Why Calgary's main streets are so important
Main streets are important to the long-term growth of our city, and are ideal places for mixed-use development, including residential, commercial and retail development. Access to transportation options, infrastructure and amenities make these areas great places to live, work or visit.
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Since Calgary officially became a City, back in 1894, it has been known as a dynamic place of growth and change. In recent history, it has been a beacon of prosperity, attracting new residents seeking career opportunities and a balanced quality of life.
Through the Main Streets initiative we are analyzing main street neighbourhoods and the growth opportunities they offer to future residents and businesses. First, we must understand what is working, what is not and where change makes the most sense, now and in the future.
The Municipal Development Plan
Calgary's Municipal Development Plan was adopted by City Council in 2009. It contains policies that will shape how Calgary grows and develops over the next 30 to 60 years. Calgary is expected to grow by another 1.3 million people over that time which makes it important that we plan for our future. The Municipal Development Plan includes long term growth target minimums for main streets (referred to as corridors in the Municipal Development Plan). To view the growth target numbers and current progress for each main street, view the local statistics and growth targets section of the main street web page.
City planners listened and learned from main street users, neighbourhood residents, industry experts and economic specialists to understand the unique challenges and opportunities for growth and development in main street areas.
This included an in-depth review of comments, concepts and ideas from Calgarians, business and property owners gathered throughout 2015 and 2016 as well as dialogue with industry representatives, market research and growth trends. Based on these key insights we began to align existing City programs to plan for the future of these areas. This included a review of all local area plans and policies currently in place for main street areas to determine if additional work was needed.
By reviewing all of the input, research and through careful analysis, three key areas for action were identified: innovation, investment and planning.
Phase 1 - Learning and understanding (complete)
The first phase is all about learning and understanding. We need to learn about all of Calgary's main streets - their history, character and the local market from residents, businesses, industry representatives and experts.
Learn more about what we heard
Phase 2 - Analysis and evaluation (complete)
By analysing local input and economic information, the Main Streets team will start evaluating what policy; land use or other planning options would benefit Calgary's main streets.
View full report of what we've learned
Phase 3 - Creating an implementation plan (in progress)
This phase will focus on providing strategic planning direction, aligning processes and identifying resourcing required for growth opportunities in main street neighbourhoods.
Review and approvals
Calgary Planning Commission
Calgary Planning Commission is an advisory body that reviews all rezonings and Area Redevelopment Plan amendment recommendations. They will review and make comments on the proposed solutions and provide to City Council for them to consider when making their decisions. Main Street land use and policy changes will be presented to Calgary Planning Commission in early 2017.
While members of the public are welcome to attend Calgary Planning Commission meetings, it is not a public hearing and there is no opportunity for speaking. Calgary Planning Commission meetings can be viewed in person or on Council and Committee webcasts.
Calgary Planning Commission presentation date: To be confirmed.
Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development
This Council committee will further review the proposed rezonings and Area Redevelopment Plan amendment recommendations.
While members of the public are welcome to attend the Planning and Urban Development committee meeting, it is not a public hearing and there is no opportunity for speaking. Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development meetings can be viewed in person or on Council and Committee webcasts.
Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development presentation date: To be confirmed.
Once the proposed solutions for Main Streets have been review by Calgary Planning Commission, the Main Streets team will present their recommended land use solutions and policy changes to City Council for review and approval. City Council members will have an opportunity to ask questions of clarification on the proposed changes and then open a Public Hearing. During the Public Hearing portion of the meeting Calgarians can share their views.
After the Public Hearing and discussion with citizens, City Council members will vote on the recommended rezonings and Area Redevelopment Plan amendments. Main Street land use and policy changes will be presented to City Council in spring of 2017.
For more information on speaking at a Public Hearing, viewing a City Council meeting online or in person, or to learn how to get in touch with your Ward Councillor, visit ca/citycouncil.
City Council presentation date: To be confirmed.
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There are a lot of people working together to build the Calgary we know and love today. As Calgarians, we all benefit from living in a city with thriving main streets.
Through this initiative, we've listened and learned from residents, businesses, industry professionals and other main street visitors, to make well informed, strategic planning decisions.
Experts from across The City are working together to consider the input provided by Calgarians. There are numerous elements that are important to the success our main streets; public input, industry feedback and research have been analysed to identify opportunities for improvement or alignment with existing programs and services.
Streetscape and urban design
This includes consideration of urban design elements and features such as street trees, benches/seating, lighting and public art.
This includes considerations of features and services related to buses and c-trains. The Main Streets team is working with the Green Line team and other City partners to ensure that relevant input is shared across the corporation.
This includes considerations for the places and spaces where people walk. The Main Streets team is working with the Pedestrian Strategy team and other City partners to ensure that relevant input is shared across the corporation.
This includes considerations for the places and spaces where people ride or park their bicycle.
This includes considerations about the needs of the main street based on the future population growth.
New/redevelopment of buildings and spaces
This includes considerations about how land in these areas is designated for various types of use.
Parks and public spaces
This includes considerations about parks or outdoor gathering spaces.
This includes considerations about buildings with significant historical value. Many main streets are surrounded by some of Calgary's first communities, as we plan for the future, this heritage character and its conservation will be examined. Heritage Planners are documenting historically significant buildings located along Calgary's main streets.
Transportation infrastructure and parking
This includes considerations about roads, parking, traffic, intersections, bridges, pathways and other structures created to enable the transport of people and goods on the main street.