Let’s put the proposed Macleod Tr. bike track to the test.

Nobody should fear a test unless they have reason to believe that they will fail it.

To say that taking a lane from Macleod Tr. Southbound (1 St. SE) in Calgary’s downtown in order to give the space to a tiny minority of bicycle commuters is a radical plan would be a gross understatement.

Calgary transportation planning appears to be actually trying to go ahead and take away 25% of the lane space from a piece of roadway that services 25,000 vehicles per day. This initiative appears to be based on some very weak speculation and projections of how much further Calgary’s traffic will be congested or how many new cyclists such a plan could draw. It doesn’t take a deep study to know that the claim by the transportation department that such a move would only increase people’s commute time by one minute to know that such a statement is nothing less than utter hogwash.

Calgary taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to build the roadways that will be covered by this rather aggressive cycle track network plan. It is not too much to ask to see some simple testing conducted to assure us that the impact upon downtown traffic will be reasonable and that these invisible thousands of potential cyclists will indeed pop out of the woodwork?

We should put the Macleod Tr. bike track to the test by temporarily setting the track up and getting true, hard figures on how well this may or may not work. Again, when we are talking about 10s of millions of dollars in infrastructure at risk here, the cost of such a test is negligible. No more cute artist’s depictions of how the new street would look. No more projected numbers on how many people would give up their cars in favor of a bicycle. Let’s lay down the barriers and see how it goes.

The required barriers are cheap and doubtless the city keeps them in stock for construction projects.

barrierThere are plastic barriers that are very cheap and easy to install as well.


For intersections, temporary lights have been used on construction projects for decades. We are in the days where a $50 cell phone can store and play an entire feature film. Programing temporary traffic signals is pretty easy.

stoplightWe will need a little painting done. We know that we have spare city staff as they used 10 of them to paint the simple little green box below and now are all fully qualified in road painting.

bikeWith one weekend of construction we could take the lane from Macleod Tr. South and give it to those masses of awaiting cyclists. Let’s say we do this in May so the proponents can’t use the weather excuse and let’s say we leave the barriers up for a full 30 days.

With such a simple and reasonable test we can find out definitively just how traffic will be impacted by this proposed bike track. We will also find out how many new cycle commuters will be drawn to the new track. Most importantly, we will give commuters and businesses downtown a good taste of what the cycle plan has in mind for them as they target all of Calgary’s busiest central roadways for more cycle tracks.

The cycle proponents should be thrilled with such a concept. They are confident that most Calgarians want to give up main roadways for cycle tracks. They are confident that thousands of auto commuters are just waiting to cycle to work every day but have not done so due to the lack of a track. This experiment should prove the cycle advocates correct right?

Imagine how easy it will be to sell future bike tracks once Calgarians see that traffic is not impacted and that the bike lane looks like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting with commuters on bicycles mingling with happy families all riding together with beatific smiles on their faces as they enjoy these vibrant, sustainable lanes!


Doing tests and pilot projects for major changes to roads is actually standard practice in many Calgary transportation initiatives despite their not doing this with the bike track plans.  When I was living in the Northwest a couple years ago, temporary barriers were installed along 4 st NW as a pilot project for traffic calming. The barriers were changed and moved a couple times after real impacts were measured and citizen input was taken into account (people in the neighborhood were not pleased).

On Macleod Tr. South, a pilot project was undertaken to change morning congestion around Avenida as things had been bottlenecking. As can be seen with this detailed report, the pilot project led to a significant saving in commuter time and was made permanent. Had the project not aided traffic flow, it simply would have been scrapped. This is simple good planning. There is no reason why such pilots and tests can’t be applied to cycle tracks.

Edmonton Trail and Memorial have both seen major pilot projects on traffic flow and doubtless every major road in the city has seen some testing at one time or another.

Let’s put this whole debate to rest and put the case for cycle tracks at the expense of major road arteries to rest once and for all!

I suspect that the cycle track proponents will adamantly oppose the concept of such a test for the reason stated in the very first sentence of this posting.

