Calgary City News Blog
 

Calgary City News Blog
 

  • Safe Transportation Options on the Way 9 February 2016
    That’s what The City is delivering because that’s what Calgarians told us they want. We are proposing new changes to our Livery Transport Bylaw that will create the opportunity for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber to legally operate in Calgary. 

    The City and Uber had issued a joint agreement in December stating that we were working together to develop solutions for new transportation options that are safe and reliable for Calgarians. Today, Uber told Calgarians that our proposed bylaws are unworkable.

    The City believes that the proposed bylaw changes are workable and fair for TNCs. Here’s why:

    • We believe that all TNC drivers must undergo a Calgary Police Service (CPS) criminal history check. These criminal history checks are the most thorough background checks available and include vulnerable sector checks (e.g. checks for pardons for such things as sexual offences) as well as national police information. Current taxi drivers must undergo these checks to qualify for a license.
    • We believe that all TNC vehicles should undergo a provincially-approved vehicle inspection every six months, a regulation that our taxi industry already complies with. These inspections are widely available throughout Calgary.
    • We believe that all TNCs should be required to submit trip data, driver availability, and trip volumes. This allows us to ensure that quality customer service is attained. In fact, this is something our taxi industry already provides us. This data has assisted the police in different types of criminal investigations and is another way to monitor citizen safety. The trip data also helps The City make good evidence-based policy decisions.
    • We believe that insurance is a very important part of this equation and we continue to inform drivers, passengers and the general public about risks involved in using private for-hire vehicle services. The Government of Alberta has issued an advisory notice on ride sharing services and the insurance risk they currently pose to drivers and the public, noting any third party involved in an accident in or with one of these vehicles may not have insurance.
    • We believe the proposed licensing fee of $220 per driver, per year is reasonable to help with the operational cost of enforcement. In addition, other fees include a Calgary Police Services criminal history check of $30, a vulnerable sector check of $25 (only if finger prints are required) and a vehicle safety inspection fee ranging from $140 to $179. TNCs have the opportunity to subsidize these fees or pay for them outright to support their drivers.
    These proposed bylaw changes will allow TNCs to operate in a fair and competitive market. They address citizen, driver and passenger safety and support accessibility, reliability, fairness, competition and customer service.
  • Roads crews keep busy with warm winter maintenance 1 February 2016 The City’s Roads crews pay close attention to the weather forecast all winter long. During and after a snowfall, we’re busy sanding, salting and plowing roads and sidewalks to keep everyone travelling safely. But what do our crews get up to when a warm spell hits Calgary?

    Our maintenance team has plenty of work to do as temperatures rise. Here are a few of the projects we take on when the weather is warm:

    • Salting and sanding icy patches: Although we’ve been experiencing warm temperatures during the day recently, the temperature usually dips below zero overnight. This creates a freeze-thaw cycle, resulting in icy patches across the city. Crews patrol for trouble spots before rush hour every day, salting and sanding these spots.
    • Filling potholes: Did you know that every year The City of Calgary fills over 40,000 potholes? Potholes form when snow melts into cracks in the asphalt and then freezes, expanding in the cracks. In order to permanently fix potholes, crews need dry pavement and warm weather conditions, which means pothole repair can happen in winter if the temperature is high enough.
    • Snow fence repair: Throughout winter, some snow fences may be knocked down or damaged. Crews respond to calls and repair the fences so they can properly block snowdrifts for the rest of the season.
    • Roadside debris pickup: This includes general cleaning and garbage pickup on our streets and boulevards around the city.
    • Windrows: City crews 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. If a windrow is impeding a resident’s ability to enter their driveway, a crew can come by and assess the windrow and break it down if necessary. Residents are advised to contact 311 if they have large windrow concerns.
    • Training: Our crews take pride in always being fully trained on the latest technologies and machinery. When there’s less snow to plow, we train our crews on new equipment or prepare them for upcoming projects, such as Spring Clean-Up.
    Warm weather comes and goes throughout winter, so our crews will continue to watch for potential snowfall. For more information on the City’s snow and ice control efforts, FAQs, and details of our Seven Day Snow Plan, visit Calgary.ca/snow.
    • Wanted: Calgary artists to help ‘Paint the City’ 28 January 2016 We’re launching a new initiative today called "Painted City." We looking for artists to include on the 2016 Painted City artist roster and the diverse group on the list will be pre-approved, making the process of connecting artists to communities simpler, quicker and cheaper.

      Painted utility box by Michelle Hoogveld
      in Highland Park.
      Artists on the roster will be eligible to create artworks for the Utility Box Program, The City’s new Street Art Program for Youth and any other opportunities where an artist applies 2-D artworks to banners, murals, photography and other digital artworks, mosaics, decals and more.

