Night Transit, part 1

Taxis are a hot topic in Calgary; a crunch on cabs late at night has had the City proposing strong restrictions, including requiring licensees to keep taxis on the market. Drivers and taxi company owners are protesting some of the proposed restrictions to the point that one owner was removed from a taxi commission meeting due to their strong language.

There is a clear need for additional transportation late at night, especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The discussion has been myopically focused on the taxi industry, who seems to have a strong resistance to serving this market. Unsurprisingly, here at the TransitCamp YYC blog, another solution comes to mind…

Calgary is becoming a bigger city every year, and part of becoming a bigger city is being a 24 hour a day city. Calgary Transit needs to cater for overnight travel makers; to people whose work starts or ends in odd hours, to people who are out socializing (or, yes, at a bar) after transit service shuts down.

There a substantial taxi crunch at 2 AM when bars close; this can be smoothed out with transit service. The cost of a cab, or the difficulty in getting one, can deter some people who might choose to drive, even if they’ve had a few. Transit can help keep these potential drunk drivers off the road. In addition to the customers, the hospitality industry has many workers – often lower income – who are getting off the job after 1 AM when the buses and trains have stopped running. Many of Calgary’s other employment nodes, including hospitals and the airport, operate 24 hours.

Overnight transit can also increase transit presence in other ways; someone might be thinking of attending a concert that is supposed to finish around 11:30 PM, and which they would like to take transit to. If the concert runs late, though, they face the choice between walking out before the encore or fighting with everybody else for an expensive taxi – so they drive instead, forgoing both transit trips because of the risk of service ending. If we want to encourage residents to rely on transit, and make the sorts of housing, auto ownership and lifestyle choices that support transit ridership, service needs to be reliable all the time.

New York subways run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but this is hardly a standard we need to (or can afford to) match. Many transit systems of Calgary’s size or larger operate night transit service (“night” here meaning overnight, during the roughly 1 AM – 5 AM time period). Typically, night transit has the following properties:

  • Bus operations; with very few exceptions (New York and Chicago, with London starting next year), night service does not involve trains. This matches the lighter demand to the cheaper vehicle, but more importantly, it preserves the overnight window for rail maintenance. (And a quick tip of the hat to Calgary’s overnight transit workers; the cleaners, mechanics, security officers and track workers out there, working hard at unsung jobs.) For instance, in San Francisco, the All-Nighter service provides bus runs down light rail routes such as the N and T, while across the bay in Oakland, AC Transit provides service to most of the BART subway stations.
  • Limited routes providing broad coverage; only major corridors are served, and walk distances will rise. The Blue Night network in Toronto provides 86% of population within 1250m walking distance of a transit stop. (To compare, Calgary Transit’s daytime coverage goal is 95% of population within 400m walking distance of a transit stop.) This does have the benefit of helping reinforce certain corridors as being primary transit corridors.
  • Basic schedule; instead of the 15 minute or lower headways between primary network buses and trains that are seen during the day, buses run less frequently, meeting the lower demand. In Ottawa, the 97 Airport-Bayshore transitway route runs 24 hours a day, but drops service from 15 minutes in the midday to 30 minutes for overnight service.
  • Time-coordinated schedule; where buses gather at pulse points at the same time. This permits easy transfers, which would otherwise be very inconvenient given the low frequency of service. In Vancouver, 11 of the 12 NightBus routes (shown below) leave the same part of downtown at the same time. To go between suburban destinations like Richmond or UBC, riders can ride downtown and switch between any night bus.

A map showing the routes in the Vancouver night bus network

This basic, skeletal system supporting the needs of overnight riders without unacceptable expense, is something that could be readily applied here in Calgary. The next post will consider what a night transit system might look like.

 

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends!

With the Family Day long weekend drawing to a close in Calgary, the time has come for TransitCamp YYC to get back to our business as Calgarians making transit better — and clearly, not a moment too soon.

City Council’s Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit has a full agenda this Wednesday. Part of our job at TransitCamp YYC is to review and analyse the reports that municipal administrators prepare for consideration by this committee, to ensure that the immediate and the long-term needs of Calgary Transit’s passengers and customers are being addressed by the committee, and ultimately by City Council. Our mandate is to bring our experience and our expertise in working with municipal, institutional, and passenger stakeholders on public transit in Calgary to addressing the issues and finding solutions.

This Wednesday’s docket makes it pretty clear that of the former, we have some — and of the latter, we need some.

Let’s take the committee report on new Calgary Transit fare strategies as a case in point. The structure for assessing and charging Calgary Transit passenger fares must be transparent and equitable; that much is obvious. As TransitCamp YYC’s Kim Jones rightly noted, however, “care must be taken to not overburden vulnerable Calgarians with increased fares beyond what they can pay.” Let’s make fare products easier to buy and simpler to understand — especially for those who need transit services most. Let’s look at building on revenue opportunities from advertising, parking, and land development to take some of the day-to-day pressure off the fare box. Let’s make Calgary Transit’s fare system better, and fairer.

Now what about the committee report on Phase One of the Centre City Transit Improvements Plan? TransitCamp YYC will invite the committee to consider a broad range of measures to make inner-city public transportation more robust and effective. The thoughts you’ll find on the public record here and here speak to a much larger issue — the need for the Centre City Transit Improvements Plan to look past the quick fix, the cheap fix, and to rise to the strategic horizon that the RouteAhead transit plan anticipates for this city as a whole. TransitCamp YYC will be front and centre in the discussions that will come over the next twenty months with Phase Two of the plan. TransitCamp YYC will be there every step of the way to make sure that Calgarians can have that vital and constructive dialogue that will turn this plan in progress into a Centre City Transit Improvement Strategy that we can execute for the benefit of inner-city transit passengers and for all Calgarians.

So if you’re thinking that Wednesday’s going to be a pretty big day for the future of public transit in Calgary, you’re going to be on the mark. TransitCamp YYC’s going to be there. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Candidate Responses: Innovative Ideas and the Role of Transit

For our final installment of our municipal election 2013 candidates survey we are going to post the responses to our final two questions:

What is your most innovative idea for improving transit in Calgary?

and

What is the role of transit in Calgary?

These are important questions. The first question speaks to a candidates understanding of transit issues, but also their ingenuity in an environment of constrained funding. The second question really gets to the heart of the candidates understanding of transit. Is transit just something used to ease congestion? Or is it something used to provide mobility to those who do not drive a private vehicle? Is transit something that is used to move as many people as efficiently as possible, or is the goal to provide an basic level of service regardless of ridership? The differences between these roles in fundamental to understanding how to build the type of transit system we need to continue to be a successful transit city and improve upon that success.

Here are the results:

 

Mayor

Jon Lord (Innovative Idea): I introduced Telework concepts to the City in 1998, well ahead of the curve, and still believe that much of Calgary could be teleworking more than they are. More people working at home on the computers would reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, gas consumption, and reduce cattle-car crowding on current transit, making it more attractive for many. You could reduce the rush hour down to more manageable levels, reducing travel times and increasing productivity of people who otherwise would be stuck in their cars wasting time. There are many benefits to telework.

Jon Lord (Role of Transit): Moving people back and forth from work at the downtown factories, same as it was in the 1800’s. Time to change – modern manufacturing can be done at home, shopping can be done at home, and transit must become a more useful benefit to our citizens in other ways.

Naheed Nenshi (Innovative Idea): I was pleased to spearhead the creation of RouteAhead, the 30-year plan for Calgary Transit. Surprisingly, there had never been a long-term plan before. There are many innovative ideas embedded in RouteAhead, most of which I can’t take credit for, but I am very excited about the vision of primary transit routes running north and south, east and west across the city, not just to downtown. All we need now is many billions of dollars. But I like a challenge. One of the things I’m most interested in is the possibility of real-time arrival information system wide. The ability to access real-time information on your mobile device in an easy-to-use interface has the possibility to dramatically change and improve how citizens experience transit. I am also very pleased to have led the implementation of the Route 300 BRT to the airport, which has also eased the crowding along the busy Centre Street corridor.

