Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

  • The micro surfacing program in Calgary has begun! 28 August 2015
    A freshly microsurfaced roadway in Calgary
    Blink and you might miss it. The City of Calgary’s microsurfacing program is already underway and should be completed in early September. Residents in the communities of Beddington and Falconridge will notice a new surface on several roads in their neighbourhoods over the coming weeks. Micro surfacing systems restore and preserve roadways that meet specific criteria prior to treatment.

    What is Micro Surfacing?

    Over time, even the best surfaces are subject to wear and tear caused by traffic and weather. Micro surfacing is the application of a special coating to the top layer of asphalt that prevents oxidization and moisture penetration. It is a cost effective preservation treatment to slow down the natural degreation of the road and preserve service life without a costly and disruptive reconstruction.

    A specialized machine mixes and applies the coating in one pass, and the treatment takes between two and three hours to cure, meaning that a road that is being microsurfaced can be reopened to drivers just a few hours after work has been completed. The micro surface will reach its full strength within 72 hours of being completed.

    Micro surfacing versus traditional paving

    There are several benefits to microsurfacing compared to traditional paving, including:

    • It is a cost-effective process and extends the service life of the road between five to eight years, depending on traffic volume.
    • It has low energy requirements, making it environmentally friendly. It is also 100% recyclable. 
    • The newly microsurfaced roadway can be opened to traffic within two hours.

    What can you do to help?

    If you live in the communities of Beddington or Falconridge, and see signs indicating your road is scheduled for microsurfacing treatment, please help us complete this work quickly and effectively by:

    • Adhering to all no parking signs and ensure all vehicles are removed from the roadway prior to treatment.
    • Do not drive or walk on the freshly coated micro surface before it has cured, and do not enter roadway until the barricades and signs have been removed by the contractor.
    • Please refrain from using lawn sprinklers spray water onto the roadway immediately before and during work activity.
    • Once traffic is allowed, try to avoid turning your steering wheel while the vehicle is stationary (dry steering) on the freshly micro surfaced road as it could damage the fresh surface.

    For more information on The City of Calgary’s micro surfacing program, visit
  • Stable footing for the Brotherhood of Mankind 27 August 2015 The City of Calgary’s Public Art Program has been successfully working on a comprehensive conservation work for the Brotherhood of Mankind artwork, also known as the Family of Man.

    The Brotherhood of Mankind artwork is one of the most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions in our city located outside the former Calgary Board of Education. It consists of ten 6.5 meter tall aluminum figures and has been in downtown Calgary since 1968.

    Many factors including tough weather conditions may affect this outdoor artwork and cause potential structural damage. Therefore, an assessment of the external surface and structural integrity was conducted to preserve this captivating composition.

    As part of that work, a public art conservator inspected the sculptures while City crews tested the ground underneath them. The examination proved that the figures are stable in the ground and in good condition. However, some maintenance work is required, and next month The City will be working on installing new pavers for the artwork.

    "Given the fact that the Brotherhood of Mankind will soon celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in Calgary, it’s great that we are able to contribute to its continued presence and showcase this artwork that beautifies the downtown community," says Joel Hidalgo, Construction Services Supervisor.

    These conservation efforts will ensure that Calgarians and guests can enjoy the Brotherhood of Mankind artwork for many years to come.

    The Brotherhood of Mankind was created by Mario Armengol, a well-known Spanish artist, to be displayed at the British Pavilion for the Montreal Expo in 1967. Composition was purchased by a Calgarian who donated it to The City. The statues have stood guard here ever since 1968 and survived numerous construction booms and area developments that have taken place in the downtown core over the years.

    If you like to learn more about The City of Calgary’s Public Art Program, visit
  • Skip a secondary suite step – Development Permit exemption 27 August 2015

    Secondary suites are commonly referred to 
    as basement suites, but can be on the main 
    floor or an attached garage.
    If you’re interested in developing a secondary suite in your home, there is no better time than now. The City of Calgary is waving the Development Permit application and fees for homes that are zoned for suites, and that meet all the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw – commonly referred to as a basement suite. The Development Permit exemption runs until March 3, 2017.

    The exemption is part of The City’s efforts to make it less expensive, faster and easier to obtain approval to develop a secondary suite in your home. Suites that have been inspected to meet Alberta’s Safety Codes help ensure public protection, and provide people the ability to escape in the event of an emergency, like a fire.

