The Calgary Tour de Nuit Society is an organization committed to making cycling in Calgary easier and safer. The group has worked to promote the benefits of cycling as well as build effective bike lanes in the city.
Tour de Nuit has recently created internship opportunities for Calgary students.
With the help of student interns, Tour de Nuit helped save Calgarians roughly $3,000,000 in January 2012 by ending the construction of an unnecessary bike lane proposed by the City of Calgary, according to Tour de Nuit president Gary Beaton.
“Our objective is to try and get people out of their cars and on bikes,” said Beaton. “We’ve been doing a lot of work with the city to try and get them to stop building nonsense bike lanes around town.”
Beaton said a “nonsense bike lane” is one that is out of reach, unsafe and expensive.
In 2012, the group worked with the Lakeview Community Association to stop the construction of a 500-metre bike lane in Glenmore Park. Beaton said the lane was unnecessary, expensive and was to be built without consultation with the residents in the area.
“There was a promised dialogue with the residents when it was being designed by transportation,” said Beaton.
Currently, Tour de Nuit is working on building bike lanes on many roads in the city, including Crowchild Trail. The next project is for bike lanes on 6th and 7th Street downtown, which was initially proposed to the transportation department in 2009. Beaton said these bike lanes will be central for many Calgarians.
“Downtown on 6th and 7th, right in the heart of the central business district, we’re going to be taking out more lanes of car traffic to put in bike lanes,” said Beaton.
Tour de Nuit has been working with engineering firms to ensure their plans are effective.
“If we can keep the traffic capacity unimpacted by creating a bike lane, that’s ideal — that’s where you start,” said Beaton. “If it does a good job at increasing safety, then what we will see are huge increases in the number of cyclists.”
Tour de Nuit has 12 positions available for student interns. U of C graduate student Mahsa Dokhani was a part of Tour de Nuit’s intern team in 2012 and presented a business plan to the City of Calgary.
“The presentation that I gave to the City of Calgary was to recommend to them to work on a business plan to find the most important goals for bicycle infrastructure and safety for cyclists,” said Dokhani.
Dokhani said working with students from different universities and backgrounds gave her a hands-on learning opportunity and a chance to help cyclists in Calgary.
“It was a very good experience for me and I recommend it to anyone who wants good experience in business practice,” said Dokhani.