The City of Calgary has put a new interactive pathway map online. It's a welcome improvement over some previous efforts, in the sense that you can turn on and off layers in order to see whether your route is actually a "Bow River pathway", an "Elbow River pathway", a "Nose Creek pathway", or an "all regional pathways". Funny, though, my bike doesn't seem to care which is which. On the other hand, it could be handy to turn on the "pathway with snow-clearing" layer if you are contemplating winter riding.
Having said the above, the map is somewhat flawed, and seems to have been designed by City departments anxious to defend their turf. How else can you explain a purple off-street pathway line having a break in it every single block, which seems to indicate that you can't get from one side of a crossing street to the other. Does the Roads department object if the Parks department draws a line on a map that crosses one of their roads?
The City has omitted anything that doesn't have an official designation; never mind if cyclists are using it or not. At the same time, they've included pathway sections that no longer exist (apparently just to remind themselves they own the right of way). The Douglasglen/Quarry Park area is a case in point. The map shows a pathway on the west side of the Bow River even though the pathway there was swept away in a flood over two years ago: that's a cruel hoax to inflict on a new resident in the south who rides 1 km north of Diamond Cove only to discover that the map is a lie, and he has to turn around and flail around for another route. Meanwhile, on the east side of the Bow River, a perfectly good gravel and dirt trail is now the sole possible commuting route for residents of the deep south, yet it doesn't appear on the map because that trail doesn't meet City standards.
It's as though no one took the time to ask himself "how will a cyclist actually use this map to plan a route?". Rather than show you the best, most enjoyable, or shortest ways to commute around the city on a bike, the City shows you which City department owns which pieces of pavement. Helpful? Not. What cyclists need is a map that shows the best routes,not which City department is responsible for maintaining each piece of the routes.
Speaking of City departments, looks like they didn't invite Calgary Transit to the table. The (few) bus routes with bike racks are clearly part of the cycling infrastructure -- e.g. you can cross the city west to east with your bike on the front of the no. 1 bus -- yet it's not shown on the map. Neither are the LRT lines, though they're available 18 hours a day for most cyclists (and 24 hours a day if you have a folding bike that goes in a bag).
Other flaws of this map:
- There's no scale on the map
- You can't zoom in or zoom out: you have to use the overview image, or the detailed view
- You can't see all the street names (this goes hand in hand with the lack of zooming), so you can't actually tell which street the bike routes are on, or whether the bike route goes near your home
- It's missing virtually all of the bridges and overpasses owned or maintained by Calgary Transit, which actually are used by pedestrians and cyclists for their commutes, and not just by CT customers
- Many other pedestrian overpasses are also missing, e.g. the bridge over 16 Ave NE near 19 St NE
- Elbow R pathway colour (yellow) is hard to see in some areas
Quality control is poor on the map. There are many, many omissions, including some entire pathway sections. Fofllowing are just a few I found within a few minutes of searching. Can you add any others that affect your daily commute? And, what would you like to see on a city map aimed at cycle-commuters?
- missing the short piece of pathway on Nose Creek between Memorial Drive Westbound and Eastbound lanes
- several hundred meters of the NE Regional Pathway along 25th Ave NE are missing, E of 19 St NE
- missing the north-east approach to the Deerfoot Trail ped overpass at 25 Ave NE
- missing several hundred meters of Nose Creek pathway north of 64 Ave NE
- missing pathway on E side of Centre St from the Bow River bridge up to 7th Ave (designated as bikepath)
- missing 100m of the regional pathway in Rundle
- missing the entire regional pathway running S from the 25 Ave Regional pathway in Vista Heights to the ped bridge across 16 Ave NE
- missing the ped bridge over 16 Ave NE between Vista Heights and Crossroads
- missing 1 km of the airport pathway S of the airport along Barlow Trail
- missing 500m north of pathway N of the airport up to Airport Trail
- missing most of the pathway in Hidden Valley ravine
- missing 100m of on-street bike route in the Hamptons N of Country Hill Blvd
- missing the pathway from Country Hills Blvd into Royal Oaks
- missing nearly 1 km of pathway around the SE side of Tuscany
- missing 100m in Bowmont Park that joins the Bow R pathway to the ravine pathway that runs up into Silver Springs
- missing several hundred meters of pathway in Bowmont Park along N side of Bow River
- missing several 100m on each side of the S end of the ped bridge across the Bow River into Bowness
- missing the pathway across the S side of the Foothills Hospital from 29th St to 16 Ave
- Missing the pathway section from 16 Ave NW to the Children's Hospital
- missing the pathway between Uxbridge Road and Udell Road
- missing the Bow River pathway west of Crowchild, S side of river and N of RR tracks, to Lawrey Gardens
- missing 100m of N-side Bow R pathway near 19th St NW
- missing the sidewalk pathway on E side of 10th St NW (portion going up the hill from Riley Park to 13 Ave is designated as bikepath)
- missing pathway on W side of Centre St from base of Crescent Heights hill to the Bow R bridge
- missing sidewalk pathway on both sides of Centre St bridge
- missing the ped bridge over Crowchild at McMahon Stadium
- missing a piece of the pathway along the irrigation canal where it crosses under Deerfoot Trail near 50th Ave SE.
- missing several hundred meters of pathway on E side of Bow R south of Sue Higgins bridge in Douglasdale
- shows a pathway on W side of Bow R north of Deerfoot Trail crossing at Douglasdale, where no pathway exists
- fails to show the gravel pathway / road on the E side of the Bow R north of Deerfoot Trail in Quarry Park
- missing several sections of pathway in Carburn Park
- missing several hundred meters of pathway in Lynnwood Ridge
- missing sidewalk pathway E side of 5th St as it passes under the CPR tracks between 9 Ave and 10 Ave SW
- missing E-W pathway on Prince's Island that crosses the lagoon at the W end
- missing several hundred meters of Elbow R pathway near Stampede Grounds
- missing several hundred meters of pathway just south of Rockyview Hospital
- missing 1 km of pathway along 37 St ROW south of 98 Ave SW
- missing entire pathway on W end of Fish Creek park from Evergreen estates down to Elbow R and up the N side