    If you’re interested in learning more or if you want to determine if your property is a candidate for the permit exemption, enter your address on, or contact our Planning Services Call Centre at (403) 268 5311 for assistance.
  • Liveable Cities Forum: Planning for Resiliency 26 August 2015 Since the 2013 floods, The City has been doing a lot of work to restore river banks, study how the river has changed, continue to improve response timing and plan for a flood resilient Calgary. As part of this work, The City of Calgary is hosting the 2015 Livable Cities Forum September 28 to 30,
    2015, including a community event that is open to the public (more information will be available closer to the event date).

    The Forum brings together municipalities, water management professionals, elected officials and other stakeholders to work together on solutions through the theme of building more flood resilient communities.

    “We have built the conference to focus on four things,” said Carolyn Bowen, Program Manager of Flood Resiliency and Mitigation. “Understanding, which focuses on assessing the economic and social impacts of flooding. Planning, which looks at how flood resilience can be incorporated into land use development. Mainstreaming, which is resilience within organizations. Advancing, which highlights natural resiliency measures, climate change considerations, and how to empower people and organizations.”

    During the conference, best practices and lessons learned will be shared. Participants will learn how to achieve resiliency through hands-on opportunities and walk away with established networks and partnerships that will continue to advance the understanding and achievement of municipal flood resiliency in Canada. The Forum includes 23 concurrent sessions and study tours of areas in Calgary and High River that were impacted by the 2013 flood. An event, open to the public, is also planned for the Tuesday of the conference.

    “The Forum is a great opportunities for people from a variety of municipalities to share their experiences and response to flooding, and what they have done to plan for future events,” says Bowen. “Sharing ideas and experiences makes us better prepared as Canadian municipalities to be more flood resilient.”

    The Livable Cities Forum is just one component of The City’s plan for resiliency of water resources. The City continues to plan for drought, utilizing technology to manage water use and irrigation, and maintaining a high standard of water quality as part of its water management program.

    For more information on the 2015 Livable Cities Forum, visit

  • Calgary HandiBus now on Calgary Transit team 26 August 2015 This week, we're celebrating a history-making moment by welcoming Calgary HandiBus to the Calgary Transit team.

    The transition has been in the works since an independent study found that the HandiBus funding model was no longer viable as accessible transportation continues to grow.

    Earlier this year, The City and ATU Local 583 agreed to have Calgary Transit take on the operations for accessible transit service previously provided by HandiBus for the past 40 years.

    "We're excited to have them join our team," said Calgary Transit Director Doug Morgan. "They have customer service skills that we want to take advantage of and there's real benefit in bringing the two services together to learn from each other."

    It took a lot of hard work to make the transition smooth, but customers should see no change to the efficient, courteous service they rely on.

    "They've been delivering awesome service helping people who need it the most. They make living in Calgary better for many people. They make a big difference," said Doug Morgan.
  • Fire, Water, Earth: Coming full circle with water conservation in fire training 26 August 2015
    In experiencing some warmer temperatures of late, it serves as a good reminder of our access to fresh, clean water and the importance it plays in our everyday lives. In helping to preserve this precious resource, The City of Calgary looks for opportunities to implement water conservation practices throughout its operations and facilities. The Calgary Fire Department (CFD) is ensuring this, and other environmental considerations are at the forefront of its training efforts.

    Recognizing an opportunity to reduce its environmental footprint and to participate in The City’s 30-in-30 Water Efficiency Plan (to reduce Calgary’s per capita water consumption by 30 per cent from 2003 volumes by the year 2033), the Calgary Fire Department developed a system to capture and reuse the 150 million litres of water used during every year in training.

    In essence, the Training Academy has ceased consumption and waste of potable water for its training. This first-of-its-kind system utilizes water from a man-made wetland and pond filtration system. Instead of spraying potable water all over the

    facility’s grounds and watching it ice up, run down drains, or evaporate, contaminated fire run-off is retreated and reused.

    The innovative nature of this project has even won a national environmental award in 2010 and was nominated for several other awards, including the Globe Awards for Excellence in Urban Sustainability and the Emerald Awards. Other organizations, like the Edmonton Fire Department, have also requested information about this system to see if they may be able to do something similar.

    Improving overall environmental performance is rewarding, but an added benefit is when services to the citizens of Calgary are improved as a result.

    “In addition to the Training Facility, we expanded our pump training program for crews by allowing them to train in selected remote locations,” said Patrick Choukalos, Calgary Fire Department environmental consultant. Pump training ensures that firefighters to learn how to control the amount of water that enters the fire hose from the hydrant to enable the them to put the fire out in the most effective and efficient way.

