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Cyclists claim victory at Sault's busiest intersection

The city will update its cycling master plan after conducting a full review of active transportation in the area around the juncture of Second Line/Great Northern Road
Cycling activist Andre Riopel said City Council's decision may lead to a better solution than the one he was proposing

Local cyclists lost their battle last night for a paved multi-use trail on the south side of Second Line between Great Northern Road and Old Garden River Road.

But they nonetheless claimed victory after City Council agreed to find safer ways of directing cyclists pedalling along the Trans Canada Highway near the Sault's busiest intersection: Second Line at Great Northern Road.

"Council directed city staff to do a study to provide a solution to provide safe access to bicycles and mobility device users in the Second Line/Great Northern Road corridor," cycling activist Andre Riopel wrote on after last night's council meeting.

"This will hopefully translate to an even better solution than a paved path on the south side as we petitioned for," Riopel posted.

Riopel had used to find more than 500 supporters who signed his petition calling for a sidewalk gap on the south side of Second Line to be filled with a multi-use trail when Second Line is resurfaced this year.

But Don Elliott, the city's director of engineering, only wanted a 1.5-metre sidewalk there, arguing that utility poles would have to be relocated to accommodate a wider paved trail.

"If council wishes to pursue the matter further," Elliott said, "it would best be accomplished by revisiting the cycling master plan, or completing a detailed study with recommendations for providing off-road multi-use trails in the Second Line and Great Northern Road area."

"This portion of Second Line forms part of the Trans Canada Highway and it leads to the busiest intersection in the city," Elliott said in a written report to City Council.

"While it is true that this road is legally a cycle route, it is also true that it is not good engineering judgment to direct cyclists of all skill levels to such an intersection."

Councillors ended up voting unanimously in favour of a more holistic resolution drafted by Ward 3 councillor Matthew Shoemaker, as follows:

"Resolved that staff examine funding options to update the cycling master plan with a specific view to improving active transportation in the area of Second Line from Great Northern Road to Old Garden River Road, and on Great Northern Road from Second Line to Terrance Avenue."