Chealion's picture

Bow River Pathway Closures In and Around Crowchild Trail

I was pleased to notice that the updated boards from the May 9th open house have been posted to the Crowchild project page. I don't envy the job of the folks who had to find a way to detour the north pathway during it's busiest months. From the posted boards it's not clear what mitigations they have been able to work in to help out with crossing Crowchild Trail at rush hour and how small the islands will be and if it will be a proper multi-use crossing instead of a crosswalk.

It's not going to be a fun detour but the goal as I was told at the open house is to get the Crowchild bridge open again before these closures for flood mitigation and stormwater outflow lifecycling go into place.

Hopefully to help clarify the map from what I got from the open house:

The south section is a continuation of last year's work where they took out the concrete structure. They'll be putting in the wood lattice work like seen further up river.

The west section is in broken up into two pieces (purple and red) - the goal being to finish the purple section first to allow everyone to get to the new signalized 25th St crossing for the rest of the construction period.

The east section across from the old CBC building will result in a new pathway once the stormwater outflow work is done.

Please feel free to correct anything I may have got wrong :-)

Links: (Page 3)


Dionysis's picture

similar to 5 years ago

The detours look similar to those set up after the 2013 flood except that west of Crowchild will now be blocked off.  I have a feeling that the path on the south side of the river is going to be pretty busy starting in July!

Thanks for posting this info Chealion - I'd hate to be riding in early one morning only to find the path closed off!

winterrider's picture

Can you clarify?

You said they're redoing the path by the old CBC building, that's great news!

Why is the purple section west of Crowchild being closed? Storm/flood water work? Are they going to repave that section of path? I hope so as it's pretty bad these days.

The south side closure, are they going to do any path upgrades there to improve sightlines through the woods, or improve the path by the pumphouse?

Chealion's picture

All of the closures are to

All of the closures are to allow stormwater outflow replacements and other river bank improvement projects. (eg. South side is part 2 of the work that led to the same closure last year). As far as I know they won't be touching the pathways except for near the old CBC building - just that for construction access the pathway will end up being closed.

winterrider's picture


Much appreciated, too bad they're not planning on more improvements while those pathways were closed. Missed opportunity IMO.

Dionysis's picture

100% agree

The north path between 29th and Crowchild is brutal on a road bike with no shocks!

I heard on the news recently that a lot of the trees in Calgary are reaching the end of their typical lifespan so I wonder about all those big trees along Parkdale and Memorial. I would hate to see them go but would not mis their roots!

bclark's picture

Bow River Pathway Closures - Comments

The following are the comments (verbatim) I made in an email to City staff on behalf of Bike Calgary (30-May-2018. I have not heard a reply as of yet, but I would be curious to know if these resonate with Bike Calgary members.

"I took a quick look at the detour map. A couple quick comments.

1. I'm assuming there's no easy win to do some curb work to allow cyclists to just jump right onto 1st Avenue (diagonal) from 4th Avenue and vis-a-vis?

2. There is currently no bicycle specific signalization or guidance that I am aware of for northbound cyclists to leave the pathway and cross Parkdale Boulevard (it's really just a crosswalk) to access northbound 29th Street. Along those lines, the pathway merges into a narrow sidewalk, also used by pedestrians accessing the pathway and bus stop. My suggestion for you to consider is to realign the pathway connector so as to allow cyclists to travel properly through the intersection, perhaps even with some bike-specific signalization.

3. I'd personally probably just come back to Kensington Road via 25th Street, and cross there, instead of using what appears to be a questionably direct pathway link to then cross a slip lane plus the main intersection at Crowchild. I think you may find a lot of cyclists do this, so you may want to consider how to make that crossing easier and safer (note that cyclists cannot use the flashing crossing unless they cross as pedestrians).

The only other thing is my point about the crossing of Crowchild Trail having to be equitable in terms of phasing for people using the detour. I would hope that is still part of the conversation as well as some ways to create safer space by reducing speeds on the slip lanes crossed by the pathways and sidewalks."

bclark's picture

Closure Dates Unchanged

Here is the latest map (LINK). Not really any change from previous that I can see.

It looks like the timing is still mid-July to mid-October with and additional mid-August to mid-October closure and detour on the south side. I would say expect this to all start happening soon, which also means I’d assume the detour along the north side is ready.

We made a few suggestions through Bike Calgary, including intersection improvements at 29th Street and the Bow River Pathway intersection to ensure it’s clear how cyclists are supposed to move through the area, though I don’t see any indication of such on the map.

I’ve followed up with City staff on why certain dead-end portions of the pathway are indicated as detours. Perhaps this is to retain some river bank and green space access for Calgarians? I’ll update once I’ve heard.

More info is at


bclark's picture

Closures Next Week

Sounds like closures will take effect sometime next week. Exact date depends on contractor timing.