    Last year, the CFD and the City of Calgary Parks worked on a cooperative effort that now sees firefighters pump water onto certain areas within specific City parks – essentially watering the trees, plants and grass as a by product of hydrant testing and running response drills.

    Battalion Chief John Cherweniuk - a 29 year member of the Calgary Fire Department, championed the idea. “I knew this type of partnership could benefit our crews by allowing them to conduct their pump training in a more realistic setting, and in areas conveniently located in their response district,” said Chief Cherweniuk.

    During hot, dry summer weather, some of the training practices like the one mentioned, allows water on areas that doesn't usually receive it and helps to reduce the risk of grass or bush fire.

    “This training is good for parks and saves time, gas and emissions by letting crews stay closer to their stations to train. It also lessens our environmental footprint," adds Choukalos.

    “This training is good for parks, and lessens our environmental footprint while allowing us to contribute directly to the communities we serve,” said Choukalos.

    Related Calgary City News Blog posts:
    Fire Department's Water Re-use Project wins national environmental award
    Calgary Fire Department boasts new training facility, water reclamation project
  • Calgary safety codes officers lend a hand after flood waters hit Chestermere 26 August 2015 For City of Calgary safety codes officers Michael Kennelly and Vernon Durkee, a typical day at work means inspecting construction projects to ensure safety and compliance with the Alberta Building Code.

    But last month, they used their skills and knowledge in a different way to help residents in Chestermere after torrential rain and hail flooded hundreds of homes.

    City of Calgary Safety Codes Officer Michael Kennelly

    The City of Chestermere offered free safety inspections to residents, and Kennelly and Durkee volunteered to assist - visiting an estimated 40 homes over the course of two days. They were checking the extent of flood damage and offering advice to homeowners, including structural issues, mould, wet drywall and more.

    “It felt great to help out a fellow municipality in a time of need,” says Kennelly. “The flooding in Chestermere was traumatic for everyone involved. People were at their most vulnerable point; emotions and fear were running high. It was wonderful to be able to be there and to reassure people about what comes next, and that maybe the damage to their home wasn’t as bad as they feared.”

    Durkee and Kennelly said that most of the damage to the homes they inspected was minimal, and their advice included ripping out drenched carpet and replacing drywall.

    “We used what others at The City of Calgary learned during our flood and applied it to help people in Chestermere,” says Durkee.

    The Safety Codes Council of Alberta granted Kennelly and Durkee temporary designation to assist Chestermere, as normally they are only certified to complete inspections in Calgary. Funding for The City of Calgary to help during an event of this magnitude is typically covered by the Disaster Recovery Program through the province of Alberta.

    “Working with The City of Chestermere was fantastic,” says Kennelly. “The gratitude we experienced was immense. It was also amazing for training purposes. I’m a fairly new safety codes officer, and it was great to learn about how other municipalities do things.”

    Chestermere Deputy Mayor Christopher Steeves says the storms experienced in July had a massive impact on many residents.

    “Our community is very resilient,” Steeves says. “We have been working hard to do everything we can to help our citizens get back on their feet after the flooding. We appreciate the support we received from our neighbours and partners at The City of Calgary during this challenging time and would like to pass on our thanks for their assistance.”

    In addition to sending safety inspectors to Chestermere, The City of Calgary also allowed Chestermere to use Calgary landfills for flood-damaged items at a reduced rate through Chestermere’s collection bins.

    In the past, The City of Calgary has assisted in many ways with emergency operations during disasters in Slave Lake and High River.

    More information about flood recovery:
  • CTrain wash is a green, clean machine 26 August 2015 As part of reducing The City’s environmental footprint and to help reach our 30-in-30 Water Efficiency Plan, Calgary Transit makes water re-use a part of its operations.

    A tunnel-style carwash uses about 150 litres of water to clean your average car. Now imagine washing a vehicle that weighs 120 tons, is 3.8 metres high and 81 metres long. That’s the size of a Calgary Transit CTrain, and it takes about 1,800 litres of water to clean it.

    The good news is that Calgary Transit has a CTrain wash that recycles 90-95% of the water that’s used by collecting it into two reclaim water tanks and three settling pits that remove dirt, debris, sediment and soap.

    We’re also cautious to only wash CTrains when necessary. During stretches of warm sunny days, trains remain fairly clean on the outside. However, the biggest contributing factor to a dirty train exterior may surprise you. “Carbon builds up where the CTrain makes contact with the overhead (centenary) wires, and that actually causes the train to get dirty more than the weather does,” says Wayne Edwards, Coordinator of Transit Fleet. “We get a carbon film building up on the train, and without the right type of soap and brushes, the train won’t get clean.”

