calgary’s peace bridge

Spring is here, and how glorious it is.  Trees are turning green, the sun feels warm, and my mountain bike is up and running.  I grew up biking everywhere, and its become my favourite mode of transportation through a city.  Mobile enough to stop and redirect on the fly, yet fast enough to cover large distances, bikes are a fantastic way to explore a city.

peace-bridge2-web

One of my favourite bike-centric projects is found in Calgary, Alberta.  Santiago Calatrava‘s Peace Bridge was built specifically for pedestrian and bike traffic, including the only dedicated bike lane to cross the Bow River within the area.  It’s arcing red double helix design is both visually striking and functional.  Not only has it become a landmark for the City, linking Prince’s Island Park to the trendy Kensington area, but it has also helped dramatically increase the number of cycling trips within the city.  Calgary now boasts some of the best cycling rates of North American cities.

Some complained about the $25 million price tag, but I think public projects like the Peace Bridge which promote a sense of city identity, help tourism, foster healthy habits like walking and biking, while also reducing the number of cars on the road pay for themselves over time.

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