Saint John poised to get new bike trail

Saint John council will be asked to approve the city's first major bicycle route on Tuesday night.

'Campus Harbour Connection' would link UNBSJ with the uptown

The proposed Campus Harbour Connection route would start at the Saint John Regional Hospital and end at the entrance to Harbour Passage. (City of Saint John)

Saint John council will be asked to approve the city's first major bicycle route on Tuesday night.

The proposed 3.5 kilometre-route would link the University of New Brunswick campus with the uptown, running north to south.

The so-called Campus Harbour Connection could use existing roads, with new paint for lanes and added signage, putting the estimated cost at $31,000, about half of an earlier estimate, said Coun. Greg Norton.

"It's certainly not cost prohibitive," he said.

Uptown Saint John's Green Feet environment committee, which is pushing the project, has offered to contribute $10,000 to the project, said board member Jeff Roach.

"It would be very hard not to approve this," said Roach.

"The cost is very low, the benefit is very high and it's a good first step toward getting more bike trails in the city."

One of council's 2012-16 priorities is to "work toward integrated walkways and bike paths to connect our neighbourhoods and waterways."

Recommended by city staff

City staff have recommended council approve the Campus Harbour Connection and that it be completed in 2013.

The estimated annual maintenance cost of the trail would be about $15,800, staff stated in a report to council.

The route would begin at the entrance to the Saint John Regional Hospital driveway on University Avenue, continue to Millidge Avenue, to Somerset Street, then Churchill Boulevard, to Valcour Court, to Turnbull Place and Harrington Street, to Adelaide Street, onto Metcalf Street, to Simonds Street and then end at the entrance to Harbour Passage on Hilyard Street.

About 2.7-kilometres would be dedicated bike lanes, while 1.8-kilometres would be shared with vehicles.

ACAP pushing east-west trail

Meanwhile, the Atlantic Coastal Action Program Saint John hopes to see a new bike and walking trail running east to west, following the edge of Marsh Creek to the shopping district on the city's east side.

"You're looking at a four or five-kilometre stretch that only rises a couple of meters. So it's virtually flat," said executive director Tim Vickers.

It's also very scenic, he said.

The organization is looking for private funding to build the trail and already has a committee looking into the logistics involved, including land ownership and having the trail go under Department of Transportation structures, such as the One Mile House interchange currently under construction.

"We're very optimistic and we're doing everything we can to move it ahead," Vickers said.

He said he hopes to see the trail in place within eight years, starting with a stretch near Courtenay Bay and the section between Rothesay Avenue and the highway, below Strescon.