Kelly's Brook Shared-Use Path

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Two benches beside a gravel trail facing a grassy field

Kelly's Brook Shared-Use-Path is the first catalyst project coming from the Bike St John's Master Plan. The shared-use path will extend from King's Bridge Road to Columbus Drive. It is mostly in place as a granular walking trail today, linking several neighbourhoods through an important east-west greenway that largely parallels Empire Avenue (between King's Bridge Rd and Carpasian Rd, the route will be along Empire Ave). Its goal is to provide an attractive and continuous 4.8 km recreation corridor and active transportation city-centre route, connecting popular destinations and amenities along the way. The shared-use path is proposed for people of all ages and abilities, using all forms of active transportation, including walking, running, biking, and rolling.

The City of St. John's has engaged a highly qualified team of professionals to complete the detailed design of the shared-use path while working closely with city staff. The design team is providing a series of public engagement opportunities for residents and stakeholders to share their input to inform design decisions around elements such as lighting, surface materials, path alignment, trailhead and rest areas, wayfinding, and other features that emerge during the process.

How to provide feedback:

Kelly's Brook Shared-Use-Path is the first catalyst project coming from the Bike St John's Master Plan. The shared-use path will extend from King's Bridge Road to Columbus Drive. It is mostly in place as a granular walking trail today, linking several neighbourhoods through an important east-west greenway that largely parallels Empire Avenue (between King's Bridge Rd and Carpasian Rd, the route will be along Empire Ave). Its goal is to provide an attractive and continuous 4.8 km recreation corridor and active transportation city-centre route, connecting popular destinations and amenities along the way. The shared-use path is proposed for people of all ages and abilities, using all forms of active transportation, including walking, running, biking, and rolling.

The City of St. John's has engaged a highly qualified team of professionals to complete the detailed design of the shared-use path while working closely with city staff. The design team is providing a series of public engagement opportunities for residents and stakeholders to share their input to inform design decisions around elements such as lighting, surface materials, path alignment, trailhead and rest areas, wayfinding, and other features that emerge during the process.

How to provide feedback:

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions here. Can't find the information you are looking for? Post your question or comment here and someone will get back to you soon.

To see the questions asked during the pre-engagement period please see this archive: Pre-engagement Q&A.

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    Prior to the current configuration, the intersections of Rennies Mill/Empire and Carpasian/Empire were very dangerous and accidents were frequent. The 2002 changes greatly enhanced safety. The online survey gives two options for the new proposed Empire Ave stretch of the trail - either make Empire one way or reduce parking. Given the existing traffic restrictions (specifically that between Rennies Mill and Carpasian, Circular is one way and that on Empire you can only turn right on Rennies Mill and Carpasian), has an analysis been completed of traffic patterns and how they would be impacted by making Empire Ave one way? In which direction are you proposing Empire would be one way and what other changes would that necessitate?

    Aisling C. Gogan asked about 2 months ago

    Empire Avenue would be one-way heading east from Rennie's Mill Road to Kings Bridge Road. This change will reduce vehicle volumes on Empire Avenue.

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    Just wondering what paint options are being considered for street crossings? A “Kermit” green street crossing would help increase awareness for drivers.

    yimbyyt asked about 2 months ago

    A 3-metre wide painted crosswalk with "elephants feet" to designate shared-use will likely be used. Green paint may be used in other projects but not likely for this one.

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    Does the City STILL consider the Kelly's Brook Shared-Use Path to be a template (catalyst) for installing shared-use paths on the Virginia River and Rennie's River walking paths, and elsewhere throughout the city as envisioned in the "St. John's Bike Master Plan"? We realize funding is not in place for those YET; but citizens want assurance that THIS path ISN'T the first of many.

    mmb asked about 1 month ago

    There is a lot to learn from this project. For example, this public engagement process is collecting valuable information about people's attitudes and preferences. Counters will be installed along Kelly's Brook Trail to measure usage over time.  There is currently no work being done to convert the Rennie’s River or Virginia River trails to shared-use. 

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    Where is the plan for pedestrians and dog walkers (not bikers) who currently use the Kelly's Brook Trail? If it exists I nave not found it. I have seen the detailed plan (200 plus pages) for bikers to use the shared use path but cannot find the plan for the people (like me) who currently use the trails. I believe the city created a great plan for bikers and then laid that plan on top of river trails and paths, without any engagement with the pedestrians. Not so much as a "how do you do". No wonder there is push back. I can see how a shared use path would work in some areas but not in others. Where is the plan that shows pedestrians how this is suppose to work? Will there be separate lanes for pedestrians and bikers, what about blind corners, signage, "rules of the road" etc etc. There are so many questions, yet there is no pedestrian plan to engage with. You are asking me to engage and I say show me the plan of how this will work and I will engage. If the pedestrian plan is posted, please point me to it. Thank you.

