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Petition pushes for 5 Street SW connection for Calgary cycle track

Calgary cycling advocate Kevin Schlauch is hoping he can go three-for-three in petitions for improved city active transportation infrastructure.

Schlauch’s latest is securing signatures to have the city review the 5 Street SW cycle track and extend it south to the Elbow River pathway system.

Right now, it ends at 17 Avenue SW.

“Fifth right now just drops you off right on 17 Avenue with nowhere to go,” Schlauch said.

“It kind of spits you out on the wrong side of the road. So, it’s a conflict area in a sense that you’re going to see bikes going through the crosswalk and riding on the sidewalk or going on the wrong side of the road.”

He’s hoping the city can just continue the cycle track set up they have up until that location, with small concrete barriers and the flexible bollards.

Schlauch anticipates the biggest issue with either area residents, businesses or the city would be that parking on 5 Street in that area would have to be eliminated to make way for the cycle track. But, he said there’s plenty of available parking on the crossing avenues.

“That’s probably the fight. And the one thing I have learned when dealing with the city is they really, really look at parking first. Like almost all decisions, it seems like it revolves around parking,” Schlauch said.

“To the point where it can be a little bit frustrating because we’re giving priority to a vehicle that nobody’s in, as opposed to people who are trying to use active modes.”

5 Street SW cycle track extension in the works

The city has identified the connector in its long-term network plans, according to Blanka Bracic, manager, Liveable Streets Division at the City of Calgary.

“This would provide a skateboarding, in-line skating, scooting and cycling link between the Bow River pathway to the Elbow River pathway through downtown, the Beltline and Cliff Bungalow,” Bracic said in an email response.

Bracic said that it would most likely require changes to parking and the use of the land between the curb and private property line.

“We would need to have conversations about benefits and trade-offs with the people along the street,” Bracic said.

The petition’s been active for a little more than a week.

The hope is for a minimum of 200 signatures. That’s what they were asked to collect for a similar petition to have improvements on 12 Street SW. That work is already underway after the petition launched in the spring.

For this one, Schlauch expects they can get 1,000 or more.

A group he was a part of garnered thousands of signatures to have a multi-use pathway built in Manchester, along 42 Avenue SE. That work is in the public engagement stage.

City cycle track plans to come in November

For now, this one’s not on the immediate city radar. Bracic said they’re focused on the 2 Street SW cycle track changes.

“We anticipate sharing further details about the priorities of different planned routes when we bring a city-wide Pathway and Bikeway project list and map to the November Transportation and Transit Committee of Council meeting,” Bracic said.

The petition is at more than 15 businesses in the area around the desired cycle track extension.

You can find the petition at the following locations: ReWorks, Bike Bike, The Bike Shop (2 locations), Knox United Church, Shelf Life Books,Broken City, I Love You Coffee Cafe, Inner City Brewing, The Beltliner, Annex Ales, Banded Peak, Cabin, The Establishment, Platform, Work Nicer, and TwoHouse.