Calgary's overall Walk Score less than Edmonton, Brampton and Saskatoon

The online index that ranks the pedestrian friendliness of neighbourhoods gives Calgary a lower score than many other sprawling, snowy Canadian cities. A city report going to committee on Wednesday gives 50 recommendations to change that.

City pedestrian strategy recommends speeding up snow removal on city sidewalks

A businessman walks in a snowy downtown Calgary. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

It's easier to get around on foot in sprawling, snowy Canadian cities like Hamilton, Edmonton, Brampton and Saskatoon than Calgary.

That's according to Walk Score, an online index that ranks the pedestrian friendliness of neighbourhoods based on metrics such as walking routes, nearby amenities, intersection density and block length.

Calgary's walk score is 47.9 out of 100 — placing it 18 out of 20 Canadian cities with a population of more than 200,000.

"Which is not that great. We know there's room for improvement," said Andrew King, project manager for the City of Calgary's pedestrian strategy.

The final report, called Step Forward, will be presented to the city's transportation committee on Wednesday.

It lists 50 short, medium- and long-term actions to get more Calgarians walking year-round, in every community.

"We've focused a lot on the design in our cities for moving cars, moving vehicles and moving machines and the whole scale of design has almost forgotten the human — the person. The person trying to walk across the street," said King.

Lower speed limit on residential roads

The plan recommends increasing city funding to speed up sidewalk snow removal, improving pedestrian safety at LRT, CP and CN rail crossings and collaborating with school boards to include walking in the curriculum.

The final report of the city's pedestrian strategy, called Step Forward, will be presented to the city's transportation committee on Wednesday. (iStock)

But one of the more immediate recommendations is to lower the speed limit to 40 km/hour on residential streets.

"About 75 per cent of children who have been involved in collisions, they're involved in collisions on what we call these collector roads and local roads," said King.

"So if speeds are reduced… Within communities that will be a big change and reduce the amount of collisions and fatalities."

It would cost $2.5 million in annual operating costs to implement the short-term recommendations of the Step Forward strategy and $11 million in capital funding for the remainder of the 2016-2018 business cycle.


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