I know, people usually don’t need an invitation to tell me where to go and usually do so without hesitation.
In this case I am asking folks to direct me to where these apparent 12,000 daily bicycle trips in in Calgary’s downtown are happening. That 12,000 number has been used over and over and indeed it is referenced on the City of Calgary’s own site.
I simply have not been able to believe that number is even close to accurate so I have been going out and measuring bike traffic on city bike lanes during what should be peak times for bicycle traffic heading downtown. The maximum I have been able to find has been 52 bikes in a peak hour on the 10 ST NW lane. On some bike lanes I have been lucky to find even a handful of bicycles.
Now I know I have been rather stuck on this but it is important. Busy automotive lanes are being closed throughout Calgary in order to make lanes for bicycles that frankly just don’t seem to exist. Our city has limited infrastructure dollars as it is and we can’t be pissing money down the drain on infrastructure that is based on an ideological need rather than actual citizen need or use.
Now the folks in the fanatical bike lobby in Calgary have been getting rather grumpy with me. Some of the comments on my posts have tried to claim that I am picking less than ideal times to measure or that my snapshots are too limited. When I ask where I can go to find a count that would reflect this apparent 12,000 daily bike rides downtown I tend to get greeted with silence or insults.
One exchange was rather funny. I had done my second count on the 11 St SE bike lane which appears to be the least utilized in all of Calgary. On one day I counted 2 bikes and on another day I couldn’t even find a single bike during rush hour. When commenting on this on twitter, I got this response from one of the prime bike fanatic accounts in Calgary:
@corybmorgan Oh ya, you’re right, because 11 st se is THE hot bike route in the city.
— BikeBike Inc. (@BikeBikeYYC) March 22, 2013
It was nice to see a bike proponent acknowledge that the 11 St SE bike lane indeed was not a busy bike spot. When I responded and asked why we even have a bike lane there at all since it isn’t in use, he disappeared without response of course. This only re-enforces my case that the whole thing with most of our bike lanes in Calgary is not based on need or usage at all, it is all about an anti-car ideology. Two automotive lanes were removed on 11 St SE in order to put in these utterly useless bike lanes yet the bike lobbyists refuse to let it go. That sort of says it all.
Now back to my initial point. I am inviting bike enthusiasts or pretty much anybody else to direct me to the location and time where I can find evidence that 12,000 bicycle trips are indeed happening daily in downtown Calgary. Calgary’s downtown really only has so many ways in and out of it. It should not be hard at all to direct me to a spot where I can count at least a couple thousand bicycles during the morning rush. It would still only be a fraction of the daily use.
I have demonstrated repeatedly that I am willing and able to set up and accurately count bicycle users on bike lanes. Now, do what should come easily and tell me where to go.
I look forward to finally finding this elusive hoard of bicycle commuters into downtown Calgary and reporting it here. 🙂