The Ministry of Transportation is seeking feedback on a proposed plan to implement actions identified in Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan to improve commuter cycling networks. We encourage everyone to review the discussion paper, accessible through the Environmental Registry or the Ministry’s Cycling Strategy web page. Provide your comments by November 30, 2016.
Here are the questions that they are asking:
Plan to Improve Commuter Cycling Networks
- What infrastructure should be prioritized to make cycling in Ontario safer and more convenient to support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis?
- What evidence can demonstrate the impact of cycling infrastructure investments on the number of cyclists and on GHG emissions?
Local Cycling Infrastructure
- For local cycling networks, what types of cycling infrastructure would best support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis?
Provincial Cycling Infrastructure
- What types of cycling infrastructure on provincial highways would best support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis?
- What types of bike parking facilities (e.g., bike racks, lockers, fee-based enclosures) are needed to support cycling for commuting and other frequent trips?
- What types of government-owned, publicly accessible facilities should have bike parking?
- What types of transit or transportation stations should have bike parking to support improved cyclist access (e.g., GO Stations, LRT stations, bus terminals)?
- What types of private facilities could potentially be eligible to receive provincial funding for bicycle parking facilities?
A Greater Sudbury Perspective
Local cycling infrastructure
Greater Sudbury’s Draft Master Transportation Plan contains an Active Transportation plan (section 5) which proposes policies and cycling infrastructure routes for our city. The SCU supports a minimum grid of cycling infrastructure routes that would provide safe cycling infrastructure for riders of all ages and abilities.The plan does not address some obvious gaps and in some instances proposes infrastructure that will not be safe for everyone. The proposed implementation timeframes for an integration cycling network is also very long – in the 15+ years timeframe.
Provincial infrastructure dollars would help in alleviating some of these deficiencies, as long as the City has a good plan and good shovel-ready projects that could be funded.
Provincial cycling infrastructure
In the North, we have very limited options that will allow us to cycle to other Northern destinations. In many cases, we are cycling on provincial highways, which often do not have paved shoulders or alternate routes. The province is currently looking at planning a provincial cycling network, and some routes are already being developed. But for most Northern Ontarians, cycling to and from their communities is a dangerous and scary proposition.
For more information on the current infrastructure initiatives that are happening in Northern Ontario, see these provincial cycling routes projects:
Georgian Bay Cycling Route: http://www.waterfronttrail.org/partner-resource-center/georgian-bay-cycling-route-project
Lake Huron North Channel Cycling Route: http://www.lhncwaterfronttrail.ca/about.html
Voyageur Cycling Route: http://discoveryroutes.ca/vcr
The SCU was represented on the Georgian Bay Cycling Route Feasibility Study Steering Committee, attended a mobile workshop for the route being developed between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, is attending a provincial workshop on provincial cycling route development at the end of November, and is providing feedback on other northern provincial cycling routes as they move forward.
There are some positive things happening in Northern Ontario, for example the MTO is adding paved shoulders to all sections that don’t already have them on the provincial route between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.
But there is still much work to be done before it is safe to cycling between destinations in Northern Ontario.
Of particular concern is that cycling is prohibited on the new 4-lane sections of Highway 69 south. The province has not provided alternative routes. That means that we can’t cycling to Southern destinations, that we’re left out of developing cycling tourism opportunities, and that some of our key destinations like Killarney cannot be reached by people on bikes.
For more information on the gaps on Highway 69, see this excellent synopsis by Dennis Baldwin, a cycling advocate in Sault Ste. Marie: Highway 69 Gaps
While it is getting better, there is still a big lack of safe bicycle parking in Sudbury. Key destinations like parks, community buildings, shopping destinations, schools, and private businesses lack parking facilities that are secure and appropriate to all styles of bicycles.
The Zoning By-Law (section 5.8) contains provisions for bicycle parking guidelines and standards, but there is no system in place to retrofit deficiencies.
Additional funding is needed to ensure that people can bike to key destinations and be sure that their bike will not be stolen or damaged.