Bike plan plan

Elling Lien shifts into fourth gear.

Cyclists rejoice!

Or, at least, prepare to rejoice!

According to Robin King, the Transportation Engineer, there was a lot of exciting talk about how the city can become a more bike-friendly city this Monday. The Cycling Initiative Committee met with the hired consultant responsible for making the city bike plan, and the plan is to present the public with a few ideas to talk about sometime over the next few weeks.

Made up of representatives from Bicycle NL, the Newfoundland Safety Council, the Concourse Authority, the RNC, the City Recreation Department, as well as avid utilitarian cyclists, the committee had  a two-hour discussion on what routes are important, and how certain routes should be dealt with.

The fun part: the meeting  brought up the subjects of dedicated cycling lanes, bike racks on Metrobuses, and modifying the Grand Concourse trails to accomodate cyclists.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first, says King, the consultant needs to help identify where the major routes should be.

“So for example if there’s a desire-line between the university and the downtown, then we need a route through there; a suitable route,” he says. “Now, what facilities that route will have on it is a different story.”

A few ideas seemed to resonate at the meeting.

There was a lot of discussion at the Monday meeting about focusing on the T-rail as a focal point for the west end of the city, and splaying off routes from that,” King says.

For the east end of the city, they were looking at the Grand Concourse trails, where bikes are not currently allowed. But the consultant identified them as good to include in the proposed network.

Being able to switch easily from bus to bike was also brought up.        “We want to overlay [the networks] with the new bus system to make sure that we’ve got really good connections between the two, and when we ask metrobus to put the racks on, it’ll become a multi-modal thing.”

King was pleasantly surprised about the degree of interest he’s had in the development process. Members of the public can register for an Cycling Plan newsletter on the city website. Without really spreading the word around, 120 members have signed up so far, with more joining every day.

“It’s kind of good that we don’t have anything in place right now because we’re able to plan it properly and learn from the mistakes that other people have made,” he says.

“We can learn from the mistakes of other municipalities and make it that much better when we start it up. It’s much more efficient that way.”

King believes in the idea that “If you build it, they will come.”

“The more people that use it, the more people that see others using it, it’ll become the norm after a while,” he says. “You’ll see people using it all the time.”

To join the mailing list and be alerted when the version of the plan is posted to the website (should be sometime over the next three weeks) go to www.stjohns.ca/cityservices/traffic/cyclingplan.jsp

Happy imagined trails!