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2017 Calgary mayoral candidates Q&A: Will you be expanding or eliminating bike lanes in the city?

FILE: Calgary bike lane. Jan. 2016. Loren Andreae / Global News

Global News asked our Calgary viewers and readers to tell us which issues matter most ahead of the municipal election on Oct. 16.

The issue of bike lanes in the city was among the top concerns.

We asked all 10 mayoral candidates to answer your questions below, keeping answers to six sentences per issue. Their answers are reprinted here, edited only to meet our Global News editorial standards.

FULL COVERAGE: 2017 Calgary municipal election

Question: 

Will you be expanding or eliminating bike lanes in the city – why/why not?

Answer from Jason (Jason GoGo) Achtymichuk:

“I would not be planning an expansion until we fully monitor the use and explore the true benefits of current infrastructure. Some bikers feel they are worse than the former situation. I would also consider making them seasonal.”

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Answer from Andre Chabot:

“I support cycling infrastructure where the demand and ridership numbers warrant and it doesn’t severely impact automobile movement and parking for businesses. Before considering expanding on our current network, I would request a detailed plan that includes budgetary numbers and impact to existing traffic modes and parking provisions.”

Answer from Brent Chisholm:

No response by publication time.

Answer from Emile Gabriel:

“I am a civil engineer and also have a PhD in management from the University of Calgary. I am also a management consultant with more than 20 years of experience. A number of councillors have described the way the city is planned as ‘hodgepodge.’ I’ll stop that and plan our city according to the knowledge and experience I have to make it the city of the future; inviting, pleasant, less traffic congestion and more accessible and efficient transportation.”

Answer from Larry Heather:

“I will be greatly curtailing the current bike track/lanes in the city. Alternative safer routes not impeding the flow of more productive cars and trucks must be found. For example, moving from 1) Northmount Dr. N.W. to quiet Capri Avenue just north, 2) 5 Street S.W. to quiet 6 Street S.W., 3) 12 Avenue to the existing track in 13 Avenue S.W. & S.E. All such adaptions must be
geared to actual use and utility of such tracks in a city which experiences eight of every 12 of its months in inclement weather. See my site www.StopCycleTracks.ca.”

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Answer from David Lapp:

“Bike tracks have been an incredibly contentious and expensive exercise in insanity in our city. Calgary is, generally speaking, a driving city and a winter city. I’m not in support of any further expansion of the bike track system at this time. This has been a big example of virtue-signalling from the outgoing mayor. Let’s not copy Portland or Seattle. Can we just get back to being Calgary already?”

Answer from Naheed Nenshi:

“I am not in favour of eliminating the cycle track network, nor am I am in favour of expanding it in the downtown core at this time. The cycle track network was, at my urging, the most studied transportation project ever — I’m less in favour of cycle tracks than I am in favour of good evidence. The network has vastly increased the number of cyclists, has reduced collisions, and has had marginal impact on auto commuters, so I voted in favour of making it permanent.

But I do want to ensure that communities have better connections to our existing multi-use pathway system so that everyone who wants to use our cycling infrastructure is able to do so safely. Making biking and taking transit more attractive to everyone is important so that Calgarians have more transportation choices. As a driver, I like the idea of less traffic on the roads and the best way to achieve that is to give people good transportation to get to work and school.”

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Answer from Curtis Olson:

Directed readers to his website for “updates as they pertain to bike lanes in the upcoming week.”

Answer from Bill Smith:

“Bike lanes are one of those issues that is important to some and not important to others. But it doesn’t need to divide us. Let’s listen to both sides and find ideas for keeping Calgary bike-friendly at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.”

Answer from Stan (the Man) Waciak:

“Bike lanes are a good thing but not the way this city has done it. I’d eliminate 12 Avenue and 5 Street bike lanes as well as Edmonton Trail. Only a fool would put a two-way bike lane on a one-way.”