Will this project affect the trail along the edge of Rennies River?


    As part of the initial work on this project survey data was collected along the existing trail. This information, combined with preliminary plans for the Rennies River Flood Mitigation berm in the area was assessed. Based on this assessment, it was found that it is not feasible to upgrade/widen the trail in conjunction with the addition of the berm. As such, the preliminary alignment along the river's edge between King's Bridge Road and Portugal Cove Road has been abandoned. 

    As shown in the maps currently provided, the project is now focused on a trail alignment that follows Empire Avenue for the sections east of Carpasian Road.

    Will the trails be paved?

    The goal of the project is to enhance and upgrade the trail to be accessible for everybody in our community to safely use and enjoy.

    The current recommendation to pave Kelly’s Brook trail has many facets but the most important is accessibility. A final decision about trail surface material hasn’t been made yet and this topic will be explored through the public engagement process. 

    5 different surface material types are being evaluated & shared with council and the public for feedback. These include:

    • Non-stabilized granular (traditional granular trail)

    • Stabilized granular (Organic-Lock ™)

    • CORE ™ gravel foundation system

    • Asphalt

    • Concrete

    Please see the information on the evaluation of these surfaces here: https://www.engagestjohns.ca/kelly-s-brook-trail-catalyst-project-1-bike-master-plan/news_feed/surface-material-memo

    Shared use paved trails are standard in cities world-wide and are constructed to be inclusive for everyone. These trails aim to create a shared space for walkers, cyclists, people who use scooters and wheelchairs, and families who use strollers; all residents deserve the opportunity to use our city trails. 

    What about impacts on riverscape and trees?

    Throughout the design and consultation process for these trail upgrades, there will be careful attention paid to the environment, wildlife habitat, and impact on neighbourhoods. The consultant team will:

    • Investigate impacts to wildlife, habitats, nesting areas and movement patterns – considering both construction and long-term impacts.
    • Explore alternatives and relative environmental impacts along Rennie’s River of installing boardwalk, retaining walls, or shifting the preliminary route alignment.
    • Complete a Tree Inventory, Tree Protection Plan, and Landscaping Plan. 
      • The Tree Protection Plan will identify trees to be retained and protected through the construction process. Where feasible to do so efforts will be made to preserve existing trees and natural features. In areas where removal of existing vegetation is necessary replacement planting will be required.

    What about Rennies River and Virginia River Trails?

    These other trails are not under consideration at this time. The City of St. John’s approved the Bike St. John’s Master Plan, including three catalyst projects at the June 10, 2019 City Council meeting. 

    Kelly’s Brook Shared-Use Path is the first catalyst project, the highest priority project identified in the plan. Funding is in place for public engagement, design and construction of this project.

    The second catalyst project is along Rennie's River, and the third is along Virginia River Trail. Funding has not been allocated for either of these projects. The preliminary route alignments shared for these projects are a starting point, but no routes have been finalized. In many areas, alternate routes may be explored as part of the public engagement, environmental review and design process. 

    What's the difference between the Bike St John's Master Plan and Kelly's Brook Shared-Use Path?

    The Bike St John’s Master Plan is a high-level, citywide cycling strategy. That strategy provided the direction to complete the Kelly’s Brook Shared-Use Path project. The Kelly’s Brook Shared-Use Path project is the top priority recommendation in the Bike St John’s Master Plan. It’s a great first project because it really exemplifies a “safe, inclusive, and convenient cycling route that is well-connected, attractive and reflective of the city’s unique topography and climate.” However, it is its own project now with its own budget, unique stakeholders, and public engagement process.

    Who is being consulted for the design of Kelly’s Brook Shared-Use Path?

    General public are invited to complete the survey, submit ideas and suggestions using the mapping and idea board tools, and to participate in a public session on February 16th or 18th. 

    Current trail users are invited to participate in a focus group discussion. Details are posted under “News” on this webpage.

    The project team is collecting input directly from targeted stakeholders represented by the following groups:

    • Grand Concourse Authority 
    • Environmental Experts Panel
    • Universal Design Working Group of the Inclusion Advisory Committee
    • Youth Strategy Implementation Team
    • Bike Advisory Committee
    • Senior’s Advisory Committee

    What is a shared-use path?

