Second Avenue Reconstruction Issue:
Latest News Update - Winter 2017/2018
Turning a Safe Street into an Unsafe Roadway
What has happened can best be illustrated by the diagram below. Second Avenue has gone from a relativley safe two lane street to a five and three lane roadway with resultant higher speeds.
Role of the Environmentalist: Those who are concerned about protecting the environment for present and future generations who may be employed in various fields or private citizens, organizations or groups interested in achieving these objectives through whatever means possible: Despite our failure to to create a safer community we are satisfied that we have played our role as responsible environmentalists, but are disappointed in city "professionals" that have failed in their role.
Background and history:
As the result of much concern on the part of area residents and interest in the general community a video was prepared on Feb 22nd by John Lindsay of the Minnow Lake Restoration Group to provide an overview of what has taken place since the reconstruction project was first proposed. It also illustrates traffic flow on Second Avenue at the junction of Scarlet Drive during a portion of what is considered to be a "rush hour" period. Since being posted there have been numerous "where is the traffic" comments. We invite others to record the traffic congestion that the city roads department says exists and is the reason for a major traffic corridor and massive intersection on this secondary artery.
Written History: In April 2016 the city (proponent) issued a third Notice of Completion and Project File for Second Avenue Reconstruction http://www.greatersudbury.ca/secondavenue. This attempt is a fairly lengthy document and the city has hired outside sources to support their five lane and large intersection project on Second Avenue. Actually the five lanes are only for a portion from the north and then the roadway goes to three lanes and finally to two lanes joining Bancroft Drive. Submissions to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to further review (Part Two Orders) and comment have again been made by those who previously submitted plus others. Some are provided for your information and have also been submitted to the city clerk. The submissions include those by the local Chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) here. The Minnow Lake Restoration Group request can be viewed by clicking here. Friendly to Seniors request here. The Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance here. The Ramsey Lake Stewardship Group here, and private citizens submissions here, here, here and here. Replies from the Ministry are basically the same to all groups and individuals and sample provided here. A "open letter" was sent to the Mayor and Council with respect to this issue and was published in the Sudbury Star on May 10th 2016 - it can be accessed here. Another letter outlining the concerns expressed in the submissions including a recommendation for objective consideration of a roundabout was sent to all local political reprehensive, the MOECC and the media on May 15th 2006 and can be accessed here. On June 30 the Minnow Lake Restoration Group sent a letter here to the MOECC reiterating the call for further study of a roundabout option for Second Avenue and Scarlet Drive and received notification that the file and concerns are still under review and decisions by the Minister will be forthcoming when complete. Also as the result of several claims that a previous video recording of traffic on Second Avenue was not a true rush hour representation a second "look" was provided and can be viewing by clicking on this link which was recorded with audio track and verification: https://youtu.be/-4VtTEDChZU
Note quotes below from elected representatives on road considerations.
Quote from ward councillor Lynne Reynolds: "I would like to see us move with sensitivity to people, not just cars, towards keeping our neighbourhoods from becoming massive traffic corridors"
Quotes from Mayor Graydon Smith re decision to construct roundabout in Bracebridge rather than traditional intersection "we made the right decision .. are quite enthusiastic .. some apprehension at first, but now great acceptance and approval by residents and visitors .. nothing but pleased .. pedestrians really like it .. now considering other locations perhaps even downtown where roundabouts could be even smaller"
Past Recent History: The Minnow Lake Restoration Group received correspondence here in the New Year (2015) from the Ministry of the Environment indicating that the request for a "part two" environmental assessment could not be considered as the city (project proponent) had not done the required work as described by letter here to the city and were directed to comply with the established Municipal Class EA process as described here. The Restoration Group wrote to the city here offering our cooperation and involvement in the process, and communicated by e-mail with the city following issue of a required Project File, but was not invited to discuss our concerns in person. The previous city Project File: http://www.greatersudbury.ca/living/roads/second-avenue/ In response to the Notice of Completion issued on April 1st 2015 the Restoration Group submitted a follow up request for a "part two" environmental request here. In addition a number of other groups, organizations and individuals have done the same and have given permission to have their letters of concern and request listed. They are the Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee here, The Sudbury Chapter of the Canadian Association Retired Persons (CARP) here, Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance here, Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury here, Lionel Rudd - safety consultant here. May 2015 Update: In response to the concerns expressed by the individuals and groups noted above who wrote to the Ministry a letter was received from the Ministry here indicating, as previously, any requests could not be considered as the city had still not done the proper EA assessment required as indicated in letter to the city here. So, once again in effect the "ball is back in the city court" so it remains to be seen what will take place and when. The director of roads and transportation for the city (David Shelstead) has said (in Northern Life article of May 26) that the chances for the project will begin this year are "small". The Minnow Lake Restoration Group and to the best of our knowledge those others concerned, groups and individuals, are committed to the best possible outcome for Second Avenue reconstruction. It should be noted in particular that these parties are not to be blamed for delaying this work as the city has not done the work required before proceeding to construction with respect to environmental concerns including water, air, noise, social and safety.