      Calling local artists

      The Call to Artists for the 2016 - 2018 Painted City artist roster is now open and submissions are due by Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016 at 4 p.m. MST.

      Communities or community members who would like more information on how to have a utility box or other property in their neighbourhood painted can visit the Painted City web page to learn more.

      Taking on the challenge to paint the city

      The initiative grew from the success of the incredibly popular Utility Box Program, which has injected colour, excitement and fun into Calgary neighbourhoods since it began in 2010. Local artists have created over 170 utility box public artworks throughout the city. To see the great work done by the artists on the 2015 Utility Box Program roster, check out the gallery on the Utility Box page.

      In 2015, artists for each box were chosen from a list of artists on a pre-approved roster, which allowed communities to pre-select an artist who suited their needs, while the group of artists chosen for the roster were given select access to work across Calgary. The roster also offered extra opportunities for these local artists as some received private commissions directly from being on the list.
      "SNAPSHOTS" by Derek Michael Besant at 4th St. underpass.

      Public space as a place for creative expression

      A goal of Painted City is to work with community associations and other grassroots organizations to consider art as an important part of neighbourhood improvement and community development, where all public spaces are seen as potential places for creative expression.

      Visit our public art website for more opportunities for artists and to learn more about the work being done to help build dynamic and vibrant public spaces in Calgary through the Public Art Policy and Public Art Master Plan.

      Submitted by Lauren Greschner, Recreation

    • The CRTC surveys Canadians about broadband Internet Services as part of ongoing study 22 January 2016 Reliable, affordable and modern broadband Internet access is essential for accessing services online, such as health care, banking, education and government programming.

      The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is inviting Canadians across the nation to share their views on telecommunications services, especially broadband internet by filling out a short questionnaire online.

      Those who wish to complete the survey over the phone can call 1-877-249-2782, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST)

      “It’s important for Calgarians to share their personal experience with broadband internet services with the CRTC,” said Heather Reed-Fenske, The City of Calgary’s Chief Information Technology Officer. “The information collected will help influence how you connect to internet services in the workplace, at home and while you’re on the go, for many years to come.”

      The survey is open until 8 p.m. (EST) on February 29, 2016 and will provide the CRTC with insight to better understand which telecommunications services Canadians consider necessary to participate in the digital economy.

      The results will also determine the areas in Canada that don’t have adequate access to telecommunication services.


      What is the CTRC?



      Quick facts about the CRTC’s Internet Broadband review:
      • The CRTC initiated a review of basic telecommunications services in April 2015. Since then, more that 25,000 comments have been received.
      • The CRTC is reviewing the telecommunications services available in Canada in order to be in step with Canadians’ current and future needs.
      • Currently, basic telecommunications services include:
        • capability to connect to the Internet via low-speed data transmission at local rates;
        • individual line local touch-tone service;
        • access to the long distance network, operator/directory assistance services, enhanced calling features and privacy protection features, emergency services, voice message relay service; and
        • a printed copy of the current local telephone directory upon request.
      • The CRTC is holding a public hearing on these issues starting April 11, 2016, in Gatineau, Québec.
    • New car2go microstalls coming to Calgary 21 January 2016
      Starting tomorrow, Calgarians will see some innovative new parking stalls pop up in and around Calgary’s downtown core. In total, 150 car2go microstalls will be made available to the car-sharing company’s members in 2016.

      The spots will be located mostly in the downtown core and the Beltline and can be found on certain street corners and other curb space where a regular sized car would not fit. Installation for these stalls begins Friday, January 22 and will be officially rolled out over the next few months.

      The City’s Traffic division conducted safety reviews at each microstall location to ensure that all traffic engineering and safety standards were met before the installation of each stall. The height and width of car2go smart cars allows motorists to still see oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

      “Over 2015, we explored solutions to create hundreds of additional parking spots downtown, including such measures as angled parking, off-peak parking and designated stalls for small car-share vehicles,” Traffic engineer, Yeats Wong said. “Our goal is to optimize the space we have to provide Calgarians with more on-street parking options in the core.”

      Car-sharing helps reduce the strain on Calgary’s parking infrastructure. The shared vehicles are small and eco-friendly and reduce the number of individual, full-sized vehicles in the core. The goal for this pilot project is to open up more spots for regular-sized cars by providing space specifically for car2go smart cars where regular sized cars won’t fit.

      After working with car2go and the Calgary Parking Authority, a parking agreement between car2go and The City was finalized late last year.  Only registered microcars with a valid permit are allowed to use the new microstalls. So far, only two-door car2go vehicles have been issued these permits. However, this doesn’t mean that car2go users can only park in these new microstalls. They are encouraged to use them if they are available but will still be allowed to park in areas where on-street parking is legal.

