1st Street cycle track to be debated by city committee

A city hall committee will look at part of the new downtown cycle network Wednesday morning.

Chinatown community members raise concerns about city's current plan

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. A city committee will be debating the next leg of the downtown cycle network Wednesday. (CBC)

A city committee will look at part of the new downtown cycle network Wednesday morning.

Transit debate

The future of transit fare will also be up for debate Wednesday at City Hall. 

Although council will not decide on fare increases until the fall, one of the options on the books will be looking at applying discounts to students and seniors according to their income.

A report says the two-way cycle track on First Street southeast is the first step in increasing mobility through the downtown core.

However, Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he has a lot of questions about that particular route. He says even a little construction can back up the area significantly.

"That particular link is probably the most contentious for me. The rest of them — Stephen Avenue, the Beltline — I can see just trying. But First Street I really want to be convinced we should even try that one," he said.

He says they should perhaps try a temporary setup to see how much use the bike-only lanes would really get.

"Build in temporary barriers and see how many people use it and see what the impact on motorists is and then make a decision to adjust it based on that," said Nenshi.

Chinatown concerns

Members of Calgary's Chinese community are also raising concerns about the cycle track plans, which would run along the eastern border of Chinatown.

The recently formed Chinatown Cycle Tracks Concerned Citizens (CCTCC) group says the plan would reduce a lane of traffic and possibly narrow a portion of a sidewalk in the area.

The group says First Street is the main artery of Chinatown for east, south and westbound traffic.

"Reducing one vehicular lane and narrowing the sidewalk could negatively affect Chinatown’s traffic, business activities, pedestrian safety and even future development," said the group in a statement.

The group plans to attend the city's meeting Wednesday to voice their concerns. If the committee approves the proposal it still needs to go before city council for a vote.

Check out the proposed First Street cycle track below. On mobile? Click here.