Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Trails
(Daily Gleaner Editorial, May 20/11)

The City of Fredericton has been planning on paving more of the capital's trail system, but residents from the city's west end have filed a petition against such a move. Some trail users feel a gravel trail is easier to walk on.

We can also see how the notion of placing a priority on paving trails in the city might be puzzling to some. It might seem odd that municipal officials are talking about paving walking trails at a time when there are potholes on city streets that could swallow compact cars (or so it seems at times).

But we agree with the mayor and other city officials who defended the plan for paving the trails. They argue - and quite successfully, we feel - that paving trails is an inclusionary practice, as it allows the disabled and people with children in strollers to enjoy the trail system with ease.

The more people who can avail themselves of the trails, the better, not just because everyone should be on an equal footing when it comes to municipal services and infrastructure, but because more people on the trails means more people are being active.

Paving the trails also opens the door to other kinds of physical activity as well. It's not just those walking or jogging on these trails. Paving them makes them viable options for cycling, in-line skating and skateboarding.
Not only do paved trails promote more fitness, they promote safety as well. Pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and skateboarders are removed from busy street traffic by using the trails while still being able to get around the city.

The relatively recent development of formalizing and managing the city's trail system has inarguably enhanced quality of life for Frederictonians, and a move to add to the trails' appeal is a good move on the part of city hall.

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