      “At The City we’re always looking at new, innovative solutions to make it easier for Calgarians to get around,” Wong said. “Data collected from this pilot will provide us with more information for future car-share and commercial parking policies.”

      Lines for these stalls were painted last year. Once signage has been installed at a microstall location, two-door car2go vehicles will be able to park on-street in these microstalls.

    • The City of Calgary is more "open" than you might expect 20 January 2016 Earlier this week, the Public Sector Digest ranked The City of Calgary among the top 10 “Open Cities” in Canada! The City scored top marks for demonstrating excellence in open data, but we’re not stopping there.

      “We’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve access to our data for citizens” says Lisa Sierra, Manager of Innovation, Data, & External Access at The City of Calgary. “And we have a number of projects on the books for 2016 to enhance our open data program at The City.”

      Open Data Projects:

      1. An Open Data Strategy is currently in development, which will serve as a roadmap to further improve your accessibility to our data. The City's Digital Strategy (approved by Council in July 2014) will guide us along the way.

      2. We've heard feedback from Calgarians that our Open Data Catalogue could use some improvements to the user experience, so that's exactly what we're doing. Platform upgrades are in the works and will allow users to better analyze and visualize data by the middle of this year.

      3. There’s no better way to make use of open data than at a Hackathon! You're invited to our upcoming annual three-day competition (March 4-6, 2016) that pairs open data and local talent to create software solutions such as mobile apps, websites, and mapping products. Register now at calgary.ca/hackathon

      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’s Open Data Catalogue first launched in 2010 to provide centralized and easy access to City data
      • Today, the Open Data Catalogue receives an average of 14,000 downloads and 7,000 unique visitors every month
      • 22 mobile apps have been created and brought to market using The City’s open data, and combined have over 750,000 downloads
    • Main Streets on the move 18 January 2016

      Connecting Calgarians
      Historically, many of our city’s main streets were built around street car lines, which contributed to the growth of communities with mixed use residential, commercial and retail spaces. As these main street areas evolved, so did the existing infrastructure, to optimize the use of public transit in these areas.

      Consulting with experts
      The Main Streets' team is working closely with experts from Calgary Transit and Transportation to discuss the important role of transportation infrastructure to the future of our main street areas.

      The Green Line is a major expansion of Calgary’s transit network that will connect the north and southeast areas of the city to the downtown core.

      It will be located near, or intersect with, four main streets:
      Access to transportation options, and the growth of transportation services like the Green Line, not only makes these areas great places to travel through, but great places to be.

      Get involved
      To learn more about how the Main Streets initiative is working with experts from across The City on the outcomes that matter to Calgarians, visit calgary.ca/mainstreets.

      Subscribe to the Main Streets email newsletter for the latest updates.
    • Our first S200 CTrain car has arrived! 15 January 2016

      The Mask – a sleek design chosen by Calgarians – is a completely new kind of train and is a first in North America.


      We have ordered 63 new Mask cars from Siemens Canada which will be arriving on a regular basis as they roll off the assembly line until they are all here by early 2017. The new state-of-the-art cars will help us in expanding four-car service making traveling more reliable and convenient for customers. Our first Mask four-car CTrain will be introduced this spring as more of the new cars arrive.

      We are committed to improving the customer experience with improved comfort, passenger information, safety, security and accessibility.

      The new cars are fully accessible, too. Here are some other great features:

      • Heated floors for winter
      • Air conditioning for summer
      • New seating layout, roomier cars including leaning pad in articulated area
      • Bucketless perimeter seating along the walls
      • Vehicle front doors have been moved back to improve passenger flow
      • Visible door lighting: green lights for doors open and red for doors closed
      • Fully accessible entryway with sloped floors – no more ramps
      • Double the number of interior speakers to provide more even sound coverage for announcements and reduce the effects of “loud spots”
      • Glassed in operator’s compartment allows the driver to see pedestrians more clearly and enhances passenger view
      • Onboard infotainment: digital monitors with route information and news updates
      • LED lighting inside and out

      The cars also come with enhanced security features including high resolution exterior cameras that provide 20/20 vision halfway down the train, and full camera coverage inside and out. The wide open interior concept allows for better security as peace officers can see from one train to the other.

      Calgarians were asked to help choose the design of the front of Transit’s new CTrain cars by voting on three options: The Bow, inspired by the Bow River; The Buffalo, inspired by the buffalo; and The Mask, inspired by a hockey goalie mask. The winning design of The Mask represents individuality, reliability, style and protection, a fitting design to represent Calgary.

