July 21/11 17:21 pm - Major Barrier to Downtown Calgary Bike Lanes Removed
Posted by Editoress on 07/21/11
The Calgary tour de nuit Society (CtdnS), working with aldermen on City Council, has secured two major concessions in the City of Calgary’s cycling strategy:
• It was intended that capital costs of a public bike share (BIXI) program be restricted to funds raised from the private sector. A business plan is now required;
• An archaic Transportation Department downtown bicycle route map (Appendix ‘A’) was removed from the tabled Cycling Strategy. The two CtdnS-sponsored changes represent the only public or commuter cyclist input into the Cycling Strategy. The Strategy is a response to a CtdnS call for dedicated bike lanes downtown.
CtdnS was in full support of Alderman Shane Keating’s amendment to restrict the capital costs of public bike share (BIXI) to funds raised from the private sector. This would require the Transportation Department to adhere to its verbal promise that no public funds would be used for a public bike share. The Calgary Parking Authority, a city business unit, would be prevented from sponsoring a bike share. CtdnS supports bike share as an appropriate tool to increase cycling, but considers this project a poor prioritization of public cycling needs.
CtdnS was in full support of Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra’s motion to divorce the downtown bicycle route map (Appendix ‘A’) from the Cycling Strategy. The map was developed without the input of commuter cyclists for inclusion in the City Centre Plan of 2007. The Transportation Department never, in the last year and a half, discussed key routing information or the need for dedicated bicycle infrastructure with CtdnS staff or members. Appendix ‘A’ is designed to drive bicycle traffic on to a redundant ‘Peace Bridge’. The Carra motion passed and is crucial to a sane transportation policy in Calgary.
During the unilateral development of this plan by the City of Calgary’s Transportation Department in the last year and a half, the CtdnS has attempted to establish a working relationship that would reduce the risk of bicycle commuting. The Transportation Department ignored FOIP rules and the city’s own Engage!Policy. The CtdnS honestly hopes this plan, however flawed, does not have the same fate as past five cycling reports. Over the span of forty years, the City of Calgary’s Transportation Department has yet to act on one of them!
The Calgary tour de nuit Society will continue to lobby and actively promote commuter cycling in Calgary. The CtdnS believes the efficient and transparent use of public funds can go a long way towards raising the efficiency of the transportation system by incorporating the bicycle as a medium range option for a significant proportion of Calgary’s commuters.
Courtesy Gary Beaton, President, The Calgary tour de nuit Society, www.morepeoplecycling.ca