Banff Trail Improvement Project – Give The City Your Feedback

Open House [PAST]

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Time: 7-9 p.m. (Drop-in)
Location:The Best Western Village Park Inn​
No RSVP Required

If you are unable to join in-person at the above event, you can provide your feedback online via a link the following link that will be active from October 24 – November 8: https://engage.calgary.ca/banfftrailareaimprovements

The City of Calgary is hosting a Public Open House TONIGHT [PAST] to present and get feedback on the Banff Trail Improvement project. Our cycling community presence is important as there are major connection and infrastructure improvements that will improve east/west connections.

The major improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure include the following:

Connections to and from Foothills Medical Centre Campus via 16th Ave NW

  • Adding a pedestrian ramp to the pedestrian bridge east of Banff Trail N.W. on the north side of 16th Avenue N.W., painting the handrails, and replacing / relocating the existing staircase.
  • Relocating a westbound Calgary Transit bus stop on 16th Avenue N.W. from east of the Banff Trail pedestrian bridge to west of Banff Trail N.W.
  • Improvements to accommodate a continuous multi-use pathway from 19th Street N.W. to Banff Trail N.W. (on the north side of 16th Avenue N.W.) to link to the new pathway from Banff Trail to Crowchild Trail
  • Inclusion of a contra-flow bike lane on 16th Avenue Residential Road (south of the noise wall)
  • Adding new Calgary Transit bus stops (in both directions) on the east side of Crowchild Trail on 16th Avenue N.W.
  • Building a ‘Complete Street’ along Banff Trail N.W. (from 16th Avenue N.W. to 23 Avenue N.W.)

Connections to and from the University of Calgary, Banff Trail, the Confederation Park Green-Way, and the 10th St NW bike lane via the 24th Ave NW corridor improvements

  • Making improvements for people who walk, cycle, along 24th Avenue N.W. (from Crowchild Trail N.W. to 14th Street N.W.)
  • Resurfacing the road along 24th Avenue N.W. (from Crowchild Trail N.W. to 14th Street N.W.)
  • 24th Avenue & 14th Street N.W. – building a new Confederation Park pathway connection that includes an at-grade crossing across 14th Street N.W. while keeping the existing underpass.

(Pedestrian /cycling related bullets extracted from City of Calgary project site: https://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TI/Pages/Road-projects/Banff-Trail-area-improvements.aspx# )

This work will improve connections while making it easier and safer for Calgarians to get around, and Bike Calgary wants to back the City as they build out this project.

Attend tonight, or in online feedback to show your support. Bike Calgary is very excited to see these improvements and connections to our network.

One thought on “Banff Trail Improvement Project – Give The City Your Feedback

  • bclark

    I attended the City of Calgary Open House on October 24th, 2019, which introduced planned changes to the transportation network in the Banff Trail area. Originally restricted to the 16 Ave N.W. Widening Project, additional funding within the City’s four-year capital plan has allowed inclusion of adjacent projects into what is now the the Banff Trail Area Improvements Project.

    The following is my own personal perspective and I definitely encourage anyone that travels through this area by bicycle or with an interest in the general form of Calgary’s cycling network to check out the project page and to provide feedback through the Engage site;

    https://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TI/Pages/Road-projects/Banff-Trail-area-improvements.aspx?redirect=/banfftrailareaimprovements

    https://engage.calgary.ca/banfftrailareaimprovements

    Highlights of the project with respect to cycling include;
    Multi-use pathways along 16th Avenue & Crowchild Trail NW,
    Possible one-way cycle tracks or dual multi-use pathways along 24th Avenue NW,
    Additional modifications to enhance cycling & walking connectivity.

    16th Avenue & Crowchild Trail NW:

    Given the context (arterial & skeletal) and width of the corridors, off-street pathways would provide sufficient physical separation for cycling and address a likely desire for bi-directional travel. Having said that, my concern is that typical Calgary multi-use pathways are pedestrian priority, allowing for cycling, but not being designed specifically for cycling. In my experience, this means;

    Potential for reduced safety and utility for pedestrians and cyclists in busy areas, due to different mobility needs and operating envelope, and
    Uncertainty of interaction between cyclists and motorists at intersections, crossings, etc., due to physical design and regulatory deficiency (i.e. right-of-way clarity).

