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UrbanWarrior

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They did, and pretty recently I recall. Glad their obstruction didn’t work.
 

Silence&Motion

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CBBarnett

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More traction on a Calgary-Airdrie link. Looks like the municipalities are exploring the feasibility of several routes:
https://www.airdrietoday.com/local-...ding-for-airdrie-to-calgary-bike-path-4323209
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superelevation

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The answer to the Inglewood piece is a continuous bi-directional path from the river through to Crossroads Market.

The problem isn't that designers of the bicycle network don't know this, the problem is that bicycle stuff is not a priority and still doesn't get elevated to the level of "transportation" the way that cars have been, as they have been for decades in Amsterdam. This remains true despite massive improvements over the past decade in Calgary for on-street infrastructure and general acknowledgement that bicycles are really part of the transportation network fabric.

The backbone of the bicycle transportation network is largely a happy accident triggered by improvements in how park space should be used in the 1970s and 1980s, not from a transportation need to provide efficient bicycle routes as transportation. The Bow River pathway system was largely created from this perspective and functions amazingly consistent as a transportation route by North American standards. We are super lucky it worked out this way.

However, there are issues that aren't addressed because it's a park and recreation thing. It's funded and planned like a park and recreation thing. Some sections are too narrow. Some sections are curvy for no reason. The general state of repair is not always great. The occasional upgrades that do happen are typically done from the idea of having a nice park space, not improvements to capacity or travel time (not that those are always conflicting goals).

To illustrate this further, I'll pick on a niche issue on the Bow River Pathway, just west of Crowchild Bridge.
  • This section is always busy and is tight for space due to a bottleneck in two ways - a combined pedestrian and cyclist pathway and a bunch of poles left haphazardly further narrowing the pathway width. Summer weekends it's very congested and practically a slow zone, but even most times of day all year round requires careful passing in either direction as it's always busy enough and the pathway is tight enough.
  • First picture is from 2021 - as far as I am aware there has never been a plan to widen it or address the crowding that occurs, let alone just shift the poles out of the way a metre. The light isn't even directed onto the pathway as a perk for the inconvenience of having a pole in the way.

View attachment 344145
  • Same poles from 2009. Road has been resurfaced at least once, barriers improved but nothing done to improve capacity or width of the pathway since this picture.
View attachment 344146

What happens when a road has a similar capacity and safety issue historically?
  • The city often spends decades expropriating land or even if they don't get around to capacity expansion, they will enshrine setbacks into the land use in the event they might expand the road one day. I doubt this has ever occurred for a pathway or even a sidewalk.
  • A project will emerge, be funded and completed over the same time period as those two pictures were taken to allow for that expansion - quite literally in this case with the $90M Crowchild bridge expansion. I also recall the pathway bridge under it being closed due to construction for 2 years while traffic above was accommodated through construction as it was "critical". Again, bias that cars = transportation, bicycles and pathway users can just go around because they are probably just out there for fun anyways.
What do we have in the works for increasing the pathway's capacity and usability?
  • As far as I am aware, nothing. Despite all the cycling strategies, transportation pyramids, climate initiatives, priority network maps etc.
  • I do know we are planning to build this one day (see below). I circled the area where the poles are and likely to remain for decades to come by the looks of it. Note all the future expropriations for further highway capacity expansion.
  • Also note the only cycling improvement added - a curvy pathway bridge that goes up and over Memorial east of Crowchild. A pathway overpass is actually just car infrastructure dressed up - the goal is to ensure cars can move quickly at high capacity, not make it easier for pathway users. If pathway users were the priority we'd keep them on ground level.
View attachment 344157

All this gets to my conclusion. I think one avenue for improving the cycling system in Calgary is to treat the bicycle like a car. Not in the regressive way that those self-hating vehicular cyclists mean from the 1980s, but in the literal planning, engineering and budgeting way. This would take us closer to Amsterdam:
  • Set minimum pathway widths and standards to separate pedestrians and cyclists with zero tolerance for exceptions. We'd never put a pole in a driving lane or expect a pedestrian to walk in the middle of Memorial Drive, we should never put one in a pathway. Where widths are too narrow, that would trigger the bureaucratic black box machine common in roads projects to just spool up a new projects and smooth out all bottlenecks over time.
  • Flip the priority - where a trade-off needs to be made just default to the pathway instead of the car. In the case of this bottleneck, Memorial would be reduced by a lane or shifted over decades ago to accommodate a reasonable pathway width.
  • Set long-term expropriation and setback plans for pathways. Luckily we won't need these often as bicycle stuff is so narrow and efficient compared to cars but the principle is important. A pathway in a straight line will exist here one day so be sure to get out of the way.
That's our one competitive advantage - we are clearly really, really good at long term arterial road network planning and implementation. Just take those same people and put them on pathways planning and projects, tweak the priority but keep the bureaucratic machine the same otherwise. We'd churn out high-capacity cycling routes in all directions in no time.
Hope you talk to politicians!
 

MichaelS

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Is this going all the way to 11th Street? I saw they just finished repaving between 9th and 10th street, still workign on it, so not sure if they are puttin gin the concrete cycle lanes.
 

Mountain Man

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The bike lane there is blocked by construction traffic half the time anyway. Not sure how many times I've called 311 on it, but the city definitely doesn't care.
 

CBBarnett

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Does it extend through the intersection?
Nope. Relatedly, it's the biggest part missing from most of our cycling/pathways/sidewalk infrastructure - transitions are usually really poor when switching between on-street and off-street. This scope of these poor transitions is immeasuably large and widespread throughout the city, from most of our hundreds of thousands of curb-cuts, sloped sidewalks for driveways, wide sweeping curves for right turns etc.

Many of the individually small gaps collectively make walking or cycling harder and more dangerous than necessary while giving drivers a slight edge they likely never notice. Here's the intersection of 9th Avenue and 4th Street SE (yellow = curb ramps, green = bicycle travel paths). While hardly the worst designed intersection in the city - each direction requires a cyclist to do a weird jog left into the driving lane, or right into the sidewalk to get on and off the 4th Street underpass lanes. The eastside one has the paint across the intersection, however you can see it edges right into the driving lane creating a weird conflict. The more direct lines require careful zig because the hand railings starts right there for the underpass and is another barrier.

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Small details matter. If the median was reduced and the driver lanes were tightened by a metre or two, cyclists and pedestrians could easily have a straight connection that is safe and conflict free. Yes this would mean more effort on the drivers to slightly turn their steering wheel but the benefit is everyone else gets what they need.

Why does this happen?
My best guess is that whoever designs the bike lanes knows all this, but doesn't have authority over whoever designs the curbs and lane widths. Some trade-off occurred during design and like usual, the relatively minor in scale but technically precise requirements of the bicycle lost out to generic curb cut and turn radius logic of entrenched road planning processes.
 

Disraeli

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I was more referring to the intersection at 11th. It has you on the side walk, then you enter the intersection with no markings or guides, then you bike in mixed traffic by the mess of lay-bys along the Arriva podium, before 'transitioning' to the 12th street cycle track.
Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 4.14.32 PM.png

Why does this happen?
My best guess is that whoever designs the bike lanes knows all this, but doesn't have authority over whoever designs the curbs and lane widths.
And money! This crap occurs because the city is trying to build an extensive cycle track network in a short period of time without the capital needed to put in a consistent network that flows logically and is well integrated.
 

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