    At the end of each day, every CTrain car is cleaned on the inside, and if the exterior needs a wash it’s sent through the tunnel. It takes about four minutes to wash a 3-car CTrain and the brushes sweep along the front, back and sides of the train.

    When breakdowns happen at the train wash, Calgary Transit’s maintenance staff are trained to repair it, replace brushes and other parts. “The most common break down is the brushes – they get bent if the train moves too quickly through the wash,” says Edwards. Maintenance staff have even made some of their own modifications to parts to help lessen the breakage and repairs.

    This unique train wash is located in the Oliver Bowen Maintenance Facility (OBMF), one of two Calgary Transit garages where CTrains are repaired, maintained and cleaned. OBMF was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating. LEED is a third-party internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
  • City to replace school zones with playground zones 20 August 2015

    Starting this week, The City of Calgary will be making all school zones into playground zones to help increase safety for children as they head back to school.

    “By getting rid of school zones and setting straight forward and consistent playground zone hours, we will enhance safety for both pedestrians and motorists,” says Ravi Seera, Manager, Traffic.

    School zones are only in effect on school days, whereas playground zones are in effect every day, year-round. With the introduction of year-round schools in Calgary in recent years, it became less clear to drivers when they needed to obey the signs.

    “There will no longer be any question as to when you need to slow down. Playground zones are in effect every day year-round,” added Seera.

    Last year, Council allocated $545,000 to transition school zones to playground zones in 2015 to benefit year-round extended hours.  Both school zones and playground zones currently are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., so there will be no change in the time.

    Calgary has approximately 180 school zones and 1,510 playground zones. Crews will out replacing the school zone signs throughout the fall and expect to have the work done by the end of October.

    While designated playground zones are an important part of keeping children safe, safety on Calgary roads is a shared responsibility. Replacing school zones with playground zones is just one tool in a much larger plan to improve safety in areas where we see higher volumes of pedestrians.

    For more information about this project, visit

    Thank you for helping us to keep Calgary safe!
  • Flanders Avenue Interchange - Upcoming information sessions 17 August 2015 Construction of the new Crowchild Trail/Flanders Avenue Interchange will begin September 4 with the demolition of Flanders Bridge. The bridge and three new roundabouts will open in fall 2016, enhancing safety, pedestrian/cyclist access and traffic flow, while improving community connections.

    Learn more about the project and construction schedule:

    Two drop-in information sessions are scheduled to share the details of the new Crowchild Trail/Flanders Avenue Interchange with Calgarians.

    The drop-in public information sessions will be held at The Military Museum’s Atrium (4520 Crowchild Trail SW), from 6-9 p.m., on Wednesday, August 19, and Tuesday, September 1.

    In addition to providing information about the benefits of the new Interchange (including enhanced safety and traffic flow, better pedestrian/cyclist access and improved community connections), the presentations will include details about construction scheduling. The sessions will also detail the traffic impacts and detours that will be in effect when Flanders Bridge is demolished over the Labour Day long weekend (September 4 to 8).

    For more details on the project or the information sessions, visit, or
  • Calgary Transit’s Clean Team sweeping up success 13 August 2015 A new Calgary Transit initiative is making a big difference keeping CTrains clean.

    The Calgary Transit Clean Team is made up of City staff who are being transitioned back into a regular work cycle after injury or other absence. These kind folks have a great attitude, enjoy interacting with the public, and help alleviate pressure on the afternoon service lane staff that were getting slammed with trash-filled trains at day’s end.

    Calgary Transit Clean Team members Toddie Motta (left) and Garth Miller (right) 
    Service lane attendant Toddie Motta took on the daytime train cleaning task in April 2014. She was joined by Garth Miller one year ago. Anderson Garage workers Ambrosia Barbosa, Peter Johansen, Jaspreet Sra and Pauline Watson have also joined.

    Armed with canvas shoulder bags, Toddie and Garth ride the 202 line from Oliver Bowen to 69 St. Station going from one train car to the next. They pick up discarded newspapers, litter, and take careful note of stickers, graffiti and other vandalism, such as slashed seats or cigarette burns.

    The afternoon sees them ride back to Saddletowne and do it all again.

    Their good work is being noticed by customers, said Toddie. “We get compliments all the time. People are handing us papers now, thanking us. It’s amazing what it’s become.”

