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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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…”
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
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.
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.
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.