Dionysis's picture

thanks for keeping us up-to-date

I tried out the north side detour route on my way home last Friday.  Adds 5-10 minutes of travel time and the biggest bottlenecks I could see are at the Crowchild-Kensington Road and 29th Street intersections.  But it looks like the new path from the SE corner of Crowchild-Kensington to Broadview Road is complete.

Still not sure about the crossing displayed on the map around where the east-bound bus turning lane is, however.

But thanks again for keeping us informed!

Update: just noticed the City's Crowchild construction web site ( was updated today but there is nothing about the pathway closures.

bclark's picture

Detour Quality

I'm also, through my role with Bike Calgary, continuing to promote suggestions to improve the intersection at 29th Street and Memorial Drive (Bow River Pathway) for cyclists travelling east and now having to turn north onto 29th Street in the absence of any formal infrastructure or crossing guidance, so that it's clear to all travel modes how people should interact. I'm also pursuing the fact that westbound cyclists, on the 4th Avenue detour, will need to be able to safely and comfortably turn left onto 29th Street to head back south to the pathway. 

On the east end, I've been trying to carry on the discussion that there may be significant demand for north-south travel along 25th Street, between 1st Avenue and the pathway on the south side of Kensington Road, as opposed to people using the winding pathway along Crowchild and having to cross two sides of that busy intersection (i.e. measures need to be considered to make sure the 25th Street/Kensington Road intersection is safe and comfortable).

Overall, I've also been very clear that the Bow River pathway is an essential active travel and recreation corridor for Calgarians of all ages and abilities and that alternatives must be equitable. At this point, I'm not sure that cycling in mixed traffic on the detour up 29th Street counts, but there's no other bikeway alternative in current conditions.

Unfortunately I can't make any promises, only reasoned arguements to the people with decision-making power.

I think Bike Calgary would certainly appreciate hearing from our members about the impact of the closure and quality of the detour though.


dmulligan's picture

Detour comments

According to the city of Calgary site the north path won't be available until further notice.  The south side of the river will soon be impassible due to ice buildup from the constant water runoff.  What do we do then?

Has everyone else had fun turning north onto Pumphouse Road SW heading east into downtown during morning rush hour?  The constant stream of cars has most cyclists heading up the wrong side of the street.

Sprucey's picture

Contact City of Calgary?

Is there anyone from Bike Calgary that can advise what is the most effective way of communicating with the City to receive a response to concerns regarding the closure of the north pathway by Crowchild with the lack of snow/ice clearing on the south side?  Should every one of us submit 311 inquires? Can Bike Calgary also express concerns?

I feel that the north detour is not an appropriate alternative once it starts snowing as you are moving cyclists from a cleared pathway that is relatively safe even when slippery to the roads, which become a safety risk even when streets are plowed.



bclark's picture

Expression of Concerns

As someone who *was* heavily involved in providing feedback to the City on the closure, including delivering all sorts of detailed feedback on how to make sure the detour was similarly safe and comfortable as the pathway (so that the same demographics could access it), the detour was well signed, with signs that were easy to read at bicycle speed and frequently placed, and that snow and ice clearing of the residential streets comprising the the same priority level as the essential, I can definitely say Bike Calgary has expressed this concern. I would suggest that, in addition to 3-1-1, you speak to the Ward Councillor's office, in this case Councillor Farrell, as it falls in Ward 7, in the even snow clearing has not been done. I have it on my list to follow-up with the City one last time on this before my role with Bike Calgary ends, so I'll see what I can find out.


Sprucey's picture

Thanks bclark

I appreciate the response and thanks for all the work you have done with Bike Calgary.

I will contact the Councillor's Ward also.  Hopefully, the pathways will open before too much (more) snowfall!

BOTRoger's picture

Detour partially open

I rode the North side path yesterday evening and can confirm that the path is now open between 14th St and the crowchild underpass (aka Brownsea Dr pedestrian overpass).  The path was nicely cleared.

Starting at the detour nothing is cleared at all.  The pedestrian overpass was only passable by walking, the new multi-use pathway was unplowed, and the detour through Parkdale was unplowed.

I've opened a 311 ticket for it.

The closure ( map shows that the Crowchild pedestrian bridge is open, but you can't get to it on the North side so I'm not sure how it could possibly be open.

Here's hoping the entire North side Crowchild underpass opens soon.

Has anyone ridden the South side?  Are they by chance clearing it while the North side has the detour?

bclark's picture

Bow River Pathway Detour

Based on BOTRoger and social media comments, I thought I'd check out the pathway between 14th Street and 21st Street and definitely opened, though the bridge needs some additional TLC. The new pathway along the north side of Memorial to Kensington Road/Crowchild is also cleared. West of Crowchild it is not, but I did put in a 3-1-1 as it is part of the pedestrian detour and also a more direct, IMO cycle detour to 1st Avenue via the 25th street pedestrian crossing. Unfortunately that doesn't really answer the question about snow clearing on the residential street portion of the detour between Crowchild Trail and 29th Street.