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Calgary paints bike lanes on 14 and 15 Avenue to calm traffic

14 and 15 Avenue SW are both getting bike lanes added to narrow the roadways during their time as a one-way detour for 17 Avenue construction

The City of Calgary paints bike lanes on 14 and 15 Avenue SW as construction continues on 17 Avenue.

Helen Pike / Metro

The City of Calgary paints bike lanes on 14 and 15 Avenue SW as construction continues on 17 Avenue.

Put a bike lane on it!

The city’s decision to turn 15 and 14 Avenue into opposing one ways wasn’t a popular one with residents, and even Mayor Naheed Nenshi had something to say about the construction detour.

The detour was deemed necessary by the city because of the difficulty buses and other traffic would have using 17th Avenue consistently while it’s under construction.

“We understood at the time that while it was important to support the businesses with a detour that was as close as possible to 17th Ave as possible we were also very concerned about the amount of traffic being detoured onto residential streets,” said Beltline Neighbourhoods Association President Peter Oliver. “All the parked cars make it really hard to didn’t leave a safe place for people to use their bicycle to get around.”

But now, Coun. Evan Woolley says the painted bike lanes are a three-year reminder of the city’s work and response to the community’s concerns while 17 Avenue is under construction.

The issue with the one-way streets according to some in the community was that the city was creating a lot more space for vehicles.

“There is a huge amount of need for cycling infrastructure in the Beltline,” said Woolley. “They act as traffic calming, they narrow the road and they slow down cars.”

Woolley said the avenues will now be complete streets for the duration of construction on 17th Avenue and its a huge win for residents and although they’re not permanent, there’s always been talk of having dedicated bike-space on 16th and 15th Avenues.

Now, after consultation with the BNA as well as residents the city has made several tweaks to the avenues including painted bike lanes and temporary curb extensions.

“It maintains all the parking on the road,” said Oliver. He explained that the street used to be a four-lane road (parking on either side, with two lanes of traffic) and making it one-way turned it into a wider three-lane road. “They’ve taken a little bit of the space back and turned it into a bike lane with a little bit of door room between the bike lane and parked cars – we actually think this will help traffic flow more smoothly.”

Resident Salima Stanley-Bhanji said adding bike lanes is not taking away from anything and is providing more confined to traffic making the streets easier to navigate.

“If we have space why wouldn’t we do it?” Stanley-Bhanji said. “It makes sense.”

She said having bike lanes in the Beltline’s residential streets should be permanent and could help reduce traffic noise in the area. Stanley-Bhanji hopes it will help people get outdoors and not be cut off from their community.

On Wednesday, crews were hard at work painting those lines and the first cyclists were having a tough time figuring out how to use their new dedicated lanes.

“What we’re really hoping over the next three years is starting to have a lot more engagement on what the future of these two streets should be, and I think this will help serve as a really good trial and exercise for people,” said Oliver.

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