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  Work, for me, is teaming up with community members and clients to make the places that they live in even better.

Ryan Martinson


Calgary, Alberta

Ryan believes that people should challenge themselves. His philosophy? “You have to get out of your comfort zone and learn how to say ‘yes!’” Ryan is a leader in the active and sustainable transportation field, and when he works with clients and stakeholders, his passion for that work is pretty clear to them.

Based out of our Calgary office, Ryan has been involved with numerous game-changing transportation projects—all with the goal of creating stronger communities and better cities. He’s just finished working on the Calgary Centre City Cycle Track project, an initiative that will improve connections in downtown Calgary and make the roads safer for cyclers.

Because of his approach to transportation planning and his understanding of how these concepts apply in real situations, Ryan has been invited to present his expertise to communities, municipalities, and professional organizations.

His goal is to make places better for people to travel through: on foot and by bicycle. When he’s not working, he’s volunteering for community organizations or spending time with his family.

Musings of a Professional Engineer hear what Ryan Martinson has to say

Sorting out cycle tracks

Ryan takes you on a ride through some of the benefits and challenges of cycle tracks, using Calgary, AB as an example.

Transcript of the video follows
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<p><b>Ryan Martinson</b></p> <p>We all need to move around our cities to take advantage of what they offer us in terms of living, working, playing, and learning. With our cities growing, our transportation systems need to grow as well. And that’s why cycle tracks are so great. Check it out!</p> <p><b>Rock Miller</b></p> <p>Cycle track is a relatively new form of bikeway that is being built in urban areas, particularly in downtowns. It’s basically a reassigning the way the street is used to dedicate some space for bicycles in addition to the space for cars, and one of the most important features of it is there’s some kind of a physical separation between the bicyclists and the cars.</p> <p>When you ride a bicycle in a facility like this it feels a lot more comfortable to people riding a bike, so people who are nervous about riding in a city will ride in a facility like this.</p> <p><b>Ryan Martinson</b></p> <p>As I travel through downtown Calgary, there’s a lot of people moving around by different modes. It’s busy, but everyone’s getting around safely. This is something we had to consider when we were planning and designing the cycle track network. So why aren’t more people doing this? Well like everything, there’s challenges.</p> <p><b>Rock Miller</b></p> <p>We’ve heard a number of people, particularly people that are used to commuting by cars express a lot of concern over taking away the lane of traffic. Another issue of concern that we’ve heard from a number of people is that it basically has resulted in some loss of parking along the street.</p> <p>One of the things the City did to address the parking shortage is survey nearby streets and they actually found places where they could provide some additional parking and they’ve actually come up with a net increase of about 100 stalls total for the overall project area.</p> <p>The bicycle traffic to the downtown has been increasing, the car traffic has actually been decreasing, and the City’s really established a lot of goals to increase bicycling and decrease single occupant car traffic in the downtown.</p> <p><b>Don Mulligan</b></p> <p>To be a great city, you’ve got to take some risks, you’ve got to go out on a limb, you’ve got to try new things, and lots and lots of people are resistant to change. You can give them some comfort by saying “it’s a pilot, we’re going to try it, it’s not permanent, if it doesn’t work we can either adjust it or abandon it…” And so there’s a huge power in creating a pilot project that is truly a test.</p> <p><b>Ryan Martinson</b></p> <p>So clearly there are a lot of challenges with implementing cycle tracks. Why bother?</p> <p><b>Don Mulligan</b></p> <p>When we ask people “why cycle?” the vast majority say “for exercise”, but it's not just about exercise, it's about a whole new lifestyle.&nbsp; I've been to many other cities all over the world and the cities that are best at cycling, people use it for everything. It becomes their way. We call it &quot;All day, all purpose trip&quot;. So, it's not just about going to school or going to work. It's going to visit friends, it's going to get groceries, it's going out at night.</p> <p><b>Ryan Martinson</b></p> <p>So they’re an all-around good idea, so how can other communities get started, and who can help?</p> <p><b>Rock Miller</b></p> <p>Stantec has helped cities implement cycle tracks in many communities throughout the US and Canada. We know it’s worked where it’s been done in cities before, and we have no doubt that it’s going to be working here. And the early returns really are confirming that already.</p> <p><b>Ryan Martinson</b></p> <p>So give us a shout if you want to learn more about cycle tracks in your town.</p>


At the 2Walk&Cycle conference this summer, I walked attendees through our network study and implementation—providing lessons learned that will help other cities fulfill their bicycle-friendly aspirations.

Last fall I helped organize the pre-conference workshop for Measuring Walking, a workshop that will help us create an internationally-standardized monitoring method for walking in public spaces.

In September at ProWalk/ProBike/ProPlace in Vancouver, I hope to inspire more communities with Calgary’s aspirational project, the Calgary Cycle Track Pilot Network.

My presentation at the Walkability Across Canada CITE Conference explored a number of Canadian walkability strategies and highlighted the important components that administrations should remember when developing active transportation strategies.

Looking at walking and biking and how communities are structured, my article “PlanYourPlace: a geospatial infrastructure for sustainable community planning” kicked off my master’s degree. It was published in Revue Internationale de Geomatique, Volume X in 2011.

For a lot of great insights on how we structure our society and what may be in store for us with the fast adoption of Smart Cities and related technologies, pick up a copy of The Zero Marginal Cost Society by Jeremy Rifkin.

A great book that describes how we interact on a day-to-day basis with the things we create is The Design of Everyday Things. I use this regularly as a way of thinking about how we design our transportation systems.

For years I’ve found my copy of Critical Thinking invaluable for looking at how we structure our thinking and the ways that we talk about our concerns.

Our Edmonton Separated Bike Lane network was recently featured in the Metro. It’s a fast-paced project that highlights potential streets in downtown Edmonton that could be viable for separated bike lanes.

I’ve served as vice chair for the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Sustainability Standing Committee in Canada and the US since 2015. As part of that committee, I also sit on the Complete Streets Committee and will be leading a practitioner’s guide for separated bikeways.

As co-chair for Safer Calgary, I’m working to create more walkable and bikeable communities (because they are safer!) in my community. Our link to universities in the Netherlands is a yearly reminder of how we can change our communities to be safer and more vibrant.

I work with the Active Neighbourhoods Canada Steering Committee and Working Group to help develop and lead participatory planning initiatives within Calgary communities.

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