Bike lanes slow to take shape along Sudbury roads
Despite some promising talk from city council last fall, Greater Sudbury won't be seeing a big change when it comes to bike lanes this year — but city roads staff report they are slowly making the municipality more bike friendly.
In September, Sudbury city councillors talked big about bike lanes, and set aside one per cent of the roads budget to help the city's cyclists.
"We as a council are going to have to decide when we start acting on this. And I think it's time,” said Coun. Ron Dupuis.
But it wasn't time, and the budget went unchanged.
Sudbury Cyclists Union chair Rachelle Niemala said the city continually disappoints her by not turning talk into action.
"I think it's an attitude. I think a lot of people still think cycling is a recreational thing,” she said.
Her group requested a cycling infrastructure budget of $400,000, but city roads director David Shelsted noted Sudbury invests “more than that on an annual basis."
The major road projects last year all include paved shoulders and wider lanes, he said.
But Shelsted acknowledged there are only bits and pieces of bike lanes across the city.
"And that means it's going to take time for all these cycling routes to eventually connect up,” he said.
Coun. Frances Caldarelli said she wonders if the frequent stalling on building new bike lanes can be blamed on the attitude of some staff and councillors "who think that bike lanes, while they are a good thing, only benefit a small percentage of the population. I'm not sure what it is. Because it's an election year, I find everything slows down."
What might speed up talk about making Sudbury more bike friendly is the city's delayed Transportation Master Plan, a blueprint for improving the road network. That plan is expected to be released in the next few months.