Young professionals need signals that Calgary is, in fact, the place to be
Source: City of Calgary
Improved rapid transit brings many tangible benefits to a city with a large surface area like Calgary. It makes neighbourhoods more attractive, provides increased options to commuters, and makes socializing and moving around the city easier. It also has intangible benefits that Calgary cannot afford to miss out on. Investing in transit sends a signal to young professionals and investors: Calgary is so committed to being a forward-thinking economic hub that it is investing in its sustainable future.
Calgary competes with other large cities across Canada - and our neighbors to the south - to attract talent, start-ups, and larger, more established companies. The race to attract the best people and companies will amp up and drive our recovery after the pandemic. The inflow of these companies are especially needed to soften the impact of ongoing challenges to the oil and gas sector. Young professionals considering Calgary as their next move are weighing many factors, notably, if they can move around the city easily and affordably, and what their social lives might look like.
Upon completion, the Green Line will be part of a broader rapid-access transit network that will both retain and attract the young talent – and companies – that the city needs to prosper. Cities of the future have well-connected public transport systems. If Calgary wants to continue to stand out as a world-class city, it must continue to invest in good infrastructure that provides quality accessibility and mobility.
Attracting Young Workers Requires Public Transit Options
Unfortunately, without a transit system that connects neighborhoods across the city, reliance on a car increases. The problem is, adding a vehicle, insurance, and gas to your monthly cost of living can be expensive, especially when starting out in a new city.
Young professionals have numerous priorities, but one thing is for certain in uncertain times: they are looking for affordable options. A well-connected rapid transit network ups the attractiveness of communities previously inaccessible by transit, offering young people more affordable housing options outside of Calgary’s city centre that allow them to commute and move around the city easily and affordably.
A Connected City is a Social, Vibrant City
Better transit also addresses an issue that Calgarians with family and friends in different areas of the city face: socializing is not always easy, especially for those located in suburbs or even in inner-city neighborhoods. My friends and I have lived and worked all around the city, and the challenges of being social has been a constant throughout different stages in our lives, from being undergraduates at the University of Calgary to young professionals working downtown or in business parks in the city’s suburbs.
Source: Daily Hive
Our conversations have always been the same: “where can we meet that is easily accessible?” “Will someone with a car volunteer to drive and be the designated driver for the night?” Throw in a big snowfall, and the desire to drive down Deerfoot or 16th Avenue for thirty minutes plummets. Why not have more LRT stations that you can walk to in under 10 minutes that can get you to work or a social event quickly and back, safely? Private transportation alternatives are unreliable or unaffordable: Car2Go came and went and the cost of Uber and taxis add up and as a result are usually last resorts. Making rapid-access public transport accessible in more neighborhoods would have a huge impact in the daily lives of young Calgarians.
Green Line Prepares Calgary for the Future
Source: Calgary Transit
In today’s climate, like everyone else, young professional Calgarians are thinking about their future. Their expectations about the future of Calgary are shaped by signals, and these signals help them make their decisions. It is true that Calgary is experiencing tough economic times. At the same time, it is important that we think ahead and keep our eyes on the prize. Part of that is investing in our city, and making sure that when our economic recovery begins, we are already en route to attracting Calgarians to stay put and fill much needed roles in energy and our growing agribusiness and tech sectors. Investing in Calgary is a signal to young Calgarians, prospective Calgarians, and investors alike that we are not giving up, and that we are preparing ourselves for growth.
About the author
Farah Kammourieh is a Calgarian interested in growing cities and the role they play in economic growth. She holds a Master in International Economic Policy.
For more info on the Green Line visit the City of Calgary's Green Line engagement page>>.