To prepare for the Saturday (Jul 30) “Cruisey Ride” I decided to bike the route ahead of time, which will start from 100 Paillser Lane. The first observation is how isolated and cut off the buildings at 100, 200, and 300 Palliser Lane are from the rest of our community.
The downtown is tantalizingly close, a mere few hundred meters away across the barrier of the Trans
Canada Highway, while safely getting there requires a long detour which takes 8 minutes by bike and would be 20 – 30 minutes on foot. This is why many people make the perilous decision to walk across the Trans Canada Highway, as evidenced by a worn path or “desire line” created by repeated trips taken in this fashion. I have even noticed the path has been shoveled in the winter time!
People will always take the shortest route to a destination, especially when they are in a hurry to get to work or an appointment. But with the steady flow of traffic going 110 – 130 kph, it must take quite some time before you can make the death-defying dash across this barrier. Cycling is a MUCH safer alternative, especially considering there is a multi-purpose trail to start out on. Once the trail reaches Benchlands Terrace, given the speed and volume of traffic on the road, cyclists have a choice. There is a marked bike lane on the road or cyclists are allowed to share the sidewalk with pedestrians, where they are instructed to give pedestrians the right-of-way.
Once safely arrived at the busy intersection of Bow Valley Trail and Railway Ave., the best advice is to hop off the bike and walk across to the north-west corner where a multi-use trail starts up again, heading north along Bow Valley Trail. The option to riding the multi-use trail along Bow Valley Trail is to use the on-road bike lane. Since the bike lane was widening in 2015, this is actually my preference. I feel safer on the road when you have to cross a steady stream of driveways leading from accommodations, restaurants, stores, and gas stations. Drivers of cars know to look for vehicles on the roadway, but often rush across multi-use pathways without looking for pedestrians or cyclists.
This morning, as I cycled along the bike lane, a car parked in the bike lane in front of the McDonald’s restaurant blocked my safe passage. After being forced to come to a stop on my bike, I waited for traffic to pass, signaled my intent, and moved into the car lane to travel around the car blocking my route. This is a very common occurrence when a bike lane is not separated from the roadway by bollards or a similar barrier. While I had not encountered this on Railway Ave. before, it is a common occurrence on my regular rides down the Spray-Dorian Road as you pass the Quarry Lake parking lot. I hope one day both of these routes will see a safer, separated bike lane.
The remainder of the ride was straightforward, travelling past the Legacy Trail starting point across from the Travel Alberta visitor centre, crossing over the Trans Canada Highway again at the Harvie Heights crossing and then once again picking up a multi-use pathway to get back to my starting point at 100 Palliser Lane. It was comforting to know that with a little knowledge and understanding there IS a safe and enjoyable way to travel all around the town from one end to the other on both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway. Be sure to join me on July 30th from the same starting location for a similar ride, rain or shine! Happy trails!