Ward 8 hopefuls spar over cycle tracks (includes video)

Candidate suggests cycle tracks were built on wrong streets

The Sprawl

At the Killarney Great Soup Debate for Ward 8 on Saturday, livestreamed by Sprawl reporter Skye Cunningham, the future of Calgary’s cycle track network emerged as a point of contention—particularly between incumbent candidate Evan Woolley and challenger Chris Davis.

Candidates were asked a question from the audience: “What will happen to those annoying bike lanes?”

“They’re not annoying,” Woolley shot back, “and they’re working.”

First installed as a pilot project in 2015, Calgary’s downtown cycle track network became permanent in December 2016 thanks to a city council vote. At Saturday’s debate, Davis questioned whether the east-west routes were built in the right places—suggesting that 4th and 5th Avenues would have made more sense.

“I believe before we continue to roll out more and more of the cycle track and path system, that we look at the deficiencies in the one we’ve built,” said Davis. “Make sure that any gaps in the system are addressed — because they exist.”

Woolley said 8th Avenue was chosen because of demand from hotels, and 12th Avenue connects to important amenities. “It is the interface between the residential part of the Beltline and the commercial downtown,” said Woolley. “It’s where the Co-op is, the Safeway and all of our shopping. It’s where the library is. There’s a very, very specific reason why we put it there.”

Watch Davis vs. Woolley for yourself. The candidates are scheduled to face off again on Monday at a Cliff Bungalow-Mission forum.