Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Calgary's Frequent Bus Network and Walkability

I went to school in Calgary back in the day and I just returned from visiting some friends their. I was shocked at the amount of change in the city; both good and bad. I was really encourage to see that the downtown and older neighbourhoods in Calgary are still vibrant and are seeing added density, but was saddened at the seemingly endless sprawl around the edge of the city. As I was taking transit visiting Calgary's urban areas like Downtown, Kensington, Inglewood, and Uptown 17th, I noticed that there seemed to be a correlation between Calgary's walkable neighbourhoods and the frequent bus network. I decided to plot the bus routes in Calgary that run 15min or better service for most of the day. I excluded the C-Train LRT as it operates more like a suburban rail network and relies heavily on park and ride lots.

Calgary's frequent local bus network. Click image to enlarge.
After plotting the frequent bus network which included routes 1 through 7 and 20, I marked off the areas of the city that fall within about a 400m or 5 minute walking distance of the bus routes.

Shaded areas within 400m or 5 minute walk of local bus stop. Click image to enlarge.

Not surprising, but all the areas that I like in Calgary are within walking distance of the frequent local bus network. Also interesting is that most of Calgary's "streetcar" or local grid road network is walkable while most of Calgary's cul-de-sac, collector, and expressway style network is not.

Looking at the map, I've come to the realization that successful urban, walkable neighbourhoods and cities must be designed with maximum connectivity options in mind. This usually results in the grid network.

Download the Google Earth Data


Tim said...

It looks like Calgary has done one thing well is the cycling trails in most of those not walkable subdivisions. Looking at Google Maps with cycling on you see a lot of connected off street trails. This is something that is lacking in the sub-burbs of Vancouver where the only trails we have in Surrey are mostly in Hydro corridors. The subdivisions were not built with any trail system in mind. It looks like the new sprawl of Calgary did.

Nathan Pachal said...

Yes, Calgary is lucky that they have a park that rings the south of the city.