As the city continues to work out the details of a dedicated cycle track through Calgary’s downtown core some of the loudest voices against the city’s proposed route come from Chinatown.

The cycle track is currently routed on First Street S.E. through the heart of Chinatown. The Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association the Calgary Chinese Community Service Association the Calgary Chinese Merchants Association and the Chinatown Cycle Track Concerned Citizens Group have banded together to express their dissatisfaction with that plan pointing out it will impede business parking and pose a risk to pedestrians especially the district’s 700 senior residents.

In a letter presented to council on April 16 the group asks the city to put cyclists somewhere else. “We believe proper traffic calming measures signals and signage… or loud pulsating beeps for crossing signals at all the major street corners in and around Chinatown are more appropriate and urgent measures” states the letter.

The groups say the city never consulted Chinatown residents and businesses on the route and ignores possible negative consequences of devoting a lane of the street exclusively to cyclists. The group also claims that rather than encouraging cyclists to shop in Chinatown removing a lane will restrict access for the multiple delivery trucks that frequent the area and deter people from driving there.

Other downtown stakeholders have mixed feelings about the cycle track. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of it while the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Calgary doesn’t want road lanes devoted to cycling.

The city opened the Seventh Street S.W. cycle track in June 2013. On April 7 council recommended the entire proposed downtown cycle network be installed on a trial basis. Administration has proposed east-west cycling lanes on Eighth and 12th Avenues S.W. and north-south lanes on Fifth and First Streets S.E. The city is still accepting public input into the plan.

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