Pathway and Bikeway Plan
Program Update – Fall 2023
Council approved $40M for the 2023-2026 budget to invest in the Pathways and Bikeways Network (5A) program. The 5A stands for Always Available for All Ages and Abilities. This means we are building active transportation infrastructure for everyone to use, year-round.
Over the next four years, we will focus on building travel options that everyone feels safe and comfortable using. To achieve this goal we will:
- Build and upgrade off-street pathways and on-street bikeways in different communities in Calgary.
- Install safer crossings in communities throughout Calgary.
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Questions about Calgary’s pathway and bikeway network?
What is Calgary’s Pathway and Bikeway (5A) Network?
Building a network for people walking, wheeling, and cycling is about providing year-round healthy and affordable travel options to Calgarians of all ages and abilities. This is what Calgary’s Pathway and Bikeway Network will set out to achieve.
This is a city-wide mobility network consisting of off-street pathways, on-street bikeways and safer crossings. While our network of on-street bike lanes and off-street pathways is extensive, more connections are required to workplaces, schools, parks, and local amenities. We will upgrade and build connections to all parts of Calgary as per the approved Calgary Transportation Plan that outlines how Calgary will deliver transportation options to Calgarians over the next 60 years.
The network is intended to offer a lifestyle – or a way of life – for everyone travelling throughout Calgary. It offers a safe, independent, and sustainable way to get around for everyone who works, lives, and plays in Calgary.
The projects we build will help us realize this vision by incorporating accessibility improvements for everyone. This includes wheelchair users or those with strollers, safer crossings, fewer missing connections, and new bike lanes and pathways that work for people walking, scooting, skateboarding, or even new evolving modes of transportation.
This 4,000 km pathway and bikeway map shows what a complete transportation network would look like in Calgary. The map also helps identify where we need to build or upgrade existing infrastructure to have a complete active transportation network.
This map illustrates the vision for the future of what a complete pathway and bikeway (5A) network would look like in Calgary.
Three investment types for this network
Under this program, we will focus on three different investment types:
Building infrastructure along new corridors near schools that will help connect kids between home and school. (Investing $28.6 million)
- We are selecting the corridor projects based on a model that uses five criteria: safety, equity, need in the community, connectedness, and schools nearby.
- See our map to view the list of chosen corridor projects. The City will begin implementing this work starting in 2023 to 2026. The work funded could include project work that involves design and engagement and/or construction based on availability of funding.
Improving existing connections by closing the gaps in our existing network (Investing $10 million)
- Building 15+ connections where there are missing links.
- List of locations for building the missing connections is coming soon.
Making crossings safer (Investing $1.4 million)
- Building 28 new Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) over the next four years.
- Check back later in the fall to see our list of where we will be installing the RRFBs in your community.
Investing in our infrastructure will help everyone feel comfortable and safe reaching local destinations like schools, work, shopping malls, and recreation centres.
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5A design principles
Calgarians have told us how to design our walkways, pathways, and bike lanes to be accessibly, safe, reliable and welcoming year-round. Through city-wide engagement, five design principles were formed to guide The City.
These principles are outlined in the 5A Network Guiding Principles Report.
Providing separation between people travelling at different speeds improves safety, predictability, and comfort.
Signage, pavement markings and named routes help people make decisions about their route and confirm they are heading in the right direction.
Accessibility is improved by removing barriers such as major roadways, waterways, steep hills, or uneven surfaces. Alternate routes may be incorporated that are easier to navigate, connections to transit may be improved, while a new bridge may be built to help people cross a busy roadway.
Well-maintained pathways and bikeways will encourage more people to use them throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. Keeping routes clear of debris removes obstacles and creates a reliable and consistent experience for everyone.
Lighting on roadways, pathways and in parks helps make people visible to each other and prevents collisions, while making hazards such as ice, snow, cracks or debris visible. More lighting also encourages people to feel safe using the network in evening hours.
