2013 was a very busy year for the Sudbury Cyclists Union, chocked full of advocacy issues, events, and cycling courses/workshops. 2014 promises to be more of the same, and we need more volunteers to help out! If you are interested, drop us a line by sending us a comment via our Contact/Join Us page.
Here’s a recap of some of the great things that we did in 2013.
- We submitted feedback to the Elgin Greenway and to the second Transportation Study public input session. Along with our 2012 submissions to the Transportation Study’s first public input session, to the Downtown Master Plan and to the Official Plan Review, we have ensured that we have voiced our opinions on the major planning initiatives for the city.
- We presented budget requests for cycling infrastructure, cycling education, and transportation coordination as part of the 2014 budget public input process. After staff reported back to Council that no dollars needed to be allocated to cycling as they were adding infrastructure during roads projects, we successfully lobbied Council to ask for budget options that would allocate definite dollar amounts for new cycling projects. We are continuing to lobby Council as staff have not yet brought back those options.
- Due to our efforts in lobbying individual councillors, we have many councillors now supporting the need for additional infrastructure. At Planning Committee meetings, councillors have made it clear that they want to see cycling infrastructure in new developments. Councillor Joe Cimino has also asked the City to investigate how cycling infrastructure can be funded through development fees.
- We’ve had articles published at the Sudbury Media Coop in regards to many cycling issues, including the need for a Complete Streets Policy in Sudbury and issues with street calming infrastructure.
- Local newspapers have published our letters to the editor. The online responses have been very interesting to read, as they have generated a lot of both positive and negative comments. We also comment regularly online about issues that affect cycling.
- Through an email campaign, we supported the Joe Cimino/Fabio Belli motion to Council to lower the speed limit in residential neighbourhoods to 40 kh/hr. While unsuccessful, the City has promised to extend the lower speeds to school zones and to areas around playgrounds. We’ll be watching to make sure that happens, and that we revisit the proposal if provincial legislation is introduced to facilitate its implementation.
- We presented to several Community Action Networks (CANs), which generated interest from residents in promoting safe cycling in Sudbury and in lobbying for cycling infrastructure dollars.
- Members attended the Share the Road ride in Sudbury.
- We consider municipal advocacy to be one of our major strengths and a major focus. Since we were formed in 2010, we’ve managed to get our voice heard, and Council as well as staff at the City of Greater Sudbury are well aware of our platforms and concerns. We hope there will be many more opportunities for working with the City to develop safe cycling initiatives in Sudbury.
- We provided a comprehensive feedback document to the Ontario Cycling Strategy, and were glad to see that the Ministry of Transportation produced an excellent strategy document that will move cycling forward at the provincial level. The Strategy includes action areas that include amending the Highway Traffic Act to facilitate safe cycling on our highways and infrastructure dollars for cycling.
- We provided letters of support for the Georgian Bay Cycling Route to the Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates, and for the Provincial Policy Statement.
- Members attended the Share the Road ride on Manitoulin Island.
- The Chair of the SCU is a member of the OntarioCAN network, which is a provincial cycling advocacy organization implemented by the Share the Road Coalition. It is comprised of local cyclists across the province who advocate with their local MPP’s re cycling issues. The goal is to improve road safety in Ontario by increasing provincial and municipal support for cycling infrastructure, education and awareness. We met with our local MPPs, France Gelinas and Rick Bartolucci, and received their endorsement for the goals of the OntarioCAN network, including support for:
– 1% or $25M of the Ontario transportation budget to community bicycling infrastructure (the SCU mirrored this request by asking in 2012, and again in 2013, for 1% of the municipal roads budgets to be directed towards new cycling infrastructure projects).
– The creation of an Ontario Bike Policy – which we now have through the Ontario CycleON Cycling Strategy.
– The passing of two bills in the Ontario Legislature to improve cycling, namely Bill 74, Highway Amendment Act (1 metre for safe passing of bicycles), and Bill 9, the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act (paved shoulders on designated provincial highways).
– Safe cycling education for all students in Ontario primary schools.
– The implementation of the recommendations in the Ontario Coroner’s Cycling Deaths report.
- The Chair of the SCU is on the provincial Steering Committee for the feasibility study for the Georgian Bay Cycling Route. In 2012, we participated in the Lake Huron North Shore Cycling Route stakeholder input session in Sudbury, and the two projects are now working together to develop a common route leading from Espanola to Sudbury. Through these organizations, we are developing some excellent skill sets in dealing with cycling tourism opportunities, and linking with tourism organizations like the LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation, the Regional Tourism Organizations, and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (developer of Ontario’s Waterfront Trail which will run from the Quebec border to Windsor). The intent is to get Sudbury to participate in the development of provincial cycling routes, which may bring provincial grants to the City for infrastructure, as well as cycling tourism dollars.
Partnerships and projects
- SCU members volunteered for a number of activities in 2013, including a bike rodeo at EarthDay, Bike Valet parking at Northern Lights Folk Festival, Kids Bike Exchanges, bike repair for students at Landsdowne Public School, bike safety information dissemination at events like Donovan Days and BikeFest, and volunteers for the Canada Cup mountain bike race at the Walden Mountain Bike Club trails.
- Members sit on the Sustainable Mobility Advisory Panel, and ensure that there is coordination of efforts for issues important to cycling.
- The SCU is a member of reThink Green, the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury and EarthCare.
- Female members linked up with the Sudbury Women’s Bike Club for weekly mountain bike rides.
- Members joined with several community groups organizing rides to highlight the need for cycling safety, including the Cycling Grannies and Critical Mass rides organized by cycling enthusiasts.
- The SCU participated in the national Commuter Challenge week.
- The SCU participated in Laurentian University’s Green Day event.
- In late fall, the SCU agreed to participate in a local collaborative which would ensure the continuation of the good work begun by the Rainbow Routes Association’s Sudbury Cycles project. Sudbury Cycles was made possible via a 2-year grant, which has now expired. The collaborative will keep the name Sudbury Cycles alive and will focus primarily on cycling education and promotion through safety courses and workshops, as well as bike exchanges. Along with the SCU, the collaborative includes Rainbow Routes, the City of Greater Sudbury, and the Sudbury and District Health Unit, and hopes to attract more partners to widen the programming that can be offered through Sudbury Cycles.
- The SCU worked on a project to build a database of bike racks in Sudbury. Work will continue in 2014.
- Several SCU members are CAN-Bike instructors.They participated in a number of cycling education events organized by Sudbury Cycles.
- Instructors led and helped teach Streetwise Cycling, Kids and Adults Learn to Ride, Beginning Cycling Skills, CAN-Bike 1 and CAN-Bike 2 courses. Safe cycling workshops were also held at a number of primary schools.
- The SCU also does some fun stuff! We hold bike repair BBQs, members organize rides to interesting places in the Sudbury area, and we love to tour around and then socialize at one of the many great city restaurants.
Hope to see more safe cyclists on the roads and trails in 2014!