Naheed Nenshi (Role of Transit): Transit is the solution to so many issues of urban life: enhancing mobility, easing congestion, improving air quality and increasing social mobility so that those who can’t afford to drive can be full participants in the community. When it works well, it’s just a part of living in a city for everyone – rich and poor, young and old – see it as a desirable choice. For that to work, it has to be convenient, affordable, welcoming, clean, safe, and pleasant.

 

Ward 1:

John Hilton O’Brien (Innovative Idea): Shared-ride systems like Access Calgary can be expanded. Consider a form of shared-ride system available to the general public – a sort of cross between a bus and a taxi, where you book rides which are shared with other commuters for a higher rate than a bus but lower than a cab.

John Hilton O’Brien (Role of Transit): Transit is part of a spectrum of transportation which also includes walking, bus, train, and cab. It needs to be seen as part of a complete solution. It should be possible to use it as the primary form of transportation for all necessary activities, even if people do not necessarily do so. This does not mean that we need to coerce people to use transit instead of private vehicles: rather, we should make transit a convenient, cheap, and viable option for everyone.

Dan Larabie (Innovative Idea): We should make city councillors ride it on a regular basis so they can see and feel the safety concerns of the riders and drivers. It’s easy to make transit decisions from the comfort of the council chamber. It’s another thing to ride it and feel the reality of taking the transit system after 6pm.

Dan Larabie (Role of Transit): The role of transit is to transport Calgarians throughout the city safely, efficiently and for a reasonable price.

Ward Sutherland (Innovative Idea): It’s not an innovative idea but a perspective. All most 87% of Calgarians choose to live in planned communities outside of the city core and that fact may not change significantly in the near future. Our challenge is how best provide them with viable opportunities to choose transit for their work commute.

Ward Sutherland (Role of Transit): To provide residents of Calgary with options on how they can commute within Calgary based on their needs and manage it effectively from an infrastructure & operating cost standpoint.

Chris Harper (Innovative Idea): Innovation is sometimes simply about using what we already have in new ways. Efforts such as the natural gas pilot project and introduction of GPS technology on transit are some efforts
where we can reduce our environmental and cost impacts of providing transit service, while improving customer service and transit predictability. I’m very interested in seeing GPS introduced onto transit assets so that mobile phone users can get a reliable read on when their transit ride will arrive. Reliability will increase when the arrival of transit is predictable, and GPS will provide this.

Chris Harper (Role of Transit): Public transit in Calgary has several roles it plays. With limited land available for the purpose of transportation in general, public transit enables the movements of more residents with reduced demand on transportation infrastructure. It also ensures that those without vehicles are able to be mobile within the city, a key element of ensuring our local economy has access to labour. The key to ensuring these roles are satisfied is design. More public transit will not in itself create less demand for vehicles or greater efficiency in mobility. The public transit system must also be designed so that it is the path of least resistance when an individual is deciding how to move from point A to B.

Judi Vandenbrink (Innovative Idea): We need to address the safety concerns of transit passengers by adding safety switches beside each seat or having cameras in each railcar so that there is immediate access for help in unsafe situations. There should also be similar systems on busses.
We need to build dedicated bus lanes to keep busses on time. This is crucial during the winter months when passengers are left in the bitter cold waiting for busses.

 

Ward 2

Terry Wong (Innovative Idea): Third Party transit system in developing communities to Calgary Transit BRT and LRT hubs. Ridership would find this seamless but more available. Third party would find this cost efficient and increase market potential of their land. Calgary Transit will have increased ridership albeit cost would be borne by CT and revenues accrued to 3rd Party. Secondly, we need to investigate getting our tax share of CT operating costs from out of town users on the LRT and buses and the CT Park and Ride. This can be done without expensing Calgary riders by using ParkPlus system and scanning for out of city users (ps. You can also avoid provincial registry charges by purchasing the registry database and loading data onto CPA ParkPlus system)

Terry Wong (Role of Transit): Prime role / mandate for CT is moving people across Calgary. They should consider getting out of the parking business; move this to Calgary Parking Authority.

Joe Magliocca (Innovative Idea): Dialogue. Communication with my constituents in Ward 2 as they are coming up with some great issues at the door. I am also a strong advocate of continuing the Calgary Transit Customer Advisory Group which includes important discourse on things such as the following: Communication of service delays or change, Calgary Transit website, including trip planning function, cleanliness, upkeep, quality and safety of Calgary Transit facilities, fare payment system, customer service protocols, new technology and other innovative practices related to customer experience such as mobile device applications, GPS, etc. and enforcement and safety on Calgary Transit.

Joe Magliocca (Role of Transit): Calgary Transit plays a serious role in our city. This multi-role includes, but, is not limited to the following 4 points:
1. Access – Transit helps move those who do not own motorized modes of transportation, can’t transport themselves or wish to avoid the log jam called rush hour.
2. Environmental Concerns – There are those in Calgary who purposely travel in this public manner to reduce what they feel is their “carbon foot print”. They also feel that reducing personal motorized modes of transportation will result in cleaner air and reduced noise.
3. Saves Individual Monies – I have spoken to some that have said with the ever increasing price of fuel and Insurance that public transit is giving them a better quality of life. Also, by not having a car they no longer have a regular maintenance cost and have used their saved money for family trips and wants and needs around their household.
4. Reduce Stress On The Public Purse -Many have communicated that the less cars on the road = less roads and maintenance for both the municipal and provincial level of governments and less of a demand on the taxpayer.

Shawn Ripley (Innovative Idea): We need to work on moving people more efficiently around the communities they live in, and not just in and out of downtown and the C-train stations. People don’t just need to get to work, they need to get to their groceries, recreation centres and parks.

Shawn Ripley (Role of Transit): Transit provides an essential role in Calgary as a successful city. It moves people around at an affordable cost, at in a volume that cannot be managed by single vehicles, and has positive environmental impacts. As our city continues to grow we need to make sure transit is able to continue to provide the mobility people need to be able to live their lives.

Richard Poon (Innovative Idea): Use GPS technology to report the locations of all buses on the road and passengers can use their smartphone to track where is bus and when it will arrive

Richard Poon (Role of Transit): Provide commuting services to whom needed most on a punctual basis.

Bernie Dowhan (Innovative Idea): My innovative idea will definitely generate discussion. Borrowing from Lausanne, Switzerland; my idea centers around mobilizing the C-Train for use after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. To assist with the lack of taxis at this time, run special trains when bars are closing. Using these trains as a passenger would cost extra (2x to 3x) to deal with the extra security needed on each individual train to deal with the inebriated crowd. Taxis could then transport from the stations to peoples homes instead of heading back to downtown for another fare. This innovative idea will hopefully result in less DUI’s and better taxi service.

Bernie Dowhan (Role of Transit): The role of transit is Calgary is to provide a reliable and affordable way of transporting citizens in this city. The experience must be safe and clean.

 

Ward 3

Jim Stevenson (Innovative Idea): We are presently exploring a P3 project with the federal government that would see Calgary’s bus network turn to natural gas as a fuel source.

Jim Stevenson (Role of Transit): Calgary Transit must provide options for all residents, offering both connectivity and ease of use.

 

Ward 4

Gael Macleod (Innovative Idea): I think it is essential that we use the most up to date information about innovative transit options that are a good fit for Calgary. We also have to implement both short and long term solutions to ensure we are making transit more accessible to Calgarians. The Centre Street Transitway is a great example of innovation. It is a bridge between the current transit routes that are very close to capacity against the longer term goal of an LRT. It is a solution to the challenges of Ward 4 residents in getting to and from the downtown core every day.

