Pedestrian, cyclist safety among top concerns about transportation plan

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

People from New Sudbury neighbourhood also worried about recommendation to extend Montrose Avenue

Sudbury residents brought their concerns to city hall Wednesday night over the city's plan for road development over the next 20 years. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Pedestrian and cyclist safety were hot topics at a public meeting held at Sudbury City Hall for councillors and city staff to gather feedback on the future vision for roads.

The Transportation Master Plan, which is still in the draft stage, lays out the priorities for developing the road system in Sudbury over the next two decades.

Damian Arteca, a student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, told city councillors and staff that he rides his bike on the sidewalk to get to school because he doesn't feel safe on the roads.

"Paris and Regent aren't very friendly environments for people who are biking at all because there's heavy traffic. So I too have gone on the sidewalk, and I would gladly pay the fine," he said.

The transportation plan does call for bike and pedestrian infrastructure to be considered for all future road improvements, using a concept known as complete streets.

But Arteca said even streets that are not in need of upgrades for cars should be considered for bike lanes.

"That is something that needs to happen now if we want there to be a generation of students who use bike lanes," he said.

"If we want the [kindergarten students] now to be using bicycles, then we need to make it happen a little bit faster."

Pedestrian deaths

Matt Alexander of Sudbury was critical that the transportation plan is full of traffic counts — but includes little information on how pedestrians use the streets.

He wants the city to include data on where collisions with pedestrians have occurred in recent years.

"If we are going to improve the condition of pedestrian infrastructure in the city, people are going to to have to see that," he said. 

"Where are the areas where people are getting hit and where they are getting killed?"

Montrose Avenue

A recommendation to one day extend Montrose Avenue in New Sudbury also took heavy fire during the public meeting.

Pending development of the area over the next 20 years, the plan recommends connecting the future Maley Drive extension to Lasalle Boulevard using Montrose Avenue.

A number of people expressed concern that the link would increase traffic and ruin the residential neighbourhood.