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City apologizes for poor communication on the temporary 3 Avenue cycle detour

City launches survey to get feedback on contentious 3 Avenue South temporary detour.

The City of Calgary is apologizing for a lack of communication regarding utility work and a temporary walking and wheeling detour on 3 Avenue South.

The upcoming removal of the lane has caused frustration among the cycling community because it plays a vital east-west link in the downtown.

LiveWire Calgary was the first to report on a petition to save the 3 Avenue S cycling infrastructure back in June. At that time, Peter Oliver with Project Calgary pointed out that the corridor was slated for future upgrades to a permanent wheeling track and questioned why the city would tear it out just to rebuild it again in the future.  

Plus, Oliver contends that the city had insinuated that the cycle track would be there long term.

The City told LWC at the time that the detour was always just a temporary rerouting of traffic while work was done on Eau Claire Area Improvements.   That work essentially forced the closure of sections of the Bow River Pathway that would have provided a route for cyclists.

The cycle track portion wasn’t permanent, they said.

The kerfuffle prompted the city to issue a release on a Friday afternoon acknowledging a lack of communication with Calgarians.

“There has been a lack of communication from The City regarding recent utility construction work on 3 Ave South. We would like to acknowledge this lack of communication and apologize for the confusion,” the city’s PSA read.

“This utility construction work taking place along the temporary walking and wheeling detour has caused confusion around the timing of the detour’s removal, which is currently scheduled for Fall 2023. The detour, with the utility construction work happening, will remain in place through at least the month of September. “

City posts online survey

Along with the apology, the City has launched a public survey on the corridor. They want to know what worked, what didn’t and what the future of 3 Avenue South might look like.

That survey can be found here. It closes Sept. 11.

Project Calgary, however, posted to their website results from a prior full citizen survey done to gauge the impact of the 3 Avenue detour.

“What’s peculiar about the new survey is that City Administration already completed a comprehensive operational review and public feedback survey for 3rd Avenue upgrades from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022 but has yet to release the results publicly,” reads the Project Calgary website.

“Fortunately, Project Calgary has obtained the full report through Freedom of Information (FOI) request and is leaking the results to citizens who have a right to know.”

The City said it would continue to review incoming feedback and the operational data it has collected since the detour opened. They will present the results once the survey closes.

They said that members of city council have been “instrumental” in bringing some of these concerns about the removal to their attention.

Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott, shortly after the first LWC story, said he was working on a temporary reprieve for the route.

At that time, he said he’d hoped to find a plan for it to stay by the end of the summer.

The City said that utility work continues in the area, with Green Line utility work starting Aug. 24 between 2 Street SW and 1 Street SW. Cyclists on the detour are required to dismount and walk around the utility construction area, the city said.