Data lens: Bow River pedestrian and cyclist counts pre-and-post Covid

How did the traffic patterns change over the past two-plus years? Check out the 3D graphics!

Boaters passed by the Bow River Pathway near the Peace Bridge in Calgary on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The community of Sunnyside will be loosing its trees along the northern shore of Memorial Drive as the City of Calgary performs 1 in 100 year flood mitigation work along the banks of the Bow River. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

March 11 marks the second year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Undeniably, the pandemic changed how Calgarians interact with each other, and their communities. This included the level of pedestrian and cyclist traffic totals at the City of Calgary’s monitoring locations along the Bow River.

At the Bow River Pathway, the Peace Bridge, and Memorial Drive at Prince’s Island, the total counts fell post-deceleration as compared to the weeks before March 11, 2020.

The data below sums weekly counts, for both directions at each location. Where the count for an entire week is zero, this is due to the city not tracking data for that period. Not all hours of the day have been monitored, so the data period has been limited to 10 a.m. to midnight to provide like comparisons.

Bow River Pathway

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May of 2019 was an especially busy month for the Bow River Pathway. Total counts of people crossing the city's monitoring station topped out at 1,726 for the 4:45 p.m. period for the week of May 27. On average, 68 pedestrians and bicyclists crossed that point at any hour of the day, and about 247 during that hour during that one week at 4:45 p.m.

During the same week and time period in 2021, 452 people crossed the monitoring point.

Peace Bridge

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Now nearly 10 years on, the Peace Bridge has become one of the busiest places for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Bow River.

Prior to the pandemic, traffic over the bridge began to really pick up in March, peaked in July, and began to taper to a low in November. Peak traffic occurred at 5 p.m., but a significant amount of traffic also crossed at 12:15 p.m.

Although decreased during the pandemic, this 12:15 traffic has continued creating a noticeable trend in the city's data. Not as clear is the pre-pandemic 5 p.m. trend, which saw a shift to more people crossing the bridge at 3:15 p.m. The pandemic also saw more Calgarians crossing the bridge for enjoyment, as there was a regular trend upwards, especially during the warm summer months, to enjoy the parkway system in the evening.

Memorial Drive at Prince's Island

Use your mouse to rotate the chart. The left mouse button or scroll wheel to zoom. Use your right mouse button to move the chart in any direction. Double click on the ward in the chart legend to show only those candidates. You can view this chart full screen here.

Memorial Drive at Prince's Island 12:15 p.m. trend is even more pronounced than the Peace Bridge.

The number of people crossing the city's monitoring location increased in peak volume in 2021 over 2020, but remained well below the levels saw in 2018. No data was available for 2019.

Like the other two locations, May remains the most popular time of year for Calgarians to visit this part of the Bow River pathway system.

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