On Saturday, March 24, 2012, Calgary's Peace Bridge will open to pedestrian and cyclist traffic. It is the most significant single piece of transportation infrastructure for active modes (biking and walking) the City of Calgary has built to date. There will be an opening celebration on Saturday from 2-4 pm. Join members of the Bike Calgary board of directors at the ceremony to mark this important occasion. The Elbow Valley Cycling Club is hosting a ride (meet at 1:20 pm, ride out at 1:35 pm at Edworthy Park). Non-members are welcome to join, and the group will be among the first to cross the bridge. If you're planning to ride there independently, please note that there's a marathon happening until 2 pm on the north side of the river. The celebration itself will feature music and dance performances, the Bass Bus, as well as Calgary's food trucks, so it should be a good time.
Bike Calgary has long advocated for better and safer crossing opportunities for cyclists across the Bow River. In 2008, when the project of "gateway bridges" was first floated, we supported the idea, writing to the Mayor's office that "quality access for cyclists and pedestrians across the Bow River is a cornerstone to establishing and strengthening a program of “active transportation” in our downtown area. Good connections from new and existing pathways, sidewalks and on-street bike routes to highly visible and attractive bridge structures will serve as an incentive for increased participation." Bike Calgary urged the City to move forward with the design of the gateway bridge project "in a responsible way as a focus for establishing visible support for sustainable active transportation in Calgary." We also provided feedback on the design of the location, cycling accommodations, access, and other relevant design aspects the following year.
Bike Calgary's press release issued today follows below.
For immediate release
March 20, 2012
Cyclists and Pedestrians Will Embrace Peace Bridge
Most significant piece of infrastructure for active transportation modes to open March 24
The Peace Bridge, opening to cyclist and pedestrian traffic on March 24, 2012, is the most significant piece of transportation infrastructure dedicated to active modes of transportation the City of Calgary has built. “The Peace Bridge demonstrates that priority consideration can be given to pedestrian and bicyclist mobility”, says Bike Calgary president Brent Clark.
Currently, the City’s annual cordon counts suggest about 2,000 bicycles cross the Bow River daily using the lower deck of the Louise LRT bridge and the Prince’s Island Bridge. However, neither bridge efficiently conveys high volumes of bicyclists and pedestrians. The Peace Bridge can alleviate pressure and, through the use of grade separation and additional width, serve as an efficient and safe means for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the Bow River. In terms of the cost per daily user, the Peace Bridge compares favorably to major transportation infrastructure projects like the West LRT expansion or the Calgary ring road.
Bike Calgary hopes that the Peace Bridge will become the focal point of a well planned and implemented cycle route network that encourages many more Calgrians to give cycle commuting a try. Clark says: “To achieve maximum benefit, it is important that the Peace Bridge is easily and safely accessible via existing and future bicycle routes”.