Staying safe outdoors this weekend

Sunny skies ahead

With sunny skies finally in the weekend forecast, we are all anxious to get outside and enjoy the spring weather. This is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental well-being, so take a moment to plan how you can make the most of the sunny weekend in a way that continues our collective efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

City parks and pathways

While playgrounds are closed, Calgary parks and off-leash areas remain open for responsible public use. That last part is important: responsible public use. We need the help of all Calgarians to keep these spaces safe and open. Please plan ahead and practice these guidelines for visiting public spaces.

  • Observe physical distancing; leave at least six feet, or two metres, between yourself and others.
  • Don’t drive to a park, including off leash areas. Congested parking lots increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Walk yourself and your dog around your own community, and enjoy your neighbourhood parks, pathways and green spaces.
  • If the park or pathway you go to is busy, leave and head to a less crowded area.
  • With more than 8,000 hectares of parks and green spaces, and 150 off-leash areas in Calgary, there’s plenty of space for us all. Find a few locations that could work for you and then be flexible.
  • All dogs (whether on or off leash) must be under control at all times. Don’t pet other people’s dogs. Don’t let anyone pet your dog.
  • Be a responsible pet owner: don’t forget to clean up after your dog.

“Our City parks and greenspaces are an amazing resource for Calgarians right now. We want to keep them open and we can do that as long as we’re all being responsible,” says Kyle Ripley, Director of Parks. “Get outside, stay 6 feet away from others, and we’ll see you in our parks next weekend.”

You will see something new in The City’s parks this week. Parks staff and Bylaw Officers will be patrolling public spaces to educate visitors on using the spaces responsibly.

Creating pedestrian spaces

Calgary Roads has been adding space for pedestrian traffic by identifying areas where “adaptive road closures” can be used. This involves closing off a lane to motor vehicle traffic and opening the lane for anyone walking, running, cycling, rollerblading and the like. The large lanes allow users to spread out at safe distances.

The adaptive roads have been so well-received that we are receiving numerous requests to expand the program. We are reviewing each request for the ability to keep pedestrians safe, maintain access to open businesses and ensure we don’t drive more activity to an already busy area.

“In the coming weeks, as the weather improves, we will add more lane closures. We will not, however, release the locations of these closures to avoid drawing people to these areas,” says Troy McLeod, Director of Roads. “Instead, we encourage you to enjoy your own neighbourhood and explore the parks, greenspaces and adaptive roads that are close to you.”

When enjoying adaptive roads in your community, remember not to walk too close to moving traffic. To minimize interactions, we encourage pedestrians to consider busy stairways as a one-way upward, finding alternate pathways to go down. Sidewalks can also be used as a one-way in the same direction of traffic, where possible.

Enjoy your own backyard

While this isn’t an option for everyone, there is sun and fun to be had in your own yard or balcony. Fire up the barbecue, dig in the dirt, draw on the sidewalk, or relax with a book in the sun. As long as you enjoy the space with only the people who live in your household, this is your safest and most “rule-free” space to enjoy the warmer weather.

An important note about backyard fire pits:

  • Be kind to your neighbours. We also know that smoke from fire pits can cause adverse health effects in some people, and under our Community Standards Bylaw, firepits must not negatively impact your neighbour.
  • You can call 311 if smoke from a neighbour’s fire pit is bothering you. Fines for violations of these regulations range between $100 and $500.