Cyclists seek ideas to make downtown Fredericton safer for them

Cyclists seek ideas to make downtown Fredericton safer for them

Braving Fredericton's city streets on two wheels instead of four?

Fredericton Active Transportation Coalition is hosting the Make Cycling in Fredericton Easier event tonight.

It's a roundtable discussion for all cyclists in the area on problems they face getting around — and how to make things better.

- New bike lanes to give cyclists 'higher priority' in downtown Fredericton 

- Sensible bike lanes would keep cyclists off sidewalks, advocate says 

"We're looking for access," said David Kersey, a member of the Fredericton Active Transportation Coalition.

Often, Kersey said, cyclists have trouble getting around Fredericton's downtown core. And with the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge closing for extensive repairs in the next two or three years, they'll have even more trouble in the city.

But he said more and more cyclists are using their bikes to get to restaurants, grocery stores and breweries.

"Accessibility on a bike, you can drive right to your destination, park it and you're right there."  

Safety is another priority for the cycling community, particularly for families cycling in the downtown area. This includes King and Queen streets.

He said there's also a lack of connectivity with trails in the area. 

"When it comes to commuting — that is getting down to where your office is, especially downtown — it is lacking," he said. "It's a result of a perception that a lot of cities ... have, that cycling is still sport and recreation."   

Kersey said it's important to move beyond that and increase the number of cyclists across the city.

"To get more people cycling, we have to go from a painted white line on the road," he said.

Although Kersey applauded Fredericton's trail system, he said one of the bigger gaps is with downtown cycling.

"This is an economic development issue because cities are looking at attracting millennials … they really don't want to drive cars they want to bike, take public transit."

New bike lanes in the works

In December, city staff proposed bike lanes in downtown Fredericton for 2019, including one along Queen Street, between Regent Street and Northumberland, up Northumberland to Brunswick and along Brunswick to Church. Carleton Street would also have a connecting lane between Queen and Brunswick streets.

The cycling group plans to discuss the proposed bike lanes and routes.

After Thursday's meeting, Kersey said, the group will keep in touch with the city and plan future events like this one to improve cycling.

"It's a chance for the city to get some feedback from users in terms of what they like, what they don't like in terms of changes being made primarily in the downtown," said Jon Lewis, a traffic engineer with the City of Fredericton.

The Fredericton Active Transportation Coalition will be at the Picaroons Roundhouse between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday.