This month, we’ve got a recap of some great things that happened in April and a look forward to events happening in May and June 2014.
Our next general meeting will be held on May 6, 2014 at 7 pm at reThink Green on Larch St. reThink Green is located on the third floor. The agenda will be posted within the next few days on our website and facebook pages. Our next meeting is scheduled for June 3, but that may be moved back because of a number of cycling events that may happen during Commuter Challenge, which runs June 1 to June 7.
April 2014 Recap
There were a number of political initiatives that took centre stage last month, both provincially and locally. And some good news about the Georgian Bay Cycling Route. The SCU also went to a number of activities with some good results.
Ontario Bike Summit
The SCU was at the 2014 Ontario Bike Summit on April 14-15th. There so many great announcements and lessons learned. For a recap of the Summit, read our highlights. Some of the excitement generated by the summit will no doubt be tempered by the announcement today that we may be headed for a June election. More information will be available on Monday when Premier Kathleen Wynne is supposed to reveal whether she will call an immediate election or if she will force a vote on the budget.
Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act – Bill 173
Much buzz was generated by this omnibus bill which proposes a number of changes to the Highway Traffic Act. Safer cycling measures were included. It is currently in second reading at Queen’s Park.
You can read a summary of the changes here.
Earlier this week, the SCU sent a letter to MPP Rick Bartolucci and to MPP France Gelinas, asking for their support for the bill.
Paved Shoulder Construction and Bicycling Act – Bill 137
The Paved Shoulder Construction and Bicycling Act proposes change to the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Acts and is being discussed at the Standing Committee on Social Policy. MPP Norm Miller has tried several times to get this through, and it may fail yet a third time if an election is called.
Ontario Bike Month Act – Bill 182
This Ontario Bike Month Act would proclaim the month of June as Ontario Bike Month. It is currently being discussed at the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
All of the provincial legislation changes proposed above will fail if an election is called.
Second Avenue Reconstruction
The SCU, along with other organizations including the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, The Minnow Lake Community Action Network, the Sustainable Mobility Advisory Panel, and the Cycling Grannies met with city staff after initial plans for the $4.9M Second Avenue roads capital project was revealed. Among other sustainable transportation deficiencies, the plans proposed only sharrows for the road. The meeting was scheduled after a campaign of letters and telephone calls to Council resulted in a change to the plans. An in-boulevard cycling facility will be built in the busier multi-lane section, and enhancements to the road will be made so paved shoulders can be installed to connect the new section with Bancroft Drive.
We submitted an initial letter indicating our concerns as part of the first public input session held for the project. We also sent letters to Council and made some phone calls. After it was announced that there would be changes, we and other groups requested a meeting with City staff to discuss the details.
We sent a number of technical questions to David Shelsted, Director of Roads and Transportation, and a good two-way discussion at the meeting answered the majority of our concerns. We will not get an opportunity to see the final plans before they go to tender, but we are cautiously optimistic that staff will implement safe cycling on Second Avenue.
We have expressed our concerns about the proposed 5-lane section that will be built and the need for the widening of this residential road. Other groups are continuing to lobby for a change to reverse the plans to widen the road significantly, but we doubt that there will be any changes to this as the project is due to go to tender very soon.
We see this campaign, and the implementation of safe, dedicated cycling infrastructure as a major win for cyclists in the city. It was proof that if cyclists rally to express their concerns and their needs, then the City has to listen and address them. Council approved the required $1.5M dollars that were needed for the additional work on April 29.
Much of the problems and outcry could have been avoided if the city had consulted with major stakeholders and with residents much sooner in the process. We hope to see changes in the consultation process for next year.
MR 80 and other capital road construction
On the negative side, the $2M MR15/MR80 intersection and MR80 north construction project does not have safe cycling infrastructure. The SCU has submitted a letter of concern but has received no reply from the City.
Mr. Shelsted has stated that the $1.5M Crean Hill Road upgrade and the $6M Big Nickel Mine Road upgrade will contain paved shoulders.
According to media reports, construction on Regent St., Bouchard St., and Southview Dr. is slated to be completed this year, and will include bike lanes. No other information has been provided by the City.
There is no information available on the other capital projects that are listed on the City’s website.
The City will be conducting a review of citizen engagement and consultation in the near future. We will express our concerns over the lack of consultation in regards to road infrastructure projects. Watch for notification of how you can comment – we’ll be posting info on our website and facebook page once it’s available.
The City announced that it is reviewing its development charges policy and is suggesting changes. Included in the recommendations is a $400,000 a year item called Active Transportation. The SCU has sent the City a letter supporting this permanent allocation, with the caveat that the dollars be spent on new cycling infrastructure routes as prioritized by the Active Transportation Network that is to be approved as part of the Transportation Master Plan. Budgets for existing capital projects for road enhancement projected for 2014-2018 should follow Complete Streets principles and should already contain dollars to implement safe cycling.
