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Maze gates to be phased out of Calgary communities

If you don't want them in your neighbourhood, you can contact the city, said GM Doug Morgan.

Those pesky maze gates at the pathway exits in Calgary communities will one day be a thing of the past, Calgary city council heard Tuesday.

During Question Period during the Sept. 12 Calgary city council meeting, Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner asked if the city was in the process of removing the contraptions.

“Indeed, we have made the decision to remove the maze gates and communities are not putting new ones in and really that was hearing from Calgarians on accessibility issues,” said Doug Morgan, General Manager of Operational Services with the City of Calgary.

Maze gates were initially installed as a safety measure as it made people slow down on the pathway prior to potentially entering the road area. Some areas have poles in the middle of the pathway to slow pedestrian and cycling traffic, a series of poles, or post and wire guides.

For years, people have been frustrated as it became a hassle to leave their bikes or navigate them with larger strollers.

Morgan said they’re pursuing better connections in their 5A network and they’ll be watching results of the removal carefully.

“Any statistics we have on safety have not seen any negative implications to remove the maze gates,” he said.

“We’ve also looked at other jurisdictions, their experience not having maze gates, and they have not seen any negative safety implications.”

There are more than 1,000 of the maze gates spread across Calgary communities. The City of Calgary is currently completing a city-wide condition assessment and update to the inventory statistics.

Contact the city for removal

Morgan said that if Calgarians want to see a maze gate in their community removed, they can contact the city. If you have concerns with them in your area, you can also contact 311, he said.

Coun. Penner said that when she had younger kids, she had a double-wide chariot stroller and she said they’re “virtually impossible” to get through a maze gate.

“So, removing them is a good news story,” Penner said.

“If anything, in my experience, it’s just more of a hazard than anything for those trying to navigate through them.”

Don’t get your hopes up on speedy removal of the metal structures. It could take several years to remove them all.

“They’re not going to disappear overnight,” Penner said.

Historically, the City of Calgary receives up to three requests per month for adjustment or removal of the maze gates. So far in 2023, 40 removals have been undertaken.

“The gates are removed as part of an annual accessibility capital program meant to improve and upgrade pedestrian accessibility across Calgary. This program includes installation of wheelchair ramps, audible pedestrian signals, bollard removals, maze gate modifications and missing sidewalk link connections. The budget of this program is $1.5 million,” the city said in an email response.