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BLOG (John Lindsay): The Maley Drive "Myth"

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

By definition a Myth is “a widely held but false belief or idea” which certainly seems to be the case with respect to the Maley Drive “extension” long proposed by successive city councils, city staff and the Chamber of Commerce plus many ordinary citizens, particularity motorists.

We all know the reasons given which include relieving traffic congestion on a number of other city streets, the provision of a ring road for northern portion of the city, to take heavy mining trucks off other roadways and to open up areas along the new road way for development. 

The exact location for the roadway has changed over the years as has the cost estimates.  To serve as a “ring road” the new roadway would have to connect to the intersection of the southeast bypass on the Kingsway near Coniston, which is not in the current plan.  The roadway plan at present would extend from Falconbridge Road in the East to Elm Street on the outskirts of the city to the West.  So the “ring road” is a “myth” which if realized would add considerably to the already significant cost.

A second “myth” is the substantial traffic reduction volume to other city cross travelled arteries. In fact the Transportation Planning Dept of the MMM  Group, in a report to the Ontario Municipal Board on city traffic volumes, have indicated that the Maley Drive Extension is “too far North to have any impact on Howey Drive Traffic” and “there are no calculations/scientific basis for estimates in reduction of traffic on Lasalle Blvd”, and “no calculations to substantiate the reduction in traffic on the Kingsway”.

The third “myth” is the support to be received for this very costly project from both the Federal and Provincial Governments.  I think we will be fortunate to see the province finish the four laning of Highway 69 and only then might there be considerations of help, but not likely until provincial finances are more in order and we have more friendly political representation.   Federally, other priorities are more likely to take precedence, and again, unless we have a government in Ottawa with local representation there is little likelihood.   It is even more unlikely that the mining companies, who would benefit most from this new transportation corridor, being built with roundabout intersections large enough to serve slurry trucks, will contribute to the construction.

Conveniently overlooked, in any considerations of Maley Drive construction, is that even if the city were to receive two thirds of the cost for the “extension” in whatever form and extent, the ongoing maintenance costs will be the responsibility of the Sudbury taxpayer as will be any reconstruction costs in the future. 

Our cost therefore will far exceed into the future the current initial estimate of around 50 million dollars for our share. 

We need to carefully differentiate between what we actually “need’ and “want” and examine in some detail the “myth” that the Maley Drive extension has become as a remedy involving industrial trucking operations and the motoring public wanting more time saving travel.  Can this be achieved by other less costly and more realistic solutions, some that that have already been implemented such as the improved Lasalle, Notre Dame intersection, and possible levies, weight restrictions and travel time constraints on industrial trucking?   

We would hope that the new Mayor and Council will carefully evaluate the reality of the Maley Drive extension project and take an objective look at what has become if not a myth then a broadly accepted very costly panacea with questionable benefits.  

John Lindsay, Sudbury.

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grassrootssudburymedia (Grassroots Sudbury Media)
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