Last week, members of Bike Calgary’s infrastructure task force took a spin through Inglewood to check out some new intersection improvements and a short section of raised cycle track along 9 Avenue SE. Here is the link to the project website:
This project improves a missing link in the cycling network, connecting destinations such as the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, International Ave (17 Ave SE), Pearce Estate Park, Calgary Zoo, and Inglewood’s 9 Ave main street.
The group took stops along the way to discuss their experiences and observations. Here is some of what we saw:
- The Highlights
- The raised cycle track under the CP rail tracks is a big improvement. Before this project, users would have to brave the traffic in a dark, bumpy underpass, or navigate a narrow sidewalk.
- The new bike signals and turn setup save cyclists heading to the east side of the underpass from having to wait at two sets of lights, at an intersection with skewed roadways and long wait times for certain crossings.
- New bike ramps at 15 Street SE make for a smoother transition onto the neighbourhood greenway that connects to 8 Avenue SE and the Bow and Elbow River pathways
2. The “Could be Better”
- One downside of the concrete raised cycle track is the grooved control joints that make for a bumpy ride – especially for someone riding a scooter or pulling a bike trailer. If this type of cycle track is used in future projects, saw cutting control joints might be a better option for a smoother ride
- Similar to other parts of Calgary’s bikeway and pathway system, there is a lack of wayfinding in the area. A new user would have no idea that this underpass is the fastest route from Inglewood to International Ave, via the wonderful new MAX Purple BRT bridge and multi-use pathway
3. The “Missed Opportunity”
- The intersection signal design prioritizes drivers over bicycle users – the bike signal only activates if the button is pressed. Our group watched several light cycles that skipped the bicycle phase, until we realized that the button needed to be activated. The button is not in a convenient location relative to the intersection bike ramps, and a poorly placed bollard is sure to make for a much larger obstacle with snow piled around in winter. Even in clear conditions, a cargo bike or trailer would barely squeeze through this gap.
Overall, the group felt that this project provides some worthwhile improvements to the inner city network, and complements the great pathway connections constructed as part of the MAX Purple Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
What are your thoughts on this project? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the Bike Calgary forums.