      The new Mask cars are helping fulfill our new Customer Commitment to provide safe, reliable, and easy-to-use transit.
    • Help us plan for smart growth along 17 Avenue S.E. 14 January 2016 We are conducting a transportation study on 17 Avenue S.E., between Stoney Trail and 116 Street S.E., to identify what the road will look like in the next 10-30 years.

      Drop-in to the East Hills Walmart (255 East Hills Blvd. S.E.) on January 28, 2016 from 4-8 p.m. to learn about the study and tell us what you think about the preliminary options. You can also view the display boards and provide input at calgary.ca/17AveStudy from January 28 – February 12, 2016.

      Background:
      17 Avenue S.E. provides an important regional connection between Calgary and Chestermere. It is also identified as a primary transit and cycling route.

      Illustration of what 17 Avenue S.E. could look like
      Today this part of 17 Avenue S.E. is largely undeveloped. However, the Belvedere Area Structure Plan estimates this area will house 61,000 people and 9,700 jobs in the future. As the land in this area develops, the guidelines in the Area Structure Plan will start to take effect.

      17 Avenue S.E. will be a liveable street focusing on modes of travel that enable social interaction like walking, cycling, and taking transit. It will be a destination as well as a route of travel such as 4 St. S.W.

      We have been working with stakeholders since June to develop guiding principles as well as prioritize the type and location of bicycle facilities, on-street parking, sidewalks, and green space. We also determined that the corridor will have two vehicle lanes and a median (middle) transitway. As a result of their input, we have developed preliminary options for the corridor to take to the public for feedback.

      For more information, go to calgary.ca/17AveStudy.
    • Reminder to stay safe around our many waterways when out enjoying our warm winter weather 14 January 2016 Remember to be aware of the dangers with skating, skiing and walking on ice-covered waterways as you go out to enjoy the great outdoors and the warmer weather.

      Skating at Bowness Park.
      Stay ice safe

      Even though the ice on our rivers, reservoir, storm water ponds and community lakes may look solid, be aware looks can be deceiving. Stay off the ice unless it is a City- or community-designated area.

      Water level and flow underneath these ice surfaces changes constantly, which affects the ice in unpredictable ways. Moving water may cause ice to melt quicker and our varying weather temperatures contribute to inconsistent thickness in ice.

      Where to get out and be active

      But we know that ice skating and cross-country skiing are popular activities in Calgary. Check out one of these great locations to help stay active and safe.

      Outdoor ice skating:
      - The City maintains six outdoor rinks in parks through Calgary.
      - The Adopt-a-Rink program maintains over 35 rinks through the help of volunteers.
      - Community and resident associations also maintain rinks.
      Cross-country skiing:
      - Groomed cross-country skiing areas are volunteer-maintained at five Calgary golf-courses.
      - Parks and schoolyards offer cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.

      Check us out online for more information on ice safety

      Find out about other great winter activities in Calgary.

      Submitted by Sandra Sweet, Calgary Fire Department

    • Understanding The City’s snow and ice clearing standards 7 January 2016 When snow falls in Calgary, our crews plow, salt and sand according to the Seven Day Snow Plan. That means focusing on clearing high-volume roads first. On a snowy day like today, crews will work on these busy Priority 1 routes as the snow continues to fall. When these roads are finished, they’ll move into playground zones and residential areas over the next few days.

      So, what does “finished” mean? From a City standpoint, there are well-defined standards for snow clearing on our roads that keep our streets safe while staying on budget.

      What does a complete road look like?
      Under the Snow and Ice Control policy, Priority 1 roads are plowed first and snow is cleared down to bare pavement within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling. Once those roads are done, crews work on feeder/collector Priority 2 routes, which are also cleared to bare pavement.

      Priority 1 and 2 routes: Bare Pavement Standard
      On Priority 1 and 2 routes, crews plow the snow so pavement is showing on through-lanes. In order to clear these roads down to bare pavement, crews put down material to prevent iciness and soften the snow. Then they use either a front plow (on the front of a sander) or a belly plow (underneath the truck) to move the snow to the side of the road.

      Residential roads: Packed Snow Standard
      Residential streets are included in The City’s snow control efforts, too. Under the policy, residential roads and playground zones (P3 & P4 routes) are worked on, but are not cleared to the pavement like Priority 1 and 2 routes.


      Crews typically “flat blade” in residential areas. That means a sander operator tilts the blade down and scrapes the snow, packing it down in attempt to minimize ruts and make the road passable. Crews use their plows to knock down snow ruts to 12 cm on residential roads and apply material like salt or pickle, a salt/gravel mixture, depending on road temperatures. Making residential roads passable ensures that all emergency vehicles are able to maintain access.

