Thivener only started his new job last Monday, but he’s already got some thoughts about where he’d like Calgary to go:
The first thing I’m going to do is try to learn, as much as possible, what are the barriers to bicycling, as seen from the cycling advocates, from staff, from the aldermen and their aides, and the general public. I think a lot of people have a lot of knowledge out there, and I want to learn from it.
It’s not all about building bike lanes. We need to build a network of bikeways that connect to each other.
We know we have a lot of great roadway infrastructure in place already, but we will need to make some modifications, to carve out some space for bicyclists,… to make it safe and attractive for bicycle users.
We’ve got to have better bike infrastructure in the downtown. It’s not enough just to unleash the bikes without new infrastructure.
Calgary’s weather is cold, but really it’s not that different from some of the Scandinavian cities, like Stockholm, where they have 10% bike ridership. They have great infrastructure, and they can overcome the weather.
The vast majority of cyclists [in Calgary]— about three fourths— are men…. The research shows that if you can get a lot of women biking, you will get a lot more men biking as well— and a lot more older people; a lot more younger people.
All the best!
The City of Calgary has hired Tom Thivener from Tucson, Arizona to be its first cycling coordinator. His first day on the job will be June 4.
Thivener has spent the past five years in Tucson, working to improve conditions for active transportation in that city. While he was there, Tucson hit several cycling milestones:
- Bicycle ridership increased 58% from 2009 to 2010. That increase moved Tucson from being #12 in the country for bicycle commuting to #6.
- The number of women commuting by bicycle rose to 35% from 26.5% from 2009 to 2010.
- Tucson was named one of the top towns to move to by Outdoor Magazine in part because of the planning and development of a network of Bicycle Boulevards
- Tucson was named the Best Town for Road Biking by Outdoor Magazine in 2010
- Aviation Bikeway, a multi-use path, was installed in 2010, extending from the southeast side of town to downtown