Gael Macleod (Role of Transit): I think it is essential that we use the most up to date information about innovative transit options that are a good fit for Calgary. We also have to implement both short and long term solutions to ensure we are making transit more accessible to Calgarians. The Centre Street Transitway is a great example of innovation. It is a bridge between the current transit routes that are very close to capacity against the longer term goal of an LRT. It is a solution to the challenges of Ward 4 residents in getting to and from the downtown core every day.

Michael Hartford (Innovative Idea): I would like to see a high speed raised transit system put in to circle the city and connect the bedroom communities around Calgary. The stations, particularly those connecting to the LRT, could be built along the lines of NYC’s Grand Central station with full shopping, restaurants, parking and shelters for transferring trains or busses. This would help drive traffic out to some of the larger shopping centers in the area as well the communities even driving up property values in said communities. With that in mind it would be more than fair to have them build the sections and stations servicing them while using money from the provincial and federal governments to assist Calgary in building the primary tracks. With the addition of cars with built-in pay lockers bikes and skis/snowboards could be taken out to Banff and such ski/hike/mountain biking communities. Fees, of course, would be higher but those could be kept down with the retail rents from the major stations.

Michael Hartford (Role of Transit): To assist Calgarians to get around in a more cost effective manner and help reduce congestion on our roads and pollution from the city’s vehicles.

Blair Houston (Innovative Idea): Talking with the communities and finding a more effective use of planning. There is so much waste and if the City wants people to use Transit, they must plan each community accordingly. Planning, Planning and Community Consultation

Blair Houston (Role of Transit): To transport people effectively around the city.

 

Ward 5

Ray Jones (Innovative Idea): Introducing the Low Income Transit Bus Passes for all low income Calgarians rather than only certain groups.

Ray Jones (Role of Transit): To provide a safe, affordable and efficient service to Calgarians.

 

Ward 6

Richard Pootmans (Innovative Idea): Encouraging employers to enable staff to travel at off peak hours when we have more capacity Encouraging people to work from home or elsewhere 1 day per week to reduce congestion Moving to shuttle service where possible to reduce noise

Richard Pootmans (Role of Transit): To enable people to travel safely and efficiently for work and personal travel

Joe Connelly (Innovative Idea): # 1 we should keep the LRT lines open later on Friday and Saturday nights so it provides an alternative to cabs (which are impossible to get).
#2 Put undercover security on the line, get more cameras in the area and increase the fare sweeps.

Joe Connelly (Role of Transit): Move people/viable alternative to driving

Bob Bowles (Innovative Idea): Flying cars. Seriously, rush hour is now 7-10 am and 3-7 pm. God forbid there is an accident on a main road and you can add another hour. If we make it more attractive for large companies to move out of the DT core (such as Imperial Oil moving to Quarry Park) we might relieve some congestion.

Bob Bowles (Role of Transit): It is all about mobility, getting people from A to B as quickly and painlessly as possible. This is a long term problem that requires serious study by people who truly understand the issues and implications.

 

Ward 7

Joylin Nodwell (Innovative Idea): Introducing fares based on the distance traveled and revisit the implementation of an electronic fare system (card) to replace paper tickets (saving costs, being eco friendly, and adding convenience to riders). Users can swipe their electronic cards upon boarding and exiting transit.

Joylin Nodwell (Role of Transit): Transit plays a critical role in Calgary’s ongoing sustainable transportation issue. The more we can encourage people to consider alternate ways to get around our City, the less dependence we will have on our cars. Promoting ridership, will have positive impact on our city’s traffic situation. Make Transit user friendly!

Druh Farrell (Innovative Idea): The RouteAhead strategy includes creative engagement tools for asking Calgarians how they think we can improve transit. One tool, the engagement bus, provided transit employees with input from citizens as they rode the routes with the transit team. For the future of transit in Calgary, one of the most innovative ideas yet to be explored is urban gondola technology.

Druh Farrell (Role of Transit): The role of transit is to provide safe, affordable transportation choices to Calgarians as a viable alternative to driving. Encouraging more people to choose transit will help address other community concerns, such as cut-through traffic, road congestion, and parking. A successful transit system also provides mobility to people of all ages and incomes, who are unable or cannot afford to drive their own vehicle.

Brent Alexander (Innovative Idea): A single reloadable multi model form of payment across both private (Taxi’s, car co-ops, car share programs, parking) and public forms of transit (buses, LRT). It would reduce the silo nature of how individuals view their personal transportation decisions and likely improve the diversity of their choices.

Brent Alexander (Role of Transit): The whole role of cities in society is to connect people better. More people in “one” place allows for more innovation, services and relationships to flourish. Transit plays an indispensible role in allowing cities to function well and to allow people to stay connected. If we eliminated transit, Calgary would grind to a halt due to gridlock and people would be far less mobile, with fewer options on how to maintain the mobility of their families, having to rely strictly on private vehicles.

 

Ward 8

Ian Newman (Innovative Idea): I don’t have any real innovations to our transit system in my bag of tricks, but I would like to see us continue to push our Transit Payment System and Pass System into the 21st century. I also believe we need to look outside of the box in how we deliver safety on our trains and buses.

Ian Newman (Role of Transit): To get people from where they are, to where they need to be in a safe and economical manner.

John Mar (Innovative Idea): As an Inner City Alderman, I have worked with Beltline as well as Business Revitalisation Zones to support the Inner City Transit loop and the return of electric street cars to Ward 8. As Alderman, I fought to ensure that this is now part of the Route Ahead Strategy, our 30 year vision for Public Transportation in Calgary.
Using the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon as inspiration, the reintroduction of Street Cars will allow for increased mobility, as well as provide assurance to development creating the ideal conditions for increased mixed use, midrise construction along traffic corridors and between transit oriented development nodes like West Brook as envisioned by the Calgary Transportation Plan and the Municipal Development Plan.

John Mar (Role of Transit): Transit, like all other departments of the City of Calgary is designed to serve the Citizens.
Our Calgary Transportation Plan calls for the development of a Primary Transit Network which provides the citizen with a safe, affordable and reliable mode of transportation citywide. Individuals with predictable schedules can utilise transit to safely and efficiently to avoid traffic congestion, freeing up additional roadway for less flexible commuters, whilst reducing green house emission. Additionally, citizens who elect to use public transit, will include seniors who cannot or no longer choose to drive, as well as youth and lower income citizens, can all use public transportation which increases our mobility, reduces congestion and wear and tear on our infrastructure.

Evan Woolley (Innovative Idea): I’ve got lots. Here are a few:
● Distance-based fares – a one stop C-Train ride from Sunalta to downtown costs the same fare as a 90 minute LRT and bus trek from Mahogany in the deep southeast to the city centre. This is unfair to Ward 8 transit riders, fares should be based on the distance travelled.
● Electronic Fare Payment – Calgary Transit has a great opportunity to include “tap in tap out” technology in its new electronic fare payment system. Riders would tap their fare card on the way on and off the bus or LRT. This would allow for distance based fares and also provide the City with a wealth of data on how Calgarians are using transit which will lead to better service.
● Hold an international competition for ideas for transit connections between Westbrook Mall and the Foothills Hospital – the Westbrook mall area has huge potential to become a mid-town hub for west Calgary. The Route Ahead plan, which I support, calls for a “new technology” to Westbrook Mall with the Foothills Hospital. Instead of imposing a solution onto the community, I propose a huge public engagement program and international competition to define what the future of transit could look like in west Calgary. No idea should be left off of the table from LRT to urban gondolas.
● Get the inner city transit loop / streetcar study included in the RouteAhead plan – inner city transit improvements will never happen unless we are able to get them on the City’s 30 year prioritized transit infrastructure list.
● Install washrooms at key LRT stations – I also care about the basics!

