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7th Street SW Cycle Track: Calgary’s First Centre City Cycle Track


The City of Calgary opened its first physically separated cycle track in the Centre
City in July 2013 along 7th Street SW between 1st Avenue and 8th Avenue. This cycle track
connects many businesses, residences and office towers in west downtown to the popular Bow
River Pathway, Peace Bridge and the LRT station along 7th Avenue SW.
With the approval of the Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP) in 2009, a shift from the “status
quo” approach to city building was witnessed as there was an increasing focus on providing
transportation choices, especially those that promote sustainability, health and the environment.
One way The City of Calgary is achieving the goals of this plan is through the Cycling Strategy,
which was approved by Council on July 2011. The 7th Street SW cycle track project
accomplished a major milestone towards building the proposed ‘Centre City Cycle Track
Network’ as identified in the ‘Cycling Strategy’.
The City reviewed different design options with a number of internal and external stakeholders
before proceeding with the two-way cycle track on 7th Street SW. As this was the first cycle
track in the Centre City, the project team faced an enormous challenge right from the inception
of this project which continues to date. However, with proper planning and design, timely
consultation with stakeholders, advocacy groups & community associations the project team was
able to demonstrate the value of this sustainable initiative. The considerable constraints including
tight timelines, fierce opposition by business owners for potential loss of parking, access/safety
issues, operational/winter maintenance concerns etc. were overcome by providing design
options, public engagement, timely project delivery, innovative educational and promotional
tools and support from the City Council. The post opening increase in the number of cyclists
speaks to the evident popularity of this infrastructure.
A number of innovations were witnessed in this project to address time constraints, operational
issues, parking issues, safety of vulnerable road users, accessibility and beautification of the
corridor. This project demonstrated the importance of timely engagement of the stakeholders.
Buy-in from users was evident as the number of bicyclists almost quadrupled within a few
months after opening. This project provided a test bed to demonstrate the opportunities of the
cycle track and challenges associated with the winter maintenance that can be applied to other
jurisdictions in Canada. It is an inspiration to the future cycle track network as it provided a
successful example of how cycle tracks can be implemented in constrained downtown
environment. In addition to the dialogue with the stakeholders, a pro-active approach to the
media was one of the key factors behind the success of this cycle track.
This submission provides further details of the 7th Street SW Cycle Track Project, for the
nomination in the Sustainable Urban Transportation Award category.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
2015 Sustainable Urban Transportation Award
Mishra, S.
Churchill, T.
Active transportation, Mobility management