      More information on the City’s snow and ice control
      For current updates on snow clearing efforts, FAQs, and more information on our Seven Day Snow Plan, visit Calgary.ca/snow.
    • 10 questions to think about before you get a pet 23 December 2015 Updated December 23, 2015
      Are you looking to give a pet a new home for Christmas this year? While we have a number of cats and dogs here at the Animal Services Centre we want you to think about a few things before adopting this Christmas:

      Memphis is looking for someone willing to shower her with lots
      of love and attention
      1. What will my life look like in the future? The pet you adopt today could live up to 10 to 15 years or more. Planning how you will care for your pet in the future is important to think about before you make the lifelong commitment.
      2. How much time do I have every day? Pets can demand a lot of time and even cats require you to have a routine and schedule. Walking, playing, grooming, feeding and training are just some of the things that will regularly have you sharing your time with your furry companion. 
      3. Can I afford it? Animals can be very expensive. High quality food, grooming appointments, pet supplies, training classes and veterinary care expenses are just some of the costs you will encounter as a pet owner. 
      4. Am I willing to put in the training time? Dogs and cats aren’t born knowing good manners – they need to learn. Investing time into training isn’t just about building skills though, it’s also about building a relationship with your new dog or cat during a special time together. 
      5. Do I have kids or am I planning to have kids? If you have children or if kids are in your future you will need to plan around that when choosing what pet to adopt. Just like humans, not all pets love hanging out with kids.
      6. What is your family hoping for? Are you looking for a furry friend to snuggle on the couch? An exercise buddy? An agility star? Having a clear idea of what you hope to get out of your relationship with your new pet will help you narrow down your choices when considering potential adoptees!
      7. Does your family already have other pets? If you have pets in the home, how will you prepare them for the new arrival? Both The City and Calgary Humane Society require any dog-to-dog introductions before an adoption is final. 
      8. Is my house pet friendly? Many dogs and cats never cause any property damage in a home, but just in case it is important that you pet-proof as much as possible and temporarily put away any items you fear may get damaged until you understand how your new pet behaves at home.
      9. Have I done enough research? Different breeds and ages will vary in their personalities and energy levels, so plenty of research prior to committing to a new friend is essential. 
      10. Am I ready to make a lifetime commitment? Adoption decisions should never be rushed. If you need extra time to think about your adoption decision it is okay to sleep on it. There will always be animals looking for a "forever home."


      If now is the right time, learn more about adopting a cat or dog from The City or visit calgaryhumane.ca to learn more about adopting from the Calgary Humane Society.


    • Calgary’s real estate market: impact on property owners 17 December 2015 With the drop in the price of oil and the impact that’s having on many Albertans, there is some good news for Calgary property owners.

      Each year, The City of Calgary determines the assessed value of every property and business in the city as of July 1 of the previous year, in accordance with the Municipal Government Act. In preparation for the mailing of the 2016 assessment notices, The City’s analysis of the market condition as of July 1, 2015 showed it to be, for the most part, stable.

      What does this mean?
      Although some property types did decrease in value as of July 1, 2015, the residential market (especially condominium and multi-residential properties) held its value reasonably well.

      “Although there will always be variances among individual properties and specific communities, our observation of the market indicates that overall residential market change from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015 is down only one per cent and the residential condominium market is up three per cent,” said Nelson Karpa, Director/City Assessor of Assessment. “Properties are still selling and the selling price shows they are holding their value.”

      Any change in the market conditions after July 1, 2015 will be reflected on the 2017 assessment notices.

      To review your assessment, contact Assessment during the Customer Review Period (Jan. 5 to March 7, 2016) at 403-268-2888 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
    • Who’s at the door? City inspectors visit by appointment only 17 December 2015 Are you renovating your basement? Altering the structure of your home? Changing a natural gas, electrical or plumbing system?

      If the answer to any of these questions is yes, City permits and inspections are required.

      Unannounced door-to-door visit

      But if someone knocks on your door and asks to inspect your home without an appointment, do not let them in until you can closely examine their City ID. If you're in doubt, call 311.

      “Only in unusual circumstances, or where a permit follow-up visit is required, would our inspectors show up unannounced,” says Marco Civitarese, The City of Calgary’s Chief Building Official. “We encourage you to closely scrutinize any ID that is presented when anyone comes to your door. A closer look at an ID presented by an illegitimate individual would show definite flaws."

      The City has received several complaints of door-to-door sellers claiming to represent government energy groups and asking to inspect your furnace or water heater to see if it’s safe and energy efficient. They will often come complete with orange vests, picture ID and clipboards of documents.
      City of Calgary Safety Code Officers like electrical
      inspector Michael De Carlo identify themselves with
      picture ID, and unless there are extreme circumstances,
      they will have an appointment.

      Our inspectors identify themselves with City of Calgary picture ID badges and drive city-marked vehicles. Most of the time, they visit a home to verify that renovations or additions meet Alberta’s safety codes after a Building Permit has been applied for.

