Paul Pettypiece consulting research logo high speed rail as one of many transportation options

Paul Pettypiece


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Alexander Way Red Deer

Gaetz and Ross Red Deer

Downtown Red Deer

intersection of Airport Drive and Highway 2AInnovative and Alternate Transportation
Private motor vehicle transportation is, and will be for some time to come, the main mode of transportation for residents of Central Alberta.
For that reason, there are some urgent needs to keep drivers safe and provide better traffic efficiency. Those needs include the current upgrade of
Highway 2A between Penhold and Innisfail, an second access road between Springbrook/Airport to Red Deer, improvements to Highway QE2 south of the city, better access between southeast Red Deer and the northwest industrial zone and improvements to Highway 2A north of the city to Lacombe.
However, to reduce our dependence on private motor vehicles, we also need to seriously consider other types of transportation as fuel prices and traffic congestion increase.

Trans Canada Trail marker at Waskasoo ParkA higher priority needs to be given for the construction of rural bicycle and walking trails. Aside from being an alternate and economical form of getting around, they link local communities, heritage sites and recreational facilities as well as provide for a healthy lifestyle, recreation and an appreciation of natural areas and our agricultural roots. In addition, they are necessary for the safety of our children and youth by providing an alternative to walking or bicycling on busy and dangerous highways.
Innisfail trailsWhile some trails can be dedicated to walkers, runners and bicyclists, other trails could be dedicated to snowmobiles, off-road vehicles and/or horses, depending on the needs and efforts of communities and interest groups.
One of the more strategic, urgent and safety-specific trails that needs to be completed soon is a Penhold to Red Deer trail. Ultimately it will become part of the TransCanada Trail system that creates a significant tourism opportunity. The TransCanada Trail corridor needs to be extended to Innisfail to the south and to Lacombe and Ponoka to the north.

Additional trail corridors need to be established from the city to Sylvan Lake in the west and to the Delburne area in the east. Further trail corridors linking these could then be established along the Medicine River to Glennifer Lake, the Boomtown Trail along Highway 21 and west from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg. Further down the road, more trails could develop with linkages to Pine Lake, Buffalo Lake and Gull Lake.

Red Deer TransitOn the other end of the spectrum is the need for public transportation in rural areas linking the urban and country residential communities around Red Deer. Dedicated right of ways need to be established that could some day evolve into a mass transit system like light commuter rail or street cars.
As the population of the region grows with migration of people from areas where a high level of public transit is normal, as the resident population ages, and as the cost of fuel increases, there will be an increasing trend to use alternative transportation if it is available, efficient and environmentally-friendly.
As a first step, a much-needed bus service linking Red Deer, Gasoline Alley and Springbrook/Airport is expected to begin in 2009. Transit links to Penhold and possibly other Central Alberta communities could follow.
high speed railFor longer distances, the Red Deer Regional Airport and the proposed high speed rail between Calgary and Edmonton show great promise in providing options to driving the ever-increasing congestion of Highway 2. In fact, an integration between those two modes of travel would be very beneficial to the growth and economy of the region providing that an efficient feeder system is established from downtown Red Deer and surrounding communities to the terminal. Rights of way need to be determined in the very near future for various forms of rapid public transportation.
Blog: 'Time For High Speed Rail Corridors in Alberta'
Blog: 'Regional Approach to Public Transit'

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