Reality on the impacts of Macleod Trail lane closure for bike lanes

Macleod Trail

One of the most vapid cases to be made in justifying the closure of major road arteries is the old: “Auto commuters should support this as every car taken off the road makes more room for them!”

If indeed Calgary’s proposed cycle infrastructure was complimentary to the existing roadways that statement would be true. Since Calgary’s proposed cycle tracks are all coming at the direct expense of existing roadways the above contention of car removal is simply BS.

The section of Macleod Trail (among the busy roads targeted) that the city wants to close a lane on moves about 25,000 cars per day. When transit is taken into account (bus riders will have their commute times extended by this too) we are looking at roughly 1.3 occupants per vehicle out there for about 32,500. Now in removing 25% of the roadway, we will be displacing 8125 people. As that section of road is one-way, we need not cut the number in half as most will only travel that stretch once in a day. Let’s be generous and make the figure 8000 then.

For the proposed bike track on Macleod Trail to actually reduce traffic we would need to see at least 8000 people who drive only on Macleod Trail alone to give up their cars and ride their bikes to work.

Reality dictates that we would only see a few hundred people leave their cars in winter at best on Macleod Trail and lets be generous and say 1000 in summer. The remaining 31,000+ commuters will be jammed into a much smaller roadway which in turn will extend their daily commute times which will lead to more idling and emissions and leads to reduced productivity and quality home time for daily commuters.

This is not theory folks, this is simple math.

Until the cycle proponents can convince us that nearly 25% of commuters will give up their cars and ride bikes to work all year round the case that bike tracks at the expense of automotive lanes is nothing more than pap.


7 thoughts on “Reality on the impacts of Macleod Trail lane closure for bike lanes

  1. Bike track or not, those 4 lanes of traffic already merge into 3 at Talisman Centre. That’s the bottleneck. So Mac trail already “displaces 8125 people” regardless of the cycle track proposal. So I’m really not sure what your point is. We might as well get some more cars off the road with the extra Mac trail space that’s not helping move traffic.

    • I believe his point has been made numerous times previously: The theory that “we’ll get more cars off the road” is simply unsubstantiated by reality; It’s an ideological wet dream of a few who have made their own choices but now want to force the rest of us to pay both financially and with our time to enhance their personal choice.

      I’ve ridden bikes for years into the core – although I’m a fair weather (read summer) rider. And while many of the cyclists I encounter don’t deserve the venom that bike couriers instigate; The vehicle drivers don’t deserve the disdain that the cycling community is embracing: an divisive attitude perpetuated and propagated by our self-absorbed Prince.

      When I do ride downtown, I seek the most direct route, obeying the rules of the road, to the closest part of the river bike pathway and then enjoy the extra distance in safety and relative tranquilly along the river.

    • The outside lanes are turning lanes . Take one away and now the free flowing inner lanes will be slowed by cars turning that are waiting for pedestrians plus the bike signals. All around its just a really dumb idea.

  2. Many vehicles exit on 11th and 12 aves. Moving the bottleneck 15 blocks North will not aid in anything. It removes automotive space plain and simple.

  3. These bike lanes are not being implicated in order to make it easier for cyclists to get around. It’s all about gumming up traffic for nothing more than crackpot ideological purposes. They love seeing people lined up like obedient soviets waiting in a long line up. Being Green is the new Red. It’s that simple.
    After all, is there anyone who believes that Mayor Chubby has his City Hall cohorts are going to don the tights and peddle their way to work? No, of course not, but it would be good for a laugh.
    But when it’s all said and done, the people of Calgary deserve a good old fashioned thrashing for voting this clown car full of cranks into of office. I hope they get it good and hard.

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