Neighborhood Streets Silver Springs community planning
Project update - March 2023
Construction of traffic calming improvements being made as part of the Neighbourhood Streets Program in Silver Springs are anticipated to begin in late April/early May (weather and resources permitting) and will be completed by the fall of 2023.
This spring, we are moving forward with:
- Making changes to reduce Silver Springs Boulevard between Nose Hill Drive and Silver Grove Drive N.W. to one vehicle lane in each direction on Silver Springs Blvd. to reduce the perceived width of the roadway and to discourage vehicle speeding. The closed vehicle lane space will be repurposed into wheeling lanes to provide a safer and fully connected facility for users of all ages and abilities to bike or scooter to and around Spring Hill Village and Silver Springs community.
- Widening and upgrading sidewalks with new asphalt pathways around Spring Hill Village.
- Installing additional traffic calming improvements throughout the community.
These traffic calming improvements will help ensure neighbours of all ages and abilities can connect and have access to safe travel options.
For any questions or concerns, please email the project team.
Thank you to everyone who provided input on our proposed traffic calming improvements. To improve safe and accessible travel options, we are:
- Upgrading the sidewalks around Spring Hill Village to wider pathways.
- Installing an extension to the existing wheeling lanes along Silver Springs Boulevard.
- Constructing additional traffic calming improvements throughout the community.
The pilot project along Silver Springs Boulevard N.W. has proven to dramatically slow vehicles without impacting overall travel time, which is a benefit we would like to preserve in your community going forward. The new design uses new materials, which are expected to be more aesthetically appealing, and is a cost-effective way to support safe travel choices for all ages and abilities.
The wheeling lanes will remain a pilot until 2024 and we will continue to evaluate their performance and review feedback from the community.
Wheeling lane extension
A new 200 m wheeling lane extension will be installed along Silver Springs Boulevard between Silvergrove Drive and Nose Hill Drive N.W.
- We are using a different type of barrier to separate and protect wheeling users from vehicles.
- One vehicle lane in each direction of Silver Springs Boulevard will be repurposed, improving safety and lowering vehicle speeds and conflicts.
The sidewalks around Spring Hill Village, along Silver Springs Boulevard and Nose Hill Drive N.W., are being upgraded to new, wider multi-use pathways. The new pathways will improve pedestrian and wheeling access around the shopping centre and complete the wheeling network in the community.
Additional traffic calming
We are adding additional traffic calming improvements throughout the community, to improve pedestrian access, reduce vehicle speeding and improve overall safety. Improvements include a variety of medians, curb extensions and bulb-outs, speed humps, crossing improvements, wheelchair and pedestrian ramps.
The City of Calgary piloted a Neighbourhood Streets Policy in eight communities to develop a version that would best support local streets where neighbours can connect and have access to safe travel options, no matter their age or ability. The City has been working with the Silver Springs Community Association to improve streets in your neighbourhood for everyone to travel safely, and to learn about supporting communities that are very engaged in making their communities safer and greener.
This project includes:
- Engaging with residents to:
- identify and prioritize areas where changes are needed
- test and validate changes made on streets
- Using temporary materials in 2021 to transform the outside lanes along Silver Springs Boulevard N.W. from driving lanes to lanes for biking, skateboarding, using e-scooters or in-line skating. The new wheeling lanes reduce pedestrian exposure at crossings, a common issue identified through public engagement.
- Public engagement to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of the wheeling lanes.
- Accessibility improvements, including up to 30 new pedestrian ramps.
- Installing pedestrian improvements and traffic calming measures in 2022, based on prioritization and resources.
- Aligning traffic calming improvements with paving projects, to deliver greater value for residents.
Using a combination of both temporary and permanent materials allows us to work with the community to improve designs for the best outcomes.
Phase 1 – Identification - September to October, 2020
Sept. 8 – Oct. 4, 2020 - During the first phase of engagement, we asked what is working well and what is challenging for those travelling through and living in the community.
Phase 2 – Prioritization - November 2020
Based on opportunities identified in Phase 1 and the issues previously identified by the community association, we worked with the community to prioritize which improvements to install using temporary materials in 2021.
Phase 2 of public engagement validated and prioritized criteria for selecting mobility improvement that we heard in Phase 1 of engagement.