    A shared-use path allows for two-way, off-street pedestrian and bicycle use. People using bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, strollers, skateboards, in-line skates etc. are also welcome on the path. Shared-use paths are frequently found in parks, along rivers, beaches and in greenbelts or utility corridors where there are few conflicts with motorized vehicles.

    Where did this idea come from?

    The Bike St. John’s Master Plan was developed with a goal of connecting the various neighbourhoods that make up St. John’s, supporting a more equitable transportation system that connects neighbourhoods with varying densities, resources, age compositions, and sizes. Reflecting the diverse requirements of and opportunities for bicycling in St. John’s, the cycling network is meant to serve people of all ages, abilities, and geographies.

    Although the idea came from the bike master plan, this is not a project just for cyclists. Kelly’s Brook Shared-use Path is meant to serve people of all ages and abilities using all forms of active transportation, including walking, running, biking, and rolling. It is designed to bring residents together for social, recreation and mobility-based activity along a corridor that connects people to many neighbourhoods and important St. John’s city-centre destinations.  

    Additionally, the City’s Strategic Plan 2019-2029 includes the following strategic directions and goals:

    • A City That Moves - A city that builds a balanced transportation network to get people and goods where they want to go safely.
    • Goal M3: Expand and maintain a safe and accessible active transportation network
    • A Connected City - A city where people feel connected, have a sense of belonging, and are actively engaged in community life.
    • Goal C1: Increase and improve opportunities for residents to connect with each other and the City 
    • Goal C2: Develop and deliver programs, services and public spaces that build safe, healthy and vibrant communities
    • A Sustainable City - A city that is sustainable today and for future generations; economically, environmentally and financially.
    • Goal S2: Plan for land use and preserve and enhance the natural and built environment where we live

    Where is the money coming from to pay for this project?

    Three levels of government are sharing the investment in this project. The Government of Canada is committed to half of the funding. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will provide one-third, and the City of St. John’s will provide the remaining seventeen percent. 

    “On behalf of Council and staff, we are thankful to our Federal and Provincial partners for this significant investment in City infrastructure. Upgrading Kelly’s Brook Trail is a major step in building an integrated mobility network that will support multiple modes of active transportation in our City. Improved connectivity will provide health and economic benefits for many years to come, and I look forward to breaking ground on this project.” -City of St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen

    What are the advantages of a shared-use path?

    • In the context of Kelly’s Brook Trail, a shared-use path is recommended to best accommodate the needs of users of all ages and abilities.
    • Shared-use paths encourage people to use active transportation, leading to more active living.
    • Sharing pathways helps to build a trail community by increasing the need for all users to cooperate to preserve and protect a common resource. Encountering other users on a trail offers the opportunity to meet and talk, helping to establish mutual respect and courtesy.

    What is active transportation?

    Generally speaking, active transportation describes all human-powered forms of travel. This includes people moving on foot (walking, jogging or running) and people using bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, strollers, skateboards, in-line skates and more! Walking and biking are among the most popular and can be combined with other modes, such as public transit. Walking to the store, rolling to school, and biking to the recreation centre are examples of active transportation.

    Why improve active transportation in St. John’s?

    Improved Health. When people become more physically active, their mental and physical health improves, increasing productivity, reducing sick days, requiring less medical treatment, and saving healthcare costs. Obesity levels in St. John’s (56.1%) are higher than the national average (24.8%). There is an inverse relationship between obesity and active transportation. Improving active transportation infrastructure impacts obesity outcomes. In addition, Newfoundland and Labrador has the most rapidly aging population in Canada. Living a more active lifestyle is very important for healthy aging.

    Recreational Benefit. Improving a city’s active transportation network increases the number of routes that are comfortable not just for commuting and transportation, but also for leisure and recreation.

    Environmental Responsibility. In Newfoundland and Labrador, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita are 4% higher than the Canadian average. In 2016, the use of cars, light trucks, and motorcycles accounted for 17% of the province’s GHG emissions (or 48% of transportation sector emissions). Between 2009 and 2016, Newfoundland and Labrador household transportation emissions increased by 40.9%. In 2018, GHG emissions were 6.08 tonnes per capita in St. John’s, which is above the 2016 provincial average of 5.8 tonnes per capita. Reducing motor vehicle trips helps mitigate climate change through the reduction of GHG emissions.