Evan Wooley (Role of Transit): All world-class global hubs are supported by strong transit systems. Continually improving our transit system is vital to making Calgary an even more vibrant and sustainable city. Instead of spreading out transit thinly across the City, we need to concentrate it along routes and neighbourhoods where it can become the transportation of choice. For me this would require bus service at least every 10 minutes along key routes.
We must also realize that transit is an essential service for many Calgarians and therefore low-income transit passes, accessible transit and providing a basic level of transit service is important

 

Ward 9

Jordan Katz (Innovative Idea): Discounted rates for veterans.

Jordan Katz (Role of Transit): To provide transportation options to people who lack vehicles and to provide alternatives to people with cars.

Gian-Carlo Carra (Innovative Idea): My approach to transit is traditional and very different from what is conventional today. I believe we need to deeply integrate our transit decisions with our land-use decisions. We’ve already started to do some of this, The Route Ahead, Calgary’s first strategic 30 year plan for transit set the stage for that transition. NextCITY (the transformation of our planning processes) has to potential to achieve it.

Gian-Carlo Carra (Role of Transit): Currently transit in our city enjoys its success due to its role as a pressure-release for our overtaxed automobile commuter system. I believe the best role for transit in the future is to a) continue to serve commuters, but more importantly, b) to establish a new customer-base of lifestyle transit users.

 

Ward 10

Nargis Dossa (Innovative Idea): Maybe use Toronto, Montreal and/or Vancouver Public Transit System as an example/template to modify Calgary Transit System. Keep up with urban growth!

Nargis Dossa (Role of Transit): To provide a decent public transportation to Calgarians – this includes within Metro Calgary; and within a decent time frame. Make “rates” affordable so the public is actually encouraged and attracted to take the public transit!

Andre Chabot (Innovative Idea): Instituting turn stiles in outlying transit stations.

Andre Chabot (Role of Transit): Provide an affordable means of transportation, reduce traffic congestion and reduce consumption of our limited resources.

 

Ward 11

James Maxim (Innovative Idea) Build the entire LRT system now to address these current and future challenges:
1) Environment 2) Traffic gridlock 3) Rising financial costs Being proactive by building for the future now, ensures the provision of essential transportation services for all Calgarians in a timely manner.

James Maxim (Role of Transit): Moving people in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Brian Pincott (Innovative Idea): I initiated the work on developing the SW BRT. Through a notice of motion, I asked Calgary Transit to conduct a feasibility study on how to create a BRT service for SW Calgary that would be separated from car traffic. The feasibility study was completed and shows that it is possible to add bus only lanes onto 14th Street and give public transit priority without reducing car lanes. The SW BRT is now a top priority within the mobility plan.

Brian Pincott (Role of Transit): Transit is about providing choice for Calgarians. A good transit system gives people the choice to leave their car at home for certain trips. Being able to choose to leave your car at home for some trips benefits everyone. Effective, efficient transit that functions well door-to-door is an essential service for our City.

Wayne Frisch (Innovative Idea): Expansion development of the SELRT and North Central LRT, Airport lines with the innovative part being the majority of the funding is shared using the new federal LRT grant program and matching provincial funds. The city shares the capital cost by no more than a third a P3 project finance model.

Wayne Frisch (Role of Transit): To provide easily assessable mobility options for citizens

 

Ward 12

Stephanie Kusie (Innovative Idea): While I understand that having bike lanes parallel with transit lines is a popular topic, I am very intrigued by European models of train/metro transport which see a ring line to spokes that feed into a central hub. Calgary is still a young city and I believe that we can learn a lot from other transit models from around the world.

Stephanie Kusie (Role of Transit): I view the role of transit in Calgary two fronts. First, to provide commuters with safe, affordable and accessible transit options, and second, to help relieve congestion on our roads and highways and improve traffic flow. There is also an added environmental benefit and improved air quality.

Shane Keating (Innovative Idea): BOOT is a key funding method for extending the South East LRT. Private companies build, own and operate the transit line and within a given time frame eventually transfer ownership back to the City. The Federal government has expressed interest in using this as a funding method for SETWAY. There are several other funding methods for the South East LRT: Community Revitalization Levy, GreenTRIP Funding, BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) and Building Canada/P3’s. It is imperative that we consider hybrid options that incorporate multiple options to ensure transit is growing to match development expansions across Calgary.

Shane Keating (Role of Transit): Calgary needs to offer a transit system that gets Calgarians to work with ease and comfort. Three key points must be considered: – Mass transit. We must ensure that the maximum amount of people are able to commute in single vehicles. It is far more efficient to transport people in a single unit of 600 than 10 separate units of 60. – Affordable for all. Transit needs to be made available for low income households that heavily rely on transit for their daily commutes. – Accessible for all. Transit must be accessible for peoples with disabilities.

 

Ward 13

Scott Sorokoski (Innovative Idea): BRT needs to also focus on any high use destination and not just downtown. Calaway park in the summer, the airport, all options should be looked at.

Scott Sorokoski (Role of Transit): To move people. Whether it be to transport people to work or just remove congestion from the roads the role of transit is to get people around the city. It needs to be able to work for everyone regardless of there economic status.

Andrew Frisch (Innovative Idea): Improved and additional Park and Ride Hubs to provide parking facilities away from trains so direct shuttles would deliver passengers to trains. Also reserved parking should only be until 9 AM instead of 10 AM.

Andrew Frisch (Role of Transit): Transit should be available to help move people throughout the entire city in a timely and cost effective manner. This includes those who need to use Access Calgary outside the 1 KM rule.

Diane Colley-Urquhart (Innovative Idea): Look for innovative financing options for the 12$B 30 year plan including BOOT (BUY, OWN, OPERATE AND TRANSFER back to the city ) a private sector partnership.

Diane Colley-Urquhart (Role of Transit): Make it a viable option so that people don’t have to drive.

 

Ward 14

Shawn Kao (Innovative Idea): We are getting to the point where technology can really improve efficiencies. GPS tracking, teletext service, smart phone apps, social media can lead to a system that less restrictive and more flexible. I envision a transit system where people can book a bus in real-time at their local stop. The bus route could adjust on the fly for increased efficiency. I would also like to see Calgary Transit conduct more public consultation especially in new communities with evolving requirements.

Shawn Kao (Role of Transit): Transit should be available to all Calgarians in some form to act as a mass public transportation system. While car travel will still remain very popular, the City of Calgary must make sure that the people who need to use transit are getting efficient access to the system while keeping it affordable.

Peter Demong (Innovative Idea): Having a real time mobile app that doesn’t just tell the schedule and when a bus is supposed to arrive at a given stop, but rather gives a real time status of when the bus/train is actually arriving.

Peter Demong (Role of Transit): To offer and provide a safe, efficient, city-wide option to move as many people as possible to where they have to go.

Candidate Responses: What is the most pressing transit need in Calgary

Continuing on our series of blogs about our candidate transit survey, today we are sharing the results of the third question:

What is the most pressing transit issue or need outside your ward?

While we felt it necessary that electors understand candidates views on transit within their ward, it is important to know how candidates understand transit throughout the city. It is easy for any candidate to fight for investment and improvement in their own ward, but it takes leadership to set aside the needs closest to home and do what’s best for the city as a whole. Transit systems are networks, and they cannot be improved effectively through a struggle for resources from disparate interests. A SE LRT not only helps those in Ward 12, but also those in Ward 4. As does a cross-town bus route along 16th avenue north. If we are to build an effective transit system, we need a comprehensive perspective that understands how all the parts work together, and where investment is needed most. We hope our question sheds some light on whether candidates in the election understand this as well.