Designs Calgarians choose
Designing for safety and comfort will look different in different places. Pathways, walkways and bike lanes that have been shown to meet the needs of Calgarians include:
- Cycle tracks, or protected bike lanes
- Multi-use and twinned pathway
- Traffic calmed bike boulevards or neighbourhood greenways
- Shared spaces
- Integration with transit facilities
- Signage and pavement markings
- Street lighting
Glossary of Terms
A dedicated lane separated from vehicle traffic by a physical barrier, intended for motorized and non-motorized mobility devices.
A dedicated lane on a roadway but not separated by a physical barrier, intended for motorized and non-motorized mobility devices.
Dedicated for non-motorized use with the exception of wheelchairs.
A colloquial term The City uses to refer to someone using any form of mobility device from a wheelchair to an electric skateboard.
To build the entire Network, it will take a collective effort across all applicable City Programs and initiatives. Here are a few that have incorporated the design principles into their project designs.
Other related links
Why do we need to invest in a Pathway and Bikeway Network?
Through our engagement with Calgarians, we learned the way Calgarians get around is changing. More people are choosing to walk, scoot, skateboard, bike, or roller skate to reach their destinations and the right infrastructure is needed to serve healthy and green travel choices.
Calgary’s pathways and bikeways give people choices that are independent and affordable and need to be accessible and available to everyone – no matter their age or ability. Without investing we won’t serve kids, seniors, and people with neuro and mobility barriers, and we are responsible ensuring all Calgarian’s have equal opportunity to reach their destinations.
By improving Calgary’s pathway and bikeway network our city becomes a safer, more connected and vibrant place to live, play and work.
The graphic shows people using the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) to cross the street safely.
Frequently asked questions
It stands for 5As that are Always Available for All Ages and Abilities. It means we are building our active transportation network for everyone to use year-round.
The Pathways and Bikeways Network is for everyone – no matter of age, ability or method of transportation. When we think about who everyone is, we think about people learning to walk, people needing assistance to walk, people of all genders, abilities, and socio-demographic circumstances.
Calgarians want safe access to connect to local destinations like schools, shops, recreation centres and workplaces. They want accessible and connected pathways and bikeways that are well lit, easy to navigate, have few barriers and accommodate a variety of transportation modes. We know Calgarians value programs that improve health and help to reduce our carbon footprint.
Today our design approach considers the needs of everyone because our design principles have been developed by Calgarians. In the past, many of our design standards proved not to feel friendly for everyone so we’ve changed the way we design and build.
The City will begin implementing this work starting in 2023 to 2026. The work funded could include project work that involves design and engagement and/or construction based on availability of funding.
$40M was approved by Council in November 2022 to launch and invest in Calgary’s new Pathway and Bikeway Network program (5A).
We will make greatest progress on our pathway and bikeway network when all City programs incorporate small and large improvements. Examples of contributing programs include Main Streets, Bridges, and Road Reconstruction.
While we would love to complete the whole Network as soon as possible, completion of all areas is dependent on private funding, public funding, and City priorities – all of which can fluctuate year to year and council to council. Calgary Transportation Plan calls for the network to be completed in 60 years though achieving our climate targets will require us to move faster.
Pathway and bikeway infrastructure will be added according to the Network map or Map 1 in the Calgary Transportation Plan.
How do we collaborate with developers to make sure new communities have pathway and bikeway infrastructure?
It is required that all collector and arterial streets in new communities incorporate new pathways and bikeways following the five design principles. The new infrastructure will be built to ensure it is accessibly, safe, reliable and welcoming year-round to everyone using it in the new communities.
Implementing pathway and bikeway infrastructure using our five design principles will mean some of our existing infrastructure may need to change. Street changes will involve studying and engaging on every project. Adding new corridors may involve narrowing the road or changing where parking is on a street. Streets that everyone can use is a commitment by The City of Calgary.
We reference the Calgary Equity Index. This is a new geographically based planning and decision-making tool that provides information about equity in Calgary. The index consists of 20 indicators across five categories which are:
- Economic opportunities
- Governance and civic engagement
- Physical environment infrastructure
- Population health
- Social development