Sudbury council to vote on building more bikeway next week
SUDBURY -- Greater Sudbury councillors have a big decision to make next week, whether or not to move ahead with the city's latest stretch of proposed bikeway.
The $3.5 million project would involve a 1.6 kilometre stretch of Notre Dame Avenue between Lasalle Boulevard and Wilma Street, creating a separate cycle track away from road and pedestrian traffic.
It's all part of Greater Sudbury's Transportation Master Plan which has been looking to create a standalone cycle track along the Notre Dame/Paris corridor which would run from Lasalle to Regent Street.
According to a report from the city, the corridor already sees between 26,000 and 32,000 in vehicles every day
If council were to approve this next phase, it leaves 9 kilometres left to finish at a cost of approximately $20 million which is a concern for some including Ward 5 Councillor Robert Kirwan.
"We're using grant money for this last phase, it's nice to have bike lanes but that's a lot of money," Kirwan told CTV News. "The bike lane would be nice but we have a lot of people priorities, older adults, low-income families, I just don't know where we're going to get the money to do a lot of them."
So far there has been no commitment from the province or any other level of government to help the city finish its bike infrastructure.
Advocates for the bike lane understand Kirwan's concerns, including re-Think Green's David St. Georges.
"That much money in the front may not be possible but I hope in the very least that we see commitments made on smaller pieces to continue developing it and like many enthusiast clubs in town, I bet you if we turn to the community to help support these endeavours, I bet you we would find a lot of support there too," said St. Georges.
"It's all of our community, it's the city's job to run the flow of the city but we should all be part of the solution," St. Georges added.
Community advocate John Lindsay was part of the original city committee that got Sudbury's first-bike lane built around Ramsey lake, He believes this project has merit.
"It's really a benefit and makes a community more liveable. It's not just for young people who ride bikes, we have cycling grannies out there." Lindsay said.
Given the recent spending at Tom Davies Square with projects like a library, art gallery and plans for a new arena, Lindsay says the city needs to prioritize what's actually important.
"We all know the real needs are roads, that's the number one priority the second is water quality …we all have wants but we need to look at what we can really afford," Lindsay added.
A Bike Sudbury representative says the group has been working with the city to make completing the bikeway from one end of the city to the other a priority.
"We were hoping that it would obviously be moving forward a little bit more quicker but I know the city has had some, a few challenges here and there in getting the project going," said Rachelle Niemela.
Niemela says it's important to fund a project that will help eliminate green house gas emissions, when it comes to cost she says the city did spend millions on Maley Drive.
"We have to do the same thing for people who want to have a direct route and want to get to work quickly or to school quickly on their bike." Niemea adds.
According to the city's report, somewhere between 26,000 and 32,000 vehicles use the corridor every day. The bikeway they're looking at building will be a separate cycle track.
If council votes in favour next week, provincial rules surrounding funding would mean it construction would have to be complete later this year.