1st Street cycle track decision delayed by council

City council has put off a decision on whether First Street southeast should be altered to accommodate Calgary's next cycle track.

Councillors will look at the idea in wider context of entire downtown cycle track plan next month

Dedicated two-way bicycle lanes, called a cycle track, opened last summer in Calgary on Seventh Street S.W. between the Bow River pathway and Eighth Avenue. (CBC)

City council has put off a decision on whether First Street southeast should be altered to accommodate Calgary's next cycle track.

There's a proposal to build a two-way, physically-separated bike lane on the busy route in and out of the core.

Council will revisit the idea next month instead, when it looks at the entire cycle track proposal for the downtown core.

Some councillors oppose the First Street leg of the plan, fearing the loss of a lane for vehicle traffic in favour of the cycle track would add to congestion.

Others have argued that by adding safe cycling infrastructure, the city would be encouraging more people to ride bikes, which would ease traffic flow.

Blanka Bracic, a transportation engineer with the city, said the First Street proposal makes sense.

“First Street southeast is still our preferred option based on lots of analysis work we've done and consideration of comparable parallel routes,” she said.

Angry tweet from Ward 4 councillor 

Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu, who has referred to the First Street cycle track plan as madness, took to Twitter on Tuesday to disagree with Bracic, and dispute her numbers.

“This is nothing but BULL SHIT. 7St increased to 1160 cyclists per day? What was she on? The emperor continuously getting new clothes.Winter?” he tweeted. 

Chu has argued that the city needs better data on how many cyclists are commuting downtown, especially during the winter. 

Dale Calkins, a cycling advocate with Bike Calgary, said he’s not worried that a decision on First Street has been postponed.

"The way I view this is, we now have the opportunity to discuss the cycle track network as a whole. We get to see how they all fit together and what the benefits will be on a whole basis," he said.          

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