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New bike-commuter routes to be built this summer (4 maps)

By the end of 2020, the Sault will have 50 kilometres of active transportation infrastructure

Sault Ste. Marie will seriously crank up the cadence of bicycle route construction in 2020.

City officials plan on spending $726,000 before year's end on cycling routes and multi-use paths.

"With the implementation of all of these projects coupled with existing routes and paths, the city will have approximately 50 kilometres of active transportation infrastructure by the end of 2020," says Stephen Turco, senior city planner.

$581,000 of the funding is from the province's Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling program.

The remaining $145,000 will come from city coffers.

As a condition of our funding agreement with Ontario Ministry of Transportation, project funding must be spent by December 30," Turco says.

The projects include:

  • Pine Street priority bike route from Northern Avenue to Queen
  • Willow Avenue priority bike route from Northern Avenue to McNabb
  • Wawanosh Avenue/Willoughby Street priority bike route from Grand Crescent to Pine
  • Queen Street East priority bike route from Sault Golf and Country Club property to Dacey Road
  • Lake Street – from Village Court to Queen Street
  • MacDonald Avenue – from Pine Street to Black Road
  • North Street – from Mary Avenue to Wellington Street
  • Korah Road – from Henry Street to Lyons Avenue
  • Goulais Avenue – from Second Line to Bonney Street

The first four of the above initiatives were approved by City Council in 2019.

The other five jobs received final authorization this past week, and city staff are currently working on pre-design analysis.

"This analysis for these routes should be complete by mid-March," Turco says. "Neighbourhood engagement sessions for each of the routes will be planned for late March, or early April."

"Following council’s approval of the remaining five routes, it is recommended that these routes, as well as the four routes approved in 2019, proceed by way of a specific street-painting contract."

"A specific contract is recommended as the implementation of cycling lanes is more specialized than the annual line-painting contract."

"In addition to line painting, pavement markings such as bike and diamond symbols are also required and would be beyond the scope of the annual line-painting contract," Turco said in a report to Mayor Provenzano and councillors.

"With the imminent development of the Northern Community Centre twin-pad arena, it is recommended that the first phase of a multi-use-path be constructed, from Cooper Street, to the area just south of the Korah Collegiate track. This project will include a trail facility similar to the John Rowswell Hub Trail, and a pedestrian/cyclist bridge crossing a flood diversion channel."

Also to be built this year is a multi-use path along Canal Drive that's intended to be part of a future spoke trail leading to James Street.

"As part of the overall redevelopment of the former St. Mary’s Paper site, the city and the property owner have entered into an agreement to create a multi-use-path through the initial phase of this project," Turco says.

"The first part of this path has already been constructed through the Machine Shop parking area – the area in front of the Algoma Conservatory Building and the Machine Shop."

"The second part between Huron Street and Canal Drive will include lighting and will be constructed this summer. Once complete, this path will be a continuation of the existing waterfront walkway, and will create an intuitive connection into the Machine Shop property and the new ACR train station currently under development," Turco says.

City staff are arranging public consultations with immediate neighbours of each of the projects.

"A notice will go out to the neighbours fronting on roads where a cycling route is proposed and public information sessions will be hosted," Turco said.

He points out that a number of other active transportation projects are planned for the upcoming construction season, as part of planned capital works improvements.

"This summer, the reconstruction of Black Road will include widened shoulders which will serve as cycling lanes along that road, creating a cycling route from McNabb Street to Third Line," Turco says.

"As well, the Northern Avenue resurfacing project will commence this summer, which includes the conversion of the street from four lanes to three lanes, with dedicated cycling lanes on both sides."

"The Bay Street resurfacing project is also scheduled to be completed this summer which will include a 1.5-kilometre multi-use path on the south side of this road."

"Finally, the Great Northern Road/Second Line environmental assessment [EA] is scheduled to commence this summer. This EA will have a strong focus on improving pedestrian and cycling movements through this area of the community," Turco said.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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