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August 2017 Community Newsletter

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Ward 6 official website

Updates on Grass Maintenance and the Testing of Autonomous Vehicles

boulevard grass 

I have heard your feedback regarding the maintenance of the City’s grass in parks, boulevards, and medians. The Parks and Roads Departments have been working together to find a balance between appearance and expenditure. The City now uses contractors and has reduced grass cutting for boulevards to every six weeks, resulting in a substantial cost reduction of approximately $750,000. Park space maintenance continues to occur every 10-14 days, while sports fields receive weekly maintenance as a matter of safety.

Further, native grass species are being incorporated onto the boulevards. Some may interpret these grasses as appearing overgrown and unkempt, but they are intentionally being integrated into the green spaces to complement the maintenance schedule.   More drought and salt resistant grasses are always being tested for potential cost savings.

At home, we encourage you to be YardSmart, and check out these water-saving tools that can help you be manage your lawn and garden.

Testing of Autonomous Vehicles

As we look to the future of Calgary, I am particularly excited about our City’s potential to diversity and grow into areas previously unexplored. In January, the seed of an idea was planted, with a pilot project for deploying a low-speed autonomous shuttle in a controlled 1km environment between the Calgary Zoo LRT station and the Telus Spark Science Centre for six months in 2018.
Since then, City Council and Administration have been thinking hard about the future of transportation, and that idea  grew into a Notice of Motion to position Calgary as a test centre—City-wide—for autonomous technology. I was pleased that this Motion received unanimous support at Council.
Calgary is an important transportation and logistics centre, and our young, educated workforce offers strong technology skills. We also have a natural environment offering many different terrains, from mountains and prairies to forests and urban areas. The Calgary region also offers a wide variety of climates for testing as well as notoriously varied seasons – not to mention Chinooks!

Ontario and 18 American states have already passed legislation on enabling legislation related to autonomous vehicle testing. Urgency is important, and a strong business case needs to be prepared, but our goal, first and foremost, is public safety, with a risk assessment to determine whether we can proceed. The outcome we are looking for is a significant reduction in traffic accidents, lives saved, lower insurance rates for these car owners, better traffic flows, reduced parking spaces, and enhanced mobility for the young, the elderly, disabled, and poor.

I’ve been asked if autonomous vehicle testing will help enhance our City brand as being progressive and innovative, and my answer is absolutely yes! With an estimated 1,000 jurisdictions in the world competing for talent and investment, this is an opportunity to enhance our work in the competition and truly complement our natural advantages.  More discoveries, more adaptations, more products, and more jobs.

Council has asked Administration, in collaboration with Calgary Economic Development, to report back on the merits of testing autonomous vehicles on Calgary's roadways no later than Q4 2017, and if approved, we will reach out to the Province of Alberta with a request to enact this legislation. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future depends on what we do today,” and I look forward to the findings this fall.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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