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Open letter to Council on the draft Transportation Master Plan, from Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Dear members of Greater Sudbury Council:

There are lots of exciting things happening for sustainable transportation in Greater Sudbury.  A new Active Transportation Coordinator is starting Dec. 7.  There is new transit wayfinding, and some big improvements to bus routes and schedules are on their way.  Pedestrian crossovers have been launched.   In 2017, there are budget lines for sidewalks on the north side of the Kingsway, quick fixes for cycling along Paris and Notre Dame, and more.  Thank you for your work.

On December 13, the draft Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is scheduled to be presented to you.  There are some good steps forward for sustainable transportation, including some improvements that are a result of community consultation.  However, there is the opportunity to better position our City, especially when it comes to securing provincial funding for safe cycling.  We urge Council to take the opportunity to strengthen the TMP so that Greater Sudbury can be at the front of the line for competitive funding for cycling infrastructure.

For example, under Ontario’s Cap and Trade program, there will be $150-225M available for cycling infrastructure in the short term.  To compete with other communities for this opportunity, Greater Sudbury needs to be ready to submit significant shovel-ready projects that align with provincial funding priorities.  Here’s what the province is looking for when it comes to funding cycling infrastructure:  

  • important travel routes that many people will use,
  • and cycling routes that provide continuity, connectivity, safety and accessibility. 

This is also what Sudburians want and need to be able to bike safely with their families and to meet their daily needs by bike.

Prioritizing safe, separated cycling routes on our busiest streets is a win-win.  It puts Greater Sudbury in a good position to receive funding for cycling infrastructure projects, while meeting the needs of the community in a timely manner.

We hope that Council will direct that the TMP make the Paris/Notre Dame, Lasalle, Lorne, Barry Downe, Kingsway, and Elm travel corridors a high priority (short term phasing) for safe bike routes, separated from motor traffic.   This short-list provides a skeleton minimum grid of cycling routes that will provide safe travel to many neighbourhoods and many large destinations.   It can be accomplished through retrofits, or any roadwork planned in the short term along these routes.

Council has taken steps to move forward with safe cycling on Paris/Notre Dame and Lasalle, yet the TMP gives these routes the lowest priority (long term phasing).  This weakens future grant applications to help fund implementation.   They should be given the highest priority (short term phasing).

Other routes from the short-list also need attention, so that all are listed as high priority (short term phasing), with cycling routes separated from motor traffic, as is appropriate for an arterial.  Greater Sudbury is ready for safe cycling – let’s ensure our guiding policy gives us the best support in making it happen.

We also urge Council to protect the legacy of the Laurentian University trails for future generations, by removing the proposed road through these trails.   This trail system and green space is too highly cherished by the community to be lost.  The TMP states: “From a traffic capacity perspective, the road link is not essential to accommodate traffic volumes and would not help to alleviate congestion..”  It’s time to take this proposed road entirely off the road network map in the TMP.

City of Greater Sudbury Council’s 2015 to 2018 Corporate Strategic Plan includes the goal to “provide quality multimodal transportation alternatives for roads, transit, trails, paths and sidewalks, and connect neighbourhoods and communities within Greater Sudbury”.   We hope that Council will take the opportunity to strengthen the TMP to better meet this goal.

Thank you for your consideration, and please see the attached document for more detail.

We also invite you to attend our public information session regarding sustainable transportation and the draft Transportation Master Plan, Wednesday, December 7, 5 – 8 p.m., at the Open Studio (93 Cedar St.), co-hosted with the Sudbury Cyclists Union and Friends of Sudbury Transit. There will be brief presentations followed by Q&A at 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.   Snacks and a kids’ craft table will be available.

Sincere regards,

Naomi Grant and Lilly Noble, co-chairs, Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury

 

N.B.  Due to the high level of community interest, this is an open letter.


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