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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Default Icefields Bike Trail Project

Paved Bike Trail from Jasper to Columbia Icefields: Estimated cost jumps to 86.4 million.

http://www.fitzhugh.ca/icefields-tra...-86-4-million/


Thoughts?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 11:55 PM
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I am of very mixed feelings.

On one hand biking the Icefields parkway has gotten quite popular in the summer and I can't help but fear that a horrible accident is likely with how poorly Alberta drivers understand bikes. A dedicated bike path would not only make this much less of a safety hazard but would greatly open up the experience to cyclists who aren't as comfortable being on the side of a highway.

I could also see it potentially working as an awesome beginner nordic track.

On the other hand I fear that they will cut out more wilderness from beside the highway and really lessen the wild atmosphere that makes the icefields parkway so great as both a drive and as access to some of the best backcountry in the parks. Taming it further and opening it up to further commercial development (just like the #$%@ skywalk).

Lastly, I really hate how they are having to use infrastructure funds from the parks. As if those funds aren't already short enough (no chance of a new bridge to fortress lake now!).

I guess it comes down to how well they do it. If it sticks close to the highway and functions as a dedicated bike lane then fine, its a good thing. If its a whole new path through the area then I will be very opposed.

Not the fastest, but I get to where I am going and enjoy it.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 10:55 AM
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Yup see it the same way, hate how none of these gov funds actually never get used to do trail maintenance....A few new bridges would be nice..... .....
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 06:25 PM
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It's a neat idea, but $84 million could be far better spent on trail maintenance, repairs and upgrades to parks infrastructure
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellymcdonald78 View Post
It's a neat idea, but $84 million could be far better spent on trail maintenance, repairs and upgrades to parks infrastructure
so true, but I doubt that would happen. Parks vision for maintaining the backcountry doesn't exist. My biggest concern though is most cyclists as it stands right now use the Hostels conveniently spaced along the parkway, and as a result are highly occupied during the summer months. I'm not sure these Hostels can accommodate even more visitors. Additional pressure also would be put on campgrounds as I've seen many cyclists bike in with a support vehicle "in tow"; there's many cycle tour companies that deploy this method. That method would only get more popular.
I fondly remember cycling the parkway in August fourty-four summers ago. During that time we encountered ONE other group of three cyclists. Hard to believe
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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and can you imagine what it is going to look 44 summers from now. Glaciers gone, Columbia Icefields hosting luna park with slides, gondola up Mt. Athabasca ....
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Here is official Parks page with map, details and all

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jas...eldstrail.aspx


Project is now in "Impact Analysis" stage. Whatever the outcome turns to be, I am certain it will happen; such things never get cancelled.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 10:43 PM
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I am not too big about cycling 30m off the trail in the bush with the amount of bears along the Icefield Parkway. If they do this trail I would hope it stays closer to the road as much as possible.
Should they do this trail, my vote would be no, I like the remote feel of the Icefield Parkway other than the Columbia Icefield visitor centre

IMO, maybe it is in the planning already but a pathway along the 1A from Banff to Lake Louise has its attraction.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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IMO, maybe it is in the planning already but a pathway along the 1A from Banff to Lake Louise has its attraction.
I'd not be opposed; people are cycling along Bow Valley Parkway all the time -- if nothing it would be safer to do it on dedicated bike trail
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 12:53 AM
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The tender package for the design of this trail hit the Alberta Purchasing Connection this week. Looks like they're moving forward with design at least.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 09:05 PM
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What a waste of money. Cyclists have been using the parkway for decades with little or no accidents. Why fix that's not broken? How about using the money for back country maintenance.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 10:43 PM
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I guess because traffic is one of the biggest growing problems. Everybody has to take his vehicle. As a cyclist you have to be quite dedicated. Isn't it time to offer some other activities than driving around to scenic spots.
There are public consultations this week:
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jas...eldstrail.aspx
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 01:01 AM
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I was at the Public Consultation for this project in Edmonton today. Learned quite a bit and have some thoughts.

1) It must be said that the presentation itself was very well done and it really felt like the Parks staff were listening.

2) The official word is, and I quote, "A decision has not been made to go ahead with this project". The whole thing was cast as a consultation about whether or not to go ahead. However, the structure of the consultation was very much focused on design, construction, and usage of the trail. It looked at risks about construction, environment, cultural effect, and visitor experience with a focus on possible mitigation strategies. It very much gave mixed signals, in part because I am not sure the park itself wants to go ahead with it but feel like they may have to at the whims of their political masters.

3) The proposed design is actually very good. It focuses on using the existing corridor, existing bridges, and the old road from the 60s wherever possible. There would be very little new disturbance of forest. There was also alot of focus on designing the trail to minimize the risks of animal encounters.

4) The funding for this project is being split as 64 Million from the Feds that they don't get and if they don't build it, and 20.5 million from the park itself. They justified the park cost by pointing to the $275 Million that they got for infrastructure renewal in 2014 as possibly freeing up the funds from the existing infrastructure budget.

5) There were some legitimate concerns about pressure on existing things like accommodation, parking, and other facilities as well as maintenance costs that were not addressed based on it being too early in the consultation process but they promised that they would be looked at during the design process if it gets that far. For what it is worth, based on follow up conversations I believe they are sincere about that.

Overall, it was a very valuable event and i would encourage you to go to the ones in Calgary and Banff over the next two days if you have a chance. Give your input!

Not the fastest, but I get to where I am going and enjoy it.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 11:59 AM
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I work in approvals for a consulting firm and I can tell you that strategy during public consultation is always to make the public feel like you're not as far along as you actually are in the process, that there's still time for their input to change things. Often this isn't actually the case. The detailed design for this project is out for bid right now. Once awarded the money will start flowing and there will be no stopping it. The decisions to move forward have clearly already been made.

I have mixed feelings about the project myself. Yes there is an existing road bed there for much of the length but a lot of that is grown in. I see this trail being closed for much of the year due to bears in the area similar to the bike trails in Peter Lougheed PP. I also feel there are better ways for the government to invest money into the park (backcountry trail system, signage on the parkway, front country campground upgrades, etc).
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albertan22 View Post
The decisions to move forward have clearly already been made.
Without any doubt. "Development" decisions rarely get cancelled or reversed. One instance I can think of is (in)famous Lady Mac teahouse after if was nearly halfway done
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