The number of Calgarians commuting by bike on the rise

While most Calgarians continued to climb into a car or truck before heading off to work, those hopping onto a saddle and pedalling to the salt mines has more than doubled over the past five years.

The city’s 2016 census, released last week, shows 67 per cent of respondents drive to work alone while another six per cent carpool — that’s far more than the 6,798 or 1.75 per cent who cycle.

But the number of Calgarians commuting by bike is up significantly since 2011 when the city census takers began collecting mode of transportation data and found just 0.87 per cent, or 2,923, pedalled to work. (By comparison, 1.3 per cent of the roughly 15.4 million Canadians who commute said they cycle, according to the 2011 National Household Survey.)

Read the full story and explore the interactive maps at the Calgary Herald


Fatal crossings, a look at pedestrian crashes

With city hall poised to implement its first pedestrian strategy this year, my colleague Annalise Klingbeil and I examined a decades’ worth of traffic collision data and spoke with Calgarians whose lives were forever changed after their loved ones were hit by a vehicle.

The figures speak for themselves. Every day (on average), at least one person is hit on Calgary’s streets, over 85 per cent resulting in injury. Nearly 10 people are killed each year. 

Shockingly, drivers fled the scene almost one-fifth of the time. Further, police report pedestrians had the right of way more than half the time (53 per cent) compared to 21 per cent where the driver had the right of way. 

These figures don’t include collisions on private property or the dozens, perhaps hundreds, or more minor incidents that go unreported each year. While the city data is based on police records, different reporting methods resulted in minor discrepancies.

Read the full stories in the Calgary Herald:


Prentice resigns, Tory dynasty crumbles, and Notley’s NDP storm Alberta (interactive map)

With less than a dozen seats and the Tory dynasty in tatters following Tuesday’s stunning defeat — followed by the resignation of leader Jim Prentice — high-profile members now suggest the party consider merger talks with the Wildrose.

At the party’s headquarter in Calgary, Prentice announced he was stepping down as Tory leader and MLA for Calgary-Foothills immediately, forcing the party launch its fourth leadership contest in nine years.

“My public contribution to public life is at an end. … I have resigned as the leader of the Progressive Conservative party.”

The 58-year-old Calgary lawyer told the sparse crowd of Tory faithful at the cavernous Metropolitan Centre that he still believes he made the right decision in calling an early election, but said the voters are always right — and they sent his party a clear message.

“I’ve been a member of this party since I’ve been a young man and share your disappointment … It has been a trying time for all of us,” said Prentice, who took over the party’s helm last September.

“My public contribution to public life is at an end. … I have resigned as the leader of the Progressive Conservative party.”

This story was first published May 5, 2015 in the Calgary Herald. Full story here.

Sick days climb at Calgary public school board

With growing classroom sizes and an aging, stressed-out workforce, paid sick days at the Calgary Board of Education have climbed significantly over the past five years and cost the education system more than $136.5 million over that period.

New figures obtained by the Herald show full-time public school teachers claimed 51,470 sick days in 2013, up 22 per cent from 2009 levels. Full-time non-teaching staff — everyone from support workers to administration to janitors — missed 27,627 days in 2013 due to illness, up 55 per cent from 2009.

That represents a combined estimated value of lost time of $136.5 million over that five-year period.

This story was first published Feb. 7, 2015 in the Calgary Herald. Read the full story here. 

View the interactive version here.

CBE sick days



Calgary’s $1.4-billion West LRT opens to great fanfare

Politicians, city officials and transit-loving Calgarians celebrated Saturday morning the ceremonial opening of the largest infrastructure project in the city’s history: the $1.4-billion west LRT. (Read full story here.)

“Transit matters. Transit investments are among the best investments any city can make, any government can make for that matter. They’re investments in reducing congestion, investments in improving air quality, and they’re investments in increasing social mobility for everyone in the community.”
— Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Below are a few shots from ceremonial opening of the refurbished West Kerby Station and the opening of the West LRT line.

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Pots, pans and protest

On May 30, roughly 170 Calgarians joined thousands of Canadians in a nation-wide casserole rally in support of Quebec students who have protested proposed tuition hikes, as well as Bill 78 — a law the Quebec government recently passed that restricts public assemblies.

(The video and photos were shot entirely on an iPhone. Most of the photos were shot using the TiltShift Generator app.)