Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Paved trails 'accessible to more people' - Transportation | City plans to pave more sections
(excerpt from article published in the Daily Gleaner, July 05/11)

Between walking to and from class, running and biking, Peter Adamson says he spends a lot of time on the trails in Fredericton.
"I'm walking them every night," said Adamson, a third-year geological engineering student at the University of New Brunswick.

In fact, he prefers running on pavement. But while he's heard pavement is hard on the knees, he said hearing the city is planning to pave more sections of the trail doesn't bother him. "I don't know what the long-term effects are but it's better for grip, especially for biking. It's faster," he said. "I'm not 60. My knees are still pretty good."

Although city council's decision last week to spend $105,000 to pave another two kilometres of Fredericton's trail network ignited some complaints from runners, it didn't spark the same kind of reaction it did when plans for paving were announced in 2008.

In about two weeks time, the city will pave two more sections of Fredericton's 85-km trail system - along the Valley Trail on Woodstock Road and along the riverfront from the Lighthouse Adventure Centre to the pedway - bringing the total distance of paved trails in the city to 7.5 km.

Nicholas Larade, manager of the Fredericton Running Room, said when paving plans were revealed in 2008, a lot of people came to his store complaining.
He hasn't seen the same kind of reaction this time, but that could change when the machines roll out.
"Once they start paving more sections, I suspect we'll see more of an outcry and complaints," he said.

But although he understands some people are unhappy with the decision, Don Murray, city forester and acting parks and trees manager, said it's important to pave some sections of the trail because they're not just for recreational use.

But while the role of the trails as a transportation system is important, Murray said paving certain sections allows access to different groups who might not have been able to enjoy the trails before.

He said one particular instance after the first paving project was completed convinced him the city was doing the right thing.
"I was down at the trail visitor centre and I saw a van, I think it was from Pine Grove nursing home," he said.
"They were unloading some of the residents in their wheelchairs and they were driving from the south side over to the north side, the trail visitor centre, and they were taking the seniors from Pine Grove for a walk on that paved section.
"That convinced me right there we were doing the right thing. It made those trails so much more accessible."

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