The Fredericton trail system really is one of the city’s nicest assets. In my previous entry, I discussed my suggestions for improvements to the city’s trail system. I’d like to elaborate a little more on specific sections of the trails that should be examine for expansion or improvement. For a nice map of the current trail system click here (PDF).
Thanks to the railways forming the base for the Fredericton trail system as well as the geographical features such as the Saint John river, most trails run east-west in the city (the exceptions being the Nashwaak and Gibson trails on the North side which follow the Nashwaak river). There is a desperate need to have some trails running North-South. Except perhaps through O’Dell Park it is impractical to expect a fully dedicated bike path but by putting cycling lanes on York, Regent or Smythe street one could easily access the top of the hill and the UNB woodlot area which already has great recreational trails. Another North-South link should be examined on the North side perhaps up Brookside Drive to allow easier access to the Brookside Mall area and if lengthened all of the way up to Killarney Lake another Fredericton recreational gem.
Crossing the Saint John River
There are currently only two places to cross the Saint John river: the old railway bridge and the Westmorland Street Bridge. If anybody has crossed the Westmorland Street bridge on a bicycle will know that it isn’t the nicest place to cycle. Between avoiding pedestrians on the narrow path/sidewalk and getting onto and off of the bridge, crossing the river is definitely not a pleasant experience. Another way over the bridge involves trying to share the busy highway full of cars zooming by without getting clipped. The walking bridge in comparison is a delight to cross (except for the post 10 km/h speed limit). There are a few ways to address the problem. Upgrading the Westmorland Street bridge crossing by widening the current crossing or perhaps creating a crossing on the south or east side of the bridge might allow for a nicer crossing. Another possibility would be to create a walking / cycling bridge across the old Carleton Street Bridge piers. At a reported cost of $670000 to build the pedestrian bridge over Saint Anne’ s Point drive, I doubt that this would be financially be feasible although if done, it would be a huge asset for the city.
I must commend the city however on its foresight to equip Fredericton city transit buses with bicycle racks. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to make use of them, it is nice to know that they are there.