Making Greater Sudbury pedestrian friendly: promises and politics

Some Sudbury residents are pushing for more emphasis on safety for road users who are not behind the wheel of a car.

Back in 2007, the city pledged to become the friendliest spot for pedestrians in Ontario

Greater Sudbury councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann says she doesn't believe Sudbury tops other cities in pedestrian infrastructure, but she doesn't see it as a broken promise. (Erik White/CBC)
Sudbury City council wanted to turn the city into the most pedestrian friendly place in Ontario by the year 2015. Reporter Erik White is doing a bit of a walkabout of the city to see if that pledge was met.

This is a year that some in Greater Sudbury have been waiting for since 2007 — when city council pledged to make Sudbury the most pedestrian friendly city in Ontario by 2015.

City councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann doesn't think Sudbury has earned the title yet. But, she does believe the bold promise did help start the conversation on how to get around Sudbury without a car.

"It's a work in progress, there's no question," she said. "It's like turning an elephant around."

Much of the progress since 2007 has been thanks to the trail-building organization Rainbow Routes.

Executive director Samantha Baulch believes Sudbury is friendlier to pedestrians than it once was.

Rainbow Routes trail group executive director Samantha Baulch says she believes Sudbury is friendlier to pedestrians than it once was. (Erik White/CBC)

"Obviously there's frustration, because people want to see this done yesterday, but we're getting there."

She predicts that big changes could come in the next few years, now that transportation policies at the city are officially shifting away from being only about cars and trucks.

A Sudbury city councillor says more needs to be done to make it easier for pedestrians to cross busy Sudbury streets like Notre Dame and Lasalle. (Erik White/CBC)

Landry-Altmann said the city still needs to make it easier for pedestrians to cross busy Sudbury streets like Notre Dame Avenue and Lasalle Boulevard.

But, she conceded Greater Sudbury is "accepting the challenge" of making the city more pedestrian friendly.

"Did we meet it, 100 per cent? No, we didn't," Landry-Altmann said.

"Is there still more to do? Yes there is. Are we still going to work on it? Absolutely."

Do you think Greater Sudbury is becoming more friendly to pedestrians?


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