The City of Greater Sudbury last week released its plans for the reconstruction of Second Avenue, due to commence some time after the long weekend in May 2014. Plans were presented to residents at an open house at Adamsdale Playground on March 19, 2014.
As with all their other road projects, the open house consisted of presenting their plans as a fait accompli. The message we received was that they were getting “input” from people, but that there would be very few changes to the plans as they were preparing to go to tender by the end of April.
Some of it was good – sidewalks on both sides of the street, a consolidated entrance for the cemetery and the Dog Park at the Scarlett Street intersection with traffic lights, and better wastewater infrastructure.
Some of it was bad – 5 lanes of traffic including a centre turning lane from Donna Avenue to past Scarlett (where the old Franco Jeunesse high school used to be), sharrows as bicycle infrastructure, and removing the crosswalk in front of Adamsdale Playground.
Some of it was questionable – a boulevard between the sidewalk and curb with no obstructions other than two poles which were not to be moved as part of the project. It was suggested that this area could eventually be used for cycling, although there was no suggestion of when this could happen.
There were many residents who had good and bad comments, with the most criticism leveled at the removed crosswalk, the need for 5 traffic lanes, and the absence of dedicated cycling infrastructure.
The SCU is therefore asking Council to direct staff to bring back an amended proposal that incorporates safe cycling infrastructure, and that connects to the Bancroft cycling routes, prior to tender. It also asks Council to direct staff to meet with community stakeholders to agree on the best safe cycling infrastructure and to provide community stakeholders with an opportunity to review the amended proposal prior to it being approved by Council and going to tender.
A summary of the points that we directed to Council and to staff are summarized below. To read the complete letter we sent, click here.
- It is the responsibility of the City to ensure the liveability of all of its neighbourhoods. This road configuration does not make Minnow Lake more liveable.
We ask Council and the staff of Greater Sudbury to provide leadership and to honour its responsibilities to make Minnow Lake more liveable.
- Transportation is about moving people, not cars. Yet the vast majority of our roads projects focus primarily on the automobile, and not on people. The losers are pedestrians and cyclists.
We ask that the needs of all residents be addressed by the scope of this project.
- Sharrows are not a proper choice for this road.
It is absolutely imperative that the reconstruction of Second Avenue considers a solution that adequately meets the needs of all cyclists, no matter the age or ability.
- The proposed cycling infrastructure does not connect to other infrastructure.
We ask for the provision of a contiguous cycling route between Bancroft Drive and Second Avenue, safe cycling turning infrastructure at the corner of Second Avenue and Donna Drive, and the possibility of extending the cycling infrastructure to the intersection of Second Avenue and the Kingsway.
- There was no consultation with community stakeholders prior to the design of the infrastructure.
We propose that staff meet with cyclist stakeholders to openly discuss options for providing designated cycling space on Second Avenue, and that they commit to ensuring that this space gets implemented.
- The City says that it uses Complete Streets principles. But we don’t have a Complete Streets Policy, we don’t have a Transportation Master Plan that guides cycling infrastructure development, and we don’t have an Active Transportation Network design to work towards.
In the absence of these tools, we ask the City to engage in true consultation with all stakeholders when developing plans for expensive road projects, using a meaningful two-way dialogue that will engage the groups, organizations, and citizens who wish to safely cycle on OUR roads.