Work begins on new East Village cycle track

Construction is underway on a new piece of cycling infrastructure for Calgary’s East Village.

The new section will bridge Ninth Avenue and the Bow River Pathway

Construction work starts this week on a new cycle track that will connect cyclists to the Bow River Pathway system from Ninth Avenue S.E. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Construction is underway on a new piece of cycling infrastructure for Calgary's East Village.

The new cycle track will run right through the heart of the East Village, connecting Ninth Avenue with the Bow River Pathway.

The two uni-directional tracks will take cyclists along Fourth Street S.E., Seventh Avenue S.E. and Riverfront Lane S.E.

"It's important because of its proximity to the Bow River and neighbourhoods where a lot of people use cycling as a transportation option like Inglewood and Ramsay," said Garry Lohuis with the group Bike Calgary.

Garry Lohuis with Bike Calgary says the new track provides an important connection from the Bow River Pathway to the Elbow River Pathway system as well as neighbouring communities like Ramsay and Inglewood. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Lohuis says the new track will also help connect the Elbow River Pathway system, Victoria Park and, in the future, a new arena.

The project is being built by the City of Calgary and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

The track will reduce Fourth Street S.E. to one lane from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, and take Ninth Avenue S.E. down to two lanes between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

In one short section, pedestrians will share the sidewalk with cyclists.

A City of Calgary map shows the new cycle track route. (City of Calgary)

"In the ideal world we'd like to see bike infrastructure separated from pedestrians. A great example is in Eau Claire, where the path is separate, and now with e-scooters there are more conflicts but there are situations where a shared pathway works," said Lohuis.

Local businesses in East Village like the idea of a new cycle track. They hope it will bring more customers their way and add more vibrancy to the neighbourhood. 

"It's great to give people that option of not driving," said John Jackson with Chix Eggshop and Charbar. 

Local business owners, like John Jackson, like the idea of a new cycle track running through the heart of the East Village. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"It allows us to have that safe passage through, I think it's great," Jackson said. "It promotes more traffic."

Jackson is having new bike racks installed outside one of his restaurants this week. He rides to work every day.

Work on the new cycle track is expected to be completed by the end of October.