Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cycle Track Highlights

This Friday, December 11, we'll be presenting the first update on the cycle track network pilot project, since the tracks opened, at the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting or submit a letter with their comments. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the highlights you can expect to see.

Bike Trips
We have been using automated counters to count the number of bike trips taken each day since the network opened. Between June 18 and November 15, 2015 388 000 bike trips were counted at three middle count locations. Network wide, 910 000 trips were counted at 10 count locations. According to the Green Lane Project, American cities that have installed cycle tracks see on average a 75% increase in bicycle trips within their first year, yet our numbers show a 95% average increase in daily bike trips along the network from September 2014 baseline data counts to September 2015 counts.

We’ve also used counters to determine how many cars and bikes are travelling on the cycle track routes and found that the per cent of daily bicycle trips on roads with cycle tracks has increased to 7.6% of traffic. These numbers give us a picture of how people are travelling downtown, and indicate that improving cycling infrastructure has improved mobility options for Calgarians. During the peak rush hours, bicycles make up an even higher proportion of on-street traffic.

Number of Car Trips
Number of Bike Trips
Total Number Trips
Bike Mode Split
5 Street at the CPR underpass
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
12 Avenue west of 2 St SW
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
8 Avenue west of 3 St S.W.
7:30 a.m. to  8:30 a.m.
Number of car and bicycle trips along each cycle track route during the peak hour on one day in September 2015.

Bike Trips in the Winter
The cycle tracks are open during the winter months and although there are fewer bike trips in the winter, our counts on the 7 Street cycle track show there was an average of 340 daily weekday bicycle trips last winter (December 2014 to March 2015).This is higher than the number of daily summertime bike trips of 270 before the track was built. People can find the daily count for each of the tracks in the winter months online.

A third-party telephone survey was conducted by Ipsos Reid in September 2015 regarding the cycle track network and Stephen Avenue pilot projects. The telephone survey found that the majority of Calgarians continue to support the pilot projects, with 64% saying they support the cycle track pilot and 63% saying they support the Stephen Avenue bicycle pilot. The same survey will be conducted again in September 2016 so we can gauge how satisfaction has changed during the course of the pilot project.

Change in Driving Time
We anticipated that travel times for drivers would increase and data collection specialists used GPS and stopwatch trials to record travel time by car along each of the routes. They measured the amount of time it took to travel from one end of each cycle track to the other for each route, during the morning and afternoon peak periods. Compared to before the tracks were installed, they found that the average peak period auto travel time for the entire length of each cycle track has increased between 10 and 120 seconds, which is equivalent to waiting at one or two red lights.

Stephen Avenue Update
One of the other things we’ll be reporting on is the data collected on Stephen Avenue, which has been operating as a shared space for people walking and cycling between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as people driving after 6 p.m. There is an average of 580 daily bicycle trips on Stephen Avenue, and 22% of all people cycling here are female. This is the highest increase in the per cent of female riders (up 10% from 2014). Across the cycle track network, 27% of the riders are women, which is 7% higher than before the cycle tracks opened.

You can learn more at our presentation to Committee on Friday, or check out calgary.ca/cycletracks.


  1. 388,000 trips equals 1293 cyclists per day, which is not a big number or a big increase in bike traffic. Report is deliberately misleading

  2. Just incredible... Did they also bring people up from the States to come up with these numbers.

    I have so many photos during the rush hour showing very few bikes using these so called busy routes...

    How about we finish the debate and put this to a citizen vote. What am I thinking, no way the City will ever consider that idea...

    After 5 years of broken promises and lies concerning the 11th St SE unused bike lanes guess we really know where the City stands on listening to impacted commuters and local businesses.

    Question, is everyone okay with $12,500,00.00 being diverted from much needed over capacity Women Shelters and City Shelters, and the Food Bank.

    Lastly, any concerns that the downtown cycle tracks now make evacuating the downtown core next to impossible, just saying.....

  3. Another way to intemperate the data is that far less then 1& of Calgary's population is using the bike lanes. When you set the success rate for "pilot projects" that low it's impossible for them to be considered a failure. That 5.75 million should have been spent on improving our city's transit, which beneifts all Calgarians.

    1. Transit doesn't improve life for all Calgarians. Wishful thinking. High cost of fare to airport is one reason why.

    2. There are no accurate totals city wide for the number of cyclists yet. As more counters are added we'll get more accurate totals. None of my regular routes have counters.

  4. Curious what happened to my last quote is it being censored?

    1. We review comments before they are published to ensure we are notified of any questions that require a response. This also allows us to filter out spam and other inappropriate comments. Because of this, comments are not immediately visible on the blog.

    2. Has the city considered using bicycle snowplows to clear cycle tracks?

  5. Do you guys respond to anyone who post???

    1. Hi Randy. Do you have a question about the cycle track network?

  6. Disappointed with this cycle track network. The 64% of "satisfied Calgarians" is misleading; would be interesting to see the sample size.

    The cycle track reduces parking spaces along the road, and increases traffic congestion due to reduced lanes. It's best that the entire cycle track network be removed.

    1. Disagree. Traffic congestion caused by cars. Bikes use space more efficiently. No parking spaces were reduced. The fact that more people are biking downtown frees up parking spaces.

  7. I ride the cycletrack to work everyday and it helps me feel safe. I rode all winter and it was fantastic. Thank you for such a great network. I hope there are plans for better connectivity to protect cyclists from cars once they leave the cycle track network.

    1. I never drive downtown. Made more trips by bike that last year than in the past 12 years. Done more shopping downtown. This is a great example of how to use limited space more effectively and reduces roads maintenance costs. Bicycle improve the standard of living while automobiles reduce it. Helps financially challenged people and improves air quality dowtown. Winwin!

  8. I drive the 12 ave every morning from 14st to 4 st se I can count on one hand how many bikes use this and this is through out the day as well as anonymous writer was say the numbers just don't add up. this money could have been spent in so many good ways to help Calgary. when I go back through the downtown core to pick up my wife at 4 pm again hand full MAYBE will be using the bike track. Many are on the sidewalks. and now they want to put this bike path on Northmont Dr Nw. and make the home owners park a block away from their houses because there are again Maybe 4 bikes that use Northmont in the morning and again they ride where ever they want. As I have ask this question many times but no one has answer me as a pilot project is the city of Calgary going to charge the cyclest a fee to ride on the roads as we do as drivers??????????????? we have to recover these cost some where. what am I thinking The city gets more money from towing people and parking tickets because there is no where to park side streets are full all around the core so we park where we can. with this 65% agree on cycle track I was asked where's my vote???????????
    Time for a new city council lets hold a VOTE!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Cyclists already over pay for roads. Drivers underpay for the anount of wear they cause. For every cyclist there's one less car parked downtown.

  9. so now we are changing parking in the core to no more free parking at all????????????? because people don't want to move their cars because there is no other places to park anymore in the downtown core because the city has taken away thousands of spots for the bike tracks and people don't want to move their cars. when is this city going to open their eyes.

    1. Hi. There has been no change to free parking in relation to the installation of cycle tracks. On-street parking is still free after 6 p.m. Monday - Saturday and free all day on Sundays.

      Regarding the number of parking spaces, 501 new parking stalls have been created downtown to offset the loss of parking, and we have a net increase of 135 stalls in the centre city.

  10. 8ave has little connectivity at either end. Probably why numbers are lower there. 11st sw bike lane could be changed to a cycle track to improve 8 ave numbers.