bclark's picture

Some good things on the Bike Routes

My previous post was some inconveniences/hazards. It's not all bad. There have been some improvements.

Cyclists seem to be winning a victory with the bike lane on 52nd Street NW.

Also, I think the reconstructed pathway in the East Village is a good example of accommodating cyclists and pedestrians in a tight space. Sure, it probably won't be a high speed commuting route but at least the cycling lane is clearly identifiable and marked. I'd be interested to know what others think of this. Is it applicable on other sections of the pathway along the river, i.e. west of downtown to 14th street?

The junction of the pathway through Varsity with the bike lanes on 53rd Street NW is another recent improvement. About a year ago the City installed concrete ramps so that cyclists could more easily traverse from pathway to bike lane. Previously cyclists entering the pathway from the northbound bike lane would have to swing wide into the traffic lane and then hop onto the curb, cross a mucky section (still visible between the ramps) and then the sidewalk onto the pathway. Cyclists merging from the pathway onto the southbound bike lane would have to focus much of their attention on navigating the same muck and curb as opposed to paying attention to approaching motorists. Of course, we now just need the City to keep this area clear in winter!


mikewarren's picture

Memorial Bridge

This is a great pedestrian bridge, especially on the south side: nice curves which match the way you want to ride, rather than 90-degree turns which are harder (slower) on a bike.

bclark's picture


I rode the overpass going from east of the Zoo, over Deerfoot and up into the Northeast. Ouch, some pretty tight turns!

mikewarren's picture

Snow Clearing

For those pathways that are supposed to be snow-cleared, they are usually done fairly promptly; good job, City! (Most of my experience recently has been on Nose Creek and the Deerfoot bridge connector).

This is not the case for the on-street infrastructure, unfortunately.

gyrospanner's picture

My comment on the East Village Path

I haven't been over that way for a while, but I will be checking it out tonight, for sure.

It looks pretty good!

POSITIVE - The "curviness" makes it a little more appealing to the eye.

NEGATIVE - I don't like having bollards, benches and light posts etc. too close to the path in case you might have to swerve out of the way of a loose dog, loose pedestrian, loose cougar, loose elephant, loose drunk or loose whatever. Also, these make snow clearing more difficult.

As for going westward, I'd prefer more segregated bike lanes / ped lanes if possible due to the higher traffic in that area. I have always hated the comngested parts like around Eau Claire and am curious to see what the Peace Bridge does to traffic in that area.....

bclark's picture

More on 52nd ST NW

Yes, by now you all know 52nd Street NW holds a special place in my heart!

Riding up today I noted that the City has begun adding in Bollards. From what I recall of the plan there are more to come, i.e. at each intersection.

This first shot is looking southbound along 52nd St NW towards the intersection with Bowness Road NW and shows junction (for lack of a better term) bollard.

This next one is looking northbound along 52nd St NW and shows mid-block bollards separating the bike lane from the motor-vehicle lane.

This is a close-up of one of the bollards. I was first told that temporary bollards would be epoxied to the asphalt but these are obviously bolted. Of interest is that the bollards are made of plastic and are yellow. I think these are good things as they clearly demarcate the lane, will cause minimal injury in the event of a collision with one and should be visible in inclement weather. Thoughts?

This final shot is looking northbound near the entry to Bowmont Park. Concerns have been raised about motorists taking the corner too wide. I have seen this personally and was hoping that there would be additional bollards or barriers placed here. It looks like the barriers won't happen but there may be bollards yet to come?

All in all I'd say it's looking pretty good and the feedback I've heard from others ranges from happy to quite enthusiastic. I can say with certainty that I feel a lot safer on this route.

Would this type of lane be something we would like to see applied in other areas of the City? Would it work on 10th Avenue SW? Would it work downtown?

Post your comments here or contact 3-1-1 and let the City know what you think. My understanding is that the team that designed this lane is keen to know what cyclists think of it and whether it is applicable elsewhere.

mikewarren's picture


(I haven't ridden this since the changes).

I like the visibility aspects, but I really hate the "uphill riders go on the wrong side" aspect -- it's very confusing and, IMO, an accident (probably cyclist on cyclist) waiting to happen.

Those bollards may not cause much damage to a car, but I bet they still make you go down very hard, very fast on a bike if you clip one with your handlebar.

That said, I prefer it to a total barrier, since you can still get off the bike lane if you want (e.g. to turn east somewhere along that road, avoid horrific gravel, whatever). You can also get *on* the bike lane (easily) if you want, unlike with a sharp curb separating a bike-path from the road.

All that said, I really think an approach more like the contra-flow lane in Sunnyside would have been better: let downhill riders use the road (with Sharrows) and give uphill riders a separated lane. If there's enough space for two lanes, great! One on east (for uphill) AND one on the west (for downhill). Still dangerous? Then add bollards to separate the lanes...this gives a gradual upgrade path from "nice wide road to ride on" all the way to "totally separated bike infrastructure" that still functions like road-users are accustomed (that is, ride/drive on the right). That leaves "how to connect to the path" which could be done with a sign (and wider lane on the west for a half block) saying "cross left for Bowmont path".

chrisguy's picture

A good start, overall.

Your comments are valid, but IMO the two-way bike markings are pretty clear (although not visible in the picture that was posted). Also, cyclists did get the entire west side of the road, with residential parking remaining on the east side. So that's a win in my books. I will call 311 and give them props for the good work they did. The only thing I'd still like to see is another jersey barrier (best) or a few more of those bendy-bollard things right where the road curves, between the church's parking lot, and where the pathway exits onto the street.

Cars often take that corner wide, encroaching into the cycle lane. It makes that a pinch-point and I'd like to see it eliminated.

bclark's picture

Go Fast!

