The walking trail along the East Bypass road will stay open and the City will conduct maintenance as usual, the council decided Monday.
Following a safety audit by the Ministry of Transportation, the City of Fort St. John will comply with recommended measure including reducing speed to 50 kilometres per hour and disallow passing once road lines are repainted this summer. The decision to continue upkeep of the trail is good news for its vocal proponents in Fort St. John since council ordered it shut down last August, sparking protest.
“We’ve never had that kind of turnout for anything,” said Pat Ferris, who walked with protesters against the bypass closure last year and estimated around 300 people showed up. “The moms, their kids, their dog and their husbands, it was a massive amount of people.”
“The trail is one thing that everybody can use at any time,” he said. “They’re like the ultimate recreational thing that costs nothing and it’s accessible because they’re most of the way through the city, you can access them from quite a few different locations. They have lights on them and you can go walking at night, there are benches, they’re marvelous really.”
The Ministry will also install double-chevron signs and $7,000 delineators along the curved section in spring. The section of walking trail between 86 Street and 112 Avenue will remain closed from Oct. 1 to May 15 as usual.
When it decided to decommission the trail last year, the council reasoned it was dangerous for pedestrians to walk along section of sharply curved highway in potentially slippery conditions.