As part of the first two phases of engagement, key themes were identified as needing improvement (in order):
- Traffic calming and speed
- Safety concerns
- Wheeling infrastructure
- Traffic lights
- Lighting and visibility
- Pedestrian crossings
- Sidewalks and pathway improvements
- Roadway access
- Missing links
In summer 2021, we created wheeling lanes by converting one driving lane in each direction along Silver Springs Boulevard, for biking, skateboarding, scooting and inline skating. We used yellow traffic calming curbs to create a protected experience for all users along Silver Springs Boulevard N.W.
Silver Springs Community Association has partnered with The University of Calgary on a project to beautify the community. The project features playful signage that points to many of the amazing community destinations in Silver Springs. The signs will be installed along the boulevard near the community hall.
Phase 3 – Evaluation - December 2021
Temporary measures were installed in 2021, and Phase 3 of public engagement took place in December 2021, to evaluate the of wheeling facilities, traffic calming measures and pedestrian improvements. This was used to determine if any modifications need to be made before permanent installation in 2022.
Thank you to everyone who provided input on our traffic calming improvements. Feedback can be found in the What We Heard Report. Key takeaways include general support for the street mural at St. Sylvester School, and residents stated they feel safer walking and cycling. We heard the streets feel calmer and residents see value in changes for the community. Many others mentioned concerns about the wheeling lanes, with cost, underusage and location as the main concerns.
Addressing what we heard
The following summarizes the range of input we received, grouping feedback into theme areas, and how the project team is addressing the feedback into the design of the permanent measures:
Common theme: Concerns about the cost of wheeling lanes.
The wheeling lanes at Silver Springs Blvd were constructed at a lower overall cost compared to a typical concrete/curb wheeling lane installation of this length and size. Much of the materials used along this wheeling lane (such as traffic calming curbs) are reusable and adjustable.
Comment theme: Concerns with the volume of users of wheeling lanes.
One of the main focuses of this project was to improve pedestrian, wheeling, and motor vehicle user safety in the community. Wheeling lanes reduce vehicle speeds, improve sightlines and provide physical separation and barriers for people who choose to walk, bike, or drive. The wheeling lanes offer a safe option for wheeling users of all ages and abilities to navigate through the community.
Comment theme: Concerns about the wheeling lane location.
Silver Springs Blvd was designed for more traffic volume than it experiences today, so there was an opportunity to reduce the number of lanes along the corridor and repurpose this space with a wheeling lane in the road right-of-way.
In 2016, the Community Association submitted a list of desired mobility improvements to improve traffic safety and promote active modes of transportation.
In 2018, the Community Association conducted a survey to determine their traffic safety concerns within Silver Springs. Many issues were brought forward by residents, but overwhelmingly speeding the Silver Springs Boulevard was identified as the main concern.
In 2019, The City and the community worked together to reduce speeds and improve crossings by installing:
- Speed humps and curb extensions
- Silver Mead Road N.W.
- Traffic calming curbs
- 54 Avenue N.W. and the entrance to Bowmont Park
- Silver Ridge Drive at Silver Ridge Crescent N.W.
- Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB)
- Silver Springs Gate and Silver Dale Drive N.W.
- Silver Springs Boulevard and Silver Grove Drive N.W.
- Left turn exit from Silver Springs Plaza Mall onto Silver Springs Boulevard
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was Silver Springs selected?
To respond to a community traffic calming request and ongoing conversations with the Silver Springs Community Association, The City selected Silver Springs to pilot the Neighbourhood Streets Policy. Silver Springs was chosen to represent a community that is very active and engaged in understanding mobility concerns. We measured this by the activity of the Silver Springs Community Association, especially the resident surveys they have hosted and the very detailed traffic calming application.
How much will this project cost?
The total investment in Silver Springs is approximately $800,000.
- The new sidewalk and traffic calming improvements are estimated to cost $750,000.
- The wheeling lane pilot extension is estimated to cost $50,000.
Traffic calming and small pedestrian enhancements are generally a cost-effective way to help residents be active and safely explore their community using different travel choices.
What is a pilot, and will there be an evaluation?
Pilots let us test street changes with temporary materials to get the right design and allow us to the opportunity to gather community feedback, before installing any permanent infrastructure.
The wheeling lanes on Silver Springs Blvd. will remain a pilot until 2024, at which time we evaluate their performance and review feedback from the community.
