As you may be aware, the Fall of 2011 was a busy one for members of the Bike Calgary Board of Directors and our associates on the Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee. Much activity focused on the City’s plan to develop a Centre City Cycle Network through engagement with the cycle community as per the following Council-approved amendment to the Cycle Strategy:
AS AMENDED, MOTION ARISING, Moved by Alderman G-C. Carra, Seconded by Alderman A. Chabot, that with respect to Report LPT2011-63, while broadly supportive of the Cycling Strategy, that Council direct the Administration to review Appendix A of Attachment 7 [Cycling Strategy] to determine, through engagement with the Cycle Community, an updated East-West and North-South separated Cycle Route Network through the Centre City, as part of the implementation plan for the [Cycling] Strategy.
Bike Calgary/Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee (Bike Calgary), along with the Calgary Pathways and Bikeways Advisory Council (CPAC) and Calgary tour de nuit Society (CtdnS), was requested, as a representative of the “cycling community”, to participate in the engagement process. In order to best represent the needs of the cycling community, Bike Calgary set up a survey on our website, asking for feedback on route choices, and conducted an engagement workshop, held in a Centre City location on October 11th. Getting the word out was done by an intercept flyer distribution blitz at various points in the Centre City, explaining what was on the horizon, and by asking website visitors to share the posted information with their contacts. The results of the over 300 responses were analyzed and formed the basis of the subsequent workshop discussions. Details of the survey can be viewed at http://bikecalgary.org/centrecity.
Bike Calgary then participated in two engagement workshops, held October 15th and 29th. In the course of those workshops, participants identified the criteria necessary for separated on-street cycle corridors, identified actual corridors meeting the criteria and devised a timeframe for study and implementation of cycle facilities within the corridors. The recommendations stemming from the workshops were formally reiterated by Bike Calgary and CPAC in two letters (see below), submitted to the City of Calgary in November and December, 2011. Following is a brief collation of the outcomes of the Centre City Workshops and the recommendations. (Click "read more" for the full report.)
The City of Calgary defined the Centre City as the area bounded by the Bow River (north), Elbow River (east), 17th Avenue S (south) and 14th Street SW (west).
It was determined that the separated cycle routes must meet the following criteria:
- Safe - Cycle facilities should be clearly identified as cyclist space through the use of physical barriers, lane markings, signage and lighting.
- Functional – Corridors should be easy to navigate with cycle facilities being useable year-round, i.e. timely snow, gravel and debris removal is imperative.
- Efficient – Cycle facilities should be sufficiently wide (for anticipated traffic), continuous and minimize stopping due to signage or traffic signal timing.
- Central – Cycle facilities should allow direct or convenient access to cycle destinations (i.e. major employment and retail centers).
- Connected – Cycle facilities must connect directly to the existing regional pathway and bikeway network.
- Minimize Conflict – Cycle facilities should be cost effective and designed to minimize negative impact on non-cyclist transport modes and external stakeholders.
On the basis of the criteria, the following five recommendations were made for the Centre City Cycle Network:
- The establishment of one principal separated east-west cycle corridor through the creation of one-way cycle facilities on each of 5th and 6th Avenues S, whereby cycle facilities are attained by a narrowing of the existing lanes and aggregating the excess space into the cycling facility and whereby the cycle facility is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic.
- The establishment of one principal separated east-west cycle corridor through either (a) the enhancement of the existing two-way cycling facilities on 10th Avenue S or (b) through the creation of one-way cycle facilities on each of 11th and 12th Avenues S.
- The establishment of separated north-south cycle corridors through (a) the creation of one-way cycle facilities on each of 4th and 5th Streets SW, extending from the Bow River Pathway to the east-west facilities (“Item 2” above) and (b) through enhancement of the existing two-way cycle facilities on each of 2nd Street SW and 8th Street SW, extending from the east-west facilities (“Item 2” above) to existing cycle facilities in the south.
- The establishment of functional connections between all separated cycle facilities and the regional Bow and Elbow River pathway systems, whereby junctions are designed in recognition of a cyclists need for safe and efficient travel as a vehicle.
- The upgrade of regional pathway facilities integral to the proposed separated cycle corridors, specifically the south side Bow River regional pathway and associated connector between 10th Street SW and the Bow River pathway at Crowchild Trail.
Recommendation 1 (and related elements of Recommendation 4) aligns with a CtdnS-originated proposal, and was recognized as requiring priority study on the basis of providing direct access to the Central Business District but also due to its potential to generate the perception of negatively impacting non-cyclist transportation modes. The cycling community stressed the importance of our design recommendations to minimize any real adverse impact on non-cyclist transportation modes. It was recognized that the City would require substantial time to ensure any cycling facilities established within this corridor best meet the needs of cyclists and non-cyclists. The priority study for Recommendation 1 was unanimously supported by all cycling groups represented.
Recommendation 2 through 5 were identified for priority implementation on the basis of assurances by City staff that they would be the most easily constructed and due to the reality that cycle infrastructure is already present in many cases, thus inherently minimizing any additional significant impact on non-cyclist mode-travel. Recommendations 2 through 5 were supported by CPAC and Bike Calgary. CtdnS indicated they were not opposed to the balance of the recommendations but felt that they could not support an order of project implementation that differed from the priority for studies.
It is important to note that there was substantial effort on the part of the represented cycling community organizations to work towards the common goal of cycle facilities in the Centre City. We are hopeful that the solidarity shown by the cycle community organizations with respect to the recommendations, as well as the detailed specifics presented for each corridor, will motivate the City to design and implement cycle facilities in a manner and location that best meets the needs of current and future Calgary cyclists and entices the “interested but concerned” demographic, identified in the Cycling Strategy, to break out the bike.
Bike Calgary would like to acknowledge those of you who participated in the survey and provided feedback. This information provided us with additional insight to reference during the course of the engagement. Thank you -- we hope we have adequately represented the cycling community.
The City has recognized the substantial time and effort the cycling community organizations and the cycling community in general has invested in making Calgary a more cycling-friendly community. We are still awaiting a response directly addressing the Centre City Cycle Network recommendations however we are assured this is forthcoming soon.
Bike Calgary and Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee
The Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee includes representatives from most of Calgary's cycling and active transportation organizations, including the Elbow Valley Cycle Club, the Bike Root Campus Bicycle Society of Calgary, the Good Life Community Bike Shop, and the Sustainable Alberta Association/Commuter Challenge.