    The workers are also an extra set of eyes and ears: Toddie called control for help when a nanny became separated from two children who got on the train before her. They were reunited with the help of Transit Public Safety staff.

    Customers appreciate the extra presence, said Wayne Edwards, fleet coordinator Oliver Bowen. “It is added security for passengers. The customers are happier, the trains are cleaner. It’s a win-win,” he said.
  • Bike to the Zoo is back 13 August 2015
    Hundreds took advantage of the
    bicycle valet parking at last year’s event
    Pedal with your pack, flock or herd to the Calgary Zoo for the second annual Bike to the Zoo on August 15 and 16.

    The first 250 people who arrive by bike each day will receive $10 off their admission, while Calgary Zoo members will receive an ice cream coupon. Coupons will be available at the bicycle valet parking, located at the north and west entrances.

    "This year’s event builds on an already exciting summer for Calgary’s growing bike community," says Kimberly Fisher, active transportation education planner. “With increased connectivity thanks to the pathways, bike lanes and the cycle track network, it's easier than ever for families to access the Calgary Zoo by bicycle.”

    Since opening the Cycle Track Network in June, the 5 Street S.W. underpass has already become the busiest on-street bike-way in the city, averaging more than 1,500 trips each weekday.

    “The Calgary Zoo recognizes the increasing number of people who are traveling around Calgary by bicycle and we're thrilled to be part of an event that encourages Calgarians to travel to destinations such as the zoo in a fun and safe way,” says Roz Freeman, special events and promotions advisor at the Calgary Zoo.

    “It's the perfect opportunity to showcase the shiny, new bike racks recently installed at both zoo entrances.”

    For more information on all of The City's cycling events or to plan your route visit
  • Managing Calgary’s Water Supply – a fine balancing act! 13 August 2015
    Calgary's water comes from the Bow and Elbow rivers
    This summer, Calgarians have had their share of fluctuating weather conditions. From hot sunny days, to thunderstorms, hail and even tornado watches, Mother Nature has been keeping Calgarians on their toes, eyes to the sky.

    Around us, it is hard to ignore the effects the weather has had – agricultural devastation declared in some Alberta communities, wildfires in Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as recent water restrictions in British Columbia. How is Calgary faring and what is The City is doing to ensure Calgary has an ongoing, plentiful water supply to mitigate the impact of weather-related challenges?

    The City of Calgary does many things all year long to protect and provide our clean and safe water. Calgary, like many other cities and towns in Alberta, gets its water from the Bow and Elbow rivers. In recognizing there are a number of stakeholders all with a need for access to the water the rivers provide, we work cooperatively with our provincial partners and industry to ensure that needs are balanced and that no one user is putting excess pressure on this water supply.

    Black-eyed Susans are a beautiful YardSmart, low water perennial
    As The City’s population grows, so does our need to ensure safe and reliable fresh water is available for citizens. In anticipation of Calgary’s rapid growth, The City committed to reduce our water consumption (in 2002) by 30 per cent over 30 years. Despite record-breaking population growth, we are very pleased to report that per capita household water consumption is in fact less than levels in 2003. This accomplishment can be attributed back to both responsible water use by Calgarians and The City.

    We are also continuously monitoring water withdrawals from the river, improving the state of our water and waste-water infrastructure and looking for new and innovative ways to sustain this valuable, natural resource.

    “The approach The City takes is one of total watershed management; a complex process that looks at both local needs and the needs of those outside our municipal boundaries”, says Cheryl Harmsworth, manager of Watershed Planning. “This is a tremendous responsibility for The City because there are serious social and environmental considerations that we are obliged to honour.”

    We all need to do our part and to be aware of how we use this precious resource, and by working together can we ensure safe and abundant clean water now and for future generations.

    How you can help conserve Calgary’s water supply

    YardSmart plants need minimal water
    • Use high efficiency fixtures in your home
    • Have a YardSmart yard with plants that need minimal water
    • Use rain barrels to collect water to use in your yard
    • Don’t over-water your grass – lawns only need one inch of water per week, including rainfall
    • Don’t wash your car on your driveway
    • Don’t wash dirt and debris into the storm-water catch basins

    Remember, even the smallest action makes a difference. Together, we can protect Calgary’s water.
  • Fifteen ways to discover your potential this fall 10 August 2015 To help you prepare for fall and back-to-school season, registration for The City of Calgary’s Fall Recreation Program Guide begins today, August 10.