What is traffic calming?
Calgary's neighbourhood streets should be safe and comfortable to drive, walk or bicycle, and to live along. On some streets, however, speeding vehicles, short-cutting traffic and road user conflicts detract from the safety and liveability of the street. If problems are severe enough, residents and others may no longer consider that streets are safe or their neighbourhood is liveable.
In these cases, physical changes can be installed to help resolve traffic and safety problems, preserving and enhancing neighbourhood liveability. Examples of traffic calming include speed humps, traffic circles and directional road closures, and may include regulatory changes such as turn prohibitions.
What is a Neighbourhood Street?
A Neighbourhood Street is a street you might live on or the one near you with local shops and your closest bus stop. There is a lot of activity on neighbourhood streets like moving, connecting with neighbours and gardening or mowing the lawn. Neighbourhood streets work well when everyone can move safely and comfortably.
What are Liveable Streets?
A Liveable Street is defined in the Neighbourhood Streets policy as a street that is safe, welcoming to all ages, comfortable for a variety of travel choices, supportive of fun and healthy lifestyles, and enhancing for local destinations through appropriate public amenities. The Neighbourhood Streets Policy aims to achieve more liveable streets for users of all ages, abilities and transportation modes.
How will The City advertise this to the residents?
We typically find the best ways to reach all residents is through a combination of signs, letters, and social media advertising (Facebook & Twitter). We regularly update our webpages and you can subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
If there are busses parked in the bus lanes, how does a bike, scooter or wheelchair safely enter the auto lanes?
People wheeling have the option of waiting or going around buses, including using the lane, taking the next lane or using the sidewalk for those under 14 or those who choose to dismount.
How will The City address snow clearing on both lanes?
Snow clearing for the driving lanes is mostly unaffected by the wheeling lanes and still completed within 24 hours of a snow event. Snow clearing on the bike lanes may be delayed by a day, depending on the magnitude of the snow event. The City's snow clearing plan depends on the kind and amount of snow.
Where else did The City do a pilot project?
While pilots are a newer approach in Calgary and North America, we have examples throughout the city including the adaptive roadways that were put in place to support residents during COVID.
What are the rules for cyclists on the road or when using a wheeling lane?
When on the road, people wheeling must follow all the rules of the road, like using hand signals and obeying all traffic control. Like drivers, people wheeling shouldn’t change lanes or turn unless there is a safe gap. People wheeling must yield to pedestrians and are able to change lanes to left at intersections.
What are best practices for cars turning on and off Silver Springs Blvd N.W.?
People driving must yield to people wheeling when turning, just like they would have before the outside lanes were dedicated.
It is illegal to stop in the bike lanes, so pick up at St. Sylvester school must be on side streets or the lane behind the school.
What type of data is being collected throughout this pilot and how is it being used?
The data being collected on this project will help answer the goals of the community and project. Here are some of the questions and data we are studying:
- Will travel times increase along Silver Springs Boulevard?
- Data includes travel time measurements
- Will traffic increase on other streets?
- Data includes counts at intersections along the route to see if the changes on Silver Springs Boulevard will cause shortcutting
- Are people using the wheeling lanes?
- Data includes counts of people walking, wheeling and driving at several intersections along the corridor
- Are the wheeling lanes safe?
- Safety reviews have been conducted, video conflict analysis is being completed to assess how the corridor is performing and any collision data will be studied with Calgary Police Services
How do the wheeling lanes affect parking along Silver Springs Blvd?
Generally, there is no parking along Silver Springs Boulevard, though some parking spaces have been added to provide more access to Bowmont Park.
- Fall 2020 – Public engagement on travelling and living in the community
- Winter 2020 - Public engagement to validate and prioritize criteria for selecting mobility improvements
- Spring/summer 2021 - Temporary wheeling facilities and other traffic calming and pedestrian improvements installed throughout the community
- Winter 2021 - Public engagement to evaluate the wheeling facilities, traffic calming measures and pedestrian improvements
- Spring 2022 - Public engagement feedback shared with the project team and used to inform the final project
- April 2023 – Construction on pilot lane extension and sidewalk upgrades near Spring Hill Village begins.
- Summer 2023 – Construction on additional traffic calming improvements in Silver Springs begins.
This work is being done in partnership with the Silver Springs Community Association.