New Brunswick

Saint John Cycling wants to make streets safer by creating 2-way bike lanes

Saint John Cycling is proposing a $2.5 million project to help make some streets in Saint John safer and more accessible for bikers and pedestrians. 

The proposal makes use of road diets that reduce the number of traffic lanes and add bike lanes

Saint John Cycling is asking for $175,000 from both the city of Saint John and the provincial government. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Saint John Cycling is proposing a $2.5 million project to help make some streets in Saint John safer and more accessible for bikers and pedestrians. 

Nick Cameron, the group's government liaison, said the changes will encourage more people to be active and more family outings.

"We can free up some of that space and reallocate it for pedestrians and cyclists," he told Information Morning Saint John.

The project includes making changes to eight streets, including implementing five road diets.

Road diets reduce the number of lanes on a road and add a middle turning lane to allow for a two-way bike lane. 

Cameron said road diets aren't useful everywhere and depend on traffic volume, but there are spots around the city they would be useful.

He thinks Saint John's Main Street would benefit from a road diet.

"We need to ask ourselves if we really need six lanes on Main Street and if there's a better way to use that space that would provide more value to taxpayers." 

He said road diets can actually improve traffic flow.

"You have fewer lane change opportunities, fewer chances for close calls and car accidents. It focuses people in the direction they need to go." 

Cameron said they're going forward with this proposal because the project is "shovel ready." He hopes to tap into a program announced by the federal government.

Nick Cameron said they're moving forward with the proposal because it could be implemented right away. (Submitted by Nick Cameron)

The infrastructure program was updated with a COVID-19 resilience stream. The stream of funding sees the federal government funding 80 per cent of public infrastructure projects in jurisdictions where other government's finances have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

The money comes from existing funds.

"Because it's COVID–related they're looking for projects that can be implemented right away."

The eight roads included in the project are Main Street, Chesley Drive, City Road, Station Street, University Avenue, Heather Way and Spruce Lake Trail.

The project would complete 22 kilometres of the Coastal Link, which is an on-going project to connect The Great Trail in Saint John to the East Coast Greenway in the United States. Coastal Link has pledged $150,000 toward the project.

The group will meet with Saint John city council on Aug 17. They're requesting a $175,000 contribution from the city. 

Mary-Anne Hurley-Corbyn, a spokesperson for New Brunswick's Regional Development Corporation said $67 million is allocated to the province from the program. She said there is already a preliminary list of projects they want to submit for funding. 

"What we're finding during COVID-19 is a lot of people are getting out and the only recreation or fitness activity they have left is walking and cycling. We're finding we don't really have the infrastructure for that. It starts to get a bit crowded and this will create more space for that."

With files from Information Morning Saint John


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