New Brunswick

Moncton gives up on bike lanes after only 5 weeks

Just five weeks after the City of Moncton added bike lanes to a stretch of Mountain Road, city councillors have had second thoughts.

Mountain Road stretch that just got bike lanes is going to lose them because of safety concerns

Someone created a mock memorial to the short-lived bike lanes on Mountain Road. (Krysta Cowling)

Just five weeks after the City of Moncton added bike lanes to a stretch of Mountain Road, city councillors have had second thoughts.

They've decided to change the road back to its original four-lane configuration after safety concerns were raised about cyclists and drivers sharing the road. 

The original work reduced what was a four-lane roadway to three lanes for vehicle traffic, including a centre turning lane.

Cyclists were given lanes on the outer edges of the road between Bulman Drive and Front Mountain Road.

The new centre lane, which can be used for turns by traffic travelling in either direction, may have been a bigger factor than the bike lanes in council's decision.

Coun. Brian Butler said he almost collided with another vehicle when he was about to make a turn from the centre lane. 

"This is not working in that area of town," Butler said.

He said the area is too busy for the changes to Mountain Road. 

"This is probably the busiest area in this city," he said. "We tried it, it doesn't work."

Safety and accessibility concerns

The section of roadway between Mountain Road and Bulman Drive was changed from four lanes to three, plus lanes, not long ago.

The changes were originally made because of complaints about speeding vehicles, the dangers to cyclists and the lack of accessibility by people on bicycles. City staff said at the time that the four lanes on that part of Mountain Road were too much for the amount of traffic it got, so people were speeding.

City of Moncton engineer Alcide Richard said Monday that the original changes were made to address those issues. 

"It's a challenging piece of road," he told council before it voted to scrap the bike lanes.

The city reduced the speed on that section of road to 50 kilometres an hour, and Richard said it will stay that way even after the bike lanes are removed. 

"We are hoping the motoring public will be more aware of their speeds," said Richard.

The city said the cost of the original changes hasn't been calculated, and the cost to reverse them won't be available until after the project is done. 

Mixed reactions 

The reversion to the old configuration isn't pleasing everyone.

Just beside the bike lane is a sign that says "RIP Bike Lanes," written in French, and a picture of a bike lane on the ground in a picture frame.

Candles have been placed along the edge of the road, and a makeshift memorial has been set up. 

Some supporters of the bike lanes have used candles to show their unhappiness about losing them. (Krysta Cowling)

But some people are ready to see the road return to its old ways. 

Cynthia Martin, who lives in Moncton, said she only recently started using Mountain Road and found the new configuration of lanes confusing. 

"That surprised me," she said. "Not everybody was aware of that. I was almost sideswiped a couple of times." 

She said the area is too busy for such changes.

"People don't always drive the speed limit," said Martin. 

With files from Information Morning Moncton