Calgary

Plan to extend 17th Avenue east of Stoney Trail has councillor worried about bike lane costs

Calgary is preparing for an ambitious expansion of 17th Avenue S.E. east of Stoney Trail because of an anticipated population boom. But the costs of some elements of the proposal are worrying at least one city councillor.

$53M plan considered as city looks to secure right of way for roadway east of Stoney Trail

An artist rendering of a proposed 17th Avenue S.E. expansion between 100th Street and 116th Street. (City of Calgary)

Calgary is preparing for an ambitious expansion of 17th Avenue S.E. east of Stoney Trail because of an anticipated population boom, but the costs of some elements of the proposal have at least one city councillor worried.

The plan includes doubling the number of lanes, adding transit-only lanes, and room for cyclists as new communities get built in the area.

A city council committee looked at the proposal on Wednesday, as the city needs to preserve the right of way well in advance of the expansion.

In addition to going from the current two lanes to four, the plan calls for dedicated lanes for transit in the middle of 17th Avenue. There will also be bike lanes on either side.

It's expected 60,000 people will call the area home in coming years.

Coun. Andre Chabot says it's better to give residents transportation choices instead of simply widening the road.

"So if it takes longer for you to drive downtown in your car than it does for you to take transit, then you'll probably take transit," Chabot said.

"And if it's just as efficient to use your bicycle, well you know what? It's an active way to stay healthy."


Coun. Sean Chu isn't keen on the plan for cycle tracks.

"It's the cost. You know, when you're putting four metres extra on the roadway for cyclists, for cycle tracks, there's a cost to it," Chu said.

Chabot says the city has a chance to build a complete street, so it should take that opportunity now rather that retrofit infrastructure later.

While several proposals were on the table, the one the city is leaning towards will cost roughly $53 million and it's not included in the city's 10-year mobility plan.

With files from Scott Dippel

now