The cycling paths that are currently covered by Sudbury snowbanks are finally legal to ride on.
Cyclists who travelled on the raised cycle tracks on Paris Street and in the south end were doing so against the city's traffic and parking bylaw. But on Monday night, the city's operations committee voted to designate them as cycling facilities.
This means the city will put up signs to show cyclists can ride there.
The committee also voted to change the bylaw to enable the designation of future cycling paths of the same infrastructure.
The current paths are on Paris Street between Ramsey Lake Road and just past York Street, and on MacIsaac Drive between Long Lake Road and Algonquin Road. They're the raised boulevards that sit between the road and the sidewalk.
Boulevards currently used for snow storage
This seems to be a seasonal plan only. During winter months, crews use the tracks for snow storage. That's something Councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann wants to see changed.
"I'm surprised by that, actually," Coun. Landry-Altmann says. "There is some cycling going on in the winter. I see them, everybody sees them. I would think that if we're recognizing them, we should maintain them."
Easier for future bike paths to be legalized
Right now, this legality only applies to the designated boulevards on Paris and MacIsaac. But the bylaw changes will let future construction projects consider creating more bike paths without red tape.
"These amendments include the revision of the bicycle lane section within the bylaw to be more inclusive and comprehensive," says Joe Rocca, the city's traffic and asset management supervisor. "This will regulate all forms of cycling infrastructure identified within the transportation master plan."
A two-track town...for now
The city says they're looking at other bike path ideas, but nothing is in the works right now.
"This is only for these two cycle tracks. It's not carte blanche for boulevards all over the community," says David Shelsted, the city's director of roads and transportation. "As we identify and construct more boulevards that are of appropriate width and free of obstacles, we can designate them."
The bylaw changes and cycle track signs should both be completed this spring.