The following was sent on November 10, 2017 to Members of Council, David Shelsted (Project Director), and Marisa Talarico (Active Transportation Coordinator), City of Greater Sudbury.
Members of Council, Mr. David Shelsted and Mr. Dario Zulich:
The Sudbury Cyclists Union (SCU) is a voice for cyclists of all ages and abilities. With our comments below, the SCU is not endorsing the decision made for locating the new arena and other entertainment developments at the Kingsway Entertainment Centre location. We have heard loud and clear from our members that some of our members support the site, and some do not.
Nevertheless, if this development is approved to move forward, it needs to incorporate a signature cycling design that will serve cyclists’ needs in the near and far future. This site can be a showcase for accommodating and encouraging Active Transportation, as well as other good forward-looking planning practices including low impact development aka green infrastructure. The City will need to plan enhancements not only to the site itself, but also to all roads leading to the site to ensure that cycling is a viable, safe, and comfortable option for people who wish to travel there from all areas of the city.
Please accept the comments below, and we look forward to further consultation as the design gets refined:
- There are markings for “Active Transportation” infrastructure going through the property from the Levesque and Kingsway intersection through to Street A. At presentations, Mr. Zulich has referred to this infrastructure as a “trail”. The infrastructure needs to be a paved multi-use path that has clearly-delineated and separated space for cyclists and pedestrians, and that will allow people on bikes to get to the major entrances of all buildings without having to dismount. The cycling component on the path needs to be wide enough to serve cycling traffic in both directions.
- There is no cycling infrastructure shown on Street A or Street C. Given the volume of traffic that will travel on these roads, and the possible linkages to additional future development around this site, there should be separated cycling infrastructure on these streets with the preference being a cycle track. It will be less expensive to do this now rather than to have to retrofit in the future. Let’s take the opportunity to design these streets right for people who bike.
- We’ve heard that there may be cycling infrastructure built on Levesque Street to connect to the Bancroft bike lanes. Has a traffic study or will a study be done to anticipate the volume of traffic that will now flow through this neighbourhood to get to the site? Given the volume of traffic that may now flow there, we recommend that this infrastructure should be at a minimum bike lanes or optimally cycle tracks and not edge lines as has been noted by Mr. Shelsted at various presentations. Again, let’s do this right, and not have to retrofit in the future.
- The new entertainment district is a major new destination that wasn’t on the horizon when the City developed the Transportation Master Plan. There should be a full review of the infrastructure that will be required to support connectivity from all 4 directions (north, south, east, west), with corresponding changes in the timeframes that are indicated in the plan. For example there is no safe way for people to get there via bicycle from New Sudbury. Safe routes need to be planned and constructed in order to allow safe and comfortable access from New Sudbury, Garson and Falconbridge; Coniston and beyond; Minnow Lake and from there the South End; Azilda and Chelmsford; the Valley. While some people may say “no one will ever bike from the Valley to the arena”, there are options that people can take for multi-modal transportation including combinations like cycling and the city bus rack program. At a very minimum, a re-evaluation of what should go on the Kingsway from Barrydowne east is needed. Now that this centre will be located there, paved shoulders are not the best infrastructure leading to such a major destination point. Paved shoulders on the Kingsway are not safe or comfortable for people of all ages and abilities, including families, children, and seniors.
- We do not see any plans for bicycle parking. We understand that we are at a conceptual part of the process, but there has obviously been a lot of planning done for vehicles. We also need to provide bicycle parking, and it should serve all demographics, including those who have high-end expensive bikes they don’t want stolen. Install bike lockers at the transit stop, and provide other options sprinkled around at the various buildings including bike corrals at outside patios.
- The site should be an “Ontario by Bike” site, with all businesses on the site fully compliant and prominently advertised as Bike Friendly Businesses. The City of Greater Sudbury has started an Ontario by Bike program through Sudbury Tourism, and we already have 2 bike-friendly hotels including the TownPlace Suites on the Kingsway. More will follow, and people who bring their bikes to Sudbury and chose to visit the site by bike will require the amenities that a Bike Friendly Business can provide. People who stay in the hotel on the site may also bring their bikes to bike to Ramsey Lake or other tourist destinations.
- Some of our members have indicated to us that they would like to see additional LID (Low Impact Development aka Green Infrastructure) options at the site. This comment is not specifically cycling related, but some members told us very strongly that they are concerned about the Ramsey Lake Watershed and that some of the options for LID that will be coming in the Watershed Studies should be evaluated for the site, including permeable paving, bioswales and raingardens. We are passing on these comments.
- We also heard that the site should provide a pleasant experience for people who bike to the site. This includes comfortable options like bike parking at every restaurant and outdoor patio; washroom and change room facilities; outdoor and indoor water fountains to refill water bottles; easily accessible and affordable healthy food options; and opportunities to sit and relax in park-like areas. The City has made an effort to put the vehicular parking behind a green space that will front the Kingsway in order to create a pleasant frontage for this area, which is a gateway to the City. We also need to ensure that any outdoor areas where people may sit, including restaurants, parkettes, or other, do not have frontage on a parking lot or concrete.
- Lastly, we recommend that a complete Transportation Demand Management plan needs to be put in place for the site and all of its businesses. Accommodations need to be made for employees who may need to bike to work, or who choose to bike to work. Safe and covered bicycle parking, shower facilities, and other accommodations specifically for employees are needed.
Thank you for the opportunity for input.
Rachelle Niemela, Chair
Sudbury Cyclists Union
Note: we would have liked to forward these comments directly to Mr. Zulich, but were not able to find a contact email for him. Please pass these along to him.