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Calgary’s 12 Avenue cycle track extension postponed to add parking

Cyclists won’t be able to connect from 12 Avenue to the Bow River Pathway this summer, as the Calgary cycle track extension has been delayed until next year.

The plan is to extend the cycle track on 12 Avenue from 15 Street SW to 19 Street SW and then across 10 Avenue to the Bow River Pathway.

This is the third and final phase of the current project, which was supposed to be completed this summer. Changes include curbside parking on the north side and partial lane reduction from 15 to 19 Street SW.

The City held an information session in December 2019 to showcase the latest design. They received community feedback and input from internal stakeholders on the removal of parking spaces on the north side.

“Simply because this area is kind of different from the rest of 12 Avenue. It’s not as much commercial, this is a lot more residential,” said project manager Ali Zaidi.

“Parking is a little bit more important in this area of the community.”

He said they took the feedback and got additional technical work done on the design. They will refine it to address concerns and keep some parking on the north side.

Initially, this cross section of the project was similar to the rest of the corridor. There was no curbside parking on the north side, only on the south side, and a two-way cycle track that continues the whole way.

Now, there will be curbside parking on the north side. Eastbound vehicle lanes from 15 Street to 19 Street will be reduced from two to one lane to accommodate for parking, according to Zaidi.

Delay concerns for cyclists

The problem with delaying the project is that the 12 Avenue cycle track is still a broken network, said Bike Calgary president Gary Millard.

“Our desire from the beginning was to see the 12th Ave cycle track, which is an excellent linear piece of cycling infrastructure, connected up to other parts of the network.”

Keeping a continuous flow of traffic is a great benefit, he said. By leaving the cycle track incomplete, it interrupts the transportation network for hundreds of users.

This causes network (pathway) transition issues, Millard said. Some may think that using the sidewalk is a safer option. This causes confusion, he said.

“You ended at 11th Street quite abruptly; no easy transition to other networks except for the northbound bike lane on 11th.”

Millard said delaying it to add more parking in the project shows the importance of active mobility in Calgary.

“I think is indicative of the lower priority that non motorized users have [compared to] car users in Calgary.”

While he understands that there’s been cutbacks in some areas, Millard said they would have liked to see the project completed sooner.

“There are still multimillion-dollar projects proceeding. This relatively small bit of cycling infrastructure is being postponed when it would bring such a huge benefit to connecting a true network for active transportation users,” he said.

Work in the area continues

The City is still going ahead with other aspects of the project. Curb extensions are being added to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and wheelchair ramps are being added to intersections.

“We’re just changing where that infrastructure goes instead of a whole change on what the project looks like,” said Zaidi.

The new design will be published on the city’s website next week. For more information and updates on the project you can visit Calgary.ca/12ave.