    Pat Angel asked about 1 month ago

    Converting some walking trails to shared-use is recommended in the 2009 Parks & Recreation Plan, in the 2014 Open Space Master Plan, and most recently in the 2019 Bike St John’s Master Plan. Each of these plans included public feedback as part of their development. Each project recommended in the Bike St John’s Master Plan is required to complete public engagement as part of the planning process.

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    Good Morning Can you please confirm that people who own property along the proposed Empire Ave route will specifically be engaged in discussion about the implications of this routing? I'm in favour of a shared-use path. Thank you. Cheers.

    Sean Charters asked about 2 months ago

    Yes, residents in that section will receive direct mail information and an invitation to participate in a meeting this week.

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    with reference to my last question. How or by what specific means will the path users be separated from vehicular traffic?

    David Winter asked 2 months ago

    Where the shared-use path is along a roadway there are a few options for physical separation from motor vehicle traffic. The shared-use path may be grade separated with a curb or with a physical barrier.

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    Although the Bike Plan title refers to bikes, in other jurisdictions Multi-Use trails allow skating, scooters, pedal-bikes, recumbent bicycles, wheel chairs, kid strollers, skateboards, longboards and many other non-motorized ways of moving around. I expect that our City also envisages a similar variety of users for our Multi-Use Trails. The City survey that accompanies this round of engagement poses questions about what types of transport people would be interested in allowing. In any case, once a wide Multi-Use Trail system is in place such a variety of traffic modes will become impossible to prevent, even if that is not what is currently envisaged. It is hoped that the final Trail designs will minimize impact: **** On existing Trails, preserving the quietness and natural setting as much as possible ***** On the surrounding neighbourhoods where a Trail passes close to back yards The final Trail needs to utilize alternate routing where such can be found. PRELIMINARY PLAN AT LIONS PARK AREA I live close to Lions Park. I have had a look at the preliminary Kelly's Brook Multi Use Trail route between Newtown Road and Bonaventure Avenue (ref Trail Sections 9 and 10). I note that the Preliminary Plan shows the new paved trail taking the route of the current gravel walking trail, close to backyards of houses 1 - 25 Whiteway Street. A widening and paving of the trail to 10 feet (3 metres), along with drastically increasing the amount and nature of the traffic, would deteriorate the quality of this very picturesque and quiet piece of Trail. In addition there can be additional noise nuisance anticipated by the residents who have back yards close to the trail, with the introduction of skateboarding, organized groups etc, as suggested by the City survey. DISCUSSION I use this trail daily to walk my dog, and can confirm that this is a very well used section of the Trail. This section of Trail is in fact its own Linear Park, with mature trees and a grassed separation from the bustle of the Lions Softball Park in particular, but also at times from the Lions Chalet and Re/Max Centre. The Linear Park provides a welcome quiet oasis for walkers, families pushing kids strollers, and wheelchair users. The Park bench is very pleasant to sit at. The City has been enhancing the shielding of the Linear Park by installing a row of nursery trees along the side of the gravel access road. It would be a shame to change the nature of the Linear Park as it is now, especially given that there is a readily available solution. ALTERNATE ROUTE SOLUTION A much better solution would be to instead provide the new paved Trail section along the side of the existing Lions ballfield gravel road. This road provides access to the scorekeeper building and club house. The paved Trail rerouting would begin behind the scorekeeper building, and end at the cul de sac bulb in front of the Lions Chalet. That way the existing Linear Park can remain as is. There are many advantages to rerouting the Multi-Use Trail along the existing Lions Ballfield road: ***** Replacing a narrow gravel trail with a 3m wide paved throughway will mix an ever increasing number of fast traffic (cyclists, skateboarders, scooters etc.) with the current walkers, kids strollers and wheelchair users. In wintertime walkers will have to share the trail with fat-tire bikers and possibly cross-country skiers. This is of course the objective in creating the Multi-Use Trail in the first place, the additional trail width being necessary to minimize accidents. Inevitably this will change the whole feel for current trail users with all the fast moving traffic going by. Apart from the discomfort of hearing the tire and skateboard noise, the walker will always be concerned that a cyclist or skateboarder coming from behind will crash into them. The City needs to build in a series of refuge areas where possible to give the walker a break from such concerns ***** The existing Linear Park provides just such a ready made refuge for walkers. In addition the gravel path in this place is flat and can be accessed by wheelchair users and kids strollers ***** There is lots of room along the Lions Ballpark access road to accommodate a 3m wide strip of asphalt. The asphalted surface would if anything be of benefit to the ballfield maintenance staff and their vehicles. If needed, to reduce any impact a small portion of the grassed area adjacent the gravel road could be used ***** The existing gravel Trail can remain in its current form, preserving its natural refuge feeling, and avoiding the need for tree removal ***** The rerouting will save the cost of approximately two thirds of the new asphalt paving that would have to occur if the existing trail route were paved over ***** The City also saves substantial future maintenance costs with less asphalt pavement to maintain. ***** Maintenance of the current asphalt access road from Bonaventure Avenue is currently a City responsibility so there is no additional maintenance cost to the City in expanding the use of the access road ***** Maintenance of the existing Linear Park gravel surface has proved extremely cheap. Indeed, in the 26 years that I have lived nearby I have never seen any works done on the gravel surface ***** Traffic along the existing paved access road from Bonaventure Avenue is low and cyclists etc. can easily see vehicles and safely avoid them ***** The existing paved access road from Bonaventure Avenue is very wide and can easily accommodate a dedicated zone for a Multi-Use Trail ***** The goals of the City Zero Increase in Runoff By-Law are better achieved with less asphalt paving taking place over the existing porous gravel Trail ***** Widening and making the current gravel trail behind 1 - 23 Whiteway Street, along with several properties along Bonaventure Avenue, with the resulting bike and skateboard use would seriously impact negatively on the enjoyment of the back yards of those residents. Rerouting as proposed here would spare those back yards the nuisance of increased noise from the planned increase in Trail users and noisier traffic from bikes and skateboards etc. ***** A potential biking safety hazard is avoided, where the gravel Trail currently exits to the asphalt road in front of the Re/Max centre (see additional commentary below). A serious sight hazard would be created if the existing Trail were paved over for bike use in the way shown on the current plans. A cyclist (or skateboarder) emerging from behind the white fence behind #99 Bonaventure Avenue would have no sight distance to see oncoming traffic. Given the low volume of traffic the cyclist may feel the risk is low, “take a small chance” and ignore a stop sign. Safety measures would have to include removal of a mature tree, acquisition of a triangular piece of backyard property, and relocation of the fence, which would involve more tree removal in the current backyard of #99 Bonaventure Avenue. Even then, the hazard is not totally avoided in the way that simply using the existing asphalt road for the multi use trail would achieve. I would be pleased to discuss this matter further with your design team if needed. Submitted by Brendan O’Connell

