Thanks, Bike Town: That was a long night at T&T (Blog)

Thanks so much to everyone who volunteered so many hours of their day yesterday to attend the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit. Especially thanks to everyone who took the day off work to sit in City Hall for the entire day. We didn't hear the recommendation we were hoping for, yet I'm optimistic that with a strong showing over the next ten days we'll have a permanent and expanding cycle track network for our little Bike Town. 

From my perspective (and I think I speak for Carla and Sean here, too), it's insane to see this much local scrutiny for a style of urban design that has been shown to be most effective in cities around the world. New York. London. Copenhagen. Amsterdam. Barcelona. Berlin. Montreal. These are not second-rate cities. They all have developed an incredible network of protected cycling infrastructure that enables individuals from 8-80 years old to engage in their city's streetscape from a bicycle. The bicycle is a humble, empowering transportation machine gives health, wealth, happiness, and street-level community to its users. For broader society, large-scale bicycle adoption lowers pollution, increases economic mobility, decreases road maintenance costs, eases congestion, and supports local businesses. How anyone could be opposed to something with so many benefits is beyond me. 

If anyone else feeling a little frustrated this morning, I certainly share that feeling with you. For all the people who volunteered their time, it was disappointing that three people decided they'd had enough for the day and wanted to go home, pushing the decision off to full council. Councillors Woolley, Pincott, Demong, and dad-joke-maker-in-chief Keating voted in favor of finishing the job, but a 2/3 majority was required to change the end-time of the meeting. Even Mayor Nenshi, who showed up at the last minute to try to salvage the meeting, couldn't change the votes that had already been cast. This is how politics works sometimes. It sucks. Yet if disappointment, frustration, and cynicism win your heart, and you decide to stop advocating for change, that's when change stops. So please, don't despair. From my perspective, I saw dozens of incredible people coming to voice support, some of whom were terrified to speak, but did an amazing job. Many other people were in council chambers yesterday who did not speak, but quietly supported the cycle tracks. There were relatively few opposed, and we appreciated hearing their perspectives, too. I'm sure all city staff, and certain councillors are feeling quite the same way you are. Cycle tracks aren't going anywhere as long as we keep showing the phenomenal support for this project. December 19 is the next council meeting. Let's pack the chambers again, and we'll finally be able to say "Yay Cycletracks" for future generations. 

Thanks to all of you, from Bike Town. 

Ben

S1E9 | Urban Gangsters of Bike Town

Every great Bike Town is full of Urban Gangsters. Five term councillor Druh Farrell and two term councillor Gian-Carlo Carra joined us to discuss the visionary transformation of our city from car city to Bike Town. Councillor Farrell has been a leading voice for urbanism in our city for more than a decade, and Councillor Carra is part of a new wave of young leaders who are determined to see a different city built for the next million Calgarians. We discuss the challenges and reasons for success of the rapid transformation of bicycle infrastructure in our town. Saddle up for a fun ride with us. 

This is the third of three episodes dedicated to the advocacy, technical, and political aspects of an urban cycling transformation in Calgary that has led to more than one million cycle track trips in an 18 month pilot project. We hope you enjoy the mini-series! 

Hosts: Sean Carter & Carla Hills

Produced and edited by: Ben Cowie

Song: Bicycle Race
Artist: Queen
Album: Jazz
Label: EMI

S1E8 | Internal Gear: The Inner Workings of City Hall

When Tom Thivener and Katherine Glowacz were hired by the City of Calgary to develop bicycle infrastructure within the Livable Streets Department, there was little infrastructure, competing advocacy interests, and a culture of building roads from "behind the windshield of an automobile". In this episode, Tom and Katherine share their secrets of where, when, and how infrastructure actually gets built in the city, and how the city actively engages citizens on new projects. This was a fascinating technical discussion, with many insights into how projects go from creative input to concrete on the road.  

This is the second of three episodes dedicated to the advocacy, technical, and political aspects of an urban cycling transformation in Calgary that has led to more than one million cycle track trips in an 18 month pilot project. We hope you enjoy the mini-series! 

Hosts: Sean Carter & Carla Hills

Produced and edited by: Ben Cowie

Music:
Song: Nothing's Ever Easy
Artist: The Permanent Residents
Album: Visa Vis