'We hear you': Sudbury city official says cyclists, pedestrians will have a voice at city hall

Sudbury's new active transportation co-ordinator says every major roads project in the city this year includes something for pedestrians and cyclists.

Sudbury's new active transportation co-ordinator says every major roads project in the city this year includes something for pedestrians and cyclists.

Marisa Talarico added that she also has a message for those who get around the city on foot or by bike.

"We hear you and we're working to make the pedestrian and cyclist experience in the city the best it can be," she said.

"We're really looking at opportunities to make cycling and walking safer in the city."

Talarico was hired for the position in December, 2016. It's the first such specialized role in Sudbury that will look at the design of new road projects from the viewpoint of a pedestrian or a cyclist.

We hear you - Marisa Talarico, Sudbury's active transportation co-ordinator

"We kind of look at ... the area and we say 'okay a bike lane is recommended, so does that make the most sense given the speeds, the volumes, the likelihood of more people using the infrastructure and the destinations along the corridor?" she said.

A number of municipalities have already hired, or are in the process of hiring people for active transportation co-ordinator-type roles, as cities look to incorporate more amenities for people who walk, bike or use other forms of human-powered mobility.

Talarico said she`s particularly excited about new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure planned for the Kingsway and Second Avenue, adding that these, and other changes in the future, will mean more people will get out walking and cycling around Sudbury.

"I'm really happy to share that every major roads capitol project this year includes some accommodation for pedestrian and cyclists," she said. "So it's wonderful."

$800K earmarked for active transportation

The municipal budget sets aside $800,000 in funding for active transportation initiatives this year in Sudbury.

When the overhaul of a thoroughfare is being considered, the city starts with what is recommended in the transportation master plan and then administration works from there, Talarico said, adding that the city has a three-step process to determine what will work on a given street.

Those considerations include things like whether a bike lane make sense given the speed, the volume or the likelihood of more people using the infrastructure and what destinations are along the corridor.

"What works on Westmount, wouldn't necessarily work on Second Avenue," said Talarico.

The city has committed more money this year to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure than ever before, she said.

"I think we're going to see some great things in the next five years."

I think we've moved mountains with regard to changing the way we move in our city - Ward 9 Coun. Deb Macintosh

When a mobility plan was presented in 2010, city officials struck the goal of being the most pedestrian-friendly city in Ontario by 2015, said Ward 9 Coun. Deb Macintosh, who also sits on the sustainable mobility advisory panel.

"Now, we're past 2015 and we may not be the most pedestrian-friendly in the province, but I think we've moved mountains with regard to changing the way we move in our city in the last few years," she said.

"So I think that we're moving in that direction but we still hold on to that motion to become the most pedestrian friendly."

Article 'We hear you': Sudbury city official says cyclists, pedestrians will have a voice at city hall compiled by www.cbc.ca

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