Back from Calgary’s “Choke the traffic flow event”.

 Well, it’s a beautiful Sunday and I have been working hard and heavy on the by-election campaign all week. Poor Stewie (pictured below) has been feeling terribly neglected as of late and today felt like a perfect day to head on down and check out Druh Farrell’s anti-car event on Memorial Drive. The pictures taken are not of the best quality as they are vid-caps. I plan to get around to making another Youtube video but as you can understand dear reader, I am pretty tight for time for a bit.


 Well I have to give it to them, I was actually quite impressed with the “festival” There was a variety of booths and activities and people generally seemed to be having a good time. It was a nice little gathering for people to get out and about on a weekend.

 Why did I put festival in quotes you ask? Well for new arrivals to my blog I will give a bit of background on this one. You see, Druh Farrell bypassed council discussion and arranged to close two lanes of Memorial Drive for every Sunday in August. Druh intended to expand those closures in the future to possibly encompass the entire summer. At that point, there were no plans for any sort of festival or events. The goal was simply closing lanes on a busy road next to the river. Those familiar with Calgary know that Memorial Drive is one of the few major east/west routes through the city and it is always busy.

 When the public rightly became inflamed with this pointless idiocy, Druh was forced to back down and reduce this to simply one day in summer with hopes of expansion to more days in the future. Despite this concession, the public was still rightly revolted by the pointlessness of this move. Next a “festival” was slapped together in the last few weeks to try and justify this. Anybody and everybody was invited to show up and try to promote green things or something.

 Either way, there was a decent turnout of exhibitors and people presenting activities such as facepainting.

 Now, lets get to the important part; the closing of two lanes on a major road.

 It is August and it is hot out there. I am back early as Stewie had consumed 2 litres of water in a couple hours and he simply could not take more of the heat.

 Clearly people felt the same way.


 You see, all of the activity booths/tents were all set up in the shaded parkway and bike-paths that are right next to the road. While two lanes of important roadway were closed, virtually nobody utilized them. Why walk on blazing hot pavement next to thousands of drivers caught in a traffic-jam when there is a park right next to you? Didn’t we ask this question many months ago?


 Druh herself had to make an appearance of course. A few from the media were about too. It will be interesting to see Druh’s spin in trying to justify ruining the day of thousands of drivers.



 Yes, I am saying thousands of drivers and I mean it. The traffic jam was horrendous. This too of course was all predicted months ago and was ignored by Druh and a handful of her cronies.

 We all know that the traffic only gets worse as the day progresses. My shots were taken at noon and traffic was at a standstill as far as the eye can see in either direction. Drivers were clearly infuriated as they sat parked on a road in the summer heat while watching two empty but blocked lanes right next to them.


 An irony in all this is that Druh Farrell is usually front and center in trying to get anti-idling laws passed and banning drive-throughs and such in a misguided effort to curb automotive emissions. Now what sort of carbon footprint did Druh cause by making thousands of vehicles idle for an extra hour with their air-conditioning running at full blast?

 I have read and listened to a few apologists who are trying to frame anybody who opposed this idiotic event as being “anti-festival neanderthals” and such. Many of these people seem to be revolted with our city and constantly try to claim that we have no culture and such.

 Listen folks, there are a few festivals every weekend all summer. Music, food and cultural events are happening constantly and nobody is opposing them. This idiotic road-closure is not in the class of such festivals and anybody with common sense may oppose this free from guilt.

 Across the river we could hear the music of some sort of live band event going on. We also saw acres and acres of empty (and taxpayer funded) green-space that could have hosted this event next to the river without closing any major roads.


 People, this whole event was simply the actions of anti-vehicle extremists who wanted to thumb their noses at those Alberta heathens who dare utilize the combustion engine. There was no reason for this aside from making a point of delusional principle at the expense of taxpayers, drivers and the residents of this now congested neighborhood.

 You know what? I hope Druh does this again next summer. The next municipal election will be only a couple of months after the “event” and I really would like residents to have a fresh image of what their very well paid elected representative is doing with her time and our money.