St. John’s bike-lane parking ban coming back

Daniel MacEachern
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Come April, a St. John’s ban on parking in bike lanes will be back in place.

Telegram file photo
St. John’s city council will soon reinstate a parking ban in bike lines, such as this one on Frecker Drive in St. John’s.

City council lifted the bike-lane parking ban for the winter, with Coun. Art Puddister planning to have the ban lifted year-round.


From bike lane to park lane

But Coun. Dave Lane at Monday’s public council meeting asked council to hold off on any changes until the city’s newly formed bicycle task force can study the issue and make its report, noting that parking was one of the main reasons the bicycle task force was assembled in the first place.

“The recommendation is we not extend the parking allowance so that there is no confusion, and it would also give us time to come up with long-term recommendations through the less than a year we have to make those recommendations on behalf of cyclists in the city,” said Lane.

Council voted 8-2 in favour of reinstating the parking ban in bike lanes April 1 as planned, with Puddister and Coun. Bruce Tilley voting against it.

“These bicycle lanes have been quite a nuisance and affect the quality of life of a lot of people,” said Puddister, who said he was expecting the task force to have made its recommendations by now. “I don’t know the reasons it’s been delayed. Now we’re talking about moving out a number of months. We have citizens who are now parking in front of their houses over the past four months. To let them continue on for the next two to three months, whenever the recommendations come forward, I don’t see what the problem is.”

Lane said the task force has only had one meeting so far.

Coun. Sandy Hickman said relaxing the ban over the winter made sense, but council should be encouraging recreational activity and exercise.

“During the winter, practically speaking, not a lot of bicycling going on in these areas,” he said. “But we’re a progressive city, a modern city … we need to be thinking this way. I fully support the committee, the bicycle plan. I also have a huge concern with the cost and the timing of removing the (bike lane) lines. Those lines are there, the expectation would be that they would be used and enforced by the bicycling public.”

Some councillors who supported Lane’s motion to reinstate the parking ban did so reluctantly.

“I’m disappointed that it’s taken so long for this committee to get formed and get up and running,” said Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth. “Coun. Puddister identified that there was lots of time during the winter for this to take place. But in recognizing that we have the infrastructure already in place to enact this ban, it would make sense to carry on with having the bike lanes in place.”

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Recent comments

  • once more
    March 09, 2016 - 11:53

    Dear Paul, you are wondering how the task force was chosen and you wonder if they will come up with the right solution without the bias that could be coming from the "chosen" ones. If they do their work properly and they look in all places more advanced (for lack of a better word) than St John's I can already tell you what their recommendations will be and you know why? because it has already been done and studied pretty much everywhere else in the western world. The problem will only be to see how to deal with the backwardness of this mentality that seems to prevail here .

  • NL Hunter
    March 08, 2016 - 14:12

    Talk about a waste of taxpayer dollars at City Hall.... The individuals on this "Bicycle Task Force" did not come up with a plan within the allotted time. So did they get paid for their lax efforts? B'ys put the coffee down, turn off the smart phone, stay off facebook and do what you are paid to do. To the mayor and council - You gonna hold these people accountable for their inefficient actions?

    • NL Not Just Blathering Blindly
      March 08, 2016 - 14:28

      The Task Force was chosen less than a month ago. They've only had a single meeting. Council only approved the launch of the Task Force on 2016-02-08. To answer your question, the volunteers on the Task Force are not paid - this has been very clear in all of the city's publications about the group. You're blindly complaining about something you've clearly never read anything about. B'y, put the coffee down, turn off the smart phone, stay off Facebook and learn about the topic before shooting your mouth off.

    • Mislead
      March 08, 2016 - 14:48

      They aren't paid, its a voluntary committee, who have day jobs and can't get together at the drop of a hat, it takes time to fit everyone's schedules

    • Rob
      March 08, 2016 - 16:18

      The Bicycle Task Force is unpaid and made up of professionals from various industries who are volunteering their time. Many of these individuals have lived around the world in cities with vast cycling infrastructure and have seen first-hand its benefits and drawbacks. Applications for the Task Force were submitted in the fall, and the individuals were selected and contacted last month to participate. The first meeting has just taken place and will hopefully be consulting science and data, rather than opinion and emotion, to make its recommendations.

