Network needs work

The city finally unveiled the initial plans for a network of separated bike lanes known as cycle tracks in the inner city with some good north-south routes and another wasted opportunity to get people from east to west.

There’s the 1st street southeast cycle track that was announced earlier allowing access from the Bow to the Elbow River pathways. There’s now also a second route down 5th street another great link but one that stops dead at 17th Avenue.

And then there’s the east-west connection or lack thereof. If you can make it out of downtown you can enjoy a separated ride down 12th Avenue but in the core the proposal is for a separated lane down part of 8th Avenue ending at the Stephen Avenue mall. Bikes might be allowed on the mall outside of daytime hours. During the day? So far nothing.

When it comes to bikes on Stephen Avenue nobody seems all that excited particularly the Calgary Downtown Association.

Nothing is yet set in stone but it’s incredibly frustrating to see this long-anticipated plan utterly fail to take the big steps needed to accomodate cyclists and increase the number of people riding. The excuse is that traffic would be affected along other routes which fails to account for increased numbers of cyclists helping to reduce congestion not to mention the fact that city is meant to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars in transportation decisions. If we’re trying to make a change let’s make a change.

What are cyclists supposed to do once they reach the invisible wall of the Stephen Avenue mall? Dismount and walk the rest of the way? Risk it on 5th or 6th Avenue? Go four blocks south to get onto 12th Avenue and then ride back into downtown and walk partway to their destination?

Those wishing to provide feedback can do so throughout the first half of February with three open houses planned. Or you can always contact your councillor.