ride's picture

Vancouver gets its first separated bike lane

The Globe & Mail is reporting that Vancouver now has opened it's first physically separated bike lane in the downtown core, on Dunsmuir Street, for a six-month trial period.

Where in Calgary would you want to see a similar lane? Do we need one here?


gyrospanner's picture

Read the comments below the article

They are always good for a laugh!

Lots of comments on the congestion, or lack of it.

And you still have the guys who bring up the issues about taxes insurance and registration. Ahhhhhhh!!!!!

sj_mckenna's picture

regarding taxes..

Do you have any links to info that specifically shows insurance and registration have nothing to do with building roads? I'd love to be prepared when someone brings this up to me for the first time!

gyrospanner's picture

Yep! Good Point

Here's how I would argue it. Roads are infrastructure built by municipal and provincial governments. One exception - I hear that part of the ring road is to be a "3P" which is a Public Private Partnership. The gov't will rent that road for a long term and then end up owning it in the end. Still gov't funded, just not "up front."

1) For the insurance aspect, I think it's quite easy. Here in Alberta (but unlike BC) insurance is not a government function. So when you pay your premiums, the insurance company puts it in a reserve fund to pay out on claims. Insurance companies are not in the business of building roads.

2) Registration - I think that fees collected to register vehicles are just "general revenue" to the province. I am not sure if this amount is equal to or greater than the amount spent on roads in a year? I checked the 2010 Provincial budget and they have a $1 billion category called "Premiums, Licences and Fees," Includes motor vehicle licenses, crop and hail insurance premiums, land titles revenue and supplementary Health Benefit Premiums. If half of this is licenses, it's not really a lot of money. BTW Gaming and Liquor brings in $2 billion! And, get this, the Prov. Transportation budget is $2 billion for 2010! Some extra digging and you'd probably be able to see the City's transportation budget is huge, as well.


Furthermore isn't it the City's responsibility to push their infrastructure projects and then go whine and beg for money from the Province?

amf673's picture

Then there is the gas tax.

The provincial government collects tax on every litre of gas sold. I think it is about 10 cents but someone else may know better. All of that money goes into general revenue. There have been calls for it to all go to road infrastructure, notably from the CTF, but I doubt that any government would give up the flexibility. A portion of the taxes collected in Calgary and Edmonton are returned to the cities. However, that goes into the cities general revenue pot, so it is not necessarily used for roads.

Insurance has nothing to do with roads, even in places with gov. insurance like BC and Saskatchewan. ICBC and SGI run road safety programs and the like, but they don't do any paving. I can't imagine that registration fees pay for much beyond the processing of the registration (the registry office takes a cut, plates, stickers, data entry, database storage etc. etc.). Same goes for driver's license fees.

With all of that, like most cyclists, I own and register and insure a car and I put gas in it.

I wish there was some extra taxes that car drivers pay that cyclists don't -- I could save some money.

mikewarren's picture

roads are a subsidy...

...for cars. If car manufacturers had to build the "necessary" infrastructure to use their contraptions, we wouldn't have the horrifically expensive, death-causing "transportation" system we have today -- one which many people still don't get to use.

Would anyone board a plane or train if over 1% of the users died?

mike at mike dash warren dot com

sherryrunswest's picture

Looking forward

to checking these lanes out. Going to Portland and Mt Hood area for holdiays in July for a week. Already ordered my bike route map (got it yesterday) from their city website. Now planning my rides. Can't wait!

critninja's picture

pretty sure this style is possible here

i could be mis-remembering a conversation i had with a city transportation staffer - however, if i remember correctly this type of "separated" bike lane is possible here in Alberta.

If that is true, the next question is - do our politicians have the balls to start removing space for cars and turning it into space for bikes?


bclark's picture

Toll Roads too

I believe the same applies to toll roads. It was on one of the news broadcasts a couple days back. The anchor presented a study on how Calgarians would be less opposed to toll roads than one might expect.

BCDon's picture

Don't like Toll Roads.

But I know they are the norm in many places. One of the issues I have with a toll road is that I have a higher expectation. I expect that I won't be sitting in traffic all day. Unfortunately, over time, the toll road gets to be pretty much like all the other roads.

