Just when you thought it wasn’t safe whatsoever to ride your bike on the streets of Sin City, it was announced yesterday that phase one of the St. John’s Cycling Master Plan is a go, to the tune of $1.5 million dollars in funding from the Newfoundland and Labrador Green Fund.
Phase One of the project will consist of 43 kilometres of on-road painted bike lanes, installation of signs on an additional 73 kilometres of roadway to designate roads without painted bike lanes as bike routes, the installation of 20 bicycle parking facilities throughout the city, and the installation of bike racks on the fleet of 53 Metrobuses.
The other phases have to do with a promotion and information campaign (cyclists: be safe, motorists: be nice, etc.) and the maintenance of the new system.
No word in the press release on exactly when construction will start or finish, but I’d like to think that by the time the salt has washed away next year and they start painting the lines again, the new cycling lines will be included.
Hopefully, over time, cycling in St. John’s will really catch on as a mode of transportation. Hopefully enough that we’ll eventually get in on the Bixi action.
Bixi is a phenominal bicycle renting service that allows you to take a bike from any of a number of automated stations and drop it off at any other station when you’re done. Montreal has Bixi, and the number of stations available makes Starbucks look Mom & Pop.
That’s them in red.
The price is pretty sweet, too. You can have full access to Bixi for 24 hours for just five bucks. For less than $80, you can ride with Bixi for an entire year.
Bixi is designed for A to B style commuting. As long as you’re only 30 minutes or less between stations then there’s no additional charge. But if you feel like joy riding then they start to bill you for the extra time.
These are durable, well made bikes that require no maintenence from you whatsoever — not even a bike lock.
Bixi is probably a long ways away from coming to St. John’s, if ever. But some incarnation of it might be worth considering as a possible phase five or nine or whathaveyou in the future.
Either way, yesterday’s St. John’s Cycling Master Plan phase one announcement gives us all something to look forward to: a greener St. John’s and some leaner city streets.
Meanwhile, the Tour de France is here to offer us a little two-wheeled inspiration.
[photo by Jean Gangon / Attribution ShareAlike 3.0]