    For many, this time of year means it’s time to start thinking about getting back into a routine, but it doesn’t have to be all routine and no fun. This year’s Fall Recreation Program Guide offers more than 3,400 registered programs for you and your family to pursue a new interest, achieve a goal or discover your potential
    "Registration opens today for @YYCRecreation programs" Share this in a tweet

    Here’s a sampling of some of our new and unique programs and activities to discover this fall:

    1. Zumba for kids. It’s a fun, high energy dance party.
    2. Outdoor rock climbing. A 40-foot climbing wall located inside the courtyard at Beltline Aquatic & Fitness Centre.
    3. Ski, snowboard and mountain bike conditioning. To help with stamina and stability on the slopes.
    4. Burlesque. Cabaret-style dance where you can express your inner diva.
    5. Real Men Do Yoga. Specifically designed for men to increase their range of motion and flexibility.
    6. Karate Tambo Training. A karate class with the Tambo stick – yes, just like real ninjas.
    7. Parent and Baby Fit Together. Get stronger while spending time with your new baby.
    8. Cricket. A sport quickly gaining more and more popularity in Calgary.
    9. Build your Retirement Recreation Success Plan. Our active version of the RRSP.
    10. Cooking Monsters. Where kids can learn about nutrition and food selection.
    11. Sailing in September. A six person sunset cruise along the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir.
    12. Figure skating. Spin, jump and glide on ice.
    13. Birdwatching. Spot local and migratory birds through your binoculars.
    14. Family golf. ‘Tee’ up family time inside the golf dome.
    15. Upcycled Art. Create cool sculptures out of previously-used materials.

    And while the guide is full of new and unique programs to discover, our classic favourites like swimming lessons, ice skating lessons, holiday day camps, and fine arts are also included.

    There are many ways for you to register for these and many more programs. Visit or My Rec Guide to customize your own program guide and start discovering your potential.

    Submitted by Sue Joorisity, Recreation
  • 1 Street S.W. Underpass Enhancements – Looking good! 7 August 2015 The 1 Street S.W. Underpass Enhancement project has reached a milestone with its first phase of construction officially complete.

    At noon today, the walkway on the west side of the underpass will re-open for pedestrians to enjoy new sidewalks, improved lighting, patched and repainted retaining walls, and integrated art work.

    Now that the west side walkway is complete, work will shift to the underpass' east side for the second phase of construction.

    Starting this weekend, the east side pedestrian walkway will be closed between 9 Avenue and 10 Avenue until the enhancements on that side are completed. During this time, pedestrians will be detoured to the newly enhanced west side walkway. One lane of northbound vehicle traffic will also be closed during construction on the east side.

    Completion of the east side of the underpass is anticipated for this fall.

    A key objective of the underpass enhancement project is to provide greater safety and comfort for pedestrians using the underpass walkway.

    The improved lighting and integrated art will improve the pedestrian experience, and we expect these enhancements will encourage more people to walk between the Beltline and downtown each day.

    These improvements bring new life to a railway structure that is over 100 years old!

    We're thankful for the tremendous cooperation and patience received from area businesses and pedestrians through this first phase of construction.

    1 Street S.W. underpass enhancement project is part of a broader underpass improvement program being implemented by The City to improve the pedestrian environment and underpass connections between the Beltline and downtown communities.

    For more details about the project, go to

  • Weekend yard work – removing tree debris from storms 7 August 2015 With weekend highs of plus 20 degrees, many Calgarians will be out in their yards cleaning up after the past week's storms. Depending on how much tree debris you have around your house, here are some options to help you with your clean-up.

    Place smaller debris in your black cart: Leaves, small branches and twigs can be placed in your black cart for regular pick-up.

    Bundles branches and place next to your black cart: Cut larger branches into four foot lengths and tie into bundles with string or put them inside a garbage bag.

    Bundled branches should be cut into four foot lengths.
    It’s important that you make sure the bundles are manageable in size. You should be able to wrap your arms around the bundle.

    After you’ve set the bundles next to your black cart for pick-up, help out your collector by making sure you’ve left enough space (approximately one foot) around the cart to ensure proper collection.

    If the bundles aren’t picked up by the next collection day, please leave them out and they will be picked up in the following weeks.

    Take larger tree debris to City landfills: Larger amounts of tree debris should be taken to any City landfill - Spyhill, Shepard and East Calgary. Landfills are accepting residential loads of tree debris from the past week’s storms at no charge until Sunday, August 16, 2015 (residential tree loads only). All of the tree debris brought to the landfill will be composted.

    Hire a private hauler: If all else fails, you can hire a private hauler. Please note that you will be responsible for any costs incurred.

