Pedestrians and cyclists rule Calgary’s Memorial Drive once more

CALGARY — Barricades have been set up and traffic lights have been switched off on a stretch of road along the Bow River in Calgary, but it’s not because of a serious traffic problem.

City officials have brought back a popular pandemic pastime for residents, closing a section of Memorial Drive N.W., from Ninth Street to Centre Street. The lower deck of the bridge will also be closed off to vehicle traffic.

It’s the first time the road has been closed in 2021 to allow for residents to get outside and enjoy the weather in a safe, physically distanced fashion. Cyclists are also allowed to enjoy the route, provided they follow all COVID-19 health guidelines and municipal bylaws.

Other vehicles are still allowed on Memorial Drive while the closure is in place, but they are restricted to the westbound lanes of the road.

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The city introduced the temporary closure last year as part of its Adaptive Roadways Program pilot project to allow recreational users sufficient space to get outdoors and walk or cycle.

Councillors called the idea “a creative solution” for many to beat the pandemic blues.

More closures are also along the westbound parking lane on Riverfront Avenue S.E., the eastbound parking lane on Crescent Road N.W. between 7A Street N.W. and First Street S.E.

The southbound parking lane on 12 Street S.E. between Eighth Avenue and 21 Avenue S.E. is also closed off for pedestrians to access.

The city has yet to review a report on the pilot project. It’s expected to be brought to council in the coming weeks.

As a result, additional lane closures may be installed this spring or summer depending on the weather.

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