Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mayor John Rodriquez Responds

Thanks Green Sudbury. I'm really excited that the issue of cycling lanes - and sustainable mobility in general - is gaining momentum. Every week, more and more people bring up the issue, directly to me as well as through the media.

When I me...t with Eleanor McMahon (of Share the Road) and Devon Kershaw this week, before the Share the Road ride, Eleanor told me she felt that citizens were way ahead of the politicians on these questions. And she is absolutely right. We need organizations like Rainbow Routes, the Bicycle Advisory Panel, the Cyclists' Union and others to keep the pressure on, but we also need a plan.

When I became Mayor, the Number 1 priority for a majority of residents was for us to fix the roads. Over that past four years, we've been investing significant dollars toward this goal. Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done before we are caught up and our investment in roads can level off to a maintenance level. We will get there, but only because we have a plan.

The same goes for cycling infrastructure. The Rainbow Routes Association has done phenomenal work with a number of new and re-developed trails throughout the community, but we don't yet have a comprehensive network of trails that would satisfy recreational cyclists. And as for commuter cyclists - the ones who want to bike on the road to get to work, to school, to the store, etc. as efficiently as possible, without getting in their car - we are nowhere near where we need to be to meet their needs. Howey Drive is an excellent example of what can be done, and the widening of the outside lanes on Regent Street where we are doing work this summer is a good start.

Our roads' engineers tell me they are working on some proposals to put before the traffic committee with respect to cyclists' uses of our resurfaced arterial roads, their boulevards (the space between the curb and the sidewalk), and the sidewalks. I’m really looking forward to some creative solutions.

As far as a commitment from me, I support the need for a plan to develop bike lanes and paths along major commuter routes in a strategic and cost effective manner. Furthermore, I would like to have this plan ready for the review of our Official Plan in 2012.

I will work with you and other cycling enthusiasts, just as I have worked with arts and cultural groups, recreation groups, small business groups, developers, and non-profit groups to make our city a healthier, safer, and greener community.

There is a huge job that both you and I can embark on now - and that is educating all users of our streets on safe and respectful coexistence.

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