    • Paul
      March 09, 2016 - 10:23

      Wonder who selected the committee and what are/were the though patterns of those who made the selections? For instance, did whoever made the selections already have a bias on the subject and only chose from those volunteers who he/she thought would provide the 'correct' answers they are expecting?

  • Driver
    March 08, 2016 - 11:50

    What a waste of paint! Drivers pay to use roads and pay high insurance. What happens if some bike rider runs into my vehicle? All bike riders should have to take training and pass a common sense test and have public liability insurance before being allowed on the roads that all vehicle drivers pay to use.

    • Chebucto
      March 08, 2016 - 12:51

      Get over yourself. We all pay for roads in taxes. Way more than you do filling up $30 at Irving.

    • bert70
      March 08, 2016 - 14:00

      You are right DRIVER , the problem is definitely the cyclists not all the great and courteous we have here in this town. Much easier to pound on the small minority who might enjoy their commute/ a fun athetic activity and whatever else that doesn't agree with the overweight majority sitting in their big gas guzzler. WELCOME TO ST JOHN"S !

    • NL Not Just Blathering Blindly
      March 08, 2016 - 14:47

      Let's dig into your statements. "Drivers pay to use roads". How do you pay? Property tax? The average cyclist likely pays as much, if not more property taxes than the average motorist. (46% of the people in the St. John's Metropolitan Area live outside of St. John's. The vast majority of cyclists on the road pay city taxes, while a significant fraction of the drivers don't.) You pay at the pump? How much does St. John's tax gas? 0¢/L. How does paying 0¢/L to the municipality give motorists exclusive access to our roads? You pay insurance? Do you really think that Anthony Insurance is building and maintaining roads with your premiums? The ignorance and self-entitlement in this comments section is appalling.

    • Rob
      March 08, 2016 - 16:35

      Road use and maintenance fees are rolled into property taxes, which means that drivers do not pay any different amount than cyclists, pedestrians or wheelchair users. I agree that all cyclists should have proper training. Most cyclists in St. John's are also experienced motorists, and know road regulations very well. There are some cyclists (usually younger, less experienced users) who don't know the rules of the road, bike hand signals, or that riding on the sidewalk is illegal. As for insurance, if a cyclist hits your vehicle, it is a traffic accident and should be reported to the police immediately. The cyclist will have to provide proper identification (as will you) and any party deemed to be at fault will have to pay any damages. Since the cyclist likely doesn't have insurance (though cycling insurance is becoming more common in Canada), they would be required to pay it out-of-pocket.

    • Me again
      March 08, 2016 - 18:16

      According to the RNC estimate, they think that up to 50percent of drivers on the road do not carry any insurance, so where is your whole point about " drivers pay insurance so we should be the only one on the road" ? Maybe it is the time to bring the also very good point that cyclists never stop at red lights ( unlike car drivers of course)

  • SkepticalNewfoundlander
    March 08, 2016 - 09:13

    Making St. John's bike friendly is a pipe dream. There is nothing you can do about the bad weather, the geography, the horribly inefficient road layout and the urban sprawl. There will never be a significant percentage of people using those bike lanes. And the irrational fantasy of a small minority is wasting everybody's money and inconveniencing a lot of people. It's ridiculous.

    • Rob
      March 08, 2016 - 17:21

      St. John's is perfectly bike-friendly! The weather is bad, making it difficult do cycle from December to March. But with technological advances in cold-weather clothing, studded tires and wide-tired Fatbikes, riding in snow is moving from "impossible" to merely "somewhat challenging". Fatbikes in particular are capable of riding in snowy conditions that cars are incapable of moving in, and are actually a viable alternative on storm days, however as a relative newcomer to the market, these bikes are still relatively expensive. The geography is admittedly difficult to overcome, but with a little practice even the steepest hills in the city can be climbed by an amateur, and they can almost all be avoided by choice of route. Inefficient road layout - you got me there. Urban sprawl is not an issue though. At a moderate pace (15-25kph) a cyclist can move from any one place in St. John's to any other place in St. John's/Paradise/Mt. Pearl in under 60 minutes. Bike lanes are (as has been proven repeatedly in cities over the last century) a major factor in encouraging use of bicycles. Rates of adoption increase by as much as 55% once bicycling infrastructure is built. If you build them, people will ride. How do bicycle lanes inconvenience people? Yes, they limit on-street parking space - but do you reasonably need that parking space? Admittedly, existing bike lanes don't seem to have been placed with much consideration for usability, but in places like Cowan Heights for example, homes have ample off-street parking availability, and streets are wide enough to accommodate both bicycle lanes and on-street parking. Historically, proximity to bicycle lanes has actually increased property value and livability ratings in cities worldwide. The challenge is to make sure bike lanes are strategically placed to maximize usage, thereby reducing the need for parking in the long term.

