|Next year, Calgary cyclists should see action taken on their wishes for improvements to on-street cycling.
The city of Calgarys Transportation Planning department has cash in the bank to further develop and promote transportation other than the one-automobile, one-driver variety.
"City Council has identified encouraging alternate forms of transportation as a priority for 2006-08 and, for the first time, a multi-year capital budget has been allocated for on-street cycling improvements," explains Transportation Plannings Blanka Bracic.
Physical improvements on four well-travelled routes could include bike lanes, curb extensions, traffic circles, stop sign re-orientation, signage, new traffic signals with video detection of cyclists, short pathway sections, bicycle stencils on the pavement and other measures. The bike corridors on 26th Avenue S.W., 2nd and 4th Street N.W., 8th Avenue N.E. and 5th Street S.W. are targeted for these improvements.
According to Bracic, in 2000 and 1992 Calgary cyclist commuters surveyed said creating bike lanes would be the best way to improve cycling in the city. "We know that physical improvements to cycling corridors is one change that will improve conditions for those already cycling and encourage others to try cycling as a commuting option," she says.
Using the commuter survey conducted this summer in June and July, the city hopes to gain insight into routes cyclists use to travel downtown and what improvements to those on-street routes the riders hope to see.
"We will use this information to choose the locations and treatments for further on-street cycling improvements," Bracic adds.
Turning cyclists wishes into reality, and committing some bucks to improving alternative forms of transportation ranks as a great move for the folks running the city.
More action is needed, particularly on the development and developer side of the issue. City council should mandate that all new development come equipped with bike racks as well as shower and change facilities.
A good chunk of the big buildings downtown do come equipped with said facilities. Few developers are that oblivious to the needs of their corporate clients. Currently, though, the city only "encourages" new development to include bike friendly facilities.
But having city council come out and state the need of such bike facilities would only back up what Bracic and her colleagues already know: "that bicycle parking can improve conditions for those already cycling and encourage others to try cycling."
Just imagine how many more cyclists thered be on Calgary roads, saving who knows how much vehicle exhaust from spewing into the air, if city council put its weight behind alternative transportation initiatives.
Interestingly, in the 2000 commuter cyclist survey, over three quarters of the respondents said they commute by bike seven months of the year, while one quarter said they commute year-round.
Bracic says over 1,800 surveys were returned this summer. Results are expected this fall. Her department also estimates that the survey captured responses from approximately 68 per cent of cyclist commuters.
Ever been around someone whos so immersed in a sport she speaks in words with little to no meaning?
Heres a short list of such words or phrases from several sports. Try and guess the sport from which the phrase originates and its meaning. Some matches may be easier than others: 1) hubby and wife; 2) air ball; 3) worm burner; 4) tootsie roll; 5) keep the rubber-side down.
Hubby and wife is a beach volleyball term used when a serve is hit right in between the two opposing players. An air ball is a basketball shot that misses the rim and backboard. Golfers hit worm burners when their shot rolls and rolls along the ground.
Swimmers do tootsie rolls while on their backs, hands at their sides, rotating shoulders upward after a few kicks. Trials riders mutter, "keep the rubber-side down," meaning to keep your bike wheels on, or pointed toward, the ground.