New Brunswick: A Profile of Promising Practices from Canada and Abroad – Fredericton active transportation committee

“We just reached out to everyone we knew that had a vested interest professionally and personally.”

Lead Organization:
City of Fredericton

Key Partners:
Planners, recreation officers, cyclists, school board representatives, members of the seniors’ community, councillor, wellness coordinator

Community:
City of Fredericton

Population of Community:
50,535

Setting:
Urban

Target Group:
General Population

Project Focus: To identify safety concerns related to active transportation; to recommend a public education program; and to act as an advisory committee during the Trails and Bikeways Master Plan process.

Implementation Level:
Local

Stage of Development:
Completed

Background

In 2005, a two-day seminar was held in Fredericton to identify active transportation issues, hosted by Go for Green. As a result of this seminar the Active Transportation Committee was formed to serve a one-year term starting in January 2006. Harold Boone, Trail and Project Coordinator, Parks and Trees Division of the City of Fredericton was involved from the beginning. “We just reached out to everyone we knew that had a vested interest professionally and personally,” he said.  It started by gathering staff members and community volunteers to form an Active Transportation Committee with diverse representation.


Photo credit: City of Fredericton

A park in the city of Fredericton

The health perspective came at the beginning, as all committee members had an interest in active transportation and active living both professionally and personally. This issue was a priority area for the City of Fredericton because the community was concerned about both people’s health and the environment. They wanted to get people outside on the trails walking, cycling and running.

The three goals of the Active Transportation Committee were: (1) to identify safety concerns related to active transportation, (2) to recommend a public education and promotional program, and (3) to act as an advisory committee for the City of Fredericton’s Trails and Bikeways Master Plan process.

Partnerships

From early on in the process, planners, recreation officers, cyclists (both competitive and commuter), school board representatives, and members of the seniors’ community were involved with this project. For the City, a new partner that was brought to the table was a Wellness Coordinator from the Department of Transportation.

Resources required to support the Committee were funded from the city budget. There was overwhelming support from the members of the Committee, a willingness to come and be heard, voice their opinion and provide encouragement.

The Active Transportation Committee continued for two and a half years, a year and half longer than originally anticipated. The group felt like they had achieved what they set out to do, the major goal being to advise the City on the Trails and Bikeways Master Plan, which has been completed successfully. Now a Staff Committee is continuing to oversee the implementation of this Master Plan.

Generating Buy-In

The key decision-makers were at the municipal level in the City of Fredericton. Elected officials and staff were very supportive of the project. The positive political support translated into financial support for the project.


Photo credit: City of Fredericton

A road in the city of Fredericton

Planning & Implementation

The major outcome of this Committee was the City Trails/Bikeway Master Plan which will be phased in over 20 years and includes $16,000,000 in built infrastructure.

The philosophy of the Master Plan is to meet the needs of all age groups, including those residents and visitors with mobility challenges, by enhancing choices and opportunities for multi-modal travel (i.e., trips consisting of two or more travel modes) and recreational pursuits that promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

Public consultation was part of the process, and included focus group meetings, stakeholder meetings and general public meetings. The City has already implemented some of the items in the Master Plan including new bike lanes, and has paved some trails.

Lessons Learned

In retrospect, the planning process may have taken too long and attributed to a feeling of lost time in the end. There was some debate at the staff level about non-staff Committee members making operational decisions.

Most importantly, health and environment issues were on the table from the beginning and this was a major driving force behind the project.

Advice to Other Communities

It is advisable that any community, regardless of its size, undertake a Master Plan if they have not already done so. It is a crucial document that has become a working resource for the municipality.

Getting political support early on (from a Mayor or a Member of the Legislative Assembly) is also critical. It is important to have a local champion who is respected in the community and has the ability to reach out and tap into resources.

Evaluation and Impact

Ultimately, the City of Fredericton created a Trails and Bikeway Master Plan which was the result they were striving for throughout this two-year process.


Photo credit: City of Fredericton

A bike path in the city of Fredericton

Now that the Master Plan is starting to be implemented, built infrastructure projects will be realized along with the resulting impacts on the community. Solutions can be simple. For example, when a one kilometre dirt trail connection was paved, trail use on this section increased by 28%. As well, there was increased use by a variety of user groups such as wheelchair users, skateboarders and people pushing strollers. This focused attention on improving the active transportation infrastructure has paid off – in 2008 the City of Fredericton was named the second best walking city in Canada by the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine.

According to Kate Baird, Move this Way—Active Living Program, at the City of Fredericton Recreation Division, “One of the most important outcomes of this project is how it has strengthened our connections to the community.”

Contact

  • Harold Boone
    Trail and Project Coordinator, Parks and Trees Division
    City of Fredericton
    397 Queen Street / P.O. Box 130
    Fredericton, NB E3B 4Y7
    Telephone: (506) 460-2507
    E-mail: harold.boone@fredericton.ca
  • Kate Baird
    Move this Way—Active Living Program Recreation Division
    City of Fredericton
    397 Queen Street / P.O. Box 130
    Fredericton, NB E3B 4Y7
    Telephone: (506) 460-2230
    E-mail: Kathryn.baird@fredericton.ca

Resources

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: