In remaining consistent with their anti-car mandate and in ignoring the real utilization rates of roads by Calgary commuters, our wizards at city hall have hit new heights in idealistic idiocy in making all roads with bike lanes priority 1 zones for snow plowing.
We do not have the resources to keep a plow on every corner and it does not snow every day. It makes perfect sense that we prioritize which streets we plow first in order to get our main traffic arteries clear and safely moving during our frequent winter storms. Calgary has some simply formulas on estimated vehicular road use that serve well in making a snowplowing plans. All those formulas are now out the window as bike lanes now take top priority for snowplowing despite their utter lack of need or use in winter in Calgary.
At best, how many people are commuting to work on bikes in Calgary in February? Perhaps 1000 people are willing to bundle up daily and make a miserable ride to work through snow in temperatures reaching well into the -20s. Of that bunch, how many or actually using bike lane routes anyway? Aside from those hearty masochists, we have hundreds of thousands of people who commute in vehicles in Calgary. What we have here is an element of people who make up not even a fraction of 1% of commuters who’s needs have been moved to the very top of traffic-flow priority list.
While plows are wasting hours plowing minor roadways such as Cambrian Drive NW or back industrial roads like 11 st SE (pictured here & never seen a bike using it) we can expect tens of thousands of cars to be mired that much longer on real priority streets such as Macleod Trail or Crowchild. We only have so many plows and when we divert them to relatively lightly traveled routes for these bike lanes, the traffic flow on the real arteries in the city must suffer.
Maybe this is all part of a deeper strategy. As I recently posted here, the city has even idiotically contemplated removing a lane of Macleod Trail in order to make bike lanes. Maybe a selling point for this traffic throttling plan will be to point out that Macleod will be plowed more quickly if it has bike lanes.
This almost fanatical push to socially engineer Calgary into a city of bike commuters is getting outright ridiculous. The majority of our commuters are coming from distant suburbs and they will not decide to jump on a bike and pedal two hours a day in winter in a business suit to get to work and back. Never have a seen a tail wagging the dog example better than the success of the Calgary bike cult in influencing city planning decisions. Despite a microscopic amount of real demand, a hugely disproportional amount of attention and resources are being dedicated to choking vehicular traffic and planning for a surge of bike riders that will never materialize.
As you sit mired in unplowed snow in a traffic jam caused by an unsanded intersection this winter, you will have plenty of time on your hands. I strongly suggest that you spend some of that time thinking of who your city councilor is and whether or not they are one of those who are constantly front and center in pushing this bike garbage. Take part in the next civic election and toss these clowns out on their idealistic butts already.