City has mobility vision
The City of Red Deer is ready to move you.
After talking to thousands of Red Deerians, the city has revealed the draft Mobility Playbook, which paints tomorrow’s vision of an integrated, balanced and sustainable transportation system that works for all commuters.
The document will provide direction for detailed future capital plans for roads, sidewalks and communities.
A video showcasing the vision, and the draft, are available for feedback on the city’s website (www.reddeer.ca/whatmovesyou).
Consultant Jeff Risom, of Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, told Red Deer city council on Monday that it is not about making Red Deer like Copenhagen but to find appealing mobility options to drive, walk, cycle and transit while making it look and feel like Red Deer.
Risom said five years ago the responsibility may have been to make one group happy but now in 2013, they have to find win-win-win situations for all modes of transportation.
“We need to find a way to make sure you can have that choice without infringing on other choices,” he said.
“It’s difficult. It’s messy. You try something and it doesn’t work and then you need to listen to what people are telling you and find a new way to do it again.
“But you just can’t give up and say well that didn’t work.”
Risom said there is too much at stake and there’s a responsibility to fight for those win-win-wins.
“I would like to move beyond this us versus them and this one mode versus another mode,” he said. “This is about choice of modes.”
Risom said comfort, convenience and invitation play a key role in providing an integrated system that works for everybody.
“Weather can be a hindrance but it is certainly not a hurdle (that can’t be overcome),” said Risom.
For example, Risom said there are lots of ways to invite and implement comfort, including focusing on snow removal or providing a cover at stop lights for cyclists.
In 20 years, Red Deer’s population is expected to double to roughly 180,000.
Risom said there is a risk of taking a “business as usual” approach and following the status quo in terms of infrastructure costs.
There is also a huge opportunity, he said.
Risom said many cities around the world would love to have some of the statistical advantages of Red Deer. Namely, 85 per cent of the population lives and works in Red Deer, and 66 per cent of Red Deerians commute less than five km to work, yet most drive to work.
“But despite these favourable conditions, 90 per cent of the people are taking the car,” said Risom. “I think it is possible for Red Deer to be a regional, national and even global leader in dealing with things like active mobility.”
The report outlines five plays, a take on the traditional sports playbook.
It includes putting pedestrians first, tying land use and mobility together, making transit part of the journey, connecting the trails and nurturing a culture of change.
The city hired consultants 8-80 Cities of Toronto and Gehl Architects to work with staff to create the document over the last couple of years.
The Mobility Playbook stems from the Integrated Movement Study, a major work plan. After community consultation on the draft, city staff will make recommendations into a report and present a final report for council consideration in May.