Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Bicycle Highway for Fredericton?

     A bicycle highway is generally classified as the name suggests: a paved highway for bicycles designed to get you to your destination as quickly and safely as possible and segregated from cars. It may come as a shock, but Fredericton has a fairly well established network for a bicycle highway (and pedestrians). Those routes include:

1. Northside Trail (Trail Visitor Centre until St. Marys St.)
2. Nashwaak Trail (Trail Visitor Centre until Canada St.)
3. Gibson Trail (Trail Visitor Centre until Watters Dr.)
4. Bill Thorpe Bridge
5. South Riverfront Trail (Pedway until the Train bridge)
6. Lincoln Trail (Train bridge until Dunns Crossing)
7. Crosstown (University to Regent)
8. Valley Trail (Hanwell Rd. to Woodstock Rd.)

     These routes are very fast, direct and safe. The majority are built upon the abandoned network of rail beds, therefore are generally flat and do not have many intersections with streets. The one down side is the lack of river crossings and direct access from uptown to downtown.
     There has been a feasibility study on the construction of a multi-use bridge (similar to the train bridge) crossing the Carleton Street bridge piers. If this plan is ever carried out, it will not be cheap, but it will benefit everyone that travels to and from the North Side.
     It is very difficult to get from downtown to uptown and vice versa. The York Street bike lane starts at George Street and ends on Priestman Street. This is a very good connection, but bicycles are forced to share the road from Priestman Street along Regent Street until Arnold Drive. This section of road was not built with bicycles in mind, therefore bicycles have to travel through the most dangerous intersection in Fredericton and share narrow, busy lanes. Hence, why no one ever sees a bicycle uptown.
     Finally, Fredericton Tourism should get bragging rights for the best trails in all in Atlantic Canada!
     In conclusion; better connections to downtown are desperately needed, uptown infrastructure needs a desperate update and promotion for use of trails should continue to increase.
     Who knew we Frederictonians had our own little slice of bicycle heaven?

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