New Brunswick

Bike lane proposed for Brookside Drive would be 1st of its kind for city

Fredericton hopes to change part of Brookside Drive on the north side to give people options for getting around that don't involve cars.

Curbed-off bike lane among several changes proposed to encourage people not to use their cars

City traffic engineer Jon Lewis said a public meeting will be held to discuss the feasibility of changes made to the lower end of Brookside Drive. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Fredericton hopes to change part of Brookside Drive on the north side to give people options for getting around that don't involve cars. 

Traffic engineer Jon Lewis said the project to revitalize Brookside Drive could make travelling better for cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.

He described the part of the project designed for cyclers as a first for the city.

The stretch from Main Street until Ring Road — otherwise known as lower Brookside Drive —  now has a narrow sidewalk and narrow, awkward bike lanes, according to the project proposal online.

These features, Lewis said, make access to transit and alternative transportation difficult. The proposed changes would help discourage the use of gas-powered cars, he said.

They include:

  • a bike lane that would be separated from traffic by a curb.
  • a new sidewalk along both sides of Brookside Drive.
  • trail connections to both the north-side trail and the north-side riverfront trail.
  • realignment of Hawkins Street to improve sight distances.

"It's a shift away from a roadway just being cars, versus trying to move people in whatever mode they're interested in," Lewis said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

The car lanes will be narrowed to accommodate the changes. This may slow traffic but it shouldn't prevent cars from travelling through as they do now, he said.

He also hopes the changes will improve access to transit stops and encourage more people to take the bus.

The project is still in its feasibility stage and there is no estimated cost or timeline. Federal funding will be used to help offset the cost of construction once it does start, Lewis said. 

"It's a great opportunity to try out this type of facility," he said.  

The funding for the project

The city received a grant from a Federation of Canadian Municipalities fund for the feasibility study and preliminary design work.

The 2018 Municipalities for Climate Innovation Fund is for transportation projects that could reduce greenhouse gases.

A public meeting will be held Tuesday for residents to discuss the project. The meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1050 Douglas Ave. Councillors Bruce Grady and Eric Price are hosting the meeting.

- With files from Information Morning Fredericton