, an organization dedicated to creating social, recreational and self-development opportunities for people with disabilities to connect, grow and belong. Through Mark’s work, he removes barriers of isolation and participation. He recently developed a Sensory Room, a therapeutic space for members, at the Between Friends Camp Bonaventure.
    • The Ella Anderson Accessible Transportation Award was given to Stephen Hansen for the formation of Access Calgary, now Calgary Transit Access. A visionary in accessible transportation, he was instrumental in creating Access Calgary in 2001 to ensure people with disabilities could use transit to meet their diverse needs. Today, Calgary Transit Access provides over one million trips each year to nearly 15,000 Calgarians that are unable to use Calgary Transit services due to a disability.

    Sandra Jansen provided greetings on behalf of the Government of Alberta and Sheila Serup presented two 2016 Awards of Excellence to Ms. Lynn Wheadon and Dr. Dorothy Badry on behalf of The Premier’s Council on the Status of People with Disabilities.

    These awards acknowledge only a small fraction of the total contributions by Calgarians to support the well-being of people with disabilities in our city.

    Making accessibility a priority for everyone

    Minister Kent Hehr spoke about the importance of developing an upcoming Canadian Accessibility Act. Nicole Jackson of Accessible Housing talked about Accessible U which includes toolkits and practical information about accessibility in the residential environment. Councillor Druh Farrell concluded the formal portion of the event by sharing how The City is improving accessibility. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with local organizations who support a variety of disabilities in Calgary, including Deaf and Hear Alberta, CNIB, Accessible Housing, Between Friends and March of Dimes Canada.

    The City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility provides advice on important issues that impact the needs of people with disabilities, including building design, transportation and services.

    Happy #IDPD2016 everyone! For more information about what The City is doing to improve accessibility, visit

    Watch footage from the ACA annual awards and International Day of People with Disabilities event.

  • New Open Data Portal Now Live! 30 November 2016 On the heels of being named one of the top “Open Cities” in Canada by the Public Sector Digest in their annual Open Cities Index report, The City of Calgary has launched an upgraded Open Data Portal with enhanced data analysis features, new data visualization tools, and API capabilities for easier app development for developers.

    This new Portal allows us to share more, better data with citizens, while also allowing citizens to interact with our data in new, more intensive ways.

    “Where the old Open Data Catalogue gave citizens access to download our data, the new Portal allows citizens to really take
    a deep dive into our data and interact with it in a more intense way,” says Leader of Intellectual Property & Access Marketing in Corporate Analytics & Innovation Dale McNamee. “We’re excited to keep growing the number and types of datasets that we make available on the Portal and, of course, to see what new developments will come from them.”

    With the launch of the new Open Data Portal, The City will be retiring the old Catalogue at the end of the year. To make the transition to the new Portal smoother for users, we’ve migrated the current catalogue to, which will remain live until December 31, 2016.

    Interesting in seeing the different kinds of datasets that The City makes available to the public for free (and without restrictions)? Visit the new Open Data Portal today!

    Fast facts about open data

    • “Open data” refers to data that is made available for free, without restrictions (anyone can use it) and can be used for any purpose, including commercial use
    • The City of Calgary joined the ‘open data movement’ in 2010 to provide centralized and easy access to City data
    • The City’s old Open Data Catalogue received an average of 14,000 downloads and 7,000 unique visitors every month. With the new Portal, these numbers are anticipated to increase significantly.
    • 22 mobile apps have been created and brought to market using The City’s open data, and combined have over 750,000 downloads
  • Calgary’s Southwest Ring Road: connecting people and communities 29 November 2016 With work beginning in the 1950s to determine its location, followed by 60 years of planning and design, we’re now only months away from crews breaking ground on Calgary’s Southwest Ring Road (SWCRR). For the next five years, the Government of Alberta’s recently hired contractor Mountain View Partners, with its subcontractor KGL Constructors, will work to complete the new 21 kilometre highway. Travelling between Highway 8 and Macleod Trail S.E., the SWCRR makes our city’s road network better.
    Westhills Way, behind the Westhills shopping area, opening 2020.

    “We’ve been waiting a long time for this missing piece in our road network and we’re excited to see it move forward”, says Julie Radke, Manager of ring road integration. “But we have a lot of work to do to make sure this piece of ring road fits with our existing roads.”

    The City of Calgary’s to-do list includes four new road connections at Westhills Way, 90 Avenue S.W., Southland Drive, and 162 Avenue S.W. The City is also improving four existing roads:

    “We’ve already completed the new Westhills Way connection and we’re on schedule to begin work on four other road projects in 2017”, explains Radke. “We’ll finish our work one or two years before the ring road opens, but that means there’s no doubt they’ll connect and be ready on opening day.”

    When completed, The SWCRR will connect to major highways and the existing Stoney Trail, improving the road network for reliable goods movement, more options for traveling around the city, and shortened travel times for people driving between communities and popular destinations in and outside Calgary. It’s a big part of Council’s priority, A City that Moves.

    More information on the SWCRR:

    Public information sessions
    Tuesday, Nov. 29, 5-8 p.m. at Calgary First Church of the Nazarene – 65 Richard Way S.W.
    Wednesday, Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m. at Bishop O’Byrne High School – 333 Shawville Boulevard S.E.

    Constructing the Ring Road: final design, schedule and traffic detours
    Web page:

    Constructing Calgary’s connections and road improvements:
    Web page:

    History and location of the ring road (interchanges, bridges and roads):
    Web page:


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.