MONCTON, N.B. —
Cyclists in Moncton are voicing their concerns about what they say is a lack of protected bike lanes in the hub city.
While traffic is back to normal on Moncton’s Main Street, the removal of the temporary bike lane now has some residents concerned for their safety.
“My daughter is starting kindergarten in a few weeks and I would love to be able to bike to school with her,” said Matthieu Wade. “As it is right now, either we go on the sidewalk, or I’m not comfortable doing so.”
The pilot project on Main was aimed at boosting foot traffic to downtown businesses during the pandemic. But the installation lasted only seven weeks after 26 retailers signed a petition asking for the barriers to be removed.
“It didn’t surprise me because it looked really bad and it didn’t work well,” said Mark Leblanc.
And while Leblanc may not be surprised by the change, he is frustrated.
Leblanc sent a letter to the city asking for details about the failed project.
“The letter is addressed to the Moncton city manager and I simply asked the manager if we — I and some friends — could have a look at the administrative trail of how this bike path came to be, and how it came to be removed.”
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold says she believes the city has done a good job to make cyclists feel safe.
“I cycle ten kilometers every day in from the north end and I am on beautiful trails for the vast majority of that and even once I get into the downtown core there are streets that are quiet enough that have shared lanes on them, so yeah, I feel very safe cycling in this city,” Arnold said.
But Wade says now the only truly safe spots to cycle in the city are multifunctional paths, which the city recently implemented a speed limit of 15 kilometres per hour on.
“So, now, you have the only protected bike lanes in Moncton that have this speed restriction that I think will limit the amount of people that actually use those to commute,” Wade said.
Leblanc says he wants to work with the city and other cyclists to create a proper bike plan by next year.
“My intention is to get them together, put all of the ideas together and just try to get a plan going where we can build a proper cycling system,” Leblanc said. “It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s very doable in Moncton.”
The mayor says she is interested in hearing any ideas to make cycling safer in the city.