    Wear proper footwear when cutting tree branches.
    Stay safe: Whatever you're doing this weekend, we want you to be safe. Below are some tips to help you stay safe when cutting tree branches:
    • Wear protective equipment such as:
      • Goggles/safety glasses
      • Gloves
      • Earmuffs/ear plugs – especially if you are operating a chainsaw
      • Proper footwear – flip flops just won’t work 
    • Do a pre-work assessment to avoid uneven ground, broken branches and electrical wires
    • If you’re using a ladder:
      • Tie it off to the tree truck or a secure branch
      • Use a fall protection harness
      • Avoid soft, uneven ground to help prevent the ladder from slipping
    For more information on how to recycle your tree branches, visit

    • Cycle track safety tips 7 August 2015 The cycle track network has been officially open for seven weeks. During that time, thousands of people have been giving it a try. The average 16-hour weekday count shows that we have approximately 1,130 bicycle trips on 8 Avenue, 1,060 bicycle trips on 12 Avenue and 1,500 bicycle trips on 5 Street.

      Whether you are driving, walking or cycling along the cycle track routes, please remember to look for and obey new signs, signals and pavement markings. If you are not sure how to navigate through the new bike turn boxes or what the dashed green paint means, we have put together some safety tips and reminders for those who drive, walk or bike.

      New to cycling?

      If you are new to cycling, or have not ridden a bike in a while, consider taking a course to improve your cycling skills. This will increase your comfort, confidence, and safety while cycling on-street, on the cycle tracks or on the pathways. A number of different bike riding courses are offered throughout the summer for all ages and skill levels. If you are not familiar with our pathway and bikeway system there is an interactive map and recently improved app that can help you plan your routes. The newly updated app features both iOS and Android versions, as well as new functionality.

      Cycle track safety tips at a glance:

      Remember to take extra care at intersections, alleys and entrances to parkades or businesses, as vehicles turn across areas where people will be riding bicycles and walking.

      When cycling, always yield to pedestrians before turning.
      When driving and preparing to turn across a cycle track look for traffic in both directions and yield to approaching bicycles.

      New multi-use crossings for people walking and cycling have been added at key intersections along the route, such as 9 Avenue and Macleod Trail SE. A multi-use crossing is like a cross-walk, but it is shared by people on bikes and on foot. When turning across a multi-use crossing, motorists should yield the right-of-way to people walking and cycling.

      Multi-use crossing (for pedestrians and cyclists)
      New bicycle turn boxes have been added at some intersections along the cycle track routes to help people cycling make a safe left or right turn. They are painted bright green to help make them visible. Watch the video below for a demonstration on how to use a bicycle turn box.

      Still have questions? A team of Bicycle Ambassadors is on-street all summer long sharing safety messages along the cycle track routes, at community festivals and in office towers.

      For more information on the cycle track network visit
    • City of Calgary preparedness tips for severe weather 5 August 2015 With the recent run of severe thunderstorms and tornado watches we’ve experienced, now is a good time for all Calgarians to ask ourselves an important question: “What should I do when severe weather hits?

      The key to staying safe during severe weather events comes down to personal preparedness and knowing what to do when the weather hits.

      • Build a 72-hour kit. In the event of an emergency, responders may be busy assisting those in immediate danger. The 72-hour kit holds supplies to support you and your family for three days in an emergency situation.
      • Clear out your eaves troughs and downspouts on your home to allow for the free flow of water, and ensure downspouts are directed away from your home
      When the storm hits
      • Take cover or stay indoors. This should be a place without windows or glass doors. If a sturdy building is not nearby, get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close the windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
      • Stay off the roads to prevent getting caught in fast moving or pooling water.
      • Do not drive through flooded roadways or underpasses.
      • Do not try to clear flooded catch basins yourself.
      • Stay away from manhole covers, drains and flooded areas.
      • Stay away from downed power lines.
      Watch the video below for thunderstorm preparedness tips and advice.

      For more information on how you can prepare for severe weather in Calgary, visit the Calgary Emergency Management Agency at
    • Free-flowing traffic coming to Glenmore Trail S.E. 4 August 2015
      Rending of future interchange Glenmore Trail at Ogden Road
      If you are a regular user of southeast Glenmore Trail, you’ve probably been stuck waiting for a train to cross the road.

      Imagine being able to travel between 18 Street S.E. and Barlow Trail on a free-flowing Glenmore Trail and not having to deal with any train crossings.

      Now imagine being able to travel on Glenmore Trail between Sarcee Trail S.W. and Barlow Trail S.E. without having to stop for any traffic signals.

