Calgary residents slam 'underhanded' Northmount Drive bikeway project

Some residents in the northwest are upset at the city’s "underhanded" plans to introduce a new bikeway on Northmount Drive, saying residents weren't consulted and the current proposal already seems like a done deal.

Residents pack city's open house in Triwood to express concerns

The city says it's trying to accommodate bicycle users on the busy route between Northland Drive and Cambrian Drive-10th Street N.W. (James Young/CBC)

Some residents of the northwest are upset at the city's "underhanded" plans to introduce a new bikeway on Northmount Drive, saying they weren't consulted and the current proposal already seems like a done deal.

'This whole project is a little underhanded,' says Triwood Community Association head Toni Pilkey. (James Young/CBC)

The city wants to close a gap in the bicycle network between Northland Drive and Cambrian Drive-10th Street northwest, but many residents are concerned about how the bikeway will affect on-street parking and congestion in the area.

"This whole project is a little underhanded," says Toni Pilkey, president of the Triwood Community Association, at a packed open house Tuesday evening.

While Pilkey agrees cyclists need a safe way to get downtown, she says residents weren't asked for input before the city drew up its plans.

"There's so many issues that people have in regards to parking and school zones and off-street parking … but the majority of the people that live on Northmount Drive have not been consulted."

Pilkey questions the city's traffic research and the proposed design.

"We do have a bike path coming through Canmore Park, which goes across 19th Street right into a bike lane underneath 14th Street and takes you right downtown," Pilkey said.

"I don't know why they don't explore that option," she added.

Around 100 residents attended the open house at Triwood Community Association Tuesday evening. (James Young/CBC)

Another resident also felt that that more consultation was needed prior to the information session.

"There's all kinds of options that might have been better for the neighbourhood — expanding the sidewalks, making them multi-use pathways — things that might have made it safer for pedestrians as well as cyclists," said Mitchell Craib.

"I think there's lots of great information that's been provided, but it does seem like the plan has already been made and we're just being shown what's going to happen," Craib added.

The city acknowledges the bikeway will affect drop-off and pick-up at area schools and change on-street parking.

But the city's transportation projects coordinator says this particular corridor needs improvement to make cycling safer.

"It's a collector street, it carries a fair bit of traffic," Tom Thivener said.

"To bike on it now, you either need to bike in the parking lane or bike in the travel lane. And if there's a car present that's parked, then you're forced to share the lane with motorists," he said.

Thivener says the issue facing Northmount Drive is similar to 20th Street S.W. extending from Bankview all the way to North Glenmore Park. Construction on the bikeway for that corridor starts this summer.

The city will take feedback online until Feb. 24.

(City of Calgary)

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