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ThujaPlicata

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Recreational pathway, sure. But the last mile connections are being built now, and that is what enables the main pathways to work so much better.
I agree - Growing up in Calgary I always used the pike paths for recreational purposes only. Nowadays its a form of transportation to get to and from work, get groceries and enjoy the vibrant inner city throughout. This is all because the recent bike pathways like 12th Avenue, 2nd street and 5th Street connect the inner city to places that when cycling where more difficult to get to.
 

Disraeli

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I'm curious what the mode share numbers will be like for cycling in the 2021 census. The 2016 census had us at %1.5 which is right around the time the first phase of the cycle track was completed. For comparisons sake, Dallas has %0, Portland %3, Montreal %2. So a good start for Calgary
 

Surrealplaces

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That perception is somewhat strange as the big expansion in the pathway network mostly occurred in the 1990's. Cycling is more popular now
The visitors comments were more to do with the cycling tracks downtown and EV, the separate bike pathway through Eau Claire and other new changes like the cycle lane along Bowness Road, or the bike lane along 10th street NW, etc... We've had the river pathways for years, but as others have mentioned the infrastructure for cycling on city roads has improved a fair bit in as little as 5 years, after years of cycle infrastructure mostly along rivers or through parks.
 

Stephen Ave

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That perception is somewhat strange as the big expansion in the pathway network mostly occurred in the 1990's. Cycling is more popular now
The pathway work done in the 80's and 90's was probably the most important step in getting bike infrastructure going in Calgary, but the last few years has seen a lot of change in a short time. I would argue the most impactful change change in any 5 year period has been the last 5 years. I agree, cycling has become a lot more popular, it's helped drive the new infrastructure, and the new infrastructure has helped drive the popularity.
 

CBBarnett

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I'm curious what the mode share numbers will be like for cycling in the 2021 census. The 2016 census had us at %1.5 which is right around the time the first phase of the cycle track was completed. For comparisons sake, Dallas has %0, Portland %3, Montreal %2. So a good start for Calgary
I find censusmapper.ca perfect for these kinds of discussions. I hope the same team that put together the 2016 version gets the 2021 version.

For the bike to work map, unsurprisingly the numbers vary dramatically throughout the city. Areas in Hillhurst and near the university push nearly 20% reporting they bicycle to work or nearly 15X the city average.

Mode share by bicycle in 2016:

1629254124172.png


A couple other thoughts from a quick glance:
  • It seems the equation is: relatively high density + very close proximity high quality quality bicycle infrastructure + major jobs cluster within 5km = higher bicycle share.
  • The river pathway network is very clearly the backbone of the network. In particular, the NW leg of the pathway system is close enough to where people live that it clearly drives work trips. Conversely, major highways are absolute bicycle mode share killers between one side and the other.
  • Smaller infrastructure is also clearly visible (26 Avenue SW bicycle lane etc.) With more destinations, more density and higher quality bike lanes I expect to see those areas continually improve with redevelopment and infrastructure to match.
  • Hills matter, the river valley collects the majority of trips. I am curious to see the numbers with the rapid adoption of electric bicycles (perhaps the 2026 Census?)
  • The Beltline is a pedestrian zone with (un)surprisingly low bicycle traffic. The reason? Everything is close enough to walk. As the bicycle network increases, surely there are more riders in the Beltline but they may not report they ride for work or they may only increase with the population so the mode share doesn't increase. Will be interesting to see 2021 v. 2016
A map like this really makes me think - imagine if we created a spine of ultra-high quality bicycle infrastructure in the burbs? Something that cuts through all neighbourhoods in a straight line and really makes it reasonable to travel that 5 to 10km to a job by a bicycle. I am not talking our recreation-only curve-linear windy paths that don't connect to anything. I am talking dutch-style - level or grade separately bicycle crossings without switchbacks, priority at all cross-streets, parks and trees. Essentially pretend you are designing a highways but make it for bicycles.

You could turn the NE as green as the river valley on this map with the right treatment. And unlike the river pathways it wouldn't just be a happy accident - we just need to design our pathway network for transportation instead of dog walking.
 

Silence&Motion

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Just speaking from my own experiences as a bike commuter who grew up in Scarborough and moved to Calgary, Calgary's street design is far more favourable for bike commuting than Scarborough's. Living in Scarborough, streets like these were the only way to move between neighbourhoods. Similar aged neighbourhoods in Calgary have an abundance of arterial streets that look like this. Calgary's suburban arterials are
not great for running bus routes (they're too narrow and winding), but they're great for cycling, even without dedicated bike lanes.

As a teen, whenever I wanted to go to the nearest mall, I no choice but to cycle across a 9-lane bridge that crossed a 12-lane expressway (Sheppard and 404). In Calgary, I've never had to do anything remotely this dangerous or unpleasant when I wanted to get somewhere on bike.
 
