Nenshi pumps brakes on Calgary advocates' motorist plan

A Calgary group has pledged not to sit idly by in traffic and call on the city to get motorists moving again.

Tuesday, Common Sense Calgary, a local advocacy group funded by the Manning Foundation and several other stakeholders, called on the City of Calgary to craft a motorist strategy. This comes at the heels of the 2015 Citizen Satisfaction survey outlined infrastructure, traffic or roads as one of the top concerns.

The survey showed 36 per cent of Calgarians see infrastructure, traffic or roads as an important issue – which is down from 46 per cent in 2014.

Common Sense Calgary Executive Director Stephanie Kusie holds up the city's transportation plan, a document she's read from cover to cover – but she says there's something staff missed in their detailed plan: motorists.

"It focuses on pedestrians, transit, bikes – there's nothing in here that addresses motorists, and that's what we need to see," Kusie said. "This doesn't focus on vehicles this doesn't focus on the motorists, it focuses on every type of mode but the vehicle."

Monday, when asked about their announcement, Mayor Naheed Nenshi wasn't thrilled.

"They've had nothing useful to say so far, so let's give it a try," said Nenshi. He added the city addresses issues like congestion through the transportation plan. "We have lots and lots of transportation engineers who work on this every single day, so if our friends from the Manning Centre and Common Sense Calgary have lots of smart transportation engineers I'd love it – if their answer is build more roads and synchronize green lights – try again."

Kusie said the city does address different motorist strategies, but it's a piece-meal approach and Calgarians need a comprehensive plan.

When asked for examples on what the city should do specifically Kusie had no examples, other than drafting a motorist plan, and gave no other municipalities as examples to model Calgary after.

"A motorist strategy would include all of the bottlenecks, the specific problems within the city, the infrastructure needs to address them and finally how the funding would go to fund these infrastructure needs,"  she said.

Tuesday, Nenshi told reporters their motorist plan is called the transportaton plan.

"We have a motorist strategy. It’s called the Calgary Transportation Plan," said Nenshi. "If you really want to be a legitimate voice – and we need legitimate voices to push us at the city into better policy – and if you want to be a legitimate voice in policy – try reading what’s already there. That would be a really good start."


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