Creating a bicycling-centric community will pay dividends. Bicyclists roll down Harbour Passage on lazy Sunday mornings on their way to the Queen Square Market and they discover the charm of uptown. They return time after time. Remember: cyclists are loyal. Make it easy for them and they return. I know because I do it!
Encouraging people to cycle uptown slows down the drive-by effect. It increases the visibility of businesses from the street unlike in a car, people are not paying attention to the variety of businesses. Bicyclists travel more slowly and are more observant than motorists.
A few years ago there was a program in Saint John to encourage businesses to install bike racks. Happinez, Java Moose & Gilbert McGloan Gillis are among the local businesses that participated in this initiative. City Transit also installed bike racks to help commuters and the city has invested in some dedicated bike lanes and new signage.
This is a great start but I think we can do even better. Let’s install a few bike “corrals” along Water Street, in King’s Square, in Queen’s Square and near the City Market. A bike corral essentially takes the place of one parking spot on the street. 12 bikes can fit in one car space. Make it easy for commuters!
A recent Facebook group called CHAIN GANG SAINT JOHN is rallying to promote the bicycle infrastructure that we do have, lobbying for more and inspiring Saint Johner’s to commute by bicycle…starting with the annual “Bike to Work” week which is happening right now (June 8th – 12th).