Here are the results (again, presented unedited and in random order)

 

Mayor

Naheed Nenshi: Reliability and crowding are the most pressing concerns. The system is aging, which leads to reliability issues. We are focusing on replacing the oldest vehicles in our fleet of LRT and buses, which is occurring right now – with a $200 million LRV purchase and a $60 million bus order. We also set aside $2 million from 2012 tax room specifically to improve transit reliability. Our LRV purchases as well as LRT platform extensions begin to address the crunch by increasing capacity by 25%. And of course, we need long term, stable, predictable funding to start expanding the system.

John Lord: To build more LRT or add more buses, you need a lot of money. City Council has pretty much blown the budget for that. So, the most pressing need now in order to get more transit, is to get costs under control of our current transit and other areas. Once we can start banking the money again, we can afford to start moving ahead again on Transit expansion

 

Ward 1

John Hilton-O’Brien: Survey says that safety is a critical issue. Some potential solutions: a) We can probably improve the upkeep of some of our LRT stations (on the “broken window” theory of crime prevention.) b) We can also beef up the availability of support for bus and train drivers in the form of police teams specialized at working with mental health and addictions issues. c) We can continue to improve sight lines at the more complex stations d) We should have a text-based safety reporting system (because people being bullied are NOT likely to use the public intercom). e) Measure and publish response times for transit related police and EMS calls. See my blog at http://johnhob.me/On_Transit_Safety.html

Ward Sutherland: I feel it is to understand the opportunities how to best service geographic areas of current & emerging high density employment outside of the city center.

Dan Larabie: The issue of transit safety is city-wide. When people are scared to take transit after 6pm there’s a major problem. I want to make our transit system safe by giving police and peace officers the tools they need to do their job effectively. The biggest thing they need are more officers. We are so understaffed in this city it is unbelievable. If we want less crime and safer transit we need more police and peace officers.

Chris Harper: There are improvements that can be made on the service itself, even before implementing
expanded service. I feel the introduction of an electronic fare system such as the Connect
card is critical. Not only does it make it easier for transit users to pay for and use transit, it
would also provide valuable data to Calgary Transit on the use of transit resources. This
would allow service to be more precisely planned based on accurate data ensuring improved
service and greater cost-effectiveness. With a background in information technology systems
implementation, I would diligently steward this effort forward as a member of Calgary City
Council.

Judi Vandenbrink: In order to make Calgary Transit more appealing and to increase ridership transit needs to be more consistent and reliable and address rider concerns about public safety and comfort on both the LRT and busses. That means making bus stops more comfortable, and having Transit employees at each LRT station to monitor the actions of the public to be sure they are safe.
Perhaps Calgary should model transit after other cities like Vancouver where there are ticket agents at the stations.

 

Ward 2

Shawn Ripley: Ultimately the Calgary faces a collective problem in terms of infrastructure. We are expanding so rapidly, both in population and area, that keeping infrastructure adequate to the demands placed upon it is a serious challenge. There are already too many Calgary communities where transit service is thin.

Joe Magliocca: Time would be right up there, but, I do feel that having the SE LRT leg built is needed as that area is growing at an incredible pace. Also having effective transit to the airport like many other metropolitan centres worldwide is also a need

Terry Wong: Two things…spoke and hub model is efficient for inner / outer city travel but very inefficient for crosstown travel (i.e. north quadrant to north; east to east, etc.) as it forces people to use hub to transfer; esp. lacking up center street north to Panorama / Country Hills. Secondly, Park and Ride parking allocation between scramble and reserved; we need more spots and better business plan (i.e. let Calgary Parking Authority manage this on behalf of Calgary Transit or as sole operator).

Bernie Dowhan: Expansion of the C-Train. Determining where to go next is dependent on funding. I think it makes the most sense to head SE. However, the cost-effectiveness of heading SE would need major contributions from other levels of government.

Richard Poon: Need a better tracking mechanism to help passengers to find out when the bus will arrive!

 

Ward 3

Jim Stevenson: We have built a transit network that is reliant on a hub and spokes philosophy which forces
connectivity through downtown. There must be a better network to connect people to
places/events/people in other quadrants and within quadrants. This can only be accomplished
by better understanding the lives and needs of residents.

 

Ward 4

Michael Hartford: The City really needs to have the LRT connected directly to the LRT system. If you travel within Europe almost no city’s airport fails to have direct access to the local rail system. It makes it far easier and pleasant to have the access. I would also like to see a high speed system built on a circle route around the city and connecting out to the bedroom communities to help ease the heavy traffic on Deerfoot Tr and other major routes.

Blair Houston: LRT

Gael Macleod: The biggest transit issue facing the City is how to finance continued development and improvement of our transit system. The City of Calgary’s Investing in Mobility report identifies and ranks a series of transit priorities but we can’t afford it all. We need to be clear about our priorities, and make evidence-based decisions about how we spend our limited funds.

 

Ward 5

Ray Jones: Solving the problems for SE Calgary and Centre ST North, both issues need to be solved and the biggest question is: Where to get the money from to achieve this?

 

Ward 6

Bob Bowles: The SE LRT.

Richard Pootmans: Lack of capacity

Joe Connelly: SE LRT line and the politics that are clouding that issue

 

Ward 7

Brent Alexander: While it would run through Ward 7 briefly, the North Central SE LRT route is the single most pressing transit issue outside of Ward 7.

Joylin Nodwell: With a continued population growth to the tune of around 20 000 newcomers each year, Calgary is faced with pressure to accommodate this rapid influx of people. Planners and developers, along with City Council have been working on trying to manage this growth through the Muncipal Growth Plan (MGP). Each year roughly 18 new communities are developed on the outskirts of our City. This has resulted in a huge demand for new infrastructure including Transit. The issue is how to support/fund these new services in the outlying areas.

Druh Farrell: Calgarians want more investment in transit, from 16th Ave NW and 17th Ave SE Bus Rapid Transit to the Southeast Transitway. While the North Central Transitway ranked first in the cost benefit analysis, there is a pressing need to provide transit service to every quadrant. Transit projects will be ranked using cost benefit criteria such as operating and capital costs, travel time savings, support for transit-oriented development, support for asset management, as well as benefits based on environmental and socio-economic factors.

 

Ward 8

Evan Woolley: Outside of Ward 8, the most pressing transit issue is actually a planning issue: reducing the city’s sprawl. Sprawling and distant suburbs with circuitous roads are almost impossible to efficiently serve with transit. In fact, Portland-based transit expert Jarrett Walker now uses Cranston as an example of how to not design communities for transit.
Calgary Transit is struggling to even provide hourly bus service to many greenfield suburbs and City Hall has created this problem.
Unlike the incumbent John Mar, if elected I will be a staunch ally of Mayor Nenshi in eliminating City subsidies for new suburban developments and will support smart growth. Instead of sending Ward 8 tax dollars to the fringes of the City they should be used improve transit connection between our neighbourhoods.

Ian Newman: I believe getting the Rapid Transit to the southeast is very important.

John Mar: Funding issues aside the next two LRT networks that need to be constructed are the South East LRT (estimated cost of $2.3B) and the North Central LRT (estimated cost $1.6B) Recognising the current financial capacity of the Province of Alberta, I feel that the planning for these lines could be done, along with strategic land acquisitions overtime to ensure that an alignment would be prepared in advance of another major Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant or Federal National Transit Strategy.

 

Ward 9

Jordan Katz: Centre St North development.

Gian-Carlo Carra: Same as above. Transit is the most significant city-building tool we have. (Editor’s note- see yesterdays blog for Gian-Carlos response to the previous question)

 

Ward 10

Nargis Dossa: Direct quotes: “Connecting from point A to B within an hour… “ “City too widespread and not keeping up with amenities or good transit system…” “It takes me forever to get to work by public transport whereas only 15 minutes by car from Applewood to Downtown… better off paying parking because bus passes are so expensive anyway…”

Andre Chabot: Servicing the industrial areas for off peak users.

