Vote on contentious Calgary cycle track set for Monday

CALGARY- City council is getting set to vote on a contentious issue that has divided Calgarians: the proposed downtown cycle track network.

The $9 million pilot project would help move cyclists east to west, including through Chinatown.

“What we are finding is there are an overwhelming amount of people in the downtown that are supporting it,” explained Kimberley Nelson, president of Bike Calgary. “So many people are writing letters of endorsement, unprovoked, unsolicited, all on their own. It’s absolutely overwhelming.”

While critics say the plan is expensive and will create traffic backups, the city assures business owners the track won’t mean fewer traffic lanes or parking stalls.

“There has been some discussion lately around what are the impacts on Chinatown in terms of the number of travel lanes and parking lanes,” says city transportation engineer Blanka Bacic. “The number of parking stalls on 1st Street S.E. between Riverfront Avenue and 4th Avenue will stay the same, at 39 stalls.”

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Overall, 260 parking spaces would be lost, but the parking authority says it can create 350 new ones simply by rethinking available space during non-peak hours.

The vote is scheduled for Monday. If approved, the track would be in place by summer.