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Residential Street Design Policy

What does your neighbourhood look like? Does it have tree-lined boulevards providing shade in the summer and colors in the fall? Do you see families enjoying an evening walk in the neighbourhood?

Designing for Liveable Communities

Since 1995, many residential communities have been developed to make more efficient use of land (see picture below, left). This has led to:

  • tight, narrow residential lots
  • more homes with front driveways
  • narrow sidewalks on one side of the street
  • asphalt, concrete-dominated streetscapes

The new Residential Street Design Policy, approved November 2012 aims to improve community liveability, as directed by the Calgary Transportation Plan and Municipal Development Plan, by including public trees and sidewalks on both sides of the street so that these features, more prevalent in older communities, are also available to residents in new communities.

About the new Residential Street Design Policy

The approved policy balances the need for an improved streetscape with efficient use of land in new residential communities (see picture below, right). It was developed in consultation and collaboration with key industry stakeholders. The Policy:

  • Provides new standards that offer sufficient public right-of-way for sidewalks and public trees on both sides of the street.
  • Provides direction on the development application (e.g., rules around rear lanes, sidewalks, and street trees) and approval process (e.g., procedures around variance to the policy).
Previous Residential Street Standard (circa 1995)
New Residential Street Standard (approved 2012)

Benefits of the new street design standards

Street designs with public boulevards, trees and sidewalks tend to:

  • Encourage more people to get out of their house, walk or bike to nearby parks and stores, and enjoy the neighbourhood, improving health and mental well-being.
  • Make the neighbourhood more accessible for people of all ages and levels of mobility.
  • Provide a more inviting streetscape for pedestrians and motorists.
  • Encourage slower vehicle speed through residential areas.
  • Offer pedestrians, including children, facilities separated from vehicle traffic.

Project Timeline

  • September 2011 to September 2012 – Consultation and collaboration with developers, industry representatives and other key stakeholders.
  • September 13, 2012 – Policy received for information at Calgary Planning Commission.
  • October 10, 2012 – Amended policy approved at Standing Policy Committee on Transportation & Transit.
  • November 5, 2012 – Policy unanimously approved at Council.
  • November 12, 2012 – Policy implementation begins.