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Neighbourhood Streets - Policy

Calgarians value living on a great Neighbourhood Street: our street helps us feel connected and safe in our community and have access to travel options that help us stay healthy. Conversely, when neighbourhood streets aren't working well, visitors and residents feel unsafe and isolated from neighbours, which can prevent them from choosing healthy travel options like walking and wheeling.

To enhance Neighbourhood Streets for everyone, a pilot policy has been prepared to give citizens and City staff the tools they need. This policy builds on Calgary's outdated Traffic Calming policy from 2003 and brings together multiple other toolkits to improve the safety, connectedness and comfort on community streets. A lot has changed since 2003, and the new policy reflects the ways citizens and City staff can work together:

  • Engineering: a new national guide on Traffic Calming means new solutions and a greater network of streets for which these apply
  • Equity: the 2003 traffic calming policy required communities to complete an extensive petition which was particularly difficult for some neighbourhoods, The City is exploring new ways to test that communities are ready to enhance their streets
  • Experiments: The City has found success by building using temporary materials to show the true operations of a design to help accelerate projects and onboard community acceptance faster
  • Engagement: new conversation styles and toolkits mean communities can lead their own interventions and have a greater say in launching solutions

The Neighbourhood Streets Program is an opportunity to test the policy to ensure that it fits with the needs of the people and places that make up our city and our communities. To test the policy, The City is onboarding a variety of projects to determine how the policy works in different applications.

A variety of communities are being selected with different ideas on how their neighbourhood streets can be improved. Through conversation and temporary installations, we will learn the best approaches to collaborating for successful neighbourhood streets. Specifically, we want to learn about shared decision making with communities, inclusive engagement to determine what the needs of the community are and testing tools for change to help residents based on the needs addressing in engagement, and improving how we intake projects in the future based on learnings in the communities.

To align with The City's road classification, the Neighbourhood Streets policy can be applied to a residential street, collector, activity centre street, and neighbourhood boulevard classifications. Arterial and skeletal roads, which pass between communities and have other priorities, are not subject to this policy.

After the projects are completed, and the prototype policy is refined, a final version will be presented to Council for approval in 2022.

There are three scales of projects that will be reviewed under the new Neighbourhood Streets Policy:

  1. Multi-community level mobility planning: In partnership with multi-community planning areas underway in the Community Planning department, we will explore safety and issues with the residents of these zones to identify short term actions and longer-term strategies to support communities with existing and emerging concerns.

    Projects: Neighbourhood Streets - North Hill Area, Neighbourhood Streets - Heritage Area Communities

  2. Community-level mobility planning: We will work with several communities that are not facing significant redevelopment pressure to develop community-level plans, including short term actions at high priority locations and longer-term strategies to improve safety and liveability over time.

    Projects: Negihbourhood Streets - Silver Springs 

  3. Street studies: Using quick action tools, we will test solutions for issues at a corner or along a particular street that will not broadly impact a community and therefore do not require the same intake and response processes that a broader study would require.

Evaluation is important in the overall approach of the policy, and it is critical to pass along learnings, prioritize efforts and understand the conditions that neighbourhood streets thrive as a result of an intervention. 

Neighbourhood Streets: A Streets for All Policy

After the projects are completed, and the prototype policy is refined, a final version will be presented to Council for approval in 2022.