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Neighborhood Streets Silver Springs community planning

Neighbourhood Streets - Silver Springs

Project update - November 26, 2021

Given the fair weather we have been experiencing so far, no evidence is available to show whether or not snow clearing has been impacted by the wheeling lanes. City maintenance teams are committed to delivering the same standard of snow clearing that has been provided in previous years. Silver Springs Boulevard N.W. is classified a Priority 1 Route, which means it will be cleared within 24 hours. Snow from the driving lane will be cleared into the buffer and snow in the wheeling lane will be cleared to the curb. 

Project overview

The City of Calgary is testing a Neighbourhood Streets pilot policy with the goal of creating local streets where neighbours can connect and have access to safe travel options, no matter their age or ability. As part of the Neighbourhood Streets Program, The City is working with the Silver Springs Community Association (SSCA) to improve streets in your neighbourhood for everyone to travel safely.

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 also reduce pedestrian exposure at crossings, a common issue identified through public engagement. In late fall, following the installation with temporary materials there will be public engagement to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of the wheeling lanes. Using this evaluation and other metrics, these changes to the roadway may be changed to permanent structures.
  • Accessibility improvements including 65 wheelchair ramps.
  • Installing pedestrian improvements and traffic calming measures in 2022 based on prioritization and resources.

Using a combination of both temporary and permanent materials will allow us to work with the community to improve designs for the best outcomes.

Project Engagement

Phase 1 – Identification

September 8 – October 4, 2020 - During the first phase of engagement, we will be asking 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 as well as the issues previously identified by the CA, we will be working with the community to prioritize which improvements to install using temporary materials in 2021.

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
  • Accessibility
  • Missing links
  • Other

Phase 3 – 2021/2022

Summer 2021 - Wheeling lanes were created by converting one driving lane in each direction along Silver Springs Boulevard for use by people biking, skateboarding, scooting and inline skating. Yellow traffic calming curbs were used to create a protected experience for all users along Silver Springs Boulevard NW.

SSCA has partnered with The University of Calgary on a project to beautify the community. The final project features playful signage that points to many of the amazing community destinations in Silver Springs. The signs have been installed along the boulevard near the community hall.

After the temporary improvements have been installed, we will evaluate their effectiveness and impacts to determine if any modifications need to be made before permanent installation that could start in 2022 based on available resources.  This will include collecting feedback from residents, businesses, and other stakeholders.

Project History

2016

In 2016, the Community Association submitted a list of desired mobility improvements to improve traffic safety and promote active modes of transportation.

2018

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.

2019

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

What is the Silver Springs Neighbourhood Streets Project?

The City of Calgary is testing a Neighbourhood Streets pilot policy with the goal of creating local streets where neighbours can connect and have access to safe travel options, no matter their age or ability. As part of the Neighbourhood Streets Program, The City is working with the Silver Springs Community Association to improve streets in your neighbourhood for everyone to travel throughout the community.

How did this project start?

The Silver Springs Neighbourhood Streets project started with two rounds of public engagement. The first round of engagement helped identify locations where residents felt 1) comfortable and 2) challenged to travel safely. You can explore the results of this round of engagement online and see the patterns on this map.

What is included in this project?

  • pedestrian improvements and temporary traffic calming measures throughout the community in 2021 and 2022, based on feedback received through the Phase 1 & 2 of public engagement. This  includes:
    • using temporary materials to transform the outside lanes along Silver Springs Boulevard N.W. from driving lanes to wheeling lanes for people biking, skateboarding, using scooters or in-line skating.
    • Wheelchair ramps throughout the community
    • Sidewalk repairs along Silver Springs Boulevard to improve accessibility
  • In 2021 there is planned roadway construction work happening in Silver Springs. This work will proceed in 2021 and traffic calming at the intersections will be put in place with permanent materials to align with the surface overlay work in 2022.
  • In late fall 2021, there will be public engagement to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of any changes implemented, including the wheeling infrastructure. Based on this evaluation, these changes to the roadway may be changed to permanent structures.

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 the community of Silver Springs to pilot the Neighbourhood Streets Policy.  Silver Springs, and several other communities, was selected to test the pilot 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.

When will I see changes in my community?

Residents of Silver Springs will see traffic calming and pedestrian improvements installed in 2021 and 2022. This will include using temporary materials to transform the outside lanes along Silver Springs Boulevard N.W. from driving lanes to lanes for biking, skateboarding, using scooters or in-line skating.

How much will this project cost?

Cost will depend on the priorities of residents and how many changes are made. Traffic calming and small pedestrian enhancements are generally a cost-effective way to help residents be active and explore their community using different travel choices.

