Bike Calgary's picture

Centre City Cycling Network


As you may be aware, the Fall of 2011 was a busy one for members of the Bike Calgary Board of Directors and our associates on the Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee. Much activity focused on the City’s plan to develop a Centre City Cycle Network through engagement with the cycle community as per the following Council-approved amendment to the Cycle Strategy:

AS AMENDED, MOTION ARISING, Moved by Alderman G-C. Carra, Seconded by Alderman A. Chabot, that with respect to Report LPT2011-63, while broadly supportive of the Cycling Strategy, that Council direct the Administration to review Appendix A of Attachment 7 [Cycling Strategy] to determine, through engagement with the Cycle Community, an updated East-West and North-South separated Cycle Route Network through the Centre City, as part of the implementation plan for the [Cycling] Strategy.

Bike Calgary/Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee (Bike Calgary), along with the Calgary Pathways and Bikeways Advisory Council (CPAC) and Calgary tour de nuit Society (CtdnS), was requested, as a representative of the “cycling community”, to participate in the engagement process. In order to best represent the needs of the cycling community, Bike Calgary set up a survey on our website, asking for feedback on route choices, and conducted an engagement workshop, held in a Centre City location on October 11th. Getting the word out was done by an intercept flyer distribution blitz at various points in the Centre City, explaining what was on the horizon, and by asking website visitors to share the posted information with their contacts. The results of the over 300 responses were analyzed and formed the basis of the subsequent workshop discussions. Details of the survey can be viewed at

Bike Calgary then participated in two engagement workshops, held October 15th and 29th. In the course of those workshops, participants identified the criteria necessary for separated on-street cycle corridors, identified actual corridors meeting the criteria and devised a timeframe for study and implementation of cycle facilities within the corridors. The recommendations stemming from the workshops were formally reiterated by Bike Calgary and CPAC in two letters (see below), submitted to the City of Calgary in November and December, 2011. Following is a brief collation of the outcomes of the Centre City Workshops and the recommendations. (Click "read more" for the full report.)

The City of Calgary defined the Centre City as the area bounded by the Bow River (north), Elbow River (east), 17th Avenue S (south) and 14th Street SW (west).

It was determined that the separated cycle routes must meet the following criteria:

  • Safe - Cycle facilities should be clearly identified as cyclist space through the use of physical barriers, lane markings, signage and lighting. 
  • Functional – Corridors should be easy to navigate with cycle facilities being useable year-round, i.e. timely snow, gravel and debris removal is imperative. 
  • Efficient – Cycle facilities should be sufficiently wide (for anticipated traffic), continuous and minimize stopping due to signage or traffic signal timing.
  • Central – Cycle facilities should allow direct or convenient access to cycle destinations (i.e. major employment and retail centers).
  • Connected – Cycle facilities must connect directly to the existing regional pathway and bikeway network.
  • Minimize Conflict – Cycle facilities should be cost effective and designed to minimize negative impact on non-cyclist transport modes and external stakeholders.

On the basis of the criteria, the following five recommendations were made for the Centre City Cycle Network:

  1. The establishment of one principal separated east-west cycle corridor through the creation of one-way cycle facilities on each of 5th and 6th Avenues S, whereby cycle facilities are attained by a narrowing of the existing lanes and aggregating the excess space into the cycling facility and whereby the cycle facility is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic.
  2. The establishment of one principal separated east-west cycle corridor through either (a) the enhancement of the existing two-way cycling facilities on 10th Avenue S or (b) through the creation of one-way cycle facilities on each of 11th and 12th Avenues S.
  3. The establishment of separated north-south cycle corridors through (a) the creation of one-way cycle facilities on each of 4th and 5th Streets SW, extending from the Bow River Pathway to the east-west facilities (“Item 2” above) and (b) through enhancement of the existing two-way cycle facilities on each of 2nd Street SW and 8th Street SW, extending from the east-west facilities (“Item 2” above) to existing cycle facilities in the south.
  4. The establishment of functional connections between all separated cycle facilities and the regional Bow and Elbow River pathway systems, whereby junctions are designed in recognition of a cyclists need for safe and efficient travel as a vehicle.
  5. The upgrade of regional pathway facilities integral to the proposed separated cycle corridors, specifically the south side Bow River regional pathway and associated connector between 10th Street SW and the Bow River pathway at Crowchild Trail.

Recommendation 1 (and related elements of Recommendation 4) aligns with a CtdnS-originated proposal, and was recognized as requiring priority study on the basis of providing direct access to the Central Business District but also due to its potential to generate the perception of negatively impacting non-cyclist transportation modes. The cycling community stressed the importance of our design recommendations to minimize any real adverse impact on non-cyclist transportation modes. It was recognized that the City would require substantial time to ensure any cycling facilities established within this corridor best meet the needs of cyclists and non-cyclists. The priority study for Recommendation 1 was unanimously supported by all cycling groups represented.

