Ro­tary/mat­tamy Green­way

Putting a ring on Cal­gary

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Shel­ley Boettcher

Kevin Sch­lauch and his wife Jenny sold their car a few years ago and now ride their bikes ev­ery­where they need to go in Cal­gary. This past sum­mer, when they heard about the new Green­way trail sys­tem, a 138-km path­way that en­cir­cles the city, they knew they wanted to check it out. “It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have some­thing like this,” Kevin says. “It brings the com­mu­nity to­gether and it en­cour­ages peo­ple to see parts of the city they may not other­wise visit.”

Plans for the Ro­tary/mat­tamy Green­way be­gan in 2009. The City of Cal­gary and Parks Foun­da­tion Cal­gary wanted to con­nect the four quad­rants of the city so that peo­ple could ex­plore car-free by cy­cling, walk­ing, in-line skat­ing or skate­board­ing. “It was this big idea to bring the city to­gether and pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect all these com­mu­ni­ties, many of which were just be­ing built at the time,” says Sheila Tay­lor, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Parks Foun­da­tion Cal­gary.

While parts of the path­way take ad­van­tage of ex­ist­ing paved trails through ar­eas such as Fish Creek Park, other parts are new. And a small sec­tion – 6.7 km that will join north­west and north­east Cal­gary – is sched­uled to be com­pleted in De­cem­ber, notes Tay­lor.

In sum­mer 2017, Parks Foun­da­tion Cal­gary held a con­test to en­cour­age Cal­gar­i­ans to ex­plore the Green­way, and medals were given out at a party in Septem­ber to any­one who had com­pleted the en­tire 138-km loop. More than 2,000 medals were given out, Tay­lor says, far more than her team ever an­tic­i­pated.

Some peo­ple com­pleted the en­tire dis­tance in a day. Oth­ers took weeks or even months, doc­u­ment­ing their progress on so­cial me­dia. Some trav­elled it with their chil­dren or their dogs, while oth­ers did the loop solo.

The Sch­lauchs com­pleted it i n two days, rid­ing Bromp­ton fold­ing com­muter bikes, their wheels of choice. Kevin took so many pho­tos dur­ing their treks that he drained his cam­era bat­tery both times. “And we hit up a lot of cof­fee shops along the way,” he says. “We stopped and ate at any place that had pie.”

They en­joyed their rides so much, they’ve con­vinced sev­eral friends to check out the Green­way, too, and they’ll likely ride it again next sum­mer, Kevin says, when the en­tire loop is fin­ished. “We live cen­tral, so we don’t make it out to the ’burbs very of­ten. There were parts of town we’d never biked in be­fore,” he says. “It was neat to see there was a path­way go­ing through them.”

The op­por­tu­nity to travel through new neigh­bour­hoods by bi­cy­cle has been a big draw for many who are tack­ling the route for the first time. “The Green­way has re­ally cap­tured peo­ple’s hearts and minds,” Tay­lor says. “And it’s in­spired peo­ple to get out and see parts of the city that they nor­mally wouldn’t.”

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