The City of Calgary’s bike lane program is well underway. Several lanes have been installed in the downtown area; however, the reaction to the project is not exactly what was anticipated...
While the addition of Calgary’s $7 million bike lane program has proven advantageous for cyclists, especially in areas like 5th Street where commuting is a feat for two-wheelers, it has significantly slowed traffic in sections like 12th and 10th Avenues.
Predictably, the overwhelming number of people who do not make a habit of cycling are none too happy about the project. There is even a petition that has garnered 1500 signatures with supporters stating that they are “fed up with these bike lanes” and that the project has caused “nothing but inconvenience to the vehicle commuters to the downtown core.”
Nevertheless, the collective rage of Calgary motorists isn’t enough to put a halt to the addition of dedicated bike lanes throughout the city. The program, aimed toward persuading motorists to switch to a greener method of transportation, continued until December 2016 with cyclist trips being recorded in real time and subsequently posted online to track the growth of bike activity around the city. While the idea is noble, it is an expensive risk to take. Despite the cycling improvements already made in the downtown area of Calgary, the number of cyclists in 2015 compared to 2006 remains basically unchanged. It seems as though the vast majority of commuters are not willing to trade their steering wheels for handlebars, but the City of Calgary maintains its ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality and is unwilling to stop moving forward with the program.