City welcomes input on chronic ice problems on multi-use pathways

Bike Calgary recently met with staff from the City’s Parks Pathways department to discuss Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) on the extensive multi-use pathway system. The conversation included the challenges associated with the Chinook weather patterns which typically lead to alternating snow & ice melt – freeze cycles like the ones we are currently experiencing. Winter cyclists must deal with slush and puddles in the afternoon, followed by glassy smooth or rutted ice in the morning. While impacting all pathway users, this morning ice is particularly dangerous to bike riders. For cyclists who regularly ride the same routes throughout the winter season, it is common to see pathway locations which consistently experience significant ice problems – usually due to low spots, poor drainage, or poor snow storage location leading to melt water pooling.

Figure 1 below illustrates a few examples of these problem spots.

Despite the chronic nature of these icing occurrences, these dangerous pathway locations are not usually flagged for repairs or upgrading if the asphalt is in otherwise good condition. With your input, we hope to try to change that pathway management approach.  The first step is making sure the city has a detailed record of precisely where these recurring  icing problems are located.  That is why we are reaching out to Bike Calgary members who encounter these chronic problem spots to compile this information. If you ride regularly through the winter and have good firsthand knowledge of these pathway locations, please consider taking a few minutes to help us populate a Google Map we have created to document these icing locations. Remember, we are only looking for pathway locations which have a predictable, recurring icing problem from one winter to the next. Instructions on how to add your icing location details to the map are outlined below.

Here is the link to the Google map – please open this in your favourite web browser: 

Viewing the map and adding your icing information is best done on a desk-top, lap-top, or tablet computer.

Upon opening the map, it will look like Figure 2.

Each reported location is shown as a blue pin on the map and listed as numbered points in the left information box. Selecting a blue pin on the map will open the information entered for that location including the point number, lat/long, comment, and photo (if added by the user).

It is quite simple to add your own location to the map as shown in Figure 3 below.

Here are the key steps to add your location:

  1. If you don’t see the tool bar (circled in red in Figure 3), then you will need to sign into your Google account (“Sign In” gives you the option of creating an account if you don’t have one).
  2. Pan and zoom the map to find the exact pathway location of your problem spot.
  3. Select the “Add marker” pin shown in Figure 3.
  4. Your curser will now be a small “+”. Click on the pathway location you want to add.
  5. A blue pin will appear at your location and the point information box will open. Please add a comment to describe the nature of the icing issue. Examples: low spot, poor drainage, poor snow storage location, etc.
  6. Select the “Add image or video” camera symbol to upload a photo if you have one.
  7. Select “Save” to finish.

You can repeat the above steps to add more locations. Since we have given you editing privileges in order to allow you to add your information to the map, please be careful not to change or delete any other user’s data. Please plan to add your data to the map by March 31st, 2024 in order to capture these icing locations while they are still fresh in our minds. If you encounter any problems adding your locations to the map, please contact Bike Calgary at 

Thank you very much for helping to hopefully make winter cycling safer and more comfortable for pathway users of all ages and abilities. We are optimistic that a reliable, user populated database of these chronic icing issue locations will help facilitate timely pathway upgrades in order to properly address these problems.

One thought on “City welcomes input on chronic ice problems on multi-use pathways

  • 2wheeler

    Added a few locations. I feel like this winter has been particularly long and drawn out with all the freeze thawing.

    Many of the deep water holes won’t drain until the ground thaws. Drainage certainly needs to be a bigger design consideration. Nose Creek by Telus Science world is an example of a relatively newly updated pathway that created drainage issues and small lakes of water yearly. A little more design would make for better year round pathways. The newly installed West Bow River Bonnybrook pathway is very well designed and maintained, with ice only forming under Deerfoot and sometimes Glenmore underpass’.

    You could spend an entire season taking pictures of all the problem areas on the pathway system, but I’m usually on the way somewhere!

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