 

Ward 11

Brian Pincott: The most pressing issue city-wide is the funding of the Transit Strategy. Moving forward with the priority list on the strategy: the cross-town BRT’s and the two new LRT routes, North Central and SE, are key. Taking our transit system to the next step, one where it is a viable and effective choice for Calgarians door to door, is essential.

James Maxim: Completion of the entire main LRT system re: north and southeast legs

Wayne Frisch: Immediate need for expansion of the SELRT.

 

Ward 12

Stephanie Kusie: I would say bike lanes that are conducive to commuting from all sectors to downtown. Calgarians consider cycling a fundamental form of transportation and I believe many avoid it due to the safety risks presently posed on many roads. Calgarians are active and efficient individuals – they enjoy being outside and many fit their exercise routine into their daily commute.

Shane Keating: Switching from a commuter style of transit to a service style of transit is important outside of Ward 12. Calgarians that take transit should be able to travel to several different points within the city without having to go directly into the core. Calgarians traveling from the West end of town should not have to commute through downtown in order to get to Chinook.

 

Ward 13

Diane Colley-Urquhart: Replace the 75 U2 trains that break down all the time and compromise timeliness and dependability.

Scott Sorokoski: The whole city faces an issue of trying to efficiently traveling from one destination to another. Having to transfer multiple buses with delays between is not efficient.

Adam Frisch: Enough feeder buses to get to transit and timeliness of transit service throughout the day

 

Ward 14

Shawn Kao: The SE LRT and its precursor SETWAY are critical to help get South Calgary moving. If we can get cars off Deerfoot, it would ease traffic congestion for residents of Ward 14. Also, transit users in Ward 14 would have more of the city opened to them in terms of work and recreation.

Peter Demong: Same as above…. (Editor’s note- see yesterday’s blog for Peter’s response to the previous question)

 

Following up on our post from yesterday, today we are posting the results for the second question of our 2013 Municipal Election Candidate Survey. This question asked “What is the most pressing transit issue or need in your ward?”

Obviously, we felt this was an important question for voters to know the answers to. Do your transit priorities line up with your candidates? Does your candidate truly understand all the transit issues in your ward?

Here are the responses, unedited and in their original form (not including mayoral candidates, who don’t have a ward to represent):

Ward 1

Chris Harper: The most pressing need in Calgary Ward 1 regarding transit is convenience. Presently, the bus routes are designed to be “feeder” routes to the primary transit network via the C-Train. While this is good for satisfying commuter traffic to the core, it makes it difficult to move with ease between various communities within a region. The result is a transit system that is designed for one specific purpose (commuting) rather than also satisfying day-to-day mobility requirements. Transit should be able to satisfy the day-to-day mobility needs between communities and moving towards a grid network will assist in making transit more convenient for our Ward 1 communities.

Ward Sutherland: Based on feedback from door knocking a common theme is that the feeder routes to the LRT stations through their communities do not meet their needs and as a result they drive their cars to the LRT station.

Dan Larabie: What I’m hearing at the doors in Ward 1 is that transit safety is the number 1 issue. People don’t feel safe taking the bus or the train in the early evening. I’m actually taking the last trip of Route 1 this Saturday night to see what kind of safety threats the drivers face on a nightly basis.

Judi Vandenbrink: The most pressing transit issue in Ward 1 is to get the Tuscany LRT station completed and the trains on the track. With ongoing new development and redevelopment in northwest Calgary including Tuscany and the new community of Lynx Ridge, the LRT will be a welcome addition to ease travel to the downtown core. I have heard concerns from Ward 1 residents about available LRT parking and that outlying communities (like Cochrane) should not be getting a “free ride” when it comes to parking as they do not pay any taxes towards the system.
Ward 1 should have dedicated bus lines to get busses to the various locations on time during rush hour and beyond. There are still complaints about busses being late or not arriving at all.
I’ve also heard from regular transit users that there are many safety concerns with transit after dark. We must find a way to make transit safe. I was asked by a young woman what she should have done when she witnessed a group of young people harassing an elderly man who looked like he might be homeless. She said that incidents of harassment are escalating and that she was concerned for the elderly man and for her own safety. She looked for a safety button on the train but could not find one and her final solution was to get off at the next stop and wait for another train. She told me she felt bad that she did not do anything to help the man.

John Hilton-O’Brien: Hours of operation. There are many working people in Ward 1 who do shift work, and the hours of operation of the busses does not correspond to some shift times. We need to think about transit in a holistic fashion. This means that: a) Transit should get students to and from the latest and earliest classes b) Factories that do shift work should be identified. We should make sure that routes are available at all shift times. c) Transit should be available in entertainment districts when the bars close. d) C-trains should run 24-7, though on a reduced schedule.

 

Ward 2

Richard Poon: 1. Only one bus route #420 serving 4 communities (Evanston, Kincora, Panorama & Henson Ranch) now. Need more routes to serve these communities.
2. Buses not showing up and passengers have no idea why? Missing?

Bernie Dowhan: The most pressing transit issue in Ward 2 deals with parking at C-Train stations. The reserved parking system needs revamping. Acres of parking at C-Trains stations available are not being utilized due to flaws in the reserved parking system. If we want less cars heading downtown, then we have to make it easier for people to park at C-Trains stations.

Terry Wong: Bus feeder route travel distance and time to BRT or LRT station, especially Route 420. Secondly insufficient feeder service in developing ‘Symons Valley’ communities.

Shawn Ripley: While we do need to work on moving people across communities, the most pressing issue in Ward 2 is providing adequate service to the more distant communities. There are a lot of transit signs that read “future bus stop” rather than marking an active transit stop.

Joe Magliocca: Time. Unfortunately, I have heard time and time again that the time spent on transit in Calgary has become lengthier in my Ward and not improving. This is frustrating not just the student and others who rely on public transit, but those involved in the business community who are advocates of the service. Some are opting to go back to driving their car because of the 1 – 2 hour trips each way with Calgary Transit.

 

Ward 3

Jim Stevenson: Finalization of the North Central leg of the LRT is critical for Ward 3. A close second is the connectivity between the NE and north central parts of the ward. Migration patterns show that we have many seniors and extended families that move from the NE side of the ward to north centre but retain strong ties to the NE for work and social networks. Facilitating transit solutions across the ward is a priority need for residents.

 

Ward 4

Michael Hartford: The North Central Corridor needs direct access to the LRT system.

Blair Houston: Each community has a different perspective on Transit. The inner communities of Huntington, Thorncliff, and Highland park are frustrated with bus capacity and most often are passed because of capacity or left with standing room only. Communities such as hidden Valley are frustrated because it takes 3 buses to get downtown and up to 2 hours to do so. There has been no consultation with the residents in regards to those issues. Many angry people and I agree with them. The city wants people to use the Transit system but if it take 2 hours and 3 transfers, who would want to?

Gael Macleod: The Centre Street Corridor carries over 3,000 passengers during peak hours (35,000 per day) with 90 buses per hour on 9 routes. Ward 4 residents are being left behind as over-stuffed buses go flying by. As communities to the north of us continue to develop, the pressure for improved transit is increasing every day. We need both a bus Transitway on Centre Street to meet our current needs and the North Central LRT to meet future demands for transit and to reduce traffic congestion. By every measure, the Centre Street Transitway is identified as the number one transit need in our City and I will ensure it remains our number one priority. I am committed to ensuring that Ward 4 residents are engaged in the planning for both of these transit initiatives.

 

Ward 5

Ray Jones: We require a new ramp for handicapped individuals at the Rundle LRT station. As a whole transit runs quite well in Ward 5, we are looking forward to the extensions being completed and the four car trains being used.

 

Ward 6

Richard Pootmans: Fine tuning the feeder bus system for the LRT

Bob Bowles: I am hearing that travel times downtown are now longer with public transportation because of the elimination of express busses. Lack of parking is an issue at all LRT stations.

