Council gives green light to new multimodal transportation plan

New strategy is titled ‘Moving Red Deer Forward: Our Multimodal Transportation Plan’

The City of Red Deer is moving forward on a new multimodal transportation plan.

Titled Moving Red Deer Forward: Our Multimodal Transportation Plan, the plan charts the course for the future of driving, walking, cycling and transit in Red Deer.

“The approval of the multimodal transportation plan is an important step forward for our community,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

“As our community continues to grow, it’s critical that we consider how to build a transportation network that provides safe and efficient transportation options for all citizens.”

Moving Red Deer Forward is the result of the City’s past work on multimodal transportation, including the Mobility Playbook, and is the foundation for how the transportation network will be improved today, tomorrow and in the future, according to a release.

With a strong focus on data collection, including a new evaluation tool, the multimodal transportation plan will enable the City to plan, prioritize and evaluate transportation projects in a coordinated way and bring them forward for approval and public consultation through the budget process.

Members of council were all aboard the plan, and many stated that they liked the fact that the plan considers all modes together.

“In the past as a citizen in Red Deer I felt frustration with the City trying to educate me out of using my vehicle,” said Councillor Tanya Handley.

She said as a person who chooses a vehicle for transportation she was relieved to see in this plan that not all modes are treated equally everywhere.

It doesn’t mean cars over pedestrians and vice versa.

“I think past studies and projects have developed movement modes independent of other modes, and that has created, as we’ve seen in the last few years, division and anger in the community as one is being developed all alone,” she said.

She said considering all modes together makes good sense, which she said has been done in the plan.

Her fellow councillors echoed those thoughts.

“I think what the report does is balance where you are in your life in using those modes,” said Councillor Lawrence Lee.

He said we’re all users of the different modes listed.

Some of the key features of Moving Red Deer Forward include outcomes for each transportation mode – driving, walking, cycling, transit and future rail; priority routes for each mode, a new tool to measure and evaluate the walking, cycling and transit experience similar to the tool currently used to identify areas for improvement in the road network and a focus on community engagement.

“The multimodal transportation plan is the roadmap for improving the safety, quality, comfort and connection of transportation for all users,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

“As we move into implementation, we’ll use this roadmap to identify and prioritize projects to achieve the outcomes of the plan and engage with the community to ensure these projects meet the needs of all users.”

Director of Planning Services Tara Lodewyk said the plan is about providing choice for citizens when it comes to transportation.

To measure and evaluate quality, comfort and connection, they developed a new tool called the Multimodal Transportation Index (MTI), which enables them to measure and evaluate the walking, cycling and transit experience based on this criteria.

Similar to a tool they use to measure and evaluate pavement quality when identifying areas for improvement in the road network, the MTI will be used to evaluate and identify gaps in the City’s trails, sidewalk, cycling and transit network.

“The MTI gives us the data we need to make informed decisions about the transportation network,” said Lodewyk.

“We’ll also focus on priority routes, take advantage of existing infrastructure when possible and build strong community engagement into appropriate projects, all of which will help to ensure we build a balanced network.”

For more information about Moving Red Deer Forward, visit www.reddeer.ca/movingforward.