Recommendation 2 through 5 were identified for priority implementation on the basis of assurances by City staff that they would be the most easily constructed and due to the reality that cycle infrastructure is already present in many cases, thus inherently minimizing any additional significant impact on non-cyclist mode-travel. Recommendations 2 through 5 were supported by CPAC and Bike Calgary. CtdnS indicated they were not opposed to the balance of the recommendations but felt that they could not support an order of project implementation that differed from the priority for studies.

It is important to note that there was substantial effort on the part of the represented cycling community organizations to work towards the common goal of cycle facilities in the Centre City. We are hopeful that the solidarity shown by the cycle community organizations with respect to the recommendations, as well as the detailed specifics presented for each corridor, will motivate the City to design and implement cycle facilities in a manner and location that best meets the needs of current and future Calgary cyclists and entices the “interested but concerned” demographic, identified in the Cycling Strategy, to break out the bike.

Bike Calgary would like to acknowledge those of you who participated in the survey and provided feedback. This information provided us with additional insight to reference during the course of the engagement. Thank you -- we hope we have adequately represented the cycling community.

The City has recognized the substantial time and effort the cycling community organizations and the cycling community in general has invested in making Calgary a more cycling-friendly community. We are still awaiting a response directly addressing the Centre City Cycle Network recommendations however we are assured this is forthcoming soon.


Bike Calgary and Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee

The Bike Calgary Advocacy Committee includes representatives from most of Calgary's cycling and active transportation organizations, including the Elbow Valley Cycle Club, the Bike Root Campus Bicycle Society of Calgary, the  Good Life Community Bike Shop, and the Sustainable Alberta Association/Commuter Challenge.



gyrospanner's picture

Thanks X2

I like the suggestions, especially the 5th & 6th Ave, 11 & 12 Ave.  These actually could work & they would be great and I would use all of them!


GaryB's picture

Dedicated Bike Infrastructure

Much of the Great Public Bike Rental debate at yesterday's Council meeting was successfully refocused toward the issue of dedicated bike infrastructure as a result of the editorials in the Herald and Sun and invitation by the Calgary Herald to write yesterday's op ed piece. The Transportation Department was aggressively pursuing the Public Bike Rental Scheme only to avoid the issue of downtown bike lanes. It was certainly not new-found bike love. The decision to refer means the commuter cycling community now has a chance to set the agenda rather than march to TransDep's tune.

Bike Calgary's picture

Centre City Cycling Network Update

The City of Calgary has posted the following information on their Centre City cycle track network page;

"City Centre cycle track network
Project update

The City has scheduled events in the Centre City to talk about planning the cycle track network with Calgarians who live, work, and travel in the area. Here’s where you can get involved:

  • CORE shopping Centre, +15 level by Holt Renfrew (324, 8 Ave. S.W.) - Thursday, Nov. 28-Friday, Dec. 6, all day (staff available over weekday lunch hours, except the dates listed below)
  • Mountain Equipment Coop (830, 10 Ave. S.W.) - Saturday, Nov. 30, noon-4 p.m.
  • Nexen Building, main floor lobby (801, 7 Ave. S.W.)- Tuesday, Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Mountain Equipment Coop - Wednesday, Dec. 4, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Eighth Avenue Place, +15 level (525, 8 Ave. S.W.) - Thursday, Dec. 5, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

You’ll see the streets and avenues that The City is considering for an east-west/north-south cycle track network. You’ll also see the street chosen for the next cycle track, scheduled to begin construction in 2014.

If you’re interested in the relationship between bike culture and businesses, check out the lunchtime presentation at the Glenbow Museum, ConocoPhillips Theatre (130 9 Ave. S.E.) on Thursday, Nov. 28, 12-1 p.m. Remember to bring your lunch."

Bike Calgary's picture

Next Centre City Cycle Track - 1st Street SE

The Calgary Herald has broke the new on the City's plans for developing the next Centre City cycle track on 1st Street SE.  Read Tom Babin's blog here;

Bike Calgary will endeavor to provide more information on the development of the Centre City network soon.  Watch the City's webpage for any additional information regarding ongoing development of the cycle track network.

2wheeler's picture


very surprised that they're considering taking a lane out of McLeod Tr.  I wonder how the intersections south of 9th Ave will work?  Right turns onto the Ave's and gas stations are going to be problematic.  That being said I'll use it if they build it.  

winterrider's picture


What what what???

From the article:

"Gary Beaton of advocacy group Tour de Nuit Society also expressed tentative support, ..."