Joe Connelly: Connections to the new LRT line. For some reason, the commute for many is longer with the new line not faster. The connecting bus routes need to be reviewed and improved

 

Ward 7

Joylin Nodwell: Affordability and accessibility. Ward 7 has a diverse population with roughly 1 in 6 residents being a senior, and a high concentration of students living in the area. Transit has to remain affordable to those in low income brackets while also offering enough service (adequate number of buses) during peak hours of the day. I have heard from residents in Ward 7, that often the buses are so full there are occurrences of violent behavior requiring police intervention. We need more buses during peak times.

Druh Farrell: The demand for Transit exceeds supply. The need for extra capacity will be partially addressed by the platform extension program and the City’s recent commitment to invest in four-car trains. The RouteAhead long-term strategy outlines plans to further improve transit access, and Council’s support of this program will ensure appropriate investment in routes like the much-needed North Central Transitway.

Brent Alexander: To City Core – increased capacity during rush hours
To Non-City Core – better routes connecting communities to places like UofC, SAIT, Foothills Hospital and places of work outside of the downtown core (Foothills Industrial Park, the Airport et al)
All – longer hours of service to allow shift workers to be able to rely on Transit.

 

Ward 8

Ian Newman: Most of the transportation issues that I hear when knocking on doors have to do with crowded or full buses for the morning commute. In the winter this means waiting upto 30 minutes for a bus that normally runs every 12. We also hear that more buses need to be equipped with bike racks

Evan Woolley: The most pressing transit issue in Ward 8 is the difficulty getting around our inner city communities. Our transit system is primarily designed to get people through Ward 8 to downtown (and it does this pretty well). We can increase the vibrancy and sustainability of our neighbourhoods by transit the best way to get around our inner city

John Mar: Building the West LRT was the largest infrastructure project in our city’s history. It was a game changer. Not only has it exceeded our expectations for passenger use, over 37,500 person trips per day, it has dramatically reduced our carbon foot print by 40,000 tonnes of green house emissions and has significantly increased mobility by taking between 6,000 – 8,000 vehicles from our network allowing greater mobility. As a framework and a commuting tool, the West LRT is excellent, we now will need to enhance the feeder systems to ensure maximisation of the existing system.

 

Ward 9

Gian-Carlo Carra: Ward 9 sits smack dab in the middle of three of Calgary’s most important future fixed right of way transit lines – the North Central, the Central East and the South East (called the SETWAY).
The most pressing need for both Ward 9 and the rest of Calgary is that these three lines get developed: a) quickly; and b) as comprehensive Transit Oriented Development corridors.
What Calgary desperately needs (and what these three transit corridors can deliver), is a critical mass of Great Neighbourhoods linked by transit. This will:
- Give a significant and growing portion of Calgarians the choice to live car-optional lifestyles.
- Help our City’s financial position, because we can’t afford the road system we currently have, so it goes without saying that we can’t afford to build and maintain the same per capita road system for Calgary’s next million citizens.
- Free up existing roads for the many Calgarians who choose to enjoy our City’s world-class automobile lifestyle.
- Fulfill the pent-up and growing market of transit-using, neighbourhood-dwelling, creative class embodying, economy-driving, and positive tax-base generating Calgarians of tomorrow.

Jordan Katz: The SE LRT

 

Ward 10

Andre Chabot: Frequency and consistency of buss service.

Nargis Dossa: Exact quotes from residents: “Bus #45 is quite confusing as it either goes to Applewood or Abbeydale. And God forbid one should take a wrong bus… they have to go through whole circle and go across to catch the right one…” “No busses available at 5am to go to work in industrial area (52nd Street SE)” “Need decent commute from 17th Avenue SE….” “How about LRT from Forest Lawn… how come we don’t get the train…”

 

Ward 11

Wayne Frisch: 14th Street/Glenmore/Crowchild corridor. Bus transit is not a complete solution for WARD 11 residents along 14th street and residents in the WARD 11 southwest quadrant. Currently Lights/Intersections along 14th street, Glenmore, and Crowchild Trail need to be replaced by underpasses/overpasses to allow for unrestricted flow of vehicle traffic. CAVEATS: If the SWRR is not approved on October 24 we need to start work on these intersections immediately. If the SWRR is approved on we need to get capital from the province to make interior roads and streets in the NW/SW portion of WARD 11 capable of handling the anticipated increase of traffic into these communities as a result of the SWRR

Brian Pincott: The implementation of the SW BRT is the most immediate project. This will have significant benefit to communities of Braeside, Cedarbrae, Oakridge, Palliser, Bayview, Pump Hill, Southwood, Haysboro, Eagleridge, and Chinook Park. This will also have a far reaching benefit as it will enable commuters to leave their vehicles at home and will lessen the volume of traffic at key times on very busy roads, in particular 14th street. It will also enable the people living in these communities to have a choice about which Transit options they take and would reduce the pressure on the LRT. These positive changes, towards more effective, efficient and enjoyable Transit choices will also increase ridership.

James Maxim: • Frequency of bus scheduling — too long of a wait time between buses
• Safety at the Heritage, Southland, and Anderson LRT stations — particularly at night

 

Ward 12

Shane Keating: Accessibility is the key issue for Ward 12 in relation to transit. Ward 12 needs a reliable, speedy and comfortable mode of public transit. Ward 12 is one of the fastest growing areas in the city, and transit needs to keep up with this rate of growth.

Stephanie Kusie: Ward 12 residents have made it very clear that getting the South East Transit Line built is their number one priority. It’s mine as well. An LRT line in South East Calgary will create a domino effect and help to increase multi-modal trips in this part of Calgary. Residents I talk to are not pleased to have seen this vital project move from the top of the priority list in the last municipal election to the bottom of the pile over the last 3 years. Presently, the north transit line is at the top of the city’s priority list. Residents are also not impressed with the 35-year timeline associated with the project. I too would like to see an LRT line in South East Calgary before 2048. For this to happen we need to start with three things: 1. We need to change the criteria used to prioritize the transit lines. While cost per passenger was a key criterion, future growth and need was not and that needs to change. Ward 12 is experiencing the largest growth in the City and that needs to be recognized, not passed over. 2. Work with all levels of government to secure funding. Transit projects of this size are very complex and will not happen without large infrastructure dollars from the Federal and Provincial governments. Those conversations need to start happening sooner rather than later. 3. We need to look for and evaluate private public partnerships. Vancouver had much success with this and their Canada line, Ottawa has just entered into an agreement and Waterloo is also exploring options.

 

Ward 13

Scott Sorokoski: Crowded CTrains and the ability to get to places other than downtown.

Adam Frisch: Lack of parking at train stations

Diane Colley-Urquhart: Congestion. People need to get on the train at Anderson and go south so they can get on. Need four car platform.

 

Ward 14:

Shawn Kao: I get a lot of comments on C-Train parking and providing alternate routes (eg. Chaparral to Foothills Industrial without having to go across to Somerset first). Obviously Calgary Transit would assess each situation on a case-by-case basis. In regards to C-Train parking, we do need to make sure that people are able to get a parking spot and not funneled into the communities, which leads to other problems. There is also an outstanding issue of heated bus shelters at Somerset station from the 2010 election.

Peter Demong: Aside from getting the 4-car trains up and running ASAP, the most pressing issue is getting the SE LRT in service.

2013 Municipal Election Transit Questionnaire

Transit is an important issue in our city, and we at Transitcamp think voters should know how our politicians perceive, understand and value the transit issues in our city. But also, we need to how they plan to address those issues. To help voters, we at TransitCamp distributed a questionnaire to all candidates in the election about the important transit issues facing our city. We chose to ask four simple questions:

1. How often do you use Calgary Transit?

2a. What is the most pressing transit issue or need in your ward?(for candidates running for ward councillor only)

2b. What is the most pressing transit issue or need outside your ward?