I'm not sure what we could do for a toll road in Calgary though. Other than convert some existing roads (Deerfoot would be a great example), the Ring Road would be another (athough I'll be dead before they ever do anything in the SW as I don't expect to live another 60 to 70 years). Although I don't see toll roads easing any congestion, all that they'd do is provide an alternate source of revenue so if that's the goal then I'd do:
1) Deerfoot - because you'll get all sorts of commuter AND through traffic.
2) Crowchild.
3) 16th Ave.
4) MacLeod from waaaaaay south to about Stampede grounds.

Well, as I think about it, I need to think about it more. Why not put tolls on all main roads that are above 50KPH (and while we are at it, lower the speeds from 50KPH to 30KPH so there is a real difference). There are transponders and cameras available to figure out who went where. Then, charge based upon the day of the week and time of day. So while it may cost you $5.00 to get downtown during rush hour, it may only cost $0.50 to go downtown in the evening to a restaurant and it may cost nothing to drive down on the weekend to shop if it is before 9:00. Make it so it is very hard to get anywhere without incurring some kind of cost. Use the money to build up other modes of commuting infrastructure (busing, LRT, cycling).

Hmmm, maybe Tolls would work (as opposed to Trolls).

gyrospanner's picture

Could you imagine?

Getting an invoice every month for road use?

20 trips at peak (@$5) =$100
30 random trips at $0.50 = $15

TOTAL = $115

And that's on top of the $hundreds you already pay for parking!!

That might make you think about hanging up the car keys!

BCDon's picture

That's the idea.

Exactly. This is a double hit. While the city gets more money to build infrastructure you are reminded EVERY month!

Geez, maybe I'll put together a full project plan and take the first million out of revenue to pay myself :).

BCDon's picture

Great Article

I clicked on one of the links from the above page and found the followin article.


It is just so disappointing that a city like Calgary which is generally known for innovation and risk taking is SOOOOO far behind cities like Vancouver and Victoria (and Montreal!).

I suppose that until we get a Mayor and some city councillers who actually commute and support bicycle infrastructure we won't see this change.

How's this for radical. We impose a "gas tax" within Calgary of 5 cents per liter that is directed specifically to improve roadways - for bicyclists!

sj_mckenna's picture

Love the article, but I do

Love the article, but I do not agree that Calgary is generally known for trying new things. In my experience, it appears that Calgary waits until almost everyone else has done it, then folds to the pressure and does it as well. Smoking in public buildings as an example. City wide recycling as another.

theorangejacket's picture

The dinosaurs died here last!

Seatbelts is another. Alberta was the last province to make it manditory. Cell phone ban whilst driving is another one (amazingly we had to do a study first to see if it affected driving adversely!!)

(In the news today was a story about how they found the world's biggest collection of dino bones

Julie Gregg's picture

Hah! I just finished reading

Hah! I just finished reading that article! Did you read the comments? I tho't "what the heck"....it was an article about finding bones and the comments somehow got way off topic and went on a bend about religion vs science etc....I tho't are you serious, can we not have an article for interest sake and people get the .... off their soapboxes! (as I stand on mine)

theorangejacket's picture

Oh those comments

They are perversely entertaining! The modern day equivalent to "Speakers corner" of Hyde Park, London. To me, it's a little bit like driving past a car accident. You know you will regret looking but for some reason you still look.

Probably better to be amused than outraged.

BCDon's picture

And I agree

providing it truely doesn't affect me. The only potential "affect" I can think of is if you are involved in an accident and sustain more injury without a seat belt (which is likely), you should be paying into an additional insurance fund to sustain your risky behaviour. Of course I guess one could argue that you are more likely to die in a more serious accident and therefor I should have to pay more because in a serious accident you'd be dead and I'd have to be hospitalized for a few days.

I've always thought that if we get rid of all this safety crap on cars and make sure there was a non-collasible steering column with a sharpened spike on the end, accidents would be down. Well at least repeat accidents would be down :).

NW_Tri_and_Bike's picture

... not entirely true

There are documented cases when unbelted occupants have become "projectiles" killng themselves and at least one belted occupant in the vehicle.

Spinner's picture


NW tri, but what was the percentage, and was it enough to justify a law? (I honestly don't know) I see it the same as helmet laws. Without the helmet my head is like a watermelon hitting the pavement, with the helmet, my brain bounces off the inside of my skull and Im a veg. I think in accidents more often than a person becoming a dangerous projectile, lose objects in the car are the greater danger.