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Winter sand shows room for potential bike routes in Greater Sudbury.

by Naomi Grant

Martindale Road.  "... I ride with 3 kids regularly. Cars drive quite fast on this hill, and are much closer to myself and the kids than I would like them to be when the sand pushes us towards the middle of the road.”  Photo by Laurel O’Gorman
Martindale Road.  “Martindale, between Charlotte and Copper streets, 4 ft 4 in of sand on the north side and 8 ft 6 in on the south side. This section also is quite wide and bike lanes would easily fit.”  Photo by Julian Rickards.
Charlotte Street.  4 ft 4 in of sand on the west side and 8 ft 6 in on the east side.   Photo by Julian Rickards.
Struthers Street.  Struthers, between Regent and Charlotte, 9 ft of sand north side, 8 ft 6 on south side. Making this a bike lane will enable children to cycle to St Francis school from Griffith, Adelaide and Whittaker and the lane can connect to the already-marked bike-friendly Charlotte Street and the bike lanes along Junction Creek.  Photo by Julian Rickards.
Riverside Drive.  7’ on the south side,  4’6” and a boulevard on the north side. Photo by Naomi Grant
Cross Street.  3’10” and a boulevard on the west side,  6’6” on the east side. Photo by Naomi Grant
Ontario Street.  8’ on the north,  5”3’ on the south.  Photo by Naomi Grant.
Wembley Drive.  3’3” and a grass boulevard on the north,   7’3” on the south.  Photo by Naomi Grant.
Winchester Avenue.  6ft on one side and 5ft on the other.  Photo by Lynn Despatie.
Hyland Drive.  7ft on each side of the road.  Photo by Lynn Despatie.
Walford Road.  3 ft 3 in on the south side and 3 ft 0 in on the north side. This road has two schools on or near it and the school kids could benefit from having bike lanes. The space from the centre turning lane should be used at the sides for bike lanes. This street also could be a connector between two important bike lanes, Regent and Paris.  Photo by Julian Rickards.
Kelly Lake Road.  3 ft 3 in on west side and 5 ft 3 in on east side. Photo by Julian Rickards.
Southview Drive.  4 ft 3 in on south and 3 ft 9 in on north (variable). Photo by Lilly Noble.
Madison looking towards Falconbridge. There's a whole lane there!  Photo by Rachelle Niemela.
Gary St. looking towards Lasalle. A good 5 ft. there.  Photo by Rachelle Niemela.
Falconbridge Road.  “There's a 6ft boulevard on each side of Falconbridge Hwy leading to Garson. Light posts are on resident's properties so the boulevard is free of obstructions. So easy to paint bicycles and make it a cycling route.”  Photo by Lynn Despatie.

Winter sand shows room for potential bike routes.

When spring arrives, many people want to get out on their bike.  Sand left on the roads can make that hazardous, and local cyclists have been vocal about getting sand cleaned up quickly, and about the need to prioritize cycling routes for street sweeping.

However, cyclists are interested in that sand for another reason.  Those big swathes of sand at the side of streets shows room not being used by cars.  In other words, room for potential bike routes.  In winter, this same observation is often made with snow and snow banks, called ‘sneckdowns.’ 

Before the street sweepers hit the streets, cyclists gathered some photos of streets along their routes to demonstrate where there was ample room for a bike lane or edge lane that, with a bit of paint (or bollards on a busier street), would dedicate safe road space for cyclists.  They also measured the width of the undisturbed sand.  Most of these streets have been identified as part of a minimum grid of cycling routes needed to travel around Greater Sudbury by bike.  This simple collection of photos shows potential for a ‘quick fix’ for many streets.  As Lilly Noble said, “Sand shows where snow was stored in winter and where bike lanes could be in spring, summer and fall. Could we all live with that?”

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Note:  streets pictured in the photo essay that are also part of the minimum grid of cycling routes are:  Riverside, Ontario, Wembley, Winchester, Falconbridge, Martindale, Charlotte, Madison, Gary, Southview, Walford, Kelly Lake.

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