    Addressing these concerns, means ensuring pathways are designed for the operating envelope of cyclists, specifically for the safe accommodation of bicycle travel at intersections and crossings, per Complete Streets Policy. This includes achieving NACTO guidance that intersection design reduce conflict between cyclists and vehicles by;

    Heightening the level of visibility,
    Denoting a clear right-of-way, and
    Facilitating eye contact and awareness with competing modes.

    https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/intersection-treatments/

    24th Avenue NW:

    The City put forth two options; (1) uni-directional raised cycle tracks adjacent to sidewalks along each side of the corridor and (2) bi-directional multi-use pathways on both sides of the corridor.

    Given the context of the corridor in terms of factors like corridor width, frequency of intersections, potential high pedestrian and cyclist use and property frontages, I believe that cycling-specific facilities, i.e. raised cycle tracks, are preferable. Largely my reasoning lies in the design and regulation of intersections, but also in the overall function.

    Cycletracks (Option 1): Design concepts show a direct alignment of cycletracks through the numerous intersections. Markings with conflict paint raise additional awareness of a bicycle crossing and suggest similar right-of-way guidance as for all other cycletracks in the City, i.e. motorists would yield right-of-way to cyclists and pedestrians. In general, I can see cycletracks enhancing the safety and comfort for all users, as well as residents, by reducing conflict associated by mixing travel modes with disparate mobility needs and separating cyclists from property frontages.

    Pathways (Option 2): A significant concern raised during the engagement phase of the Centre City Cycle Track Network was intersection conflicts associated with a single bi-directional cycletrack on a bi-directional road. Since, for cycling, an off-street pathway arguably serves the same purpose as a cycletrack on the street itself, introducing bi-directional cycling accommodations on both sides of 24th Avenue, would likely heighten intersection conflicts even more, impacting safety. I’m also skeptical of the conceptual design of the curb ramps, both in terms of insufficient width to effectively accommodate multiple modes and in terms of alignment. Beyond this, there remains the potential for conflict between modes, not to mention properties fronting directly onto a facility where bicycle speeds may feel uncomfortable.

    How does this fit with City of Calgary Policy?

    The City of Calgary Pathways and Bikeways Plan Report (2000) Section 2.6.3 says to “avoid routing pathways along boulevards in front of residential development” as a Guiding Principle. This is affirmed in the Complete Streets Policy and Guide (2014), whereby “as a new bicycle facility, roadside multi-use pathways are discouraged…”.

    Other Policies and Guides?

    MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide (2015) Section 2.4.2 suggests that “where walking and bicycling demand are relatively low, a shared use path may be considered in lieu of a separated bike lane…”, but that “shared use paths…should be designed with the same design principles as separated bike lanes while also accommodating pedestrian use”.

    British Columbia’s Active Transportation Design Guide (2019) Section E2.11 states that “multi-use pathway conditions may feel less comfortable if there is a high volume and diverse mix of users…”, identifying the growth in popularity of electric bicycles as being a compounding factor. It also cites University of British Columbia research that found “an increased injury risk associated with multi-use pathways as opposed bo bicycle pathways”, specfically due to “increased potential for conflicts with other pathways users”.

    Closing:

    From the Engage portal, it does appear that the City is assigning a higher score to the cycletrack option (Option 1) for 24th Avenue, but I think there remains a need for them to hear feedback on this option, particularly given the political climate that is skeptical of any improvements tailored specifically to cycling, while at the same time being accepting of pushing cyclists into the same space as pedestrians, even if doing so is detrimental to all user groups.

    For the overall project, I think it very important for the City to hear from Calgary’s cycling community that, where off-street multi-use pathways may be acceptable, bicycle mobility needs must be designed for and, specifically, intersections must provide a clear framework for bicycle travel.

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