Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's current bike lanes 'incomplete plan': Dave Lane

Two city councillors want to see changes made to the current bike lane system in St. John's, but Coun. Dave Lane says there needs to be more discussion.

MUN Bikeshare's Joseph Bautista says cyclist lanes vital for international students

Coun. Dave Lane says the city needs to review the current plan for bike lanes in St. John's before deciding whether or not to add or remove lanes. (CBC)

Two city councillors want to see changes made to the current bike lane system in St. John's, but Coun. Dave Lane says there needs to be more discussion of plans before decisions are made.

Couns. Bruce Tilley and Art Puddister raised the bike lane issue at a council meeting Tuesday, saying the current lanes in their wards just don't serve residents adequately — or at all.

Lane said the lanes installed in 2011 may have been part of an incomplete plan and there could be room for some changes.

If we have that discussion and create a plan that's going to work and interconnect it all, I do think we'll see a lot more people riding their bikes in this city.- Coun. Dave Lane

"I'm not sure everything was implemented correctly. Sometimes we have to let some things go that aren't working," said Lane.

"Whether or not Cowan Heights or Airport Heights have good lanes I'm not sure, but if we have to get rid of them to strengthen the network I think that's something we can look at."

He said rather than scrapping the city's bike lane plan altogether, he wants to chair a committee to review it and consider restructuring so it meets the needs of all the residents.

"We have to have a discussion with all types of cyclists in this city because you've got people who train on them, you've got people who ride recreationally, and then people who commute," he said.

"If we have that discussion and create a plan that's going to work and interconnect it all, I do think we'll see a lot more people riding their bikes in this city."

Not enough awareness

For Joseph Bautista, head organizer of Memorial University's Bikeshare program, there needs to be bike lanes in St. John's to allow students facing financial challenges a reasonable method of transportation.

"I can't afford a car here, you know, I'm a student, I also work at MUN, so it's essential for a lot of the international students who come here and people who can't afford cars."
Joseph Bautista, head organizer for Memorial University's Bikeshare program, says if people were more aware of options available for cycling in the city bike lanes would get more use. (CBC)

According to Bautista, the major challenge with getting people to ride bikes is simply making sure they know all of the options available.

"Make it more visible. We have those racks on the buses — advertise. The Metrobuses have them on the front of the buses but they're not advertised as such, people don't know or are aware of it," he said.

Bautista added that compared to other cities St. John's is lacking and if council moved forward for a more comprehensive program, it could benefit residents.

"If a lot of the cities have been doing it, why can't St. John's? Halifax has bikes lanes and has a DIY bike space, why can't St. John's?" he said.

"St. John's is a growing city, I love living here, but there needs to be more accessibility through transportation and bikes is the way to go."

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