Some residents in the northwest community of West Hillhurst were shocked by the transit changes in their neighbourhood last month and are now waiting for the city to address their safety concerns.
Jennifer Forbes says the neighbourhood, just down the hill from Foothills Hospital has long had a mini-bus to take commuters directly downtown. But last month it was replaced with large, more frequent buses that have to navigate the very narrow streets of the community.
Forbes tells News Talk 770 the large buses were never intended to drive those narrow streets, and drivers have been forced to make some dangerous maneuvers, including riding up on the sidewalk.
“All these children are coming too and from school and the sidewalk is no longer a safe place for them because the the buses are coming up on it.”
Forbes says the residents had a good meeting with transit officials and expressed their concerns.
“We showed them and by sheer luck of the route, they were able to see a bus making that turn, and violating about three different safety issues in one turn, which happens every time. There are 10 to 12 full size buses cutting through our community and we’re not using it. We’re not the intended customers of that route so we feel that it should be routed outside the borders of our community on safer streets. ”
Chris Jordan, Manager of Transit Planning with the city says they’re working to address the community’s concerns.
“We’ve met with the residents, and we’re currently working on alternatives to address their concerns, and still address our customers needs.”
Jordan also disputes Forbes’ claim that there wasn’t proper community engagement on this route change.
“I think we went over and above our previous efforts in past years on community engagement, both with customers and with representatives from the community. But ultimately we do have challenges reaching out to everyone. It’s tough to communicate with absolutely everyone impacted and I think that’s what we’ve run into here.
Calgary Transit is working on solutions to the problem and they will likely be put into place in the coming months after more consultation with the community and transit users.