By Jamie Anderson
On April 25th, The City of Calgary met with community members and businesses surrounding 37th Street SW to collaborate on an upcoming street lab party.
"A street lab party is a way to both experiment with street infrastructure while also bring community together," says the City of Calgary's Pedway & Mobility Strategist, Jen Malzer. "The ultimate goal is to create a community where people feel connected and safe and have easy access to different travel options."
The group met for two hours and brainstormed about ways to engage the surrounding communities by making the street lab both fun and educational.
The ultimate goal of the street lab will be to show members of the community what potential changes to 37th Street SW could look like, and get feedback from those who live in and around the area. Several members of the Killarney community came out for the session, including Director of Safe & Vibrant Streets, Nazim Virani.
Virani was pleased with the event, noting that there were a lot of great ideas that came from the diverse group of people who participated. He thinks the city's idea to revitalize 37th street is "huge" as many people who live near the street, including himself, don't feel that it is safe.
To him, the importance that the engagement sessions answer the question: "How do you get people truly living the streets?" is primary.
There are, however, businesses that are concerned with the potential changes. Angus Taylor, CEO of New Leaf Cannabis attended the session as he was curious as to how the project will be received by the community.
"I do have concerns about unintended consequences to our business during a protracted construction," he says, "or even how the public reacts to the measures." He was, however, happy with the outcome of the engagement session.
As far as what can be expected with the revitalization plan in the future, Malzer says: "Today we have new policies and tools that help make streets a vibrant and welcoming place for all users, including everybody who chooses to walk, cycle, take transit or drive their cars. We have funding to enhance 37 Street and will be sharing options in June, a preferred streetscape design concept in the fall and then plan to start construction in 2019."