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City seeking input on residents' daily travel methods, patterns

“I'm truly hopeful that residents have the time and the opportunity and share their feedback to help, essentially, push us in the right direction to ensure that our targets align to what our community needs are,” said St. Albert's transportation manager Dean Schick.

As part of the development of a $1 million new planning strategy, the City of St. Albert is seeking feedback and input from residents on how they move throughout the community.

The new strategy, called the Mobility Choices Strategy, will serve as an update to the city's Transportation Master Plan, which was last updated in 2015. The Transportation Master Plan serves as a guide for city planners when it comes to planning roads, multi-use trails, public transit services, and sidewalks, and how each piece of infrastructure flows together in the city's transportation network.

The Mobility Choices Strategy is also one of 10 new long-range strategies city administration is developing to better align the city's plans and goals to those included in St. Albert's Municipal Development Plan (MDP), which council signed-off on in 2021. The first of those 10 new strategies, the Green Environment Strategy, was published earlier this year.

RELATED: City publishes new green environment strategy

Dean Schick, the city's transportation manager, told the Gazette that the Mobility Choices Strategy will build off the work previously done with the MDP and transportation master plan to guide the city moving forward.

“All these guiding documents helped to inform and get us to where we're at today,” Schick said. “So, the mobility strategy will essentially take all of that, and then move us forward into what's projected into the next decade.”

“It is intended as an overarching planning document, so it doesn't get into, necessarily, the weeds of day-to-day operations, however, it's influential in establishing what those may be in the future.”

To better inform what the city's transportation-related day-to-day operations will be, residents can fill out a nine question survey on the city's Cultivate the Conversation Platform until June 16.

The survey questions look to gather data about the issues impacting how residents move throughout the city, such as traffic congestion and travel time, public transit routes and service levels, parking, and more.

On a more basic level, the survey also asks residents about their preferred or chosen travel methods, such as driving, biking, walking, or bussing, and asks what prevents residents from using other modes of transportation. 

Another survey question asks residents to identify and explain what they would like to see the city focus on in the short term as it relates to transportation.

After the survey is closed and the responses are tabulated, Schick said staff will then take that information and combine it with the information included in the Transportation Master Plan and the MDP to develop “strategic priorities,” which means staff will identify what parts of the existing transportation network could or should be improved and how those improvements can be considered for future development as well.

Once those priorities are identified, staff will perform “a lot” of technical studies and evaluations, Schick explained.

“[One example is] looking at what current conditions are of our network demands from pedestrian movements and vehicle movements to forecast demands,” he said. “We use a traffic model to forecast that demand, and in that modelling what it does is it takes the existing demands, it recognizes the existing land use and development that has occurred not only in St. Albert but regionally as well, and then we look to expand on that and say, ‘well under the current approved Area Structure Plans or planning documents for the city and region, what are the forecast growth expectations and demands on our road network.’”

“We investigate a lot of different aspects in terms of our current service levels, and then subject to the responses that we get out of our stakeholders and residents, [we try to determine] where are we seeing success today, what are some gaps and what are opportunities for improvement or new areas that we want to try and focus on in terms of possible service impacts.”

Schick said planning documents like the Mobility Choices Strategy are only as valuable as the quality of data used to inform them, and as such he's hoping many residents take the time to fill out the survey.

“When we have this engagement out there, I'm truly hopeful that residents have the time and the opportunity and share their feedback to help, essentially, push us in the right direction to ensure that our targets align to what our community needs are,” he said.

The Mobility Choices Strategy is on schedule to be complete by the end of 2025.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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