As the city of Calgary continues to grow, planners need to think creatively about transportation. The cost of living is on the rise, and it’s no surprise that many Calgarians are opting to go car-free, if their lifestyle permits. Cycling is a fun and inexpensive way to get around the city, and it can save you thousands of dollars in parking fees, gas, and insurance. The increase of two-wheeled travelers has recently prompted an exciting change downtown – the cycle track.
If you are not yet familiar with this project, here’s what you should know: The cycle track is a bike lane protected by barriers from moving vehicles, parking spots, and pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. It is a protected laneway that promotes the safety of cyclists and reduces the possibility of a collision. There is specific signage in place for cyclists, and modified traffic signals to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. The laneway currently runs along several major downtown streets.
Did you know that over 12,500 cyclists travel in and out of the downtown core every day? According to a recent study by the City of Calgary, there has been a 122% increase in bicycle travel since 1996. The cycle track has been a pilot project that began construction in April of this year. It was created by the city with the help of resident feedback. Based on the experience of both motorists and cyclists, changes have been implemented to improve the safety and efficient flow of traffic.
For the most part, the new project has been well-received, but not without a few challenges. Among them, the reduction of car parking in front of local businesses downtown has been a point of contention. Store and restaurant owners have expressed concern that a lack of parking will deter potential customers because of the added inconvenience. To address these concerns, the city needs to review each path on a case by case basis.
Making Calgary more cyclist-friendly is just another step towards growing a healthy and accessible downtown core. If you live in the suburbs, you can still take advantage of the cycle track. You are permitted to bring your bike on the CTrain and make your way downtown, as long as you are not riding during rush hour. There are no restrictions on weekends or stat holidays.
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