In spite of the miserable weather, the SCU was at Earthday. We put up a tent and portable bike racks, but moved to an inside table because of the weather. Our planned kids bike rodeo was not held.
We however distributed lots of safe cycling information, gave out small prizes to children for good answers to bike safety questions, and held a draw for 2 bike helmets. See you next year!
Workshops and Panels
The SCU participated in two events held by reThink Green: a workshop on Engagement Organizing, presented by Graham Saul, Director of Ecology Ottawa on April 5 and a Green Infrastructure Panel on April 8.
You’ll no doubt be hearing more soon about community engagement initiatives as reThink Green and its members (including the SCU) start mobilizing support and outreach activities for green initiatives in Sudbury.
The Green Infrastructure Panel was part of the launch of the Forge, reThink Green’s new business and social incubator. Speakers from Green Communities Canada, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, EnviroPaving, and the City of Greater Sudbury discussed various aspects of green infrastructure in our community.
As members of reThink Green, we usually have the opportunity to send two members free to workshops where there is normally a charge. Watch for notices of opportunities on our website and our facebook group page.
Georgian Bay Cycling Route
The SCU is represented on the Georgian Bay Cycling Route Feasibility Study Steering Committee. The work of the consultants is now complete and we should be moving into an implementation phase very shortly. The City of Greater Sudbury has submitted a letter of support for the project and meetings will be held in the near future with the project implementation team in regards to how the route will traverse Sudbury. The SCU and other stakeholders will be invited to participate in the discussions. Find out more info about the route here: Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates.
May and June Cycling Activities and Events
- The Sustainable Mobility Advisory Panel is presenting its yearly report to the Community Services Committee of Council Monday, May 5 at 4 pm. SMAP has been working tirelessly for sustainable transportation in the City. Come out and show your support for their efforts and hear what questions the Committee will ask.
- Two Kids Bike Exchanges are being held on May 10 and May 31 at Tom Davies Square. Details at the Sudbury Cycles website.
- We reported last month that the Transportation Study has been delayed – again. Well, it’s been pushed back even further now. The news is that public input will probably happen sometime in the summer. We’re inching towards it being 2 years late now.
- The first week of June is shaping up to be a cycling extravaganza! Start the week off on June 1 at the second annual Bike Fest at the Bioski Chalet, Laurentian Conservation Area, 10 am -3 pm. Lots of great bikes and great activities for the whole family.
- June 1 – June 7 is also Commuter Challenge. Compete against other workplaces to get the recognition of logging the most sustainable transportation kilometers. Last year, 31 workplaces and 26 individuals with no affiliation registered. Science North was the winner last year. The SCU is registered as a workplace so if your workplace doesn’t register, you can register with us. You can log the kilometers for trips to your workplace or to school if you are of driving age. There will be a number of activities during the week and the Sudbury Cycles website will be posting information on local activities and schedules in the near future.
- June 5 is the annual Sudbury Share the Road ride. Devon Kershaw will again be with us. In the past, this ride has been held in August, but it’s been moved up to June this year. More details will be available soon, so save the date!
- Finish the week off by participating in the annual Manitoulin Island Share the Road Ride on June 6 and 7. You can register on line and space is limited, so sign up soon!
- June 25 is the annual SCU Bike Repair and BBQ event, hosted by one of our members, Kevin Morgan. We’ll have help and tools available and promise a good time. Details here: Bike Repair & BBQ on Facebook
- The Sudbury Women’s Bike Group will be gearing up for rides on Monday nights again. Check their Facebook page for more details.
- For the past two years, Rainbow Routes Association has been running cycling courses. This year, Sudbury Cycles will taking over the great work previously done by Janet Evans at Rainbow Routes. We are partners in Sudbury Cycles, which is a collaborative between the Sudbury & District Health Unit, Rainbow Routes, the City of Greater Sudbury, and the SCU. Our CAN-Bike instructors and other volunteers will be delivering most of the programming, while the City will be doing registrations, facility bookings and promotion.
- Clara Hughes is coming to town! Clara is a Canadian cycling star, is riding across Canada and her ride will bring her to Sudbury on June 27, 2014. Her ride is part of the Bell Let’s Talk program to bring awareness to and reduce the stigma of mental illness. More information about this extraordinary event can be found at: http://clarasbigride.bell.ca/en/. The SCU will be helping to organize a welcome for Clara when she arrives in Sudbury so mark the date!
- Lastly, watch for our I Bike, I Vote campaign starting soon! We’ve ordered pin badges (buttons) to wear to show our support for cycling in Sudbury. More news soon!