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LETTER: Bike plan has big plans for walking trails

LETTER: Bike plan has big plans for walking trails

Rennies River Trail in St. John’s, between Portugal Cove and Kings Bridge roads. — Robert Bishop photo I’ll open this letter with a shout: Save…

Saturday, Oct 17

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Rennies River Trail in St. John’s, between Portugal Cove and Kings Bridge roads. — Robert Bishop photo I’ll open this letter with a shout: Save our trails!

Why the shouting, you might ask? At a suspiciously low-key function on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 2nd, the City of St. John’s took a giant step towards the destruction of the cherished walking trails that daily, year-round, see thousands of residents and visitors enjoying healthy exercise in beautiful and safe surroundings. The occasion was to announce a funding agreement between the three levels of government to “upgrade” the Kelly’s Brook Trail, one of the main trails in the Grand Concourse system, in order to make it a “shared-use path” to encourage bicycling.

Sounds innocuous doesn’t it? A “shared-use path.” This project originated in the Bike St. John’s Master Plan and it is just the first in a series of “catalyst projects” that will see the Kelly’s Brook, Rennies River and the Virginia River Trails widened, straightened, clear-cut and paved over. The design standard in the plan is for a 10-foot wide strip of asphalt, two-foot gravel shoulders on each side and a further “apron” cutting out and removing all trees, shrubs and other vegetation except grass for six feet on each side. According to the Bike Master Plan this is for the safety of the bicyclists who apparently can’t be trusted not to run into trees and injure themselves. Oddly, that same Master Plan considers that the walkers, runners, children and dogs expected […]

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