Thursday, June 4, 2015

Calgary's new cycle track network a good example for Langley City to follow

One of the things that I’ve been advocating for in Langley City is the creation of a cycling track network through my community. Building a community where people can safely get around by walking and cycling just makes sense to me.

Supporting active transportation options is cost effective, good for business, improves the environment, and creates positive health outcomes. Cycling is also an affordable, accessible transportation option. In a community like Langley City, this is important.

I know there is a demand for cycling in Langley, but there isn’t a safe network for people to use. Most people will only cycling on off-street trails, and on bike lanes that are separated from moving autos. Of course these trails and separated lanes actually have to go to places where people want to travel, and be a complete network. The current piecemeal approach to building cycling infrastructure will not encourage more cycling.

When I lived in Calgary back in the early 2000s, cycling infrastructure was nominal in Calgary’s downtown core. Last year when I was in Calgary, I noticed that they installed one separated bike lane along one of their downtown streets. I’m back in Calgary this week, and noticed they’ve built a complete separated bike lane network seemingly overnight!

Cycling is a cost effective way for both government and individuals to get around. In a presentation about deploying a pilot cycling track (separated bike lane) network in Calgary’s downtown core, it is noted that spending $10 million could build a 330 stall parkade which would serve about 435 people per day. That same $10 million could build around 8 kilometres of cycling track which would serve 2,700 people per day.

Based on the experience of that first separated bike lane, Calgary is now investing $9.38 million to build a 7.3km cycling track network in its downtown core. They expect to see a 2 to 3 times increase in cycle ridership in the first year of the network being in service, with 20% growth in ridership in subsequent years.

New cycling track network in green. Select map to enlarge.

I decided to take some pictures of the new cycle track network. These pictures show the various ways you can configure cycling lanes which makes people feel safer.

Two-way cycle track. Select image to enlarge.

Two-way cycle track crossing street. Select image to enlarge.

One-way cycle track. Select image to enlarge.

One-way cycle track with parking buffer. Select image to enlarge.

If Langley City where to spend $9.38 million dollar to build a cycling track network, it would include:
203rd Street from the 204th Street Overpass to Grade Crescent
53rd Avenue from 196th Street to 208th Street
Glover Road/204th Street from the Langley Bypass to 53rd Street

Imagine what a transformation that would be if we actually built that network in Langley City. Seniors, women, and children would actually feel safe riding around town.


Dave Hall said...

While I might agree that a cycling network is a worthwhile goal, $9.3 million from what sources of revenue? At the expense of what future capital priorities or infrastructure? Over what kind of a time frame (10 years??)?Are these estimates in present or future dollars? Presently street upgrades receive contributions from developers for sections adjacent to new construction. Should the City borrow $ to construct a complete block ahead of future construction or wait for the development to occur which results in the piecemeal approach that you observe to presently exist. What is your view on the City incurring debt vs relying on perilous Casino revenues?? Also, how might the City position itself better for Grant Acquisitions for bike lane construction?

Nathan Pachal said...

At times, the City will have to make an investment to complete a whole project. Have a swing set wouldn't be too useful. With provincial and TransLink funding, the City may be able to leverage $3m in funding to get a $9m return.

Nathan Pachal said...

The whole network in Calgary that I posted about was built in a matter of months.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, I wonder how you feel about encouraging the city of Langley to extend the 'one-way' portion of Fraser highway to start at 203rd? The increase in traffic downtown due to development in Brookswood and Fernridge has been huge, and then the insane decision to add the Tim Hortons at 203 and Douglas, being a pedestrian downtown has become downright terrifying.
As a resident who works and lives downtown, and gets around primarily on foot, I would really like to see action by the city to discourage cars in the downtown core, rather than the half-hearted lip service that we get now.
I feel like even though it sounds extreme, from talking to a lot of my neighbors in the area, especially those who walk and take transit, I think it would actually be supported quite strongly.

Nathan Pachal said...

Yes. I did not agree one bit with the decision to allow a drive thru in Downtown Langley. I would support actions which would see active transportation prioritized in our core. I walk primarily in Downtown Langley