St. John’s council has decided to review the bike lanes on city streets which were put in several years ago.
St. John’s City Council will review its policies and commitments regarding the continued use of bike lanes, such as this one on Frecker Drive, that have been in use since 2009. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
While council spoke highly about making St. John’s more bicycle friendly during Monday’s regular council meeting, several councillors questioned how useful and convenient the painted bike lanes on city streets have turned out to be.
“In the last five years there’s been two, two people riding their bikes up there,” Coun. Bruce Tilley said of the lanes painted in his neighbourhood.
A major issue for council and for residents in areas with bike lanes is that they take up parking spaces. Residents of areas like Frecker Drive and Canada Drive can’t park in front of their homes, Coun. Art Puddister said to The Telegram following the council meeting.
And the rules exist for the whole year, when Puddister said there was about six months out of the year when people don’t use their bikes.
“When you measure the complaints and the disruption to people’s lives versus how many people are actually using these bicycle lanes, council has decided to review and revisit.”
The cycling committee is to be revitalized to look at how the bike lanes have been working out, along with other options to make the city more bicycle friendly.
Coun. David Lane said some streets just weren’t cut out to have bike lanes, but it was important not to trash the whole plan just because parts of it weren’t working.
“I think this cycling plan is more a situation of an incompleted implementation,” he said.
“We’re experimenting with new ideas.”
Puddister suggested that once the committee met again and reviewed the cycling plan, it might be an option to compromise with some of the bike lane laws that now exist.
Some streets may have the lanes hauled out altogther, he said. Others may keep them, but parking could be allowed in them for six months of the year and even overnight.
“If we were to be somewhat flexible with the residential neighbourhoods I think residents would be more open,” Puddister said.
The bike lanes were put in using federal grant money. Council said it would have to look at the contractual obligations of using the grant money before it made any decision on whether the lanes could be removed.