Changes to the setup of the bike route on 10 Ave SW at the end of October prompted extensive discussion between Bike Calgary and the Transportation Department. Since the change added space on the road dedicated for cyclists, Bike Calgary overall found the changes to be positive at the time. Nevertheless, even before the paint went on the street, we put forward a number of concerns. They included:
- Lack of accommodations for cyclists at the 10 Ave/14 St SW intersection
- Lack of pavement markings indicating that the WB lane is to be shared between cars and cyclists outside of the 3:30-6pm commute hour, when the bike lane is in effect.
- Sharrows on the EB side of 10 Ave should not be placed in the door zone.
- Concern that drivers will disregard the driving and parking restrictions in the floating bike lane, and the need for information, monitoring, and enforcement.
The City at the time assured Bike Calgary that our concerns would be taken into account, if not at the time of implementation, at least when the changes are reviewed next year, and that the use or misuse of the bike lane would be monitored and infractions enforced.
No changes were made to the initial plan, and cyclists now have no accommodation at the 10 Ave/14 St intersection, there are no sharrows on the north side of 10 Ave, and sharrows on the south side were placed in the door zone. There are no signs instructing drivers to yield to cyclists when merging into the bike lane, and the city's information page on the 10 Ave SW bike route contains no such information either. We expect these problems to be fixed when the changes are reviewed next year.
Although initially motorists seemed to for the most part obey the driving and parking restrictions in the floating bike lane during afternoon commute hours, the situation has deteriorated significantly after lighted information signs were removed and as cycling traffic has decreased with snow and lower temperatures. A youtube video posted yesterday by Cyclepalooza Calgary shows that the bike lane is well-used despite winter conditions: Even in the middle of December, over 5% of rush-hour traffic on 10 Ave consists of cyclists.
- Drivers disobey the driving restrictions at an alarming rate. About 25% of car traffic uses the bike lane to skip car lineups leading up to bottlenecks at the intersections with 4, 5, 8, and 14 St SW.
- Drivers regularly turn into the bike lane off 4, 5, and 8 Streets, and when exiting parking lots and garages. Even more dangerous is the apparently commonplace practice of exiting the driving lane impatiently to enter the bike lane, often without signaling.
- Despite 10 Ave being a major cycling route, snow clearing of the bike lane and the EB curb lane is spotty at best.
- There is no indication that cars parked or stopped illegally in the bike lane are ticketed or towed by the Calgary Parking Authority, despite repeated requests to do so.
- There is no indication that the Calgary Police Service monitors or enforces the driving restrictions in the floating bike lane during the afternoon commute hour, despite repeated requests to do so.
Bike Calgary has brought the issues to the City's attention again. It remains to be seen if stepped-up enforcement of the floating bike lane and other small changes can make 10 Ave SW safe and usable for cyclists. The situation now, however, highlights significant concerns with the implementation of the 10 Ave floating bike lane.