Southeast Calgary bike lane rider sparks community anger

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“We have said many times that this will not be permanent. So I’m a bit confused by the petition,” the councilor said. Kourtney Penner

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A three-week pilot project for a bike lane on SE 18th Street is irritating some southeast Calgary residents.

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Just under 1,300 people had signed an online petition opposing the adaptive bike lane pilot project by Thursday afternoon. The City Pilot sees 18th Street SE reduced to a single lane of vehicular traffic in both directions between Quarry Park Boulevard and Rivervalley Drive SE between August 19 and September 12.

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According to the city, the temporary bike lane is intended to reduce high traffic volumes and speeds on the community road by providing cyclists with a separate lane and reducing the width of the road for drivers. He intends to divert cyclists from the popular Carburn Park trail while encouraging drivers to use 24th Street SE

The vandals targeted the pilot as soon as it launched, first removing the pylons marking the closed lanes, but then escalated to knock down two large electronic signs on the roadway; no additional acts of vandalism have been reported in recent days.

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Quarry Park resident Aymie Rondeau said she does not condone vandalism. But she argued that these acts did not invalidate the legitimate concerns of the community.

“People were wondering why that was the proposed solution, to go straight to the reduction of traffic lanes,” said Rondeau, who started the petition.

“Why don’t we make it easier for people to move around the community? . . . I think people understand that this is a pilot and it’s temporary, but we wanted to make it clear that this is something we don’t think is viable as a permanent solution.

  1. The test bike paths along SE 18th Street in Quarry Park were photographed on Tuesday, August 30, 2022.

    Vandals target Calgary bike lane pilot project on SE 18th Street

  2. Cyclists ride along the Bow River Trail in Calgary.

    Pandemic may have contributed to rise in cycling injuries, bike shops say

The petition lobbies against making the cycle path permanent. It’s something from the Con zone. Kourtney Penner said she is not part of the current discussion.

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“We have said many times that it will not be permanent. So I’m a bit confused by the petition,” Penner said.

On its website, the city says it is considering permanent traffic calming measures on SE 18th Street in the 2023-2026 budget cycle.

The opposition is the latest in a long line of community rejections of bike lanes in Calgary.

Rondeau said she believes the community is bike-friendly, however, with other options for biking, including the nearby city trail system.

“People are not against cycle paths. We are against creating more traffic problems and creating more backlogs. I think there are other solutions to address some of these traffic and safety issues that don’t revolve around reducing the number of traffic lanes,” she said.

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Rondeau suggested alternative options, including better access to 24th Street SE or adding more traffic lights on 18th Street SE, could help alleviate traffic issues through Riverbend and Quarry Park.

On its website, the Riverbend Community Association said it had advocated for road safety measures along SE 18th Street, but was not involved in the bike lane pilot project.

That community association, the DouglasQuarry Community Association and the Quarry Park Land Owners’ Association did not immediately respond to Postmedia’s requests for comment.

The pilot costs $5,000, the city said, adding that average daily traffic on the corridor ranges between 20,000 and 23,000 vehicles per day.

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Twitter: @jasonfherring

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