$5 million over five years to help ease congestion



The City of Calgary is injecting $5 million into city bike paths with the hope of encouraging more riders to pedal their way into the downtown core.

Designed to ease the choke on rush hour congestion, the city is dedicating $5 million to area bike paths over the next five years.

In the hopes of making riding a bike to work more attractive for commuters, a $5 million plan will re-fit existing bicycle routes at a rate of four per year, for five years, according to transportation spokesperson Derek Heric.

"Transit is boosting the flow of people downtown, but also getting people out of their cars and onto a bike or walking will do nothing but help ease traffic congestion," Heric said.

It’s an especially pressing project, Heric added, with increased traffic due to more residential areas sprouting up downtown and with the build-up of the beltline.

"There’s really no room to expand roads and the numbers of people coming downtown certainly is not stagnant."

In 2006, 3,500 people entered the downtown core on bicycles at the peak period and Calgary Transportation’s Derek Heric said it’s a number the city would like to increase, but specific targets have yet to be set.

While the project has been a decade in the making, it was welcomed news to Graham Harris, who rides his bike to his downtown job nearly every day.

"Awesome, I’m all for it man," Harris said.

Another cyclist, Warren Brooke, switches to studded tires in the winter for his pedal commute added he is happy with the news.

"Anything they can do to encourage cycling to work as an alternate means of transportation, saving on greenhouse gases and fuel costs, is great as far as I’m concerned."


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