August 30, 2023
President, Canadian Real Estate
Re: QuadReal opposition to Calgary’s Downtown Strategy
Dear Mr. Daal,
It has come to our attention that a local office manager at QuadReal’s Livingston Place and Jamieson Place offices in downtown Calgary is requesting tenants write letters of opposition to the 3rd Ave South cycle track.
Messaging shared with tenants in QuadReal’s template letter inaccurately states that the cycle track has “added additional congestion”. An operational review of the cycle track by Bunt & Associates commissioned by the City of Calgary found that “while bicycle volumes have grown with the implementation of the Cycle Track, the number of cyclists has not increased to a level that impacts parkade operations.”
Installed in Fall 2022 as a “strategic investment” of Calgary’s Downtown Strategy, the 3rd Avenue South Walking and Wheeling Upgrades project has been a tremendous success. A City report indicates the cycle track contributed to a 6x increase in cycling trips and a 20% increase in scooter trips in the first year alone. Surveys have found the majority of people walking, wheeling, and driving on 3rd Avenue are satisfied with the upgrades and have responded positively to improvements in safety.
Public support for the Downtown Strategy and 3rd Avenue S cycle track is equally strong. Dozens of Greater Downtown community associations, arts organizations, and corporate businesses have expressed their support for keeping it. That support includes the single largest employer on 3rd Avenue, Roger’s Communications, which has embraced the cycle track as beneficial to staff returning to the office and reducing their carbon footprint in alignment with their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) objectives.
We applaud QuadReal’s stated sustainability policy and commitment to “collaborate with cities to help create safe, desirable, and livable neighbourhoods”. We also recognize QuadReal’s significant role as a wholly-owned company of the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), the investment manager of BC’s public sector pension funds, within BCI’s Climate Action Plan to drive actions aligned with their global goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Calgary’s own Climate Strategy shares the same net-zero goal for transportation emissions in part through the investment in more cycle tracks protected from motor vehicle traffic as has been implemented on 3rd Avenue South.
Calgary’s Downtown Strategy makes clear the need “to move beyond the traditional 9 to 5 business district towards a vibrant city centre people enjoy 24/7, with a balanced mix of residential, office, retail, entertainment, tourism and culture.” The strategy stands to benefit not just local residents and taxpayers, but also owners of office real estate assets experiencing record high vacancies, such as QuadReal.
According to the City of Calgary, the Downtown Strategy is “leveraging the collective efforts of The City and its public and private sector partners to respond to prolonged economic challenges, and capitalize on opportunities that will create jobs, drive economic recovery, and revitalize and transform the downtown.” The successful 3rd Avenue South cycle track is not just a strategic component of that Downtown Strategy but also an important tool in the city’s Climate Strategy. We implore QuadReal to withdraw its opposition to the cycle track and share in this collective opportunity to collaborate with the City of Calgary to meet its climate objectives and make the downtown a more safe, desirable, and livable neighbourhood.
David Duckworth (City Manager)
Thom Mahler (Downtown Strategy)
Cllr. Wong (Ward 7)
Cllr. Walcott (Ward 8)