The Sault Cycling Club and the cycling community are very happy and excited with the flurry of new cycling infrastructure that is happening in the city this summer. It’s by far the most significant development since the opening of the Hub Trail!
Club members should take pride that these projects were greatly influenced by our advocacy efforts which began in 1989. The club appeared before city council to ask, amongst other things, for the creation of a bike advisory committee which included city planners, engineers, police and cycling club members including John Santana, David Ellis and Andre Riopel.
The first task of this committee was to create a cycling master plan identifying the best cycling corridors in the city, which would be earmarked for cycling infrastructure as streets were upgraded. Our first major win was the addition of paved shoulders on Black Road when Joe Fratesi was mayor. This bike route has improved this year with the extension of the paved shoulders to Third Line, and with a plan of ultimately connecting to the Hub Trail near the hospital when Third Line is redone in the next few years.
The process was slow and not without its share of drama. For instance in early 2000, the city decided to widen Black Road between Trunk and McNabb from 3 to 5 lanes. Black Road had been identified in the approved master plan as a bike route and as such would have to include or improve cycling infrastructure. As presented, the “improvements” removed the existing paved shoulders contrary to the commitment the city had made in the master plan. Andre Riopel (our current Advocacy Director), was president at the time and strongly objected to the project with a huge public fight with the then mayor, Rowswell. A compromise was reached which ultimately led to the current location of the Hub Trail circumventing the area.
This summer, we will see bike lanes created on Willow, Pine, Queen Street East, Northern Avenue and a multi use path on Bay Street. A Hub Trail spoke is also planned connecting Fort Creek to Goulais Avenue north of Second Line. These very visible projects will result in an increase in the number of people who cycle, similar to what happened when the Hub Trail opened.
The Sault Cycling Club has been instrumental in all of these projects and is very grateful to the city and the province for making our city more bicycle friendly.
❗️We will be hosting a celebratory Bike Lane Ride this coming Fall to show our gratitude. Stay tuned for details.