'Complete streets' policy aims to balance needs of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

Sudbury now has an official policy to ensure its streets are safe and accessible.

Sudbury pushing for policy that incorporates all modes of transportation into street design

Marisa Talarico, Sudbury's active transportation coordinator, says 'complete streets' means balancing the needs of all road users including cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. (Samantha Samson/CBC News)

Sudbury now has an official policy to ensure its streets are safe and accessible.

City council recently voted to adopt a "complete streets" policy, with the goal of balancing the needs of all road-users, regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation.

Marisa Talarico, Sudbury's active transportation coordinator, told CBC News it was important to establish a policy that ensured any infrastructure projects are following the same vision.

"By adopting [the policy], it's a way of saying 'this is the approach we are going to take,'" Talarico said.

Built into the approach is a level of flexibility that takes each unique street's needs into consideration, Talarico said.

"The way we would design a street in a rural area in Whitefish or Naughton would be very different to how we would design a road in new Sudbury, Valley East or the downtown core," she said.

"We will be looking at streets from the perspective of all users. What are the speeds like, what is the traffic volume, are the sight lines good, where are the destinations, and where are people coming from?" she said.

Basic needs, says Coalition

Naomi Grant of Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, a group that has long advocated for this approach, said it was important to now have it cemented in policy.

"When we're prioritizing people being able to walk safely, move around safely with wheelchairs or other mobility devices," Grant said. "These are not extras that you can negotiate away for budget constraints."

"These are basic needs."

The policy now moves forward into building a business case for the 2019 budget. If it goes through, Talarico said the city will hire a consultant to walk them through the process.

"[The consultant would] provide us with a toolbox on how we can incorporate active transportation and transit and ensure that drivers are still able to meet their needs," she said.

"And this will enable us to have a community conversation about what [complete streets] means to them."

With files from Robin De Angelis

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