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Complete Streets Policy - 2018 Update to Council

The City’s Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit heard the 3-year update to the Complete Streets Policy and Residential Street Design Policy on June 7th, 2018. Minutes and document links can be found HERE.  

Bike Calgary was able to provide a LETTER and feedback in person.

While we were very excited to see unanimous Council approval of a Complete Streets Policy (2014) that contained key principles that “all streets, whether new or retrofit, should be designed with the expectation that cyclists will use them” and, on a more granular level, “intersections are designed to safely accommodate all applicable modes of transportation”, we are very concerned with what we see in the Policy’s enactment to date, specifically:

  • A number of projects do not make any allowance for cycling (i.e. 9th Avenue SE, 17th Avenue SE, 17th Avenue SW).

  • Much of the infrastructure is painted lanes, which, depending on street context, are not suitable to all ages and abilities.

  • Off-street infrastructure, exclusively multi-use pathways, may poorly service bicycle travel, particularly at intersections.

At the 2014 Alberta Bikes Conference, Bike Calgary was able to proudly showcase Calgary’s leading cycling improvements to groups from around the province, including Alberta’s first cycle track (52nd Street NW), first cycle track on a downtown street (7th Street SW) and plans for a pilot (subsequently made permanent) centre city cycle track network.

Above: Busy day in the wet on 7th Street SW cycle track.

Lately, it seems that, irrespective of strong community interest in all ages and abilities cycling infrastructure (i.e. 2nd Street SW cycle track push and 17th Avenue SW Red Mile complete street advocacy effort), progress, beyond painted bike lanes and multi-use pathways, has stalled, with the City seeming reluctant to advance the types of robust designs appearing across North America, even in other Alberta communities such as Canmore and Edmonton.

Above: Raised cycle tracks and a protected intersection in Canmore Alberta (under construction in photo).

We hope to see the City of Calgary find the motivation to retake the lead in providing safe and equitable travel options for all citizens, including deploying cycling infrastructure that is suitable to all ages and abilities, as well as easy to understand and use for all street users, irrespective of travel mode. After all, we know from concept plans that City staff have the capability of bringing forward complete streets projects that achieve policy.


Image: While it needs some protected intersections, the 17th Avenue SE (east of Stoney Trail) concept shows forward thinking in terms of all ages and abilities (City of Calgary TT2016-0646 17 Avenue S.E. Corridor Study (Stoney Trail to East City Limits).