Thu, 20 Oct by Georgina Burkholder

Check out this link for a new page on Calgary and area just installed on my website.  Not only is the information helpful to newcomers to Calgary, but locals will also find lots of great facts and access to helpful resources. Hope you enjoy it!



Mon, 17 Oct by Georgina Burkholder

 I have noticed that more buyers bring up a walk-able community as part of their wish list when buying a home. It is interesting to see that cities like Calgary are doing traffic studies for communities with the goal of implementing traffic calming measures designed to slow traffic, reduce collisions, and improve walk-ability.



By Eva Ferguson, Calgary Herald October 16, 2011

 Motorists are frustrated but so are residents of communities experiencing speeders and drivers taking shortcuts

It was a quiet summer evening in Crescent Heights when John McDermid and some friends were sitting, chatting in a shaded yard.

Suddenly the calm was broken and a speeding van darted through a stop sign, rolling onto its side, ending up in the front yard of a walk-up apartment.

“It was scary, that unmistakable sound, the impact, the broken glass.

“We rushed over with blankets and a fire extinguisher. It was a young couple. They were injured, but luckily not seriously.”

Dating back more than 15 years, that bright blue van lying on its side remains an awful memory for McDermid, now the president of the Crescent Heights Community Association.

But high-speed, cutthrough traffic continues to be a daily reality for residents in the historic innercity community, straddling Centre Street North just minutes from downtown.

According to police traffic counts for 2010, Crescent Heights recorded one of the highest numbers of traffic collisions at 406 incidents.

Numbers include cars versus cars, pedestrians, light standards and anything else they can run into.

Other communities such as Albert Park/Radisson Heights, Acadia and Shawnessy also scored in a similar range.

They are among several communities that face higher collision rates than others for a variety of reasons – congestion, careless speeding, and being surrounded by busy thoroughfares that get clogged up forcing cut-through traffic along residential streets.

McDermid says much of the problem for older, innercity communities is that they’re built on a grid. While grids are great for the walkability of a neighbourhood, streets that run straight, intersecting each other, offering several ways in and out of the community can enable cut-through traffic. And for Crescent Heights, the problem is magnified with several major collectors surrounding it, including Centre Street, 16th Avenue and Edmonton Trail.

“Almost all of our streets are on a grid. When traffic stacks up on the major surrounding streets, we get the cut-through traffic. Some days we can’t even believe the speeds in here.”

McDermid says it seems those who cut through who aren’t Crescent Heights residents are the worst offenders because they don’t respect the community.

Crescent Heights underwent a traffic study in 2000, which resulted in several traffic-calming measures including four-way stops, posted speed reductions, curb bulbs and even some full street closures to reduce cut-through traffic and slow the speeders.

But McDermid says much of the calming that occurred is now a decade old, and new shortcutting issues have come to light. Yet Crescent Heights now seems to be a lower priority.

“Because we had the study, we’re deemed to have had our issues resolved. But nothing is ever perfect. We need further measures and we’re not getting buy-in from the city. We’re at the bottom of the list.”

Area Ald. Druh Farrell says more communities than ever before are coming forward with requests for traffic studies.

It’s not just communities that are on a grid that are experiencing high traffic collision counts, she says.

Many newer communities such as Shawnessy, with only two exits onto Macleod Trail northbound, are also facing congestion problems, particularly during the morning rush.

Community leaders there say that in an effort to create a district without cutthrough traffic, congestion has become the alternative.

“I’ve heard a lot of comments from people saying it can take a really long time to get out in the morning,” says community president Paula Kendrick. Shawnessy tallied 445 traffic collisions in 2010.

Still, other communities such as Albert Park/Radisson Heights, which offer a mix of grids, winding roads and cul-de-sacs, are also dealing with high-speed, cut-through traffic.

Les Burton, association past president, says Albert Park/Radisson Heights has a host of challenges, surrounded by major roadways – 17th Avenue to the south, Memorial Drive to the north, 36th Street to the east and Barlow Trail to the west.

The community had 632 collisions last year. City police were unable to provide the locations of collisions so it’s not clear how many occurred within the community or on the periphery along major routes. But Burton says cutthrough traffic continues to be a problem, particularly along Radcliffe Drive/28th Street S.E. which has several schools and soccer fields inviting high volumes of intermittent traffic and illegal parking.

“People are coming into the community for soccer or whatever, and they’re parking all over the street.

“You can’t see as well driving along those streets with all the cars. It’s bad at the LRT station, too. And more and more people are just cutting through.”

In Acadia, which saw 586 traffic collisions last year, cut-through traffic continues to be a major headache as rush hour traffic along Macleod Trail and Southland Drive gets worse.

“I don’t even go near them. Macleod and Southland are horrible, horrible,” says Lindsay Sangster, president of the Acadia Community Association.

“You can either sit on Macleod Trail for hours, listen to your radio and smoke a whole pack of cigarettes, or you can just get onto Acadia Drive and get home.”

Sangster adds that several schools in the community, as well as other cut-through arteries such as Bonaventure and Fairview Drive, add to volume, driver frustration and collisions.

Acting Inspector Michael Watterston of the Calgary Police Service says traffic problems exist in a variety of communities, no matter what their design is. The challenge is driver attitude.

But police advise that if there are repeat offenders, they should be reported.

Police will lay a charge if the complainant is willing to stand up in court.

“People aren’t usually willing to go that far. But they need to know, if there is a legitimate concern, and they get a licence plate and a description, we will make a call.

“People need to know if they’re worried about traffic safety in their neighbourhood, they do have the power as a community, to do something about it.”

But some experts say community design can sometimes play a role in increasing safety.

Noel Keough, an assistant professor of sustainable design in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, says drivers will continue to cut through and speed along any road if it’s easy, whether it’s a grid, a curve, along a soccerfield, even a school.

“We tend to design streets exclusively for cars. Drivers think they are separate from bikes and pedestrians, so they think the road is only for them, and they use it that way.”

Keough says European trends are seeing communities build narrow roads with no sidewalks, with front lawns abutting right up against narrow cobblestone streets.

“When there’s no separation, it’s more multiple-use, and you can expect anyone could be on the road at any one time. You just get more cautious drivers. You’re forced to slow down.”

Some communities are even abandoning the vehicle altogether. In the West German towns of Freiburg and Vauban, some neighbourhoods have become virtually car-free.

Residents park cars in a communal garage and walk to their homes, leaving community streets for bikes and pedestrians only.

In Calgary, Keough argues, we continue to put the automobile first, often spending more on road infrastructure, overpasses and lane additions instead of improving transit.

“We need to devote less space to vehicles and make more room for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Keough has been commuting by bike around Calgary for over 25 years and says it continues to be dangerous on most days.

“Cars drive too fast, because there’s really no infrastructure for bikes. That’s just the way the city is built.”


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Living+city+where+king/5557627/story.html#ixzz1b4Qc4nRz

September 2011 CREB Stats

Fri, 14 Oct by Georgina Burkholder

Below is a link to the latest stats from the Calgary Real Estate Board


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.