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CBBarnett

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Just speaking from my own experiences as a bike commuter who grew up in Scarborough and moved to Calgary, Calgary's street design is far more favourable for bike commuting than Scarborough's. Living in Scarborough, streets like these were the only way to move between neighbourhoods. Similar aged neighbourhoods in Calgary have an abundance of arterial streets that look like this. Calgary's suburban arterials are
not great for running bus routes (they're too narrow and winding), but they're great for cycling, even without dedicated bike lanes.

As a teen, whenever I wanted to go to the nearest mall, I no choice but to cycle across a 9-lane bridge that crossed a 12-lane expressway (Sheppard and 404). In Calgary, I've never had to do anything remotely this dangerous or unpleasant when I wanted to get somewhere on bike.
This is a fair point and I agree. I think the challenge is to actually get serious bicycle numbers neither is sufficient:

Scarborough, 2016 bicycle share:
1629314105105.png


Southern Calgary, 2016 bicycle share:
1629314237848.png


Both areas have very few/zero high-quality bicycle routes to destinations/job centres and both have fairly low densities. While Fairmount is inarguably nicer of a ride than Lawrence Ave, but that doesn't yield much because the bike share equation still is not satisfied.

To change that you need higher density/destinations nearby and/or a really high quality, direct path connection to a nearby job centre.
 

Surrealplaces

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I've never used that census mapper before. Very cool site, not just for cycling demographics, but for all demographics. I'm anxious to see what this recent census brings, as I think more people will be included this time around. In the previous census, we may not have had everyone submitting their info. I'm looking at this section of Calgary and find it surprising that one large section of Tuxedo would have exactly 0 cycle commuters out of 365 total commuters and a section right beside it would have 30 out of 295. Hopefully it's not a bug in the system.

Capture.PNG
 

Surrealplaces

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Commuting is from the long form iirc, so drilling down that far will have sampling issues.
That makes sense. I was looking at some other areas around the city and noticed the same thing. Even though it's not 100% perfect, it gives a good idea of where the cycle commuting is most popular. Looking forward to seeing the results from 2021.
 

darwink

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That makes sense. I was looking at some other areas around the city and noticed the same thing. Even though it's not 100% perfect, it gives a good idea of where the cycle commuting is most popular. Looking forward to seeing the results from 2021.
Overlaying with the strava heat map would probably show a lot. But is WAY beyond my super basic google earth GIS skills.
 

CBBarnett

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Commuting is from the long form iirc, so drilling down that far will have sampling issues.
Yeah this is it. Statscan also has some rounding rules for many long-form fields, ending in 5 or 10. Still, I appreciate the higher resolution at the DA level to detect trends and hotspots in the more accurate but less precise Census Tract level.
 

CBBarnett

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Yeah this is it. Statscan also has some rounding rules for many long-form fields, ending in 5 or 10. Still, I appreciate the higher resolution at the DA level to detect trends and hotspots in the more accurate but less precise Census Tract level.
Overlaying with the strava heat map would probably show a lot. But is WAY beyond my super basic google earth GIS skills.

This is getting somewhere - Strava slants to the exercise cyclist routes, but at least isn't just work trips only and gives you the actual route. Probably a reasonable proxy for "cycling preferred" routes. Check out the strava heatmap for some interesting findings here. I summarized my quick thoughts below:


Below is the bicycle-only heat map for central Calgary, the river pathway network is the clear backbone as expected. In blue I highlighted likely mountain bicycle routes, green is more interesting as it relates to infrastructure.

NE green highlight - there's a surprisingly long and consistent N-S pathway through Whitehorn, Rundle and Westwinds, along with circuitous but connective routes past Sunridge into Nose Creek. Compare that to Marlbourough to the south with few routes and no infrastructure. Imagine if that N-S pathway was upgraded from an accidentally useful windy suburban pathway to something more direct and supportive of bicycles for transportation? Would totally be a backbone to the whole NE network.

SW green highlights - Spruce Drive and 26th Avenue bicycle lanes are clearly visible. Also a strong showing is 45 Street SW, a super direct connection N-S but no pathway or bicycle infrastructure at all. Also note how 26th Ave decreases in brightness right as it passes Crowchild - bike lanes disappear right as you really need them to go up a hill. Cyclists scatter off to side streets awkwardly.

SE green highlights - the new pathway on the BRT bridge to Forest Lawn area is a key connection. If the pathway network expands into Forest Lawn properly, this will be a backbone to that part of the SE. As it just ends currently, note how cyclist routes scatter - if there's no good direct route safer and more reasonable than the others, cyclists scatter all over to make the best of it, just like 26th Ave in the SW.

Centre green highlights - cycletracks. Totally build it and they will come story not critical backbone infrastructure. 5th Street,12th Ave and Stephen Ave are all clearly visible. Harder to see - 9th Avenue, one of the most hostile pedestrian and cycling streets there is with no infrastructure. Unsurprisingly it barely registers. If we want bicycles off of Stephen, we would really need a serious, high-quality alternative.
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1629389938112.png
 

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