What are the project timelines and the exact steps the city will take for the rollout

The next steps for this project include temporary bike lanes along Silver Springs Boulevard NW.

  • Spring/summer 2021 - Install bike lanes on Silver Springs Boulevard as well as pedestrian improvements and traffic calming measures throughout the community.
  • Late 2021/early 2022 - Public engagement to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of traffic calming measures.
  • Summer 2022 - Continued installation of permanent materials.

Will there be public engagement for this project?

Yes. A third round of engagement will be held in late 2021 after residents have had a chance to experience summer, we will evaluate their effectiveness and impacts to determine if any modifications need to be made before permanent installation that could start in 2022 based on available resources.  This will include collecting feedback from residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. 

How are you going to use my feedback to make improvements?

Your feedback will help identify and prioritize the locations throughout the community where we will install temporary pedestrian improvements and traffic calming measures in 2021. Following the installation of the temporary changes in 2021, there will be public engagement to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of any changes implemented, including the wheeling infrastructure along Silver Springs Boulevard. Based on this evaluation, changes to the roadway may be made permanent. Some changes will happen right away while others will happen over time as budget becomes available.

What kind of changes can I expect to see?

Some examples of changes that could result from this project are intersection improvements and missing infrastructure like sidewalks or connecting orphan pathways. In spring/summer 2021 we will be using temporary materials transforming the outside lanes of Silver Springs Boulevard N.W. from driving lanes to lanes for biking, skateboarding, using e-scooters or in-line skating.

What are the next steps on this project?

Public engagement is planned in late 2021 and data collection is also continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of the wheeling lanes along Silver Springs Boulevard. We heard that residents have a wish for in-person engagement so we are reviewing options that can be safe during the pandemic.

Residents can expect to see the results of data collection and the engagement in early 2022. Data is being collected to answer priorities for the community and City team, including:

  • Did the wheeling lanes lower speeds along Silver Springs Boulevard?
  • Did the wheeling lanes increase traffic on other community streets?
  • Did travel time change along Silver Springs Boulevard NW

What is a pilot, and will there be an evaluation?

In many cases we will test changes with temporary materials to get the right design and allow us to the opportunity to gather community feedback before installing any permanent infrastructure.

What is traffic calming?

Most streets in Calgary are considered safe and pleasant streets along which to drive, walk or bicycle, and along which to live. On some streets, however, speeding vehicles, short-cutting traffic and conflicts among various road users 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, traffic calming offers a means of resolving traffic and safety problems, and preserving and enhancing neighbourhood liveability. Traffic calming describes a range of techniques which are used to influence motorist behaviour and prevent undesirable driving practices. Typically, traffic calming involves physical devices constructed in a roadway such as speed humps, traffic circles and directional road closures, and may also include regulatory changes such as turn prohibitions.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers has developed a definition of traffic calming which sums this up: Traffic calming is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behaviour and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.

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 that belongs 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 this 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.

How will the city advertise this to the residents?

We typically find the best ways to reach all residents is through a combination of bold signs, letters, and social media advertising (Facebook & Twitter).

Do you have pictures of what the lane restrictions will look like and can you advertise them?

We have an extensive set of communications planned in anticipation of the launch of the next phase of this project. 

If there are busses parked in the bus lanes, how does a bike, scooter or wheelchair safely enter the auto lanes.

We can accommodate a standard bike lane on the outside of the bus parking. While in a permanent condition, a full bay may be something we consider, cyclists still have options in this 20-minute window of the day including using the lane, taking the next lane or using the sidewalk. 

How will the city address snow clearing on both lanes?

The snow clearing for the driving lanes will look similar to the service the community sees today. Snow clearing on the bike lanes may be delayed by a day, depending on the magnitude of the snow event. Much depends on the kind and amount of snow that falls in determining the City’s response. 

How often will traffic studies be done to see if this is a good project to go forward with?

Current plans include measuring speed (a main community concern), overall travel time, and shortcutting. Because the space isn’t needed for volume, the project is really focused on pedestrian safety and giving “safer and greener” mobility options, which is the Silver Springs’ community vision.  

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 have been 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 biking must follow all of 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 driving near or cyclists using the wheeling lanes?

People driving must yield to people wheeling when turning, just like they would have before the outside lanes were dedicated. It is also 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 estimates
  • 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. 

Project timeline

  • Spring/summer 2021 - install wheeling lanes using temporary materials on Silver Springs Boulevard as well as pedestrian improvements and traffic calming measures throughout the community
  • Fall 2021 – winter 2022 - public engagement to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of traffic calming measures
  • Summer 2022 - continued installation of permanent materials

This work is being done in partnership with the Silver Springs Community Association.


Related resources

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