Calgary brings back more widened pathways starting Saturday

After a successful pilot program last year, the city has decided to repeat the widening of certain pedestrian pathways to allow for more room to physically distance.

City initially adopted use of 'adaptive roads' last year to allow for physical distancing

A couple strolls down a portion of Calgary's Memorial Drive last March, a popular spot for walkers and joggers along the Bow River, which was closed to traffic to give people space to physically distance themselves. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Calgary is expanding its Adaptive Roadways Program to include more roads starting Saturday in order to provide more space for residents to physically distance as the weather warms.

The program was first introduced last year as more people spent time outdoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. City pathways were widened by closing certain roads and parking lanes to motor vehicles.

On March. 6, the city is closing two eastbound lanes on Memorial Drive between Ninth Street N.W. 

The city will also close the entire lower deck of the Centre Street bridge between Riverfront Avenue S.E. and Memorial Drive N.W.

"What we're trying to do is really target areas that are super congested. And certainly we saw in Eau Claire the pathway system was packed last weekend," said Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell on the Calgary Eyeopener.

"We knew the weather was going to be beautiful on this weekend. And so we're sort of monitoring it. And because we're in a state of emergency, the administration is being incredibly responsive."

Other roadways already widened include:

  • Riverfront Avenue S.E. — The westbound parking lane is closed between Fourth Street and First Street S.E. 
  • Crescent Road N.W. — The parking lane is closed going east between 7A Street N.W. and First Street S.E.
  • 12th Street S.E. — The parking lane going south is closed between Eighth Avenue and 21st Avenue S.E.

Farrell said city council has "learned to be more nimble in a whole number of different ways" and said pop-up patios will also be making a return.

"What I've been hearing is people are pretty blue right now … they're tired. And so anything that we can do to get them out to enjoy the fresh air, we'll try and do," she said.

The roadways remain widened seven days a week. More locations will be added over the course of the spring and summer.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


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