Calgary could soon be more bike-friendly after city council voted Monday in favour of a downtown cycle track network.
Councillors voted 8-7 in favour of a cycle track network project shortly after 2 p.m. MT. The move comes after months of controversy and debate over the idea, with some councillors adamantly opposed and others strongly supporting the idea.
However, while councillors voted for the cycle track network, they also rejected the proposed section along First Street southeast.
Business owners in Chinatown had lobbied against that leg of the network, arguing it would add to traffic congestion and make parking more difficult.
Bike Calgary director Dale Calkins said he’s disappointed council scaled back the network.
"It's obviously the case that there are a lot of people who would be using that route and it is the case that it connects to a lot of current and future development,” he said.
“But definitely I think the routes so far are very good to see and as we move forward.... More people are riding, hopefully there's more demand for First Street southeast or a similar route in the future."
Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating said while he could not support any track on First Street, he felt it was important for the well-being of the city that council go forward with some form of cycle track.
Track installed on temporary basis
Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong said he voted against the entire network because people in his southeast communities don't support taking away traffic lanes.
“The concept of doing incremental cycle lanes and then up to cycle paths would have been more along my line of thinking," he said.
"To do a north-south and an east-west cycle lane and at some point, upgrade that to a cycle track, I think would have been a more prudent manner.”
The cycle track will be installed on a temporary basis in 2015 and evaluated after one year.
Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley suggested the 10th Avenue bike lane, which now exists in the afternoon peak commute hour, be removed in July and council approved.
Council also approved a motion to allow small-scale private contractors to bid on maintenance and snow clearing as a way to reduce costs.
Check out the map below showing the original proposed cycle track. On mobile? Click here.