Members of a local advocacy group in Calgary say upgrades to a road in Kensington and the cycle track along Third Avenue are due to residents making their voices heard.
The bike lane along Third Avenue was installed in 2021 as a temporary detour during the reconstruction of the Bow River pathway through Eau Claire. In June, city officials said they planned to shut it down, which prompted a campaign to save the cycle track.
Last week, the city announced it will keep a cycle track open through 2024. The track will now remain open on Third Avenue between 8th Street and 5th Street Southwest, but it can’t be kept in place east of 5th Street due to utility work.
Design work on a permanent east-west cycling connection will begin in 2024 but Green Line construction could complicate matters.
“I can’t say permanently what it would look like, but we are committed in 2024 to look at that longer range direction,” said Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong. “I think the thing we want all Calgarians to understand is that we are working inch by inch to get to that permanent network.”
Across the river, work on Kensington Road is now complete to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. The city says the changes are in response to findings from a recent collision review and traffic assessment.
“The changes are expected to reduce incidents and near misses involving people who walk, wheel, drive and take transit with negligible impact on traffic flow,” said the city in a news release.
Kensington Road is now down to a single lane in each direction. Temporary traffic calming curbs separate cars from bikes and planters with flowers have been set up.
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“I think the community started to say enough is enough and you have to do something about it. What they’ve done is an improvement. It’s by no means great, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Peter Oliver with Project Calgary, the group that started a petition to save the Third Avenue cycle track.
“Third Avenue is a big victory for downtown communities that really want to make their neighbourhood more liveable,” Oliver said.
He said both the Kensington Road project and saving the cycle track happened because of community outcry.
“It still means that we have to remain active participants in the process to make sure they happen, and to hold our elected councillors responsible because otherwise it just wouldn’t happen,” Oliver said.
The Kensington Road project is temporary while the city monitors usage and looks for feedback.
The city is also looking for input on the downtown cycle track saying it will also allow staff to pilot and test options based on lessons learned from the temporary detour being in place over the past few years.
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