During my university years (and a while after that), my bike was an oft-used mode of transportation. Every morning, rain or shine, I'd hop on and pedal my way up the steep hills out of downtown either to MUN, my internships off Pippy Place, or various other places I needed to go.
Since then, most of what I do is actually downtown near my home, so I mostly walk or drive my car (I didn't have one until I was 30!). But I still remember what it's like to traverse our city streets, and strongly believe that a planned cycling network could make us safer and more healthy.
We kind of already have one. Back in 2007, the City of St. John's convened a cycling committee to explore the potential for a comprehensive Cycling Master Plan. A consultant was hired to propose an approach, and another reviewed and gave final recommendations on how to implement them.
In 2010, the City implemented aspects of the first two "phases" of the Cycling Master Plan, which included the demarcation and identification of several cycling lanes, trails, shared pathways, and sharrows. What was implemented is considered by most to be something of a "bare bones" framework.
What's next with the Cycling Plan?
Since then, activity on the Plan has died down, and many feel that what we have is limited or inadequate for most cyclists (i.e., recreational users, commuters, and sports cyclists). So the City has taken up a review of the current plan this year to figure out the steps forward.
In the next few weeks, Council will be presented with a recommendation to have a consultant review what cycling infrastructure we currently have, monitor its usage (which we've never really done), and then recommend a new approach.
We expect that the cycling committee will be reconvened, probably with some turnover in membership (I certainly intend to be on it this time). We will work with staff, Council, and the public -- using our engagement framework -- to find the best path forward for our City's cycling infrastructure.
Stay informed about the Plan
I'm looking forward to the dialogue finally re-starting and can't wait to help lead it forward! If you'd like to stay up to date on how we progress, please click here to join my mailing list.
What's your vision for cycling in our city? What are the most important things to consider now that we're finally taking a fresh look? Leave a comment below!