City of Calgary Downtown Cycle Track Network Plan, 2014

“2014-02-05:  Engaging both new and seasoned cyclists of all ages, as well as those who want to bike but may not feel comfortable, is what the city centre cycle track network is all about, according to Ryan Murray, a spokesperson with the City of Calgary.

©Photograph by HJEH Becker, 2013“The cycle tracks we’re proposing, they’re really built for everyone. We’re not just looking for people who have a bike in their garage now,” he said.

“With cycle tracks, it’s a new way of thinking about transportation in Calgary and it’s an important way to think about transportation in Calgary. We want to offer that choice that doesn’t exist now . . . Cycle tracks are built for people to use who are eight to 80. It’s really transportation for all.”

Times are changing and it is time for Calgary to actively join in a trend experienced by many other cities over the last few years, such as Vancouver, San Francisco, Portland, and of course, many European cities.  Cost of fuelling cars will continue to increase significantly.  Home prices are increasing.  For many, earnings are not.  Making the move from driving to cycling or combined trips of cycling and transit frees up $10,000 per year to spend on more pleasant things like nicer homes, dining out more frequently, or pleasant vacations, among other ways.

Calgary needs an extensive network of separated bike lanes to join its bike trails along the rivers, around suburbs, and to shopping areas and transit stops.

Separation of cycling, motorists, and pedestrians is all about increasing cycling traffic significantly.  For maximizing the success of separated bike lanes (or some people call them cycle tracks), they need to be networked and designed so good that they appeal to motorists driving by where they want to give them a try instead of driving.

©Photograph by JL Chong, 2013They need to be designed so that they fit into a neighbourhood and enhance the street experience, rather than adding another ugly curb.

©Photograph by HJEH Becker, 2013 ©Photograph by HJEH Becker, 2013In Calgary with the potential for real growth of cycling, these facilities need to be designed for winter cycling.

For motorists, a comprehensive network of separated bike lanes in the downtown core and in the suburbs will mean more cyclists and less car traffic and congestion.  Motorists are calling for reduced congestion.  This network will be one of the contributions to ease motorists’ complaints.

©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2013Hopefully, the City will stick to the track alignment design used on 7th St SW, i.e. a two-way track, not single-way tracks on each side of a street or on two streets.  Two-way tracks better display the amount of cycling traffic to motorists, than one-way tracks.  There are less conflict points with motorist.  Two-way tracks are better at allowing for accommodating of peak cycling traffic.  There are fewer chances for motorists to claim that they do not see anyone on the cycling tracks.

Hopefully, the proposed network will include cycling underpasses of the CPR tracks at 7th St SW and 19th St SW.  The trains are getting too long, too frequent, the waiting time to cross tracks is increasing, and as a cyclists in winter, I am getting too cold waiting for the last train car to pass.

As a resident of the downtown core, any implementation schedule will be too slow for me.