    • Jon
      March 09, 2016 - 09:50

      Sadly, this is the mentality for everything in St. John's. "You can't do that here because. ". We are great at finding reasons to not do things. Like the guy from Shannygannock the other day. "Can't lose weight in Newfoundland because we have bad food and bad weather".

    • Mark
      March 09, 2016 - 11:01

      Ah yes, the "appeal to laziness" argument. It always appears any time anyone brings up cycling infrastructure here along with the "angry motorist" one. I ride bikes both on and off road 12 months a year. It takes a bit of willpower to do it in February but it's still better than siting on my ass and complaining about the weather. FWIW, I also own a car and pay my fair share of property, income and fuel taxes (along with most other cyclists) so you know what you can do with the "cyclists don't pay to use roads" angle. Anything that might improve the livability of the city or even the health of its citizens is met with this kind of opposition. It's tiresome at best.

  • N
    March 08, 2016 - 08:31

    No need for parking ban. Bikes will have to share the streets with cars just as they do elsewhere in the world. the winter parking ban being lifted on April 1 as well? If not it should be.

  • Really?
    March 08, 2016 - 08:30

    I'm all for bike lanes...IF...people use them. Seems people are still biking in traffic.

    • Tim
      March 08, 2016 - 11:06

      Because someone in the Gower Street bunker decided that bike lanes would be a good idea where thousands of people, though no other choice have been parking their cars curbside for the past 100 years in front of their homes. The only way a city can have a true bike lane is to add another lane which it utterly unreasonable in this city.

    • Rob
      March 08, 2016 - 17:24

      Tim - admittedly, existing bike lanes seem to be in odd places. They are not appropriate on roads where there is no off-street parking. They are appropriate on wider roads, suburban areas with adequate off-street parking, and thoroughfares where on-street parking is already illegal or impractical.

    • Bert70
      March 08, 2016 - 17:34

      Dear Really I have no idea where in the world you have been but the fact that there is some painted line scattered here and there around town does not mean that cyclists have no rights where there are none. The more I hear , the more I despair for this place. You barely see a cyclist for let's say every 300 cars on the road and yet you have a problem with the cyclist. What else is there to add? Vote for Puddister at the next election , he'll ban all cycling off the city, he is your man.

    • Corvek
      March 10, 2016 - 07:41

      I've used the lanes on Canada drive to commute to work in the summer. I also use the lanes on Mundey Pond Rd. People still park in them so I have to spend time in the road instead of the bike lane. Also city workers like to leave road signs in them making me go out into traffic.

  • Voyager
    March 08, 2016 - 08:05

    All these regulations are but ink on paper, without enforcement. They should also ban spaceships from landing in these lanes as well!

  • guy incognito
    March 08, 2016 - 07:43

    The bike lanes are a joke. It's not fit to drive a car around in this city, let alone drive a bike.

    • Corvek
      March 10, 2016 - 07:44

      Have you actually tried to bike in this city. I do every summer and fall season.Usually have no trouble. Just requires you to be aware of your surroundings.

  • Sad
    March 07, 2016 - 22:05

    It's sad to see the council we have. We can't park on the street because of bikes that don't use it. Let's get the ducks out of Bowring Park because the dodo birds may use it. Let's ban skidoos on Water St June to Sept. Let's ban seadoos on Water St Jan to Mar.

  • Chebucto
    March 07, 2016 - 21:24

    Could they get any more backwards at city hall? Boo hoo, people in the suburbs can't park in their own driveways? Nobody is entitled to a parking spot on the street in front of their house.

    • Bert70
      March 08, 2016 - 11:51

      Dear Chebucto, you are asking if they can be any more backwards at city hall...please have a look at all the comments above , the council is only a representation of how backward this town is .