Sudbury cyclists want $400K from roads budget

Sudbury city councillors are echoing dissatisfaction expressed by many cyclists who say they're frustrated by a lack of biking infrastructure in Greater Sudbury.

Sudbury councillors, cyclists say cycling infrastructure work is not being completed

Sudbury city councillors and cyclists are frustrated that, despite years of promises, new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure never seems to get built.

Sudbury city councillors are echoing dissatisfaction expressed by many cyclists who say they're frustrated by a lack of biking infrastructure in Greater Sudbury.

There have been pledges in the past to build biking and walking paths when roads are re-finished, but city councillors like Frances Caldarelli said that doesn't seem to be working.

"We want to make this city less dependent on the automobile and more walkable and friendly to cyclists, but truly, I don't think we've done very much at all,” Caldarelli said during a council meeting Tuesday.

Cyclists are very frustrated right now.- Rachelle Niemala, Sudbury Cyclist's Union

Councillors discussed allotting an annual budget for cycling infrastructure, rather than leaving it up to the discretion of staff. But no dollars will be committed until budget talks later this fall.

Rachelle Niemala from the Sudbury Cyclist's Union was at the meeting. While she was encouraged by what she heard, she noted this kind of talk isn't new.

"Cyclists are very frustrated right now. We hear over and over and over again that the city is ready to commit to these initiatives and every year we see maybe bits and pieces."

The union has asked that cycling receive one per cent of the roads budget, which works out to about $400,000.

Coun. Joe Cimino said making it a line item in the budget, with a specific number of dollars, will stop it from being rolled into roads spending.

"If there's a budget line that says 'cycling infrastructure' and there's a number next to it, year after year, that money's going to get spent,” he said.

“If it's just a thought that when a road gets done, we're going to do it ... [it’s] not going to get done."

Council will debate this issue again during budget talks later this fall.

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