      Emergency situations

      In the event of an emergency, a City inspector will visit without an appointment if:
      • There is visible damage to your property.
      • Electrical or gas repairs are potentially required.
      • Only a qualified, licensed contractor can make repairs before services can be restored safely.

      Technical Assistance Centre

      Our safety codes officers can provide information and technical assistance in relation to applicable Alberta codes, including building, electrical, plumbing, natural gas and propane. A number of commonly asked technical questions can be found on calgary.ca/tac, along with an online inquiry form for additional questions.

      Permit responsibility

      Homeowners are responsible for ensuring permits are obtained and inspections are completed. To find out if you need a permit for your work or to check if any required permits and inspections have been completed at your address, contact our Planning Services Call Centre at 403-268-5311.

      Additional resources
    • Skate, swim and dance into 2016 with fun, family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations 15 December 2015
      This New Year’s Eve, ring in 2016 with a free Outdoor Celebration and countdown to midnight at Olympic Plaza, a free Family Dance Party at the Municipal Building atrium, or a Family Pool Party at Village Square Leisure Centre.

      Outdoor Celebration at Olympic Plaza


      Bundle up for the weather and join the party outside at The Outdoor Celebration on Olympic Plaza starting at 8 p.m. Bring your skates or borrow from Skate Shack, who will be onsite offering free rentals until 11:45 p.m., and take a spin on the ice. The festivities will include ice sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations, storytelling and bonfire songs by the fire pit, DJ music and entertainment with emcee Andrew Phung. 

      Cap off the night by welcoming 2016 with a spectacular countdown to midnight featuring a video, light and laser show synchronized to music and fireworks!


      Family Dance Party & Kid’s Countdown at Municipal Atrium (City Hall)


      Dress in neon or white and anything that glows, and kick off the evening with a boogie at the Family Dance Party from 7 – 9 p.m. The Municipal Building becomes party central with music, stilt walkers, a magician and fire spinners. All you fun party-goers can leave messages for 2016 on the glow-in-the-dark resolution wall, make a hand-made reminder of the night at the craft table, test your aiming skills for prizes at the beanbag toss and bounce your way through the inflatable obstacle course. There will be an under-five-years-old play area for the littlest partiers and families can stay energized with free hot chocolate courtesy of Good Earth Cafe. The fun will finish with the always-popular kids’ countdown at 9 p.m.


      Both parties will include lots of great photos ops and the chance to get the perfect New Year’s Eve selfie. Join our Facebook event for updates.


      Swim and Sport Party at Village Square Leisure Centre


      As a family you can also play, swim, jump, splash and slide into 2016 at Village Square Leisure Centre. Bring the whole family; grandparents, aunts & uncles and friends for tons of fun. Head to the gymnasium from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. for arts and crafts, games, obstacle courses, a bouncy house and the “Take a Selfie” photo booth. From 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., take the party to the waterpark where there will be a DJ pumping out tunes as families enjoy the wave pool, slides, hot tub and safari splash. Stay until the very end to enjoy the Pool Party Countdown! Family admission rate for the event is $26.30


      No matter where you are or which party you’ve decided to attend we invite you to share your experiences at the events by using #yycnye.


      Getting to and from the events


      Calgary Transit is providing late night New Year’s Eve service to connect you to and from events safely. CTrains will run every 15 minutes with the last CTrain leaving downtown at 3 a.m., and 12 bus routes will be running every 30 to 45 minutes with last trips leaving downtown at approximately 3 a.m.


      Visit calgarytransit.com for more information, including a list of the bus routes that will have extended hours.


      To help facilitate the celebrations at the Municipal Building and Olympic Plaza, MacLeod Trail from Sixth Avenue S.W. to Ninth Avenue. S.W. will be closed from 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 3 a.m. on Jan. 1.


      For more information on The City of Calgary’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations visit, calgary.ca/nye or call 311.  


      Submitted by Lauren Greschner, Culture Division, Recreation 
    • The City and Uber work on smart ridesharing regulations to serve customers better 11 December 2015 Transportation options and expanded service is something we can all agree upon. The City of Calgary and Uber continue to work together to meet the needs of citizens who want safe, reliable, readily-available transportation choices.

      Collaborating to create transportation choices
      We are happy to announce that we continue to have many positive conversations with industry and stakeholders. These conversations are leading us towards the creation of a regulatory framework, which will allow transportation network companies and private for-hire vehicle drivers to operate in Calgary.

      The world is changing
      The world is changing the way it does business and The City is working on options that will incorporate new technologies. We strive to create an environment that fosters Calgary’s entrepreneurial spirit and that spirit includes creating smart ridesharing solutions.

