Complete Streets was hinted at during discussions at the Transportation Study’s public information center on January 11, 2012. But it wasn’t really presented as a valid strategy to drive our cycling infrastructure changes.
At the Official Plan public presentations that were done on January 23, 2012, I don’t remember hearing about the Complete Streets approach to street design. At the time, I was just getting into cycling advocacy and was not aware of the various cycling movements and changes that were sweeping Canada, North America, and the world. Sadly, the Sudbury Cyclists Union didn’t include that approach in its presentation, nor in its presentation for the 2013 budget deliberations.
I did attend the Complete Streets presentation organized by the Sudbury District Health Unit on May 15, 2012. It all sounded great, but the room certainly wasn’t packed and it didn’t have a great impact on me as it was clear that the City wasn’t even discussing it as an approach.
Now I’m reading more and more news about changes in road design approaches that are being done by many North American cities and how many cities are aggressively promoting cycling for health and economic benefits.
Trends are emerging.
Cities are providing safer cycling infrastructure – for example, Calgary has a $28-million cycling strategy, approved last year by city council. As part of our 2013 budget submission, we asked for $460,000 to be spent on enhancing cycling infrastructure. So far, there’s silence from Council on whether any money will be spent on cycling next year – the big news seems to be the Maley Drive extension. Should we really be spending tax dollars on exorbitant infrastructure that encourages more and more people to use only cars as transportation options? If we’re going to spend tons of money (and maybe even borrow some) to fix the hole we’ve dug ourselves in, shouldn’t we be using some driving principles to ensure that cycling, pedestrian, and transit options are part of the fixes?
Complete Streets is gaining momentum in Canada. In 2011, Waterloo became the first Canadian municipality to adopt a Complete Streets Policy. This year, more strides. Kitchener adopts a Complete Streets policy, and is the first in Ontario to adopt the recommendations of the Coroner’s Report on Cycling Deaths. Edmonton develops a Complete Streets Principles document which will be the basis for decision-making as they develop the Complete Streets guidelines. Velo Quebec has just completed a provincial Planning and design for Pedestrians and Cyclists guide, which is being discussed widely.
But there’s silence from the City on the status of the revised Transportation Study and on the Official Plan Review. Yet we’re now discussing roads budgets without guiding principles to drive the decisions. The SCU was concerned last year of the timing around all of these review and processes. Would they be ready for the 2013 budget? Obviously not. And yet, Sudbury wants to become the most pedestrian-friendly city in Canada by 2015?
There were opportunities lost this year in road maintenance activities – the Brady resurfacing being the first one to mind. How long will it take Sudbury to incorporate cycling infrastructure into that stretch of road now that it’s seen a major resurfacing and repair? I’m sure they won’t make any changes for years. I’d hate to see similar things happen next summer.
Cycling is increasing in so many cities. And yet Sudbury residents are still resisting to change. For example, there’s no city-sponsored safe cycling campaigns or organized activities that promote cycling. And yesterday, during a bike ride down Lasalle Boulevard, a driver honked and yelled at me to get off the road. Again, proof that many Sudbury drivers don’t want us on the road. Ah well, at least that beats the high of about 10 people who were rude to me at the start of the season during a ride on the same stretch of road between Paquette St. and Notre Dame.
I think it’s time we aggressively start promoting that a Complete Streets policy be adopted by Council and that budget decisions are made for 2013 within Complete Streets guiding principles.
I’ve posted below just a few links of interesting articles that I’ve recently read or seen posted on the SCU facebook page, as well as other links that I’ve found while poking around. Just to get the discussion started.
- Seattle switching from bike lanes to bike tracks
- Protected bike lanes are safer
- UBC Study: Bicycle infrastructure can reduce risk of injury by half
- Bicycles are Transit: Linking Cycling, Transit, Planning and People
- Bike Lanes Tied to Increased Consumer Spending
- San Diego announces largest bike friendly business district initiative
- Separate Cycle Lanes Coming to Calgary Core
- Biking Saves Americans 4.6 Billion Each Year
- Harper Government Supports Safe Cycling
- Complete Streets in Edmonton
- Edmonton Draft Complete Streets Principles
- Complete Streets and Waterloo
- Bike Riding up 26% in Metro Vancouver
- Velo Quebec, Quebec Planning and design for pedestrians and cyclists
- Complete Streets for Niagara
- Transport Canada – Bicycle Infrastructure and Safety
- City of Ottawa segregated bike lanes project
- Planning and Implementing Active Transportation in Ontario Communities
- Complete Streets 2012 Gap Analysis