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Calgary

Calgary’s Hidden Valley School’s ‘Hug ‘n Go’ campaign promotes traffic safety

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This story recently sent to us from a Calgary reader caught our eye. An effective and ‘low-tech’ way to promote driving safety near the school.

by Sarah Parchewsky – Calgary

Like many schools in Calgary, Hidden Valley School in the NW struggles with traffic congestion in and around its school zone. The day-to-day challenges of time management and six months of cold winter weather make too many parents choose to drive their kids to and from school rather than use an active form of travel like walking or biking.

After years of struggling with parents parking in undesignated parking spots, the Hidden Valley School Council decided it was time to try and change this behavior. The council applied for and was awarded a Traffic Safety Fund grant from the Ministry of Transportation to promote traffic safety, education and awareness to the students, their families and staff members at the school.

Each student at the school was given a pedestrian safety reflector to wear on either their jackets or backpacks so that motorists driving in the community could identify these tiny pedestrians from a distance. To keep traffic moving smoothly and alleviate congestion, the school purchased “Hug N’ Go” banner flags to mark the road in front of the school’s entrance.

The school council co-ordinated parent volunteers and teaching staff to host monthly traffic safety blitz’s in collaboration with the Calgary Police Service’s Traffic Safety Unit. The goal was to coach parents about safe driving and good parking practises in and around the school. Parents seen parking in less congested areas or using active forms of travel instead of driving were rewarded with thank-you cards.

The school continued to promote traffic safety to students and their families with street safe activity booklets and safe cycling checklists. In May 2019, the school hosted a walk/bike week event to encourage students to use an active form of travel either to and from school or in the evenings with their families (for students who travel by bus). To end the school year, the school hosted a traffic safety assembly where students practised how to use a crosswalk safely using the three P’s (Point, Pause, Proceed). The winners of the walk/bike week event were announced by the School’s CPS Liaison Officer, Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek and AB Transportation.

The school handed out a total of 4 bicycles, 5 scooters and over 30 helmets.

“Hats off to our School Council and the staff at Hidden Valley School who have worked really hard on this traffic safety initiative this year!” stated the School Council’s Traffic Safety Coordinator. “However, we continue to struggle with traffic safety within the community. Not only are their infrastructure issues such as unlighted crosswalks but all drivers in the community need to start thinking about changing their driving behaviours in order to make a real difference.”

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Calgary

Global News Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt is back with Crime Beat episode 10

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We’ve all heard the saying “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Usually this is used to describe a mishap that was just waiting for someone to come along. Sometimes it describes a falling tree or a wash-out on the road ahead. But sometimes it’s a person or people… with evil intensions… lurking and waiting for a victim to come along.

This is the tragedy of Mark Mariani. He was having a great day, maybe the best in a long time, when circumstances lead him to a place he’d never return from.

Here’s Global News Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt with the 10th instalment of her hit podcast Crime Beat.

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Alberta

Province promises almost Half Billion Dollars to expand Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail

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Minister Mason, with Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson, announces a $478 million investment in Deerfoot Trail.

From the Province of Alberta

Deerfoot Trail upgrades to create jobs, cut commute

The Government of Alberta is expanding Deerfoot Trail to create jobs, ease congestion and reduce commute times.

Deerfoot Trail is the busiest roadway in Alberta with an average of 175,000 vehicles travelling on it every day. The province is adding both northbound and southbound lanes to 21 kilometres of Deerfoot Trail between Beddington Trail and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail, to improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

Multiple interchanges will also be upgraded with additional lanes at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to reduce commute times at key bottlenecks.

“Deerfoot Trail is the busiest road in Alberta, and a vital artery for Calgary. It has become increasingly congested, and everyone who drives this road will appreciate this expansion plan. We want commuters to spend less time in traffic, and more time with their families and loved ones.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

Calgarians rely on Deerfoot Trail as the city’s most used north-south vehicle corridor. This major infrastructure project will transform Deerfoot Trail into a modern freeway that meets the current and future needs of a growing, active city.

“These improvements to Deerfoot Trail have been long awaited by Calgarians. This substantial investment from the Government of Alberta will go a long way in improving the traffic flow and safety on a roadway that is used by thousands of Calgarians every day.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

This major expansion builds upon work already underway to optimize traffic flow on Deerfoot Trail. In early 2019, the province issued a Request for Proposals for engineering of a new Intelligent Transportation System to help ease congestion by employing variable speed limit technology and new message boards to alert commuters of expected travel times and incidents ahead.

The expansion of Deerfoot Trail is expected to create 2,330 jobs, and $478 million has been allocated in the Capital Plan for the project.

Quick facts

  • An initial study released in 2017 made recommendations for short-term improvements to Deerfoot Trail, including:
    • New Intelligent Transportation System
    • New interchange improvements at:
      • McKnight to 64 Avenue ramp connection
      • 11 Street northbound connection to Deerfoot, north of Beddington
      • Southland Drive to Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail
  • In early 2019, the Government of Alberta issued a Request for Proposals for engineering and design work for short-term improvements to Deerfoot Trail.
  • The Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary are engaged in a long-term study of Deerfoot Trail that will be finalized this year. The core initial findings suggest:
    • Additional lanes northbound and southbound between Beddington Trail and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail are required to meet growing traffic demands.
    • Major interchange improvements are required at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to reduce commute times and improve traffic flow.
  • Deerfoot Trail first opened to the public in 1971. It has been a full freeway since 2005.
    • When the road was built to its present configuration in 2005, Calgary had one million residents.
    • The population of Calgary is now approaching 1.3 million, excluding the rapidly growing populations of Airdrie and Chestermere.

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