      Well, that will be the reality in about two-and-a-half years!

      Construction begins in early August on an interchange project at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road that will result in the creation of a new roadway for Glenmore Trail which includes an overpass spanning the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Canadian National Railway (CNR) tracks, and the Western Headworks Canal.

      This project will increase capacity on one of Calgary’s busiest commercial and commuter corridors at a location that is one of the most significant bottlenecks on a major roadway, due in large part to train crossings.

      The project also includes the relocation of major utilities, improvements to the intersection at Glenmore Trail and Barlow Trail, and the eventual closure of Shepard Road south of Glenmore Trail, to be replaced by a new roadway at 26 Street.

      Rendering of future overpass spanning the
      CPR and CNR tracks, as well as the Western Headworks Canal
      To allow for construction of the new roadway and bridge structures, a detour for Glenmore Trail needs to be built that separates eastbound and westbound traffic. Once the detour is finished, vehicles will be diverted onto the detour in the spring of 2016. The detour will accommodate traffic for approximately 18 months while the new roadway and interchange is completed. Access to Ogden Road and connection to Barlow Trail will be maintained during the construction period.

      The budget for this project is $125 million and the opening of the interchange is anticipated to be late 2017.

      The new interchange is an important part of a safe, effective transportation network that supports and services the surrounding industry, business and community network, and the city at large.

      For more details, visit
    • Second year of taxi satisfaction survey results released 30 July 2015 The City of Calgary shared the results from a recent Satisfaction with Taxi Services survey today showing some areas of improvement over last year’s results. The City’s Livery Transport Services team will now comb through the results and work with industry to identify where more improvements can be made.

      The survey, conducted in June 2015, found 87 per cent of Calgarians are satisfied with taxi service in the city.

      “Recent media has shown some of the troubling aspects the taxi industry faces, but it’s encouraging to see that overall, Calgarians are enjoying a safe and satisfactory experience when taking a taxi in our city,” says Mario Henriques, chief livery inspector for The City of Calgary.

      Satisfaction survey results

      Calgarians shared they have four key factors that contribute to their overall satisfaction with taxi service. They are: the taxi driver; their experience during the ride; dispatchers; and value for money.

      • 94 per cent of taxi users are satisfied with the level of service they receive from taxi drivers. (similar to last year’s 93 per cent satisfaction).
      • 93 per cent of taxi users were satisfied with the vehicles – both the cleanliness of the vehicle and for the condition/maintenance of the vehicle. 
      • 82 per cent of taxi users were satisfied with the amount of time it took the taxi to arrive – up eight per cent from 2014.
      • 16 per cent of taxi users have obtained a taxi through an online booking system or app, although 40 per cent indicated they are likely to do so in the next year. Those who used an online system or app were 92 per cent satisfied. 
      • 81 per cent of taxi users are satisfied with the service they receive in calling dispatch for immediate service and 90 per cent are satisfied with pre-booking taxis through dispatch. 
      • 69 per cent of Calgarians are satisfied with the value for money they received during their taxi rides. 

      Improvements from 2014

      After the 2014 survey, The City implemented two new initiatives:

      1. New taxi plate licences were added to increase the number of taxis on the road. The 133 new taxi plate licences also came with the requirement they be in use during peak periods to help with higher demand. 
      2. The City also had bumper stickers added to every cab directing complaints and compliments to 311. 

      “The City’s role in the taxi and limousine industry is to serve as regulator ensuring customer safety, service quality and consumer protection. This survey is helping us see where our industry is doing a good job, and helping us identify possible areas for improvement,” says Henriques.

      “By lodging your complaint or compliment with 311 we are able to follow up on the complaints and also learn what is working through the compliments.”

      Lodging a complaint through 311 still remains low, as 81 per cent of taxi users indicated they lodged their complaint directly with the taxi company. But there has been an increase from eight per cent to 16 per cent in the number of users reaching out through 311 to share their experience.

      Next steps

      These results are just part of an overall look at how the city’s taxi industry is doing. Engagement will continue by talking and working with taxi drivers and brokers in the coming weeks. The City’s Livery Transport Services will also be looking at the full results to see where more improvements can be made.

      “It’s all about constantly improving for Calgarians,” says Henriques. “They’ve told us what they think of the Calgary taxi industry. It’s now up to us to hear what they are saying and look for ways to act on those suggestions where and when possible.”

      For more information on taxis in Calgary visit

      Submitted by Jennifer de Vries, on behalf of Animal & Bylaw Services


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