Feds, City invests $4.9 million in Beltline, including protected bike lanes

The new, protected bike path will likely be on the north side of 15th Avenue SW (CBC - photo credit)

The new, protected bike path will likely be on the north side of 15th Avenue SW (CBC – photo credit)

The City of Calgary and the federal government are investing $4.9 million to upgrade the “active transit” infrastructure in the Beltline neighborhood.

This requires creating two kilometers of protected two-way bicycle, scooter and skateboard lanes along 15th Avenue SW between 12th Street SW and First Street SE and replacing painted lanes.

Curb extensions, marked intersections, more lighting and widened sidewalks will also be added at 15th Avenue SW and 14th Avenue SW to improve accessibility in the area.

“It’s the most populous part of the city — all kinds of Calgarians live there,” Gian-Carlo Carra, deputy mayor and councilor for the City of Calgary Ward 9, said in an announcement Friday.

“We’ve gone from a place where investing in active-mode cycling infrastructure was a remarkable and unique thing to something we do business on to build fairer cities, greener cities.”

The Government of Canada is providing $2.9 million for the initiatives through its Active Transportation Fund. The City of Calgary is contributing the other $2 million.



“It will benefit Calgarians of all ages and abilities by giving them more opportunities to connect with their community while benefiting local businesses and services through increased foot traffic,” said Randy Boissonnault, Minister for Tourism and Deputy Treasury Secretary.

A second, similar project investing $1.3 million in Calgary’s Dover neighborhood was announced in January.

cycling network

Peter Oliver of the Beltline Neighborhoods Association said he’s pleased the permanent bike lane is coming to the neighborhood.

“This is a huge missing link. It is an east-west connection that runs parallel to 17th Ave. runs the full width of the waistline,” Oliver said in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener Monday.

As a cyclist himself, Oliver said he has seen local residents benefit from other recent investments in cycling infrastructure.

“They’re just a really important way of giving people the ability to get around on their own … without relying on a car,” he said.

“In addition, you see people all year round, where we don’t have sidewalks, which are constantly shoveled or plowed in winter, you can find people in wheelchairs on the bike path.”

Another protected bike lane already exists on 12th Avenue SW, a few blocks north of where the new, separate bike lane will be built.

Oliver said he still thinks the new track is necessary.

“The whole idea behind a bike lane network is to have a protected bike lane that’s physically separated from cars every two or three blocks, so you effectively have a network,” he said.

HEAR | Peter Oliver shares his thoughts on the new Beltline cycle lane:

Carra agreed, saying the new trail will provide a critical connection point through a popular area.

“The Beltline is primarily for people who walk and bike around their neighborhoods. And it certainly isn’t too much to have another east-west connection in this dense, dense community,” he said.

Once funding is in place, the city will begin detailed planning while continuing discussions with the community. They plan to start construction next year.


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