By Urban Anomie
Crowchild Tr., one of Calgary’s busiest expressways running along the west side of the city, will be converted entirely into bicycle lanes this fall, as part of the City’s ongoing cycling strategy.
Officials with the City’s Transportation Department say Calgary is desperately lacking in cycling infrastructure, and their goal is to make Calgary more like Portland or Copenhagen, where as much as 40% of the population uses a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation.
“No city in the world has attempted such a dramatic change,” says Carla Corbett of the Transportation Department. “But one day we just decided to try bike lanes on 10th St. much to commuter’s dissatisfaction, and it’s been a resounding success: why just last week I counted nine people cycling to work in those lanes, and the single lane of traffic heading into downtown was only backed up to 16th Ave. N.W. – we’re pretty proud of that. Converting Crowchild to bike lanes is the next logical step.”
The plan carries a $600 million price tag, and officials say the 23 km long Crowchild Tr. is ideal to turn into a cycling ‘super highway,’ because “people don’t really go that way anymore.”
“We’re taking something old and making it new again,” said Corbett, adding that it will be a great cost-saving measure for Calgarians in the long run.
“We considered Deerfoot, but the cashier at Tim Hortons whom we consulted said too many people would be affected if we closed that freeway . . . He’s probably right.”
The City consulted a host of transportation experts before deciding to replace Crowchild with cycling lanes, including Iravat Patel, the manager of a Petro Canada gas station at Crowfoot Crossing, which sits directly north of Crowchild Tr.
“It’s a very ambitious plan,” said Patel.
One local taxi driver who consults as a transportation expert while on the job, says having bike lanes along Crowchild is too dangerous with the speed limit being 80 km/hour, and the City took that into account.
“That’s why we’re removing vehicle traffic from Crowchild altogether,” says Corbett.
Residents along Crowchild in both northwest and southwest communities in the city are unhappy with the move, and hope Council will reverse the decision.
“I’ve lived in Silver Springs for 20 years, and Crowchild’s been my only way in and out of downtown,” said Matt Miller. “How am I supposed to get to work, I ask?”
Corbett points out the main purpose for cycling lanes is for people to cycle on them, but adds Calgarians like Miller who don’t wish to cycle can take the train, as it parallels Crowchild. Residents of the southwest don’t have that option, however, but the city has an answer for them, too:
“If you’re cycling into the downtown core from the southwest, you’re going downhill most of the way, so it will be a very leisurely ride. On days when you’re sick or not feeling like cycling, you can coast most of the way.”
Representatives with Calgary’s cycling community have mixed reactions to the plan.
Larry Murphy of the Federation of Calgary Cyclists says the City has put zero thought into the ‘bicycling highway,’ and their efforts to try to turn Calgary into Portland will continue to backfire so long as they continue to ignore the qualified Calgarians who are telling Council what they want and what’s needed in the city.
“The only thing the City is going to accomplish here is do further harm to the cycling community’s image,” says Murphy. “We’re already hated here.”
Meanwhile, Trevor Harris of CycleCycleCalgary applauds Council’s decision.
“It’s nice to see that someone realizes we need bike lanes,” said Harris, while tucking a cigarillo behind his ear. “Oil is one of the Illuminati’s greatest economic weapons, and this is a major blow to them.”
Crowchild Tr. will close permanently this fall, as construction is slated to begin on Sept. 1, 2013.
This story is a satire piece intended for amusement purposes only