      Safety
      We take our responsibility to keep Calgarians safe very seriously. That’s why we sought and were granted a temporary injunction against private for-hire vehicle drivers using the Uber app. Uber has agreed that it will continue to suspend its private for-hire vehicle operations in Calgary while the temporary injunction is in effect as we work towards creating smart ridesharing options.

      Next Steps
      On Nov. 16, 2015, City Council instructed Administration to prepare amendments to the Livery Transport Bylaw to regulate transportation network companies and private for-hire vehicle drivers and to present amendments to Council no later than Feb. 22, 2016.
    • Green Line north – field investigation begins this week! 10 December 2015 Residents, businesses, and visitors to Calgary may notice drilling activity in various locations along Centre Street North, downtown, and in Prince's Island Park starting this week. This work marks the first step in investigating potential Green Line routes in the Centre City and up towards communities in north Calgary along Centre Street.

      Drilling last year for the southeast leg of the Green Line
      Why are we drilling?
      Geotechnical drilling is usually done before planning to build any kind of infrastructure. The idea is to test the stability of surrounding area and collect soil and rock samples to determine if there is anything in the ground that may impact future construction. The Green Line will travel up Centre Street North, and we are currently gathering technical information to help us understand the opportunities and challenges involved with building an elevated, ground level, or underground transit line.

      Does this mean construction is starting on the Green Line?
      No. Construction is not starting on the Green Line yet. The Green Line team will be starting public engagement on the north leg of the Green Line in January, and will be focused around stations, community integration and route alignment (underground, elevated or street-level LRT). Drilling is just the first step in understanding some of the technical considerations for the project.

      Are there any environmental impacts related to the drilling?
      Our crews are very careful when drilling in environmentally sensitive areas such as along the Bow River. While the drilling is loud and involves heavy machinery, the impacts on the surrounding environment are quite small. The holes that are drilled in the ground will vary in depth at each location. Trees around the drilling area will be protected, and boreholes will be filled and remediated after samples are taken.

      About the Green Line
      The Green Line will be a 40 km long transit line extending from Seton in the southeast to Country Hills in the north. Once constructed, it will nearly double the size of Calgary’s current LRT network, providing approximately 300,000 Calgarians with reliable and efficient transit service. The Green Line will not only move people from point A to point B – it will be a staple of the communities that it touches, creating Transit Oriented Development (TOD) areas where people can live, work and play in close proximity to public transit.

      Green Line stations will be built for low-floor trains, meaning they will be small in scale and seamlessly integrated into communities with strong walking, cycling and bus connections to and from each station.

      Recent milestones
      City Council recently approved three important milestones for the Green Line project:
      1. The Green Line route alignment and location of 15 stations on the southeast leg of the line from 4 Street S.E. to Seton.
      2. The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan for the southeast leg of the line, which included plans for future development in Inglewood/Ramsay/26 Avenue S.E., Millican/Lynnwood/Ogden, and South Hill.
      3. A formal request to the Province for funding the Green Line LRT.
      The recommendations presented to Council were based on a number of streams of input, including public and stakeholder engagement, technical analysis, and discussions with the development community. The project has come a long way since our first public meetings in January 2015, and we were able to develop a plan that balanced the needs and aspirations of neighbourhoods in the southeast, create a transit service that will move people efficiently around the southeast part of the city, while also providing the opportunities for new development in communities. We look forward to working through a similar process with communities in the north and downtown.

      Stay tuned for public engagement opportunities starting in January 2016. Visit the website for updates on upcoming events and opportunities to get involved!

      Follow the Green Line story!
      www.calgary.ca/greenline
      Twitter: @yyctransport #GreenLineYYC
      Instagram: GreenLineYYC
    • Fill the kids' stockings with fun this year 9 December 2015 If you’re looking for a fun and affordable gift idea for kids, we have a solution that will help keep them healthy and happy.

      Our kids stocking stuffers are a great deal at only $5. Each stocking stuffer includes six coupons that allow a child two free leisure centre admissions and four free swim admissions to any City of Calgary pool.

      Only a limited number of stocking stuffers are printed each year so we do recommend getting yours quickly before they sell out.

      Stocking Stuffers can be purchased from the following locations:

      Any of the 12 City aquatic and fitness centres
      Either of our two leisure centres: Southland or Village Square
      Online at CITYonline
      In person at the Recreation Customer Service Centre, North Tower, 2808 Spiller Rd. S.E.

      “This is the third year we have offered kids stocking stuffers and our customer feedback has been very positive,” says Heather Bruce, regional manager with Recreation. “We know kids love swimming and spending time at our water parks. Stocking stuffers are a great gift for any budget.”

      Stocking stuffer coupons are on sale now and can be redeemed until June 30, 2016.

