‘This is absolutely absurd’: Calgary cyclists cranked up over city council’s proposal for cycle tollbooths

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Photo of a cycle toll booth coin collection chute used in Boston, MA.
  • Bike tollbooths to be installed on all 4 corners of every intersection throughout downtown Calgary
  • City plans to rake in over $100M annually as the tollbooths are rolled out city-wide by 2021
  • Coun. Sean Chu to Calgary cyclists, “Suck it, b*t@&e$!”

CALGARY, Alberta – As Calgary city council continues to cook-up creative ways to make up for the $252M shortfall in property tax revenue from largely vacant downtown office towers, Major Nenshi and the Brilliant 14 have turned their attention to bicycles. In particular, city council believes it can recoup the costs of the downtown bike lane infrastructure and generate ongoing revenue by installing cycle toll stations throughout the core area.

Major Nenshi talking to reporters

“Well, you know, Calgary cyclists complained for years to get us to build bikeways… do you remember that a few years ago? They were like, ‘Wah, wah, wah, too many cars… wah, wah, wah, not safe for bikes… wah, wah, we need bike lanes… waaaah!’ So we finally did it despite the efforts of Coun. Sean Chu. Now, it’s time to Pay the Purple Piper. If you’re going to use the bikeways, then you should be prepared to pay, because those bike ways don’t friggin’ maintain themselves for free, you know!” Mayor Nenshi said to a crowd of reporters earlier today at Olympic Plaza shortly after annihilating a falafel donair.

According to the new bike-way toll committee, happily headed by the city’s most vocal cycle track opponent, Coun. Sean Chu, the new toll system will start in the downtown core, with plans to expand to outwards in concentric chain rings until it generates about $100M per year.

Cycle tollbooth proposed locations throughout the downtown Calgary coverage area. 

Read More: Nenshi expects to raise $2M for city coffers by having a yard sale for his personal pre-owned purple clothes and other trappings

A source very close to the newly formed city council committee leaked some of the preliminary details around the system to 2P News’ Rodecker Smith, who had permission to publish it here.

  • Cycle tollbooths (CTB) will be installed at the corner of every Avenue-Street intersection from the Bow River on the north to 10th Avenue on the south, and bound by 14th Street SW and the Elbow River on the west and east, respectively.
  • Each CTB will comprise a toll both with integrated subsurface weigh scale and sophisticated video surveillance cameras and the city’s patented FacePlantID automated tollbooth enforcement system.
  • Riders will be required to stop and throw coins into the coin collector chute at every intersection with no exceptions, even if they have the right of way to pass through the intersection.
  • The amount due will be calculated as a function of the combined weight of the rider, the bicycle, and anything else being carried.
  • Unicycles will be exempt, because it would be very difficult to catch hipsters who ride these things and even if the city did get them, they’d have no money to pay the fine.
  • Random cycle tollbooths will occasionally be enforced in person by Coun. Sean Chu and his family.
  • Riders who attempt to bypass a tollbooth will be disabled by one of two methods or, in some extreme cases, by both:
    • 1) Sean Chu will personally catch him or her on his supercharged Segway, force said rider to the ground, and detain rider until bylaw officers arrive. Rumour has it that he plans to mutter, “You’re mine you little gutter bunny b*tch!” under his breath while tackling the suspect.
    • 2) The FacePlantID system will activate and with the help of a sophisticated array of cameras and sensors, shoot a laser-guided stick into the front spokes of the offending rider’s bicycle.
  • In the future, the city plans erect CTBs every 200 meters along each bike path within city limits before installing them at every intersection, in every suburb within the Stony Trail ring road.
  • Hand-cycles will be charged twice the bicycle rate because they are heavier and therefore do more damage to the cycle paths.

This proposal has drawn the ire of many riders throughout the city, who are furious at even the thought of having cycle tollbooths.

Billy Downpipe, very upset with the proposed cycle toll system

“Bike tolls? Did I hear that right?! City council needs to pump its brakes on this idea. Let’s just call it what it is, a Cycling Tax. We cyclists are just trying to do good for the environment and this is what we get? And to have a tollbooth every city block is absolutely absurd. I’ll hardly be able to get up to a good cadence before having to stop. Screw it, I’ll find a way to bypass this bullsh*t system,” Billy Downpipe, with the YYCBIKEBOYS.

When asked about the early backlash from this proposed idea, Coun. Chu simply and confidently stated, “I sincerely trust that notice has been served to Calgary cyclists that nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, messes with Councilor Sean Chu.”

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