Pedestrians say Calgary bike detour ‘bullying’ them off nearby sidewalk

Alexis Paul watches as a cyclist pedals up the sidewalk on Parkdale Boulevard N.W., then tells the pedaller to get off the sidewalk.

For  Paul, it’s the final straw and she’s frustrated.

Since July a confusing detour in northwest Calgary has plagued the area and nearby residents are still seeing the fallout as bikers go from the pathway system on to nearby sidewalks.

The detour was put in place between 14th Street and 29th Street N.W. on the north side of the Bow River, as crews work on storm water system upgrades.

Construction will continue until October.

The map of the closure and schedule for the Bow River pathway upgrades.

When the pathway detour initially went up, bike commuters were shocked and confused. Some took dangerous turns stepping or riding on the busy, nearby stretch of Memorial Drive.

At that time the city ramped up communication about the detour on the pathway side of the road — but Paul said more is needed for the residential sidewalks across the street.  

“They still think they can just ride the sidewalk and we’ve got seniors and myself with dogs trying to walk and they are bullying us off, calling us names,” she said. “You have to look behind you and in front of you every single second because you don’t know what’s coming.”

According to the city’s detour map, cyclists are to use the nearby roadway on 1st Avenue N.W. while pedestrians are rerouted along the sidewalk.

In a written statement, Sherri Zickefoose, spokesperson for the City of Calgary, wrote that they are looking into the matter. 

“Anytime people have a concern, we urge them to call 311 because we want to know what we can do to help,” wrote Zickefoose. “We do the best that we can and we recognize this is an inconvenience.”

She said the city encourages everyone to be safe.

“That means if you’re a pedestrian, always walk on the right hand side to stay safe and make room for faster walkers, runners and cyclists to pass easily,” wrote Zickefoose.

More signs needed

Paul said she has to change her dog walking route because her smaller dogs are in danger of being trampled while bigger pups want to chase cyclists off the walkway.

When she does choose the sidewalk on the north side of Parkdale Boulevard, she said she’s vocal to cyclists, telling them it’s the law to dismount or bike on the road.

She’s called the city about her encounters, without much response, but said what might help are signs placed along her side of the road to indicate the sidewalk is a pedestrian detour and not intended for bikes to use.

Not the ‘Tour de France’

Sylvia Northgrave also lives in the area and noticed more sidewalk bikers in the last few months. She said she’s had a hip replacement and has trouble moving around as has been asked to step aside by cyclists using the sidewalk.

“This isn’t the Tour de France, they’re riding at far too high a speed,” Northgrave said. “To me, this sidewalk isn’t wide enough for bikes and human beings to be on … I don’t need someone to tell me to move, because I can’t.”

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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