    brenoconnell asked about 2 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback. It has been shared with the design team.

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    Is there an estimate on what the city's 17% project capital expenditure will be plus annual maintenance costs? How does this compare to the expenditure on winter sidewalk clearing. If the goal is to make St. John's more of a 'world-class' city with respect to trails, connectivity, mobility and Safety it is my opinion that much more needs to be done to increase winter mobility and street safety by improving it's winter operations around sidewalks. I can tell you personally in the past 2-3 years I've been left mortified on several occasions due to near misses with pedestrians while driving. In all instances it was because they were walking on the street and quite often on semi-blind hills or corners because the sidewalk conditions were unsuitable for them to use. This has happened on more than one occasion this winter alone. I hate to say this but it's only a matter of time before these near misses become fatalities. I just hope it's not me in the driver's seat when it does happen..

    MJ asked about 2 months ago

    The city’s 17% portion of capital costs is estimated to be about $377,940. The existing trail is already being maintained. Once upgraded, ongoing maintenance costs will depend on pathway surface material and level of maintenance.

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    How will separation of path users from vehicular traffic be achieved in Phase one of the plan?

    David Winter asked 2 months ago

    The goal of this project is to have a path that is fully separated from motor vehicle traffic. Locations where the path crosses streets will also be considered carefully.

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    I am very concerned about the impact many of these changes will have to some forested sections of the current walking trails and to wildlife. The walking trail behind St. Pat’s ball feild is a unique little oasis consisting of Kelly’s Brook above ground, a lovely long canopy of forest, and birds that I don’t see on other sections of trail. The birds love the forest there and they gather around the old dam right where a brand new section of trail is being proposed. The Bike Plan suggests not following the current trail due to stairs and a steep slope, but creating a brand new path for bikes to get up to the street. The new trail would involve removing a large number of trees and dramatically altering the wildlife habitat. Please stick to the current trail and find a creative way to work with the slope where the stairs are. Leave the trees on the other side of the brook alone. Worst case scenario, this section of Empire Ave is very quiet and has very little traffic. There is plenty of room for a bike lane on this quiet stretch of road.

    LS asked 2 months ago

    The current plan is to follow the street and not to impact any mature trees along Empire Avenue. Environmental impact is a key concern of the project team.