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City sidewalks: Greater Sudbury Safer Sidewalks ready to distill findings of 2021 survey

‘If Sudbury wants to truly be a liveable city 12 months of the year, walkability must become a priority’
2019-02-06 Mississaga Street sidewalk winter

“Quality of life is not seasonal, we can’t lock ourselves up for months at a time”

Greater Sudbury Safer Sidewalks (GSSS) would like to thank the 428 residents who generously shared their compelling experiences using winter sidewalks, in the Spring GSSS 2021 online survey.  Over the next month, we will be honouring those residents’ stories.

“If Sudbury wants to truly be a liveable city 12 months of the year, walkability must become a priority”

We learned winter sidewalk maintenance standards determine whether residents can get to their destinations safely, risk falling, or become stuck at home. Sidewalk clearing decisions impact the health, well-being, and basic mobility of residents.

“I recently moved from a rural area and was looking forward to being able to walk in the city. That has not been possible at all given my disabilities and the lack of clear sidewalks in the winter. I am not yet confined to a wheelchair or a walker and I am still housebound in the winter due to the sidewalks”

We heard from seniors and parents of young children, people who walk for transportation and those who walk for their health, able-bodied residents and residents using mobility aids. Some of you expressed your mobility needs, others discussed safety needs for your children and families. You shared how winter sidewalks affected your quality of life and well-being. Moreover, you brought forth your experiences with specific barriers and solutions.

“I have a family and it creates stress thinking I will be forced to walk along the road with my family because the sidewalks are unsafe. The idea of my young children slipping and falling into traffic is terrifying and a very real concern. Especially where we live there isn't many sidewalks to begin with”

We learned that current winter sidewalk maintenance standards prevent people from safely reaching essential destinations, walking for their own physical or mental health, and even prevent our residents from leaving their homes. People are falling and getting hurt due to poor sidewalk conditions.

“I do not drive or have a license so walking is one of my main modes of transportation. I'm a young, healthy individual but I have still slipped on sidewalks many times during winter and have injured myself. I think my quality of life would drastically improve if winter sidewalk conditions were more acceptable”

Seniors and residents with limited mobility are especially affected.

“When snowplows push snow from the streets into the sidewalks, and when snow on the sidewalks melts into slush and/or freezes, it makes it more difficult and dangerous for my husband and I — both seniors — to take our daily walks to maintain our good health”

We are grateful to every resident who has shared their passion, stories, and support through the survey and personal messages. We are honoured to showcase your voices in this weekly series, and we welcome you to continue to share your experiences. We have a louder voice together.

Olivia Medeiros and Maria Bozzo are members of Greater Sudbury Safer Sidewalks, a grassroots group of residents who believes everyone has the right to walk around their neighbourhood and get to where they need to go throughout all seasons. We are working toward positive change to make it safer and easier to get around on foot or with a mobility device in Greater Sudbury. Residents interested in joining or receiving a copy of the survey results can e-mail or connect in the “Walk Safe Sudbury-Greater Sudbury Safer Sidewalks” Facebook group.