We can’t test separated cycle tracks while using “discovery math”


The best that can be gathered from the latest figures and proposals from Calgary Transportation in their almost bizarrely obsessive pursuit of a downtown cycle network is that they have utterly no clue about the numbers and figures for anything and are willing to claim just about anything. The numbers change weekly and we really can no longer trust their source.

The ridiculous and utterly unfounded 12,000 cycle trip per day bullshit was being trotted out by our bureaucrats in city hall almost at the same time they are claiming that a separated cycle track network would triple current trips downtown from 1,500 to 4,500! Pardon me? Which is it this hour? 12,000 and 1,500 are rather far apart.

The bias from Calgary Transportation in this issue is getting pretty blatant and completely out of hand. These people are supposed to at least make a token effort to get objective figures and plan based on them. Just as mockery ensued when a prominent cycle advocate (and city employee) tried to claim that over 1,000 people per day use the 7 St. cycle track, people now can only roll their eyes when they see the latest round of wild projections and prognostications from Calgary’s clearly inept transportation department.

The department is trying to both suck and blow as they highball costs for testing while lowballing figures for ongoing maintenance required to keep the lanes. While it cost over $300,000 just to remove snow from the 7th St. track alone, the city is claiming that it would only be around $500,000 per year to maintain the entire proposed network? Sorry Blanca but I smell bullshit again.

The ludicrous cycle track proposal is going to cost well over $10,000,000. That much pretty much everybody can agree on.

We need real figures, real testing and we need to face the simple reality that the city of Calgary transportation department is way too biased and inept to do this job properly.

Independent counts for traffic need to be conducted over the course of an entire year and encompassing more than just peak utilization times. Traffic impact studies need to be done that determine more than just BS ways to claim that the impact of lane removals on existing commuter times will be minimal.

The only real traffic benefits that have been seen with cycle infrastructure so far has been almost solely due to optimization of traffic signals. It has to be asked then: why the hell aren’t the traffic signals already set up to optimize traffic flow??? Fix the signals first (without the bike tracks), then get traffic flow reports, then one can consider adding a cycle track and seeing just how badly it bungs up the works.

Real counts need to be done and then real goals need to be set. What would be considered a success with the cycle tracks? A doubling of cyclists? Tripling? It would take an increase of about 5000 per day to merit the closure of a lane on Macleod Tr. as proposed. The impact on existing commuters needs to be measured and taken into account too. If we gain 400 cyclists but disrupt 5000 cars, was this worth it?

As I have posted here too, a comprehensive study found that separated bike lanes harmed businesses badly in Vancouver causing an 11% drop in sales in some cases. Losses of hundreds of parking spaces will impact businesses too. We can’t move on this based on pie-in-the-sky references to “green” bike blogs that make a poor case that cycle tracks increase business. We need real study on these things.

We need to put some of this to the test. Clearly the city of Calgary transportation department is nowhere even close to taking this sort of project on yet.

Calgary City Council needs to send the hyper-aggressive cycle-track proposal back to the drawing board.

Calgary Transportation needs some lessons in reality and in math before they can come back and try to drop such a major plan on city council again. The concept is simply way too big to start when the bureaucrats clearly have utterly no clue of the need, impacts or costs associated with the network.

4 thoughts on “We can’t test separated cycle tracks while using “discovery math”

  1. the only thing the people of Calgary need to know when it comes to bike paths is, Calgary is not tampa. park the bikes and drive. the weather is not suitable for permanent bike lanes. cars are the preferred mode of transportation in Calgary most of the years. fools who want to obstruct traffic should stay home and let the rest of the city get on with their busy lives.

  2. United Mutations Agenda 21, purchasing bureaucrats since 1993.
    Be aware of the world in which your elected officials live.

  3. The tax paying citizens of Calgary should wake up to the fact that we have a very small but well organized LOUD group of “cyclists” who want us to roll over and pay for their dreams.

    Not wishing to simply rant and rave with my cane in the air, I purposely sat on 7th Street SW for 20 minutes this morning April 21, 2014 counting cyclists. The grand total between 10:00 AM and 10:20 AM = 4 as in FOUR! 2 were female and 2 male although I suppose I shouldn’t differentiate. All looked to be in their 20’s: 1 was wearing a helmet, 2 looked like couriers and 1 of them went through a red light (because, you know, traffic signals are too inconvenient for cyclists) 1 of them turned off 7th Street and went down 4th Avenue on the sidewalk and there were many other little subsets of cyclist behavior that irks motorists. So a simple math equation would multiply that by 3 to equal 12 cyclists per hour. If I was 50% wrong either way that would be about 6 cyclists per hour or 18 cyclists per hour…take your pick! That my friends, is what cycle tracks are all about on a +10 C beautiful morning – under used and over funded!

    I then counted and took pictures of cycles parked at the MANY bike stands on 7th Street SW, 8th Ave, 8th Street SW and counted 5 out of about 60 bike stands with bikes parked at them – majority of of the bike stands were EMPTY!

    Don’t get me wrong – I love to cycle and do appreciate the need for safety and marked lanes. Let’s get used to sharing the lanes and get our commuting cyclists properly licensed, insured, lights, mirrors and wearing helmets and safety gear (oh – did I just touch on a raw nerve here?)

    For the 2 or 3 months of the year when it MIGHT be feasible to cycle in Calgary, it is NOT a reasonable argument to spend tens or twenties of millions of $$$ on this cycle track and then cost +++ millions to maintain it. Can we not just share some existing car lanes marked with some road paint and get used to it? Spend some $$$ over a much longer term for recreation paths instead of blowing our budgets on this destructive proposal of a cycle track on Macleod Trail, 12th Avenue, 5th Street, etc. Let’s make sure we don’t forget the massive elimination of parking spots and very restrictive access to small and large businesses. Also, don’t forget that clogging of our essential traffic arteries that carry people, goods and provide urgent services to the heartbeat of Canada.

    Nenshi, Farell, Wooley, Carra and Pincott appear to have a vision for Calgary that ignores the historical reasons, hard work of our forefathers and practicality about why we got here in the first place. I read where Carra is predicting a $3.2 Billion Infrastructure deficit over the next couple of decades. Well, pissing away $11 to $20 million on a cycle track isn’t going to help that matter. This isn’t Vancouver, BC or Portland, Oregon with their mild weather and it sure in the hell isn’t New York City with their 100 year old below ground subway system that carries millions of people. Carra conveniently doesn’t explain or doesn’t know that water and sewer infrastructure is funded by the user (your utility bill, new construction whether it is brown field or green field and Senior Government grants) Taxpayers should not be funding this through property taxes. Road construction and maintenance needs could be funded through fuel taxes and Senior Government grants. Fire and Police station construction should be funded through brown and green field levies.

    Carra and his buddies Nenshi, Farell, Wooley and Pincott are the most DIS-INGENIOUS politicians we have elected in a long time. The only thing they know is how to spend $$$ on pie in the sky social experiments and cater to City Union and Management demands for raises….

    Am I unreasonable here?

    I don’t think so…

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