I had to put this one in and I put it under "Hall of Fame" for everyone who likes to go really fast. There is always a lot of discussion around pathway speed limits. Some people say 20km/h is too fast while others say it is too slow. What would you do if you didn't have to worry about ever reaching the speed limit? Let 'er rip!

Okay, yeah, I'm pretty sure most of us cyclists get that it applies to the adjacent roadway! Bonus points if you can guess where it is.

DarrenB's picture

Hah! That's my route

That's my typical route to work each day, so it wouldn't be fair for me to guess at where it is. But despite being across the street from a police station (well, kitty-corner, anyways.... hint, hint), I let er' rip there too! That sign always makes me smile because (you are right) it looks like it should apply to the pathway.

mikewarren's picture


...maybe bits of this could be hall of shame, for a couple reasons:

1. if anyone is stopped at the stop sign behind the photographer, you can't use the curb-ramp to get onto this infrastructure; that's why there's a piece of single-track "ramp" about 50m west of said stop sign.

2. if they'd closed the Silver Springs bus trap ahead with a bollard instead of a gate, you could stay on the road and make the corner through the bus trap. This works even better if you're coming the other way, because then you can use the median-split that was there for buses and take the road on the correct side (if you prefer roads to multi-use pathways where sidewalks should be). Yes, the path does connect through to the same spot, but the bus-trap road is better (no gravel, less sharp corners).

3. Okay, there's another reason: the total length of this piece of path is nearly 100% visible in bclark's photo. Behind, it turns into sidewalk and if you're heading west it's always a gong show of confused vehicles while you try to transition through the 4-lane intersection to the correct (right) side of the road since you probably want to head up the hill along Silver Springs Blvd. Even if you're going to head straight through along Silver Ridge Drive (also a nice option, getting to the same spot) you'll still want to be on the correct side of the road.

(You can just see the "singletrack" in the bottom picture).

DarrenB's picture

It's not so bad

1. I have never been blocked from entering the pathway at that intersection. Occasionally people roll up close to it, but if you just point at it to clearly indicate that's where you are going, they get it. 2. I can't say I have ever seen anyone enter that path from the singletrack, but I do use it frequently coming the other direction (i.e. west-bound) to get OFF the path and onto the roadway. 3. I hate driving on that road eastbound and will always take the path because right at the location of this photo, that street effectively becomes an extension of Crowchild Trail and motorists speed up to 80 - 90 km/h. My big beef with this path is actually in the OTHER direction (i.e. looking west from this same location; see photo below). Technically there is an MUP that runs west all the way to Silver Springs Blvd (on the south side of Silver Springs Gate NW), but it is actually a double-wide cement sidewalk so nobody recognizes it as an MUP. If you drive that as a cyclist, you get all sorts of dirty looks from motorists and pedestrians alike, and I don't blame them for the error. But if you want to reach the bike route (which begins at the intersection one block west and continues west), or if you want to reach the Bowmont paths (which also begin one block west), you have to get there somehow. Photobucket
chrisguy's picture

Roads and Parks Not Talking - Another Classic Example.

That's my commute as well, and I try to hit that little bit of single track about half the time. Mike's comments about the bus trap are spot on, if it was open it would facilitate better movement of bicycles between Varsity and Silver Springs than the pathway that's there now does. And let's not forget that's a 'pathway', as brought to us by Parks, and not a 'bikeway' built by the Transportation Department.

This is a classic example of the need for the Roads Department to integrate with Parks to create a continuous route. Parks has done what they can within their mandate (ie in the greenspace), but they can't build on the infrastructure that belongs to Roads (like the bus trap). So, instead, we get this type of discontinuity because Roads is still largely blind to cycling (although the 52nd St NW improvements give me hope). In this case Roads wouldn't even really have to do anything, the freaking bus trap's *already* built.

All of which brings me to my earlier call for someone in Transportation to champion cycling and be held accountable for delivering it (not the City way, I know...), but IMO our best hope. For those of you that read the cycling strategy, you will know that this isn't in the plan. I'll leave it with folks to figure out what that might mean for us in the foreseeable future.

"I'll take 'Nothing gets done for cycling in Calgary' for $500, Alex."

Seriously folks, when is everyone going to figure out that the Transportation Department is basically unwilling to deliver cycling infrastructure to Calgary? The political heat needs to go WAY WAY up if we want Transportation to change their stagnant attitude towards making safe, on-street cycling a reality.

RichieRich's picture

Shame Shame

By now I think most people have figured out it's the south end of Sarcee Trail coming into Silver Springs in the NW. The portion pictured by Bclark isn't too bad. The portion behind the picture is a problem. The portion on the far LEFT across the barely visible fence is another problem as it is the MUP that comes down from Crowchild area. The MUP pathways in and around that intersection area are in great condition (basically new) but poorly laid out.

Additionally the MUP from the Crowchild intersection comes down and basically all the way to the strip mall where you have to cross and then doubleback along the pathway BClark shows above. It's a decent length detour and annoying. As an early morning commuter I often come South on this Sarcee section but ignore the MUP entirely and stay on the road then cut across traffic and then through the bus trap area which often gets icy in winter (bust my wrist there this spring actually). All complaining aside there are far worse problems in the NW and any "fix" may make it worse.

bclark's picture

Cyclist/Pedestrian Underpass

The above example isn't from Calgary but from Canmore. This is the new cyclist/pedestrian underpass beneath the TCH near the heliport. What struck me is how inviting it is (open, airy, etc.) compared to a lot of the sketchy concrete tunnels I normally see.

bclark's picture

Very thoughtful

I wonder, how does Calgary approach something like this?