Council explores draft report

  • Mar. 20, 2013 3:55 p.m.

City council heard about the newly-released Integrated Movement Study for Red Deer at its regular meeting Monday.

The development of the ‘Mobility Play Book’ involved several public input processes by bringing industry experts to the City and ‘testing their ideas for applicability in Red Deer’.

The Mobility Play Book is described as a tool for action and change in the City, and is the result of a partnership between 8-80 Cities, Gehl Architects and the City of Red Deer.

The goal is to provide residents with more mobility choices.

Council had identified the need for planning principles that supported a range of transportation options in the City’s 2009-2011 Strategic Plan.

Public engagement came through events including the Walkability Roadshow back in the fall of 2011, the Ross Street Experiment and Lights, Camera, Transit.

“It’s refreshing to see this group, from across different disciplines, committed to making this a better city,” said Jeff Risom of the Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, as he explained facets of the Play Book.

He said research showed that many Red Deerians had rarely taken transit or regularly ridden bicycles around town, in spite of the fact that 66% of City residents commute less than five km to work.

Those short distances are a huge advantage to the City, he said.

“There are a tonne of cities that would love to have some of these statistical opportunities that Red Deer has.”

But the City’s relatively small size isn’t translating into people opting to hit the trail or ride the bus – most still choose the car.

“It became apparent that this is about choice. It’s about having viable options to get through the City in different ways,” he said.

Currently, only 5.5% of all trips are made by walking, 1.3% of all trips are made by cycling and 3.8% of all current trips are made by bus.

Ninety per cent of all trips are made by car.

The Play Book also points out that in just 18 years, Red Deer’s population will double.

Stakeholders say this presents a major opportunity for the City, and the goal is to develop a modern mobility system that increasingly promotes less use of autos and more transportation options for citizens.

Ultimately, the Play Book emphasizes five key points – put pedestrians first, tie land-use and mobility together, make transit part of the journey, connect the trails and nurture a culture of change.

Council accepted the document as a draft and tabled it for final consideration on May 27.