May 26th, 2024

Letter: Growth in cycling following addition of infrastructure to support it is no coincidence

By Letter to the Editor on February 17, 2023.

Dear editor,

The late former Alderman Wayne Craven was no fan of building our cycling and multi-use paths in Medicine Hat. Between 2010 and 2012, Craven, along with former Alderman John Hamill, were not quiet about their opposition to projects that enhanced capacity of multi-model transportation and addressed connectivity within the city’s network.

Despite their hostility and some lukewarm support from other aldermen, the legacy that council left over a three-year term should be recognized for being substantial. The College Drive bike lanes were built as well as the South Ridge Drive multi-use path, along with the commissioning of the city’s first Cycling Master Plan as well as its acceptance by council.

Between 2006 and 2021, and with the support of the Rotary Club, the city has seen a significant expansion of its path and cycle networks working out to several kilometres per year. Over that time period, two cycling clubs were formed, the BMX program continued to grow and the advocacy group Bike Medicine Hat was established.

Mountain bike trails were built along both sides of the river, more people are cycling in the city than ever before, and e-bikes and e-scooters have opened the doors for even more Hatters to enjoy the city’s multi-model transportation network.

The growth in cycling and the addition of infrastructure to support it is no coincidence. This current council has been vocal in expressing support for cycling and multi-use trails. But with zero public plans to improve the pathway network, it’s heading in the direction of being the first civic administration that hasn’t built any new infrastructure in 17 years.

If that happens, current councillors who say they support the expansion of multi-use pathways will be left with the legacy of accomplishing less in four years than those such as Craven and Hamill, who opposed such infrastructure, did in three.

Alex McCuaig

Medicine Hat

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