Moncton city council is not backing down from its decision to put bike lanes on Shediac and Salisbury roads despite stiff opposition from local drivers.
Some drivers who use those streets tried to put political pressure on Moncton councillors by vowing to pack the council meeting with angry citizens.
Instead, it was cyclists, who were wearing their bicycle helmets, that showed up in greater numbers at the Monday night meeting.
The controversy surrounds Moncton’s decision to cut the Shediac and Salisbury roads down to three lanes from four lanes in order to make room for bike lanes.
Claudia Sharer, who lives on Shediac Road, said she agrees with the cyclists that the bike lanes should be allowed on the roads.
"One side benefit of the bicycle lanes is that it has slowed down traffic, most vehicles are now traveling at or below the 50 km/h speed limit," Sharer said.
City staff say the results are even more startling on Salisbury Road where the speed limit is 60 km/h.
In just a week since the bike lanes were painted on the road, the average speed of cars has gone from 85 km/h down to 65 km/h.
Opposition from drivers
The bike lane plan has been met by opposition, especially from drivers who said the cyclists would be put in danger with the addition of the routes.
Others argued city council did not consult enough with people in the areas about the plan.
Robert Dunn was among the citizens who showed up at Monday’s council meeting to voice their opposition to the bike lanes.
"It's not worth the extra danger, risk, delay and inconvenience to thousands of drivers each day for such a small group of people," he said.
The interest generated by the bike lane debate drew so many onlookers on Monday that city staff rushed to set up chairs and a video feed into the lobby of city hall to accommodate all of them.