County holds open house for Highway 8 pathway
Rocky View County presented the proposed alignment of a multi-use pathway along Highway 8 from Calgary to Bragg Creek, June 20.
The 16-kilometre trail, which will follow along the south side of Highway 8, will serve to provide safer, more direct access for cyclists and pedestrians. It is expected to be constructed at the same time as the twinning of the highway from Calgary to Highway 22, the timeline for which has yet to be set.
“The potential is to connect the city of Calgary to Kananaskis Country via a dedicated pathway,” said Greg Van Soest, a municipal lands specialist with Rocky View County.
“This entire route will provide a critical linkage and fill a void in the TransCanada Trail network, and allow cyclists and non-motorized trail users access from the city to Kananaskis Country. It gives people an alternative to riding or running on the shoulder of the highway.”
At an open house at the Elbow Springs Golf Club in Elbow Valley - the third and final event - County representatives discussed the route with residents, cyclists and other non-motorized commuters. The final route will now be presented to Alberta Transportation for approval.
“Based on the feedback we received from those sessions and from the public as a whole, we’ve devised this proposed alignment,” said Van Soest. “We’ve enjoyed a lot of open dialogue with various stakeholders and residents. We’re excited to see what the future holds with this project.”
While neither the highway twinning nor the $2.6-million pathway have been included in Alberta Transportation’s current three-year budget, Van Soest said it was important to start the planning process and get the community involved.
“We’re trying to get champions for the project. The County will still be involved, but having the public create a lasting legacy and engaging the community to get out and join a committee that can see this through to fruition is very important,” said Van Soest, adding there has been a great deal of community and stakeholder involvement over the past year.
“We’ve experienced a lot of growth and worked really closely and collaborating with a lot of different stakeholders, including Alberta Transportation, the City of Calgary and the Elbow Valley Residents’ Association. We’re really excited. There is a real sense of community and positive working relationship.”
Margaret Bahcheli, Rocky View County’s deputy reeve, said she is pleased with the proposed route of the pathway, which will use existing trails through Elbow Valley.
“This is the fastest, most effective route, and it meets the needs of the cyclists, the needs of Calgarians who want to get out to Kananaskis, and the needs of people in Bragg Creek who want to commute into Calgary,” said Bahcheli.
“It’s definitely a great connector and a great plus for the TransCanada Trail, for Calgarians and for people who live in Bragg Creek. It’s going to be a great commute.”