So is everyone on board, or does Gary's support mean that Bike Calgary is in opposition? I would love to see everyone finally agreeing on something! :)

I think this is a great place for a protected bike lane.

I have a personal bias though as I am currently comuting on this road southbound in the mornings from the bike path to 10th Ave, and I have no reasonable northbound route to the bike paths from my office (so I take the 10th Ave Bike Lane which I'm finding more dangerous in the winter).

fruinjuice's picture

Comments in Article

I noted from the article that both BC and tDn are both 'tentative' with the big issue being the lack of a plan for the whole network.

Piecemeal / patchwork plan is no way to do this.

gyrospanner's picture

I'll use it

I usually take First Street West as my North/South Route, but this will be better.

Bonus Points for getting under the railroad!

SpeedyJ's picture

This would have been nice....

About three years ago when my kid was in Day Care at Eau Claire. We live in Mission, and this would have been a good option, even better if it was further west. I'm looking at you 4th st.

Jack Becker's picture

Proposed 1st St SE Separated Bike Lanes

This separated bike lanes proposal makes sense from a networking perspective and I urge the City to move quickly in implementing it.  For a more effective network and as part of implementing this facility, the City should also remove the barrier for cyclists to use Stephens Walk as a connector to this separated bike lane and network this facility with the neighbouring westbound C-Train stations. 

My priorities for the City and for downtown separated bike lanes are an east-west route, with personal preference for 6th Ave. and a connection from the 7th St separated bike lanes to 10th Ave, either with an underpass of the CP Rail tracks or a connection using the 5th St underpass.

The creation of a separated bike lane network plan for downtown and the belt line is important and support the City completing it with a view of the future population of the city, the cycling traffic it will create, transportation modal conversion that will continue at a quicker pace, and its effect on downtown travelling for work, shopping, and other trips.

Further to a comment on the Calgary Herald cycling blog, the newspaper really needs to run an article on who really pays for the roads of the City so that more people can get real when commenting.


My comments as a downtowner.

RichieRich's picture

Who pays for roads? for MUPS?

Who is subsidising who?

Your parting comment re: who really pays is important. 

I would encourage BikeCalgary to create an informational page (if not already done) laying out where the monies come from and then distribute this to the news media.  Thereafter anytime the usual newspaper/media trolls start bitterly complaining how cyclists don't pay their fair share we can submit the link to shut them up.  I'm tired of being told I don't pay for what I use... when in fact I overpay relative to daily users!!  (ie on a per-usage basis). 

winterrider's picture

Yes please

I recently got into a discussion with a coworked and he brought out the tired old "road taxes" argument. It would be great to have a ready to go resource to point him to that is specific to Calgary.

I told him I'd look it up, but realized I don't know how to get all the data I'd need (nor the time to do so just to settle one argument).

goforstars's picture

Would useful

" would encourage BikeCalgary to create an informational page (if not already done) laying out where the monies come from and then distribute this to the news media. Thereafter anytime the usual newspaper/media trolls start bitterly complaining how cyclists don't pay their fair share we can submit the link to shut them up. I'm tired of being told I don't pay for what I use... when in fact I overpay relative to daily users!! (ie on a per-usage basis)"

Great idea and very helpful to all of us.

winterrider's picture

Wrong page

I think this is the relevant information:

though I found the link for that page on the page you linked to.


IMO, what is really needed is a spiffy graphic image that really gets the point accross well. Are there any graphic designers on Bike Calgary who are good at that sort of thing?

RichieRich's picture

Cycling Costs

Whilst that posting does contain a lot of awesome excellence it does require the reader to actually,, read it.  The majority of casual folks that might click the link don't have that kind of attention span.  Is there some way of breaking this into an easier-to-interpret graphic for the common person?  ie: State assumptions, and then facts:  say.... someone makes $50k/yr.  They're taxed at XYZ% nominal rate.  Of that XY goes to provincial and XY goes to the city.  The city then splits this out to roads, parks & rec, etc...  Other usage based fees that feed into these categories then get rolled up.  Finally tally says of $50k earnings so much goes to streets, so much to MUP's.  What is the theoretical street/MUP ratio for last 5yrs, last year, next year, next 5yrs?   For reference that 1% "art-tax" on city capital projects resulted in a ~$400k big blue c**k ring out on airport trail.  Are "our" tax dollars being spent wisely? How many km's of MUPs, cycletracks, infrastructure, snow clearing could have been bought with that?  oh wait... that last line is my hidden agenda item.  shhhhhh.  All ya'll get my points I'm sure.

winterrider's picture

Like I said, we need a spiffy

Like I said, we need a spiffy graphic :)

I'm pretty sure a really good one is harder to conceive of than one might think.