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Petition pushes for sidewalk along busy Azilda street

City councillor says stretch of Notre Dame Street basically cut off ‘for anything but cars’

Although it’s a major active transportation route in Azilda, a stretch of Notre Dame Street lacks sidewalks, bicycle lanes or any other accommodations for non-motorists aside from bus stops.

The road’s uneven gravel shoulders are bad enough during the summer months, but in the winter it becomes downright “treacherous,” Mark Steklasa told Sudbury.com.

“This is the oldest part of Azilda and we don’t have a sidewalk,” the Notre Dame Street resident said. A stretch of road to the west that does have a sidewalk is cleared of snow by city crews throughout the winter, but navigating the stretch of road that lacks sidewalks, from east of St. Thomas Street to Municipal Road 35 by the Tim Hortons, is touch and go for pedestrians.

His wife, Marilyn, said that she feels for people who use walkers, adding that there are a number of seniors in the area for whom “it’s not a safe walking place at all.”

During last week’s operations committee meeting, Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland presented a 672-name petition spearheaded by the Azilda Community Action Network that calls for active transportation accommodations along this stretch of road.

McCausland paired the petition with a successful motion, which resolved “that the City of Greater Sudbury direct staff to prepare a report that provides information on how active transportation facilities can be incorporated into the future renewal of Notre Dame Street East in Azilda from East of St. Thomas St to MR35, to be presented to the Operations Committee in Q1 2022.”

Alongside poor road conditions, McCausland told Sudbury.com that the neighbourhood’s limited active transportation network was among the top issues Azilda residents brought up when he was doorknocking. 

“This is a location that has for many years been a frustration of the community, that there hasn’t been an active transportation connection,” he said, adding that it’s cut off “for anything but cars.”

Central to the discussion is the Tim Hortons next to MR35, which is a major gathering spot in the neighbourhood and for which there’s no safe way of accessing unless you’re in a vehicle.

Notre Dame Street resident Christine Willard shared in this safety concern, saying that she doesn’t walk the stretch of road because it’s “too dangerous.”

“I tried, but traffic’s too fast here,” she said, adding that although the road’s speed limit is only 50 km/h, some people treat it as more of a recommendation than a rule.

Area resident Joanne Kinsella was walking down Notre Dame Street with friend Kim Grenke this week when Sudbury.com asked whether the stretch of road should have sidewalks.

“Oh my God, yes,” she said, adding that they’d just been discussing this very topic. 

Although the road’s existing shoulder is adequate in some places, she said that other places are too narrow and/or slanted, which can be difficult to traverse. 

Notre Dame Street is slated for resurfacing within the next few years, which McCausland said would be an opportune time for the city to improve the road’s active transportation accommodations.

Sidewalks, he said, might be too expensive; however, wider paved shoulders accompanied by traffic bollards or rumble strips could be an option.

Or, he said they might find room for a separate asphalt multi-use recreational path. 

“I want to make sure that we’re laying the groundwork so that when we do rebuild this road we rebuild it better, not just for cars but for all the residents whether they’re walking, biking or driving.”

With last week’s motion passing unanimously, McCausland said he’s confident that city administration will bring something forward next year that will satisfy the community. 

“It’s really important to the community out there and I’m really happy we’re looking for solutions in the years ahead.”



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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.
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