The Town of Canmore is offering a cash incentive to downtown businesses that make the effort to address the increasing demand for cycling infrastructure coming from consumers and employees alike.
With weather improving and the demand for cycling infrastructure increasing, the town has already added a number of bike stalls to its parking complement.
But as the municipality begins to run short on Town-owned downtown real estate that’s prime for bicycle parking, it is looking to businesses to help meet the need.
This year, the Town will spend $15,000 on cash incentives aimed at encouraging businesses to help meet the growing demand for cycling infrastructure downtown, whether it’s more parking for employees or shoppers, employee bike share plans or installing other infrastructure like showers to further encourage employees to cycle to work.
“Everybody wants to ride their bikes right now. The racks are full on public land and in the street we’ve put in a ton of racks — we’ve provided over 80 bicycle stalls this summer in the valley bottom core, and we still want more opportunity for people that want to bike but aren’t ideally set up to bike right now,” said Town of Canmore engineer Jacob Johnson.
Downtown-area businesses are able to fill out a simple application to the town detailing their proposed project and how it contributes to the town’s bike-friendly culture. Projects that are approved and completed are eligible for a reimbursement of up to 90% of the cost.
“The bike infrastructure incentive program for town centre businesses is really about people that work and live downtown or even people in Banff, Cochrane, Calgary that work in Canmore that want to be able to bike but might not have good storage close to where they work or might not have a bike here in Canmore,” said Johnson.
“I think we’re almost beyond the point of needing to encourage people. Now we need to ensure enough good infrastructure is in place for all the people that want to be on bikes. We’ve got bike racks overflowing. Now it’s about making sure that everybody that wants to bike has that opportunity.”
Depending on uptake of the program and on whether or not it receives a chunk of the town’s budget in future years, it could also be extended to businesses outside the downtown area.