News / Calgary

Calgary's new cycle track on pace for success after first day, by one of five main metrics

If the volumes of cyclists seen on the first day of Calgary’s new cycle track keep up over the next year, the 12 Avenue route will be deemed a success – at least according to one of the main metrics the city will use to evaluate the pilot project come 2016.

A total of 893 bicycle trips were counted along the 12 Avenue cycle track over a 16-hour period during its first day of operation on Tuesday, according to city data.

That exceeds the highest target the city has set for that particular leg of the network. Different targets are set for different segments of the 2.3-kilometre stretch of separated bike lane, but the most ambitious goal for 12 Avenue comes near the busy intersection with 2 Street SW.

There, the city hopes to more than quadruple the number riders in that stretch to at least 800 daily cycle trips, once the full network opens later this month.

An average of 190 daily cycle trips (measured over 16 hours on weekdays) was observed on that stretch of roadway – when it had no protected cycle lane – between September and November last year.

The fourfold increase on 12 Avenue is the most ambitious target; the city has set slightly lower goals for the other segments of the new network.

The aim is to double the number of riders on 5 Street SW, 8 Avenue South, and 9 Avenue South. On the Stephen Avenue portion, meanwhile, the target is to triple ridership from last fall’s levels.

But bicycle volumes are only one of five “primary” performance measures city council will be asked to consider when it weighs the pilot project in December 2016.

Results of a citizen satisfaction survey will also be considered, as will the rate of collisions along each segment of the network. The goal is to see at least a 10-per-cent reduction in crashes involving cyclists, motorists, and/or pedestrians.

Travel times for motorists will also be factored in. Using GPS measurements and “stopwatch trials,” the target is for car commuters’ trips to increase by no more than 20 per cent, as measured during rush hour.

The fifth primary measurement is unlawful cycling, with a goal of fewer than two per cent of cyclists on a given stretch riding either on the sidewalk (excluding children 14 and under who are allowed to do so) or the wrong way down the road. This will be measured by both video camera and human observation.

Coun. Sean Chu, one of strongest opponents on council in the lead up to the 8-7 vote that led to the creation of the cycle-track network as a pilot project, said he plans to pay close attention to the data as it comes in.

“Let's give it a year and see what happens,” he said. “I really want to see the numbers, especially the winter numbers.”

The city will also look at three “secondary performance measures” when evaluating the cycle-track network.

One such measure is “economic vitality” which will examine customer traffic and money spent and nearby businesses, based on surveys of both merchants and patrons.

Another measure is the gender of riders. The goal is to have female cyclists account for at least 25 per cent of people using the network, based on live observation and video recordings.

Similarly, the goal is to increase the number of cyclists under the age 14 and over the age of 65 riding in the centre-city area, as compared to observations from the autumn of 2014.

Cycle-track bike-volume targets:

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