3. What is your most innovative idea for improving transit in Calgary?

4. What is the role of transit in Calgary?

Over the next few days we are going to share the results of our poll, one question per day. You may also read these results published in the morning Metro paper, who is working with Transitcamp to share this information with voters (a huge thanks to Metro for helping us with this). We are not going to comment on the answers of any individual candidates, as we are leaving that to you, the voter. However, we are going to explain why we think each question is important, and why we chose to ask it.

(Note, we did not receive responses from all candidates, as we were unable to reach some candidates and some candidates did not provide responses by the October 1st deadline)

Our first question asked “How often do you use Calgary Transit?” This question isn’t designed to “out” those who don’t take transit, as we understand that transit cannot work for everyone (and we shouldn’t demand that it does!). The question highlights the importance of using transit in order to understand the needs and challenges of transit riders in our city. The question also gets candidates to think about why they don’t use transit, and what can be done so that it is more useful to more people. So, don’t judge a candidate just because they don’t use transit. The importance is that they understand the issues. Using transit is only one way to do that.

Here are the results (unedited and in random order):

How often do you use transit?

Mayor:

John Lord: I used to ride it everyday, but no longer work downtown. I still use it once in a while if I am going downtown, but it is less useful otherwise, except during Stampede.

Naheed Nenshi: As often as I can, but not as much as I would like, which irritates me to no end. I am a lifelong Calgary Transit user, relying on it exclusively for many years (I’m scared to calculate the total time on the 72/73 in my life). I rode the C-train to nomination day this year for a reason, as I wanted to highlight the centrality of transit to urban life.

Ward 1

Dan Larabie: I use it to get to special events, hockey games, concerts and downtown.

Judi Vandenbrink: I work from home and don’t need to travel daily by bus or car; however, I do take transit to the downtown core for events or appointments.

John Hilton-O’Brien: Daily. I make it my primary mode of transportation.

Chris Harper: Before the election I would use Calgary transit on a regular basis. For me, being able to work while on transit is a great convenience. I also enjoy the service transit operators provide. For example, the C-Train driver who always welcomes us to Downtown and shares the weather. During the election I take transit several times a week and use the “Harper” mobile the other days. In order to understand how to improve transit, I feel it is important to use it.

Ward Sutherland: I use Calgary Transit for sporting events, concerts and events that take place in the city centre. My 2 daughters use city transit for their daily commute to High School.

Ward 2

Bernie Dowhan: I am a regular user of Calgary Transit. I take the C-Train downtown to and from work. I have a monthly transit pass. I rarely take the bus.

Joe Magliocca: Although, I do not use Calgary Transit very often, my children do. As a father of 2 teenage girls this is a mode of transportation that is appreciated by our family.

Richard Poon: Rarely

Shawn Ripley: Several times a week.

Terry Wong: As my current activities are several trips across the Calgary, my rides on Calgary Transit are limited to 1-3 times a month if only to downtown, but always LRT if within downtown.

Ward 3

Jim Stevenson: My primary use of transit is between City Hall and meetings or functions downtown and in immediately surrounding areas. As often as possible, I walk to amenities in my neighbourhood. However, with the size of Ward 3 and council responsibilities that take me all over (and outside) Calgary, I also rely on a personal vehicle.

Ward 4

Blair Houston: I only use Transit a few times every month.

Gael Macleod: Unfortunately, I do not use transit as often as I would like. When possible, I ride to and from the downtown core, Stampede grounds, and the Sandstone bus loop. I have used the #300 to the airport and back, and I found it very convenient.

Michael Hartford: Due to a recent surgery I am not medically cleared to drive so I am completely dependent on Calgary Transit.

Ward 5

Ray Jones: Not very often maybe once or twice a year. The job requires a lot of travel; therefore we need our cars.

Ward 6

Joe Connelly: Varies greatly depending on what I am working on. Sometimes every day for a month, sometimes not at all for a month – so hard to be accurate. Certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a regular user.

Bob Bowles: I am not currently working downtown but, when elected, I plan to take the LRT down to City Hall most days.

Richard Pootmans: 4 days per week

Ward 7

Brent Alexander: Four times a week. I am primarily a pedestrian when going to work, but will hop on to the c-train to the old science world to lessen the 4 km walk home! Use the #1 and #305 less frequently though they provide much better service to my neighbourhood.

Druh Farrell: Daily during the week, and sometimes on weekends.

Joylin Nodwell: When I worked downtown, I took City Transit daily to and from the core. Since 2007, I have not used Transit regularly due to the location of my current job and having to drive two children to their respective schools. Our family does use the C-train when heading to special events such as Stampede.

Ward 8

Evan Woolley: Hi, I’m Evan Woolley and I’ve lived in Ward 8 for almost of my life. Transit has been essential for me to get around the Ward over the years, from taking the bus as a kid to play soccer in Killarney and Mardaloop, to riding the LRT to my jobs downtown in oil and gas and at the City Manager’s office. I use transit on a weekly basis and also walk and bike frequently.

Ian Newman: Usually about once a week. I work in construction so I commute via my work truck to my office in the NE, but I use the Ctrain and routes #2, #6,#7 quite regularly

John Mar: Regularly. Unless I know I have special meetings to attend outside of City Hall, like the Deerfoot Junction office which temporarily served as Council Chambers and still serves as Land and Asset Committee.

Ward 9

Gian-Carlo Carra: I use Calgary Transit a lot during the winter and I ride my bike and walk in the summer. The size and diversity of Ward 9, coupled with my desire to be out and about in my Ward, necessitates a lot of traveling around. If it suits my schedule and I don’t have to be in back-to-back meetings, I try to hop on a bus.

Jordan Katz: For special events downtown.

Ward 10

Nargis Dossa: Not as often as I should…

Andre Chabot: Once or twice per month

Ward 11

Wayne Frisch: Weekly, Bus from MRU to LRT Westbrook to downtown.

Brian Pincott: Not as often as I used to. For 10 years I was a daily user. Once I got onto Council my usage dropped off because of my schedule and having tightly scheduled meetings all over the city. Currently, I might use it 10 – 12 times a month.

James Maxim: Like many Calgarians, I use Calgary Transit for special events.

Ward 12

Shane Keating: I have taken transit on occasion to gain perspective on the experience. Transit currently is not accessible for everyone and is not a realistic option for every job.

Stephanie Kusie: Living in South East Calgary having a car is almost a necessity. I use Calgary transit from time-to-time to head downtown and for transportation to major events like the Stampede and concerts. Growing up in Lake Bonavista, I used the C-Train regularly, most notably to get to and from university and as a young professional working downtown. I now live across the river in McKenzie Towne and it differs significantly from the time when I could walk from my home to the Anderson station. I have spoken to residents in Ward 12 who feel incredibly isolated for this very reason. That is why securing funding for the South East LRT line is so critical and is my number one priority for Ward 12.

Ward 13

Adam Frisch: As often as possible if I am going to cultural events or downtown and back.

Diane Colley-Urquhart: 3-4 times a week

Scott Sorokoski: A few times a month in the winter

Ward 14

Peter Demong: My family uses Calgary Transit daily. I use Calgary Transit 1-2 times per week.

Shawn Kao: I work out of a home office and travel out of town for business so not too often. I try to take the C-Train if I am going downtown or to hockey or football games.

RouteAhead

After months of preparation and consultation, the City of Calgary’s draft RouteAhead plan has been released. RouteAhead is a long term strategic plan for Calgary Transit.

RouteAhead will come before the Special Planning Committee on Transportation and Transit at 9:30 am on Wednesday December 12 in the Engineering Traditions room at City Hall. You are welcome to attend the meeting or can send your comments to cityclerk@calgary.ca. A few TransitCamp YYC members will be there.