Home > Advocacy

Sudbury, Ont. clears the way for the development of new bike infrastructure

Bylaw changes will open up stretches of Paris Street and MacIsaac drive—off-limits until recently—to local cyclists

Separated bike lanes may soon be coming to King Street in Waterloo.

Separated bike lanes may soon be coming to King Street in Waterloo.

As the snow piles up in Sudbury, Ont., what lies beneath the white stuff is bearing promise for local cyclists, with news that the city’s operations committee has officially designated several raised cycle tracks, presently buried under snowdrifts, as legal cycling facilities.

Until recently, the routes located on Paris Street between Ramsey Lake Road and York Street, and on MacIsaac Drive between Long Lake Road and Algonquin Road, had been off-limits to cyclists.

Those who would take these routes, the CBC reported, were riding against existing traffic and parking bylaws. That, however, all changed on Monday night. Situated between the road and the sidewalk, these raised cycle tracks will now receive signage announcing that they’re open to riders. The decision by Sudbury’s operations committee also sets a precedent for the development of other cycle paths elsewhere in the city—allowing the same raised infrastructure to serve the same purpose.

Still, the decision doesn’t prohibit city staff from using the boulevards as glorified snow dumps during the winter. And that’s a problem that local politicians want to correct.

“There is some cycling going on in the winter,” said Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann, speaking with the CBC. “I see them; everybody sees them. I would think that if we’re recognizing them, we should maintain them.” In the long view, though, other city officials say that the changes to existing infrastructure will make it easier to build better, more expansive and more progressive infrastructure elsewhere in the city, even if the decision on Feb. 6 applies only to Paris Street and MacIsaac Drive.

“These amendments,” said Joe Rocca, Sudbury’s traffic and asset management supervisor, “include the revision of the bicycle lane section within the bylaw to be more inclusive and comprehensive. This will regulate all forms of cycling infrastructure identified within the transportation master plan.” While other bike paths are on the drawing board, no plans exist to  implement them substantially in the near future.

For Paris Street and MacIsaac Drive, meanwhile, the signage—and the underlying bylaw amendments—should be completed by spring, 2017.