New Bus-Cycling Lanes on Centre Street, Calgary AB

Calgary Winter, Bus with Bike Rack, a Cyclist Shopping, Bike Rack at Store© Jean Chong, Dec 2, 2012

Calgary Winter, Bus with Bike Rack, a Cyclist Shopping, Bike Rack at Store
© Jean Chong, Dec 2, 2012

Calgary has recently installed bus-cycling lanes on sections of Centre Street.  The northbound bus-bicycle lane starts at 42nd Ave NW to Thorncrest Road NW.  The southbound bus-bicycle lane runs from 54th Ave NW to McKnight Boulevard NW.

For the sections with bike-cycling lanes, each direction of travel has a bus-bicycle lane and 2 general traffic lanes.  When the bus-bicycle lanes end, the street returns to 4 general traffic lanes.

The question is why?  Why do the bus-bicycle lanes not continue all the way downtown?  Why is the streetscape configuration not 2 dedicated use lane and 2 general traffic lanes?  Why are movements of 35,000 people being held up and controlled by single motorists who only make up approximately 33% of the users of the street?  Trip time for transit users would go down if the dedicated use lane would go all the way downtown.

Why is the City’s transportation priorities favour one class of users that consume more road space than the other road users, including transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians?  Why does the City favour motorists when they create more cost for the city and the province than the other road users, considering the cost of building and maintaining streets, the creation of greenhouse gas and the resulting cost to individuals, the province, and businesses from degrading of personal health.  4 lanes are dedicated for 20,000 motorists, while 35,000 people only require 2 lanes.  Back in 1975, the city had air quality so good that people suffering from sinuses and allergies would move to Calgary to improve their health.  Now, people want to leave Calgary caused by poor air quality.  It certainly was a reason for me to leave Calgary in 2001.

Why are the two dedicated use lanes not on one side of the street allowing for easier provision of traffic signal priority for buses, again reducing trip time for transit riders?

What happens in winter weather?  Do motorists abandon their cars for public transportation and place a peak demand on the transit system without paying for that service year round.  Maybe they should be paying peak rates for transit to cover peak demand costs.

It is time for Calgary to revisit its transportation priority, if it really wants to become a world class city some day? 

The answer is most likely – “Yes”.


From the City of Calgary’s website:

“Transit service on Centre Street North serves the 150,000 residents of the growing communities of north-central Calgary. Approximately 20,000 vehicles per day use Centre Street. Calgary Transit operates approximately 90 buses per hour on nine routes (including one BRT route) entering the downtown core from north-central Calgary. These services carry over 3,000 transit passengers per hour during the peak hour and about 35,000 per day.”


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