Bicycle Lanes: Presentation

A presentation of the functional application of bicycle lanes throughout Europe was given to the Transportation Department of the City of Calgary on August 12, 2008. The talk was conducted by Justin Pruss, Andrew Sedor and Guillermo Guglietti, and explored the different alternatives for the integration of bicycles in urban centres.

Recently pointed by CBC as one of the most sustainable cities in the world, Copenhagen bases over 40% of its urban transportation in its bicycle network. Separated grade lanes, traffic lights, subsidized bike rentals and a strong educational campaign have turned this capital into a bicycle heaven. Likewise, Paris has successfully implemented the Velib, a bicycle rental scheme that has openly allowed Parisians to access over 26,000 bicycles around the city.

Personal experience using the mentioned systems was constrasted with Calgary’s biking network which, although having an excelent recreational infrastructure, it has significant room for improvement in its functional application. European alternatives and their possible application to Calgary’s reality were further discussed with the Transportation Department.

The meeting, which extended well over the original twenty minutes, was very possitive and we hope we were able to facilitate experience and valuable information to the Transportation Department.

Cycling in Europe (PDF)

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2 comments

  1. Matt · September 4, 2008

    There are a few reasons I don’t liking cycling in Calgary:

    1) Many dangerous and frequent intersections, lots of interruptions and worrying
    2) Calgarian drivers (and often cyclists) do not know the rules of the road, and lack mutual respect
    2a) Calgarian drivers do not know how big their vehicles are, and lack awareness of their environment
    3) Possibility of theft: I think if employers/retail stores/universities offered covered and/or monitored bike storage (similar to a bike parkade or garage, or just bike lockers) many more people would bike to school, to go shopping and to work

  2. Renee · September 13, 2008

    Unfortunately, I don’t know if commuting by bike could become a reality in Calgary except for in the core. The expressways that cut across the city are just designed in such a way that are dangerous for cyclists – I could not imagine cycling down any road like Crowchild Trail or Glenmore. Not only do these roads not have at least a solitary bike lane, the speed limit is just so high that any collision between a vehicle and a cyclist would be deadly.

    If the city is really serious about making changes towards a bike-friendly city, they would have to do a pretty large awareness and promotion campaign about the advantages of commuting by bike. Unfortunately, Calgary really is a car based city. The idea of biking from the NW to the SW sector of the city is probably not one that is appealing to most. I think if the city were to supplement changes to accommodate cyclist with improvements with transit service, then you might see an increase in the number of people who commute by bike. Perhaps with the whole idea of charging people to park at the park n’ rides might be an incentive for people to start cycling to LRT stations and such.

    As for theft, I don’t know how big the problem is in Calgary, as to be completely honest I partook in the car culture when I was living there. But I never had a problem once in Toronto with theft. It’s important that cyclists be just as aware as to where they are putting their bike. Don’t leave it somewhere overnight, and don’t lock it somewhere that isn’t high in pedestrian traffic. But that is of course, no guarantee. I think a better alternative to battle theft however is to introduce a public bike rental system, like those that Copenhagen and Paris have. If bikes were to become that much more accessible by the public, then the incentives for people to steal bikes would hopefully go down as the market for people purchasing bikes would also go down. But, who knows. I still think that that is an important alternative to look at by the city, regardless of whether or not if would decrease theft.

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