    Livable Streets. When more people use active transportation (AT) instead of drive, there are fewer cars on the road, reducing traffic and congestion on city streets. Physically separated bicycle facilities reduce risks for people bicycling, and when more bicycle infrastructure is available, people perceive it to be safer. There is also safety in numbers; as more people bike, there are proportionately fewer cycling accidents and the rates of collisions with motor vehicles decrease. Livable streets are vibrant, attractive, safe, and welcoming to all people, whether walking, rolling, cycling, or driving. These characteristics support a dynamic economic and social environment, encourages use by the entire community, create a strong sense of place, and foster community pride.

    Government Cost Savings. The government savings associated with more people using active transportation outweigh the costs of investing in those facilities. For example, cost-benefit analysis has estimated that a $1 investment in cycling saves the government $14. Shifts to walking and bicycling from urban driving are estimated to save 3¢/km travelled in urban roadway infrastructure and traffic service costs. In terms of healthcare costs, it is estimated that in Canada, the economic costs of physical inactivity are $5.3 billion, and obesity are $4.3 billion.

    Personal Financial Benefit. Investing in active transportation facilities makes city transportation more equitable. Overall, transportation accounts for 19.9% of household spending on goods and services in Canada. Spending on transportation is disproportionately high among low-and moderate-income families. For these households, active transportation is an affordable option when cities invest in active transportation and public transit. For example, driving costs on average $9,000 annually, including fuel, maintenance, and insurance. A year of Metrobus passes costs $936. Alternatively, the operating costs of regular cycling are on average, $308 annually. While active transportation cannot replace all types of trips, it can reduce the need for vehicle ownership and be used as part of an integrated mobility network.

    References here.

    Who are the people designing the pathway and making decisions?

    • City staff are working with the design team, which includes experts who are considering safety, user comfort, environmental impacts, climate, path amenities, accessibility, public input, etc.
    • Working with City staff, the design team will consider best practices and information received during the consultation process.
    • The design team will consult with the City’s Advisory Committees, including the Environment and Sustainability Experts Panel, the Inclusion Advisory Committee, the Seniors' Advisory Committee, the Bike St. John's Advisory Committee, and the Youth Strategy Implementation Team.
    • The design team will consult with the public through the Engage St. John’s website, public survey and public workshops and other stakeholders, such as the Grand Concourse Authority, nearby residents and businesses, trail users, the university, etc.

    What will the shared-use path look like?

    Shared-use paths are designed to provide a safe environment for all; as such, they typically have a 3 metre wide corridor, are paved, and may have a painted dividing line.

    The design team is evaluating five surface treatment options for the shared-use path: a standard fine gravel surface, a stabilized gravel surface, a gravel foundation system, and asphalt and concrete surfaces. The following characteristics are being considered: the look and feel of the surface, accessibility and impact on users, environmental sustainability, construction impact and cost, as well as expected lifespan, durability and maintenance requirements. The choice of surface material will be informed by feedback from the engagement process and the design team’s evaluation. Finally, this information and a recommendation will be presented to Council who will make the final decision about surface material.

    Are shared-use pathways safe for both pedestrians and people who bike?

    Yes. For the number of people expected to use Kelly's Brook Trail (less than 100 people per hour), a shared-use path is an appropriate facility type for people of all ages and abilities to use. According to the Bike St John's Master Plan, when a trail regularly sees more than 100 people per hour, separation of people biking and pedestrians should be considered.

    When sharing a path, all people using the space have responsibilities that maintain each others’ safety. There are many best practices that help minimize user conflict (e.g., maintaining an appropriate speed, using a bell, using lights at night, keeping dogs under control, being aware of more vulnerable users). 

    Trail users learn about respectfully sharing the pathway by following the signage along the trail and through other educational initiatives (e.g. through City initiatives or trail user groups).

    Does the City have any plans to make the section of the Rennie’s River Trail from Carpasian Road to Prince Philip Road part of a Proposed Shared Bike Trail?

    The section of the Rennies River Trail from Carpasian Road to Prince Philip Drive is not part of the Kelly’s Brook Shared Use Path and is not under consideration at this time.