      For more information on how to get moving and stay active visit calgary.ca/recreation.

    • Snow Angels: Just regular folks helping out their neighbours 8 December 2015 With snow in the forecast we are launching this year’s Snow Angels campaign. You can build community pride by clearing ice and snow from the walkways of those in need in your neighbourhood.

      “Anyone can be a Snow Angel – it’s just regular folks wanting to help out older adults or persons with mobility and health needs who live nearby,” says Geoff Moore, program coordinator. “The campaign has two parts: help someone out and recognize someone who has helped out.”

      Keeping walkways clear of ice and snow helps everyone move safely around their neighbourhoods during the winter. For some people, this means that they can still get out of the house for exercise, a change of scenery or a neighbourly visit.

      Clearing snow can be challenging – even dangerous – for older adults and others with limited mobility.

      “Sometimes it only takes a few extra minutes after a snowfall to help a neighbour – especially before the walk is packed by foot traffic,” says Moore. “It means so much to those with limitations.”

      All nominated Snow Angels are officially recognized by Mayor Nenshi and entered into a prize draw to be held in the spring.

      If someone has cleared your sidewalk, show your appreciation by submitting their name as a Snow Angel at 311 online. For more information, visit: calgary.ca/SnowAngels.

      Submitted by Peter Jacoby, Community & Neighbourhood Services
    • Cycle Track Highlights 8 December 2015 This Friday, December 11, we'll be presenting the first update on the cycle track network pilot project, since the tracks opened, at the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting or submit a letter with their comments. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the highlights you can expect to see.



      Bike Trips
      We have been using automated counters to count the number of bike trips taken each day since the network opened. Between June 18 and November 15, 2015 388 000 bike trips were counted at three middle count locations. Network wide, 910 000 trips were counted at 10 count locations. According to the Green Lane Project, American cities that have installed cycle tracks see on average a 75% increase in bicycle trips within their first year, yet our numbers show a 95% average increase in daily bike trips along the network from September 2014 baseline data counts to September 2015 counts.

      We’ve also used counters to determine how many cars and bikes are travelling on the cycle track routes and found that the per cent of daily bicycle trips on roads with cycle tracks has increased to 7.6% of traffic. These numbers give us a picture of how people are travelling downtown, and indicate that improving cycling infrastructure has improved mobility options for Calgarians. During the peak rush hours, bicycles make up an even higher proportion of on-street traffic.

      Route

      Hour

      Number of Car Trips

      Number of Bike Trips

      Total Number Trips

      Bike Mode Split

      5 Street at the CPR underpass

      4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

      1100

      208

      1308

      15.9%

      12 Avenue west of 2 St SW

      7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

      1111

      108

      1219

      8.9%

      8 Avenue west of 3 St S.W.

      7:30 a.m. to  8:30 a.m.

      163

      118

      281

      42%

      Number of car and bicycle trips along each cycle track route during the peak hour on one day in September 2015.

      Bike Trips in the Winter
      The cycle tracks are open during the winter months and although there are fewer bike trips in the winter, our counts on the 7 Street cycle track show there was an average of 340 daily weekday bicycle trips last winter (December 2014 to March 2015).This is higher than the number of daily summertime bike trips of 270 before the track was built. People can find the daily count for each of the tracks in the winter months online.

      Satisfaction
      A third-party telephone survey was conducted by Ipsos Reid in September 2015 regarding the cycle track network and Stephen Avenue pilot projects. The telephone survey found that the majority of Calgarians continue to support the pilot projects, with 64% saying they support the cycle track pilot and 63% saying they support the Stephen Avenue bicycle pilot. The same survey will be conducted again in September 2016 so we can gauge how satisfaction has changed during the course of the pilot project.

      Change in Driving Time
      We anticipated that travel times for drivers would increase and data collection specialists used GPS and stopwatch trials to record travel time by car along each of the routes. They measured the amount of time it took to travel from one end of each cycle track to the other for each route, during the morning and afternoon peak periods. Compared to before the tracks were installed, they found that the average peak period auto travel time for the entire length of each cycle track has increased between 10 and 120 seconds, which is equivalent to waiting at one or two red lights.

      Stephen Avenue Update
      One of the other things we’ll be reporting on is the data collected on Stephen Avenue, which has been operating as a shared space for people walking and cycling between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as people driving after 6 p.m. There is an average of 580 daily bicycle trips on Stephen Avenue, and 22% of all people cycling here are female. This is the highest increase in the per cent of female riders (up 10% from 2014). Across the cycle track network, 27% of the riders are women, which is 7% higher than before the cycle tracks opened.

      You can learn more at our presentation to Committee on Friday, or check out calgary.ca/cycletracks.


     

    Blog Categories