Expressed in the letters of concern to the MOECC are issues related to water, air and noise pollution plus social and cultural matters, appearance and cost. It is generally felt that a modern one lane roundabout would address most of these concerns. For more information on roundabouts see the excellent video below, although American, answers many of the questions with respect to roundabouts and why they are being adopted in every increasing numbers in both rural and urban settings. A roundabout for the intersection of Second Avenue and Scarlet would require fewer traffic lanes and keep the parking space for the convenience mall and front yards for the residential housing along the roadway. Also view the live webcam of a roundabout in London Ontario currently handling over 21,000 vehicles a day (Second Avenue has between 10 and 15 thousand and would not likely ever reach a single lane roundabout capacity of 26,000 daily vehicles). Also two very informative reports from the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers here and the American Association of Retired Persons here.
8 minute video on benefits of roundabouts - safety - cost - appearance for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
Live webcam view of London Ontario roundabout - 21,000 plus vehicles per day - click link below:
Making an "ugly" street attractive: See below pictures of urban street roundabouts below with commercial property on all corners. Roundabouts can be designed for almost all locations.
Ten advantages of Roundabout for Second Avenue click here
For an objective opinion of the whole situation expressed by an independent reviewer click:
One of the concerns expressed by the MOECC was the lack of reference to the Transportation Master Plan which was released only in May. A link to the plan (two years overdue from original projected date) is below:
This plan is very important as is includes all the projects the city (roads dept) would like to see undertaken in the short and long term and is supposed to address all transportation issues including private vehicles, public transportation, cyclists and pedestrians. The MLRG and others have noted that there are deficiencies in the plan and feel that all interested citizens should take the time to examine in detail and to contribute input when the document is open for public comments.
All the history related to this issue is contained on this webpage, and also some information with respect to cycling issues. None of the material has been edited as we want to be "transparent" and to to inform all those interested as to all that took place.
Two Information Meetings were held by the Minnow Lake Community Action Network on this matter in 2014. Minutes for July Meeting here and for August meeting here. Note: At the August meeting the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and Dorothy Klein did not address those in attendance by agreement, but have replied to the presentation by the Director of Roads and this can be accessed here. and attachment here. The attachment has link to youtube video of rush hour traffic at intersection of Second and Scarlet. Also this video can be accessed here
Background Concerns Related to Second Avenue Road Reconstruction:
The City of Greater Sudbury's Sustainable Mobility Advisory Panel stated in a letter to Mayor and Council (April 4th 2014) that "The Second Avenue Reconstruction Project has received a great deal of negative feedback from the community" and that "five lanes will encourage car drivers to speed". This was the feeling of many citizens and residents who expressed other reservations as well including the Minnow Lake Restoration Group concerned about possible water pollution of Ramsey Lake and Dorothy Klein RN about air pollution.
We were not the only individuals concerned about the proposal. See media release here from Lynne Reynolds, now councillor for the Ward.
With respect to the project, a notice of Completion by the Ministry of the Environment was posted in the local daily newspaper and in response the Minnow Lake Restoration Group submitted this request plus attachments one and two. The request was supported by the Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance by this letter. Another submission was entered by Dorothy a private citizen acting on her own, but she is also a member of the Social and Health Action subcommittee of the Minnow Lake Community Action Network and can be accessed here. MOE acknowledgment of our concern reply here.
It should be noted that the Municipal Engineers Association developed the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) process under which expressions of concern can be brought forward to the Ministry of the Environment for both Schedule B and C projects. Those who follow the process (including the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and Dorothy Klein in Sudbury) can and should not be faulted for following the process. It is reasonable to assume that concerns expressed must be of sufficient validly to initiate action by the Ministry.
There has been considerable public interest in the issue and criticism of the efforts of the Restoration Group and Dorothy Klein. It is important to also note that there would have been no delay had there been adherence to the recognized guidelines of the provincial Environmental Act with respect to the magnitude of the project and the possible environmental consequences which the Act defines as any factors related to “air, land and water”, and “the social, economic and cultural conditions that influence the life of humans or a community.” The fact that the Second Avenue project involved the significant widening of the road way from two to five lanes and the implementation of a signaled intersection would, according to the Act, indicate a level of assessment (Schedule C) that would require a more intensive evaluation including the presentation of alternatives and the suggested mitigation of environmental concerns. There was no intent to stop the project as the value of improving the road way and intersections involved is recognized. However it is felt that a more detailed assessment and evaluation is required with options presented for public consideration and final city approval to address the expressed concerns and result in a plan suitable and appropriate, but not necessarily more expensive, for the community as possible.
As part of the MOE expression of concerns process it is recommended that alternatives be presented to the proponent (the city) First suggested was a three lane alternative to the five lanes proposed: See illustration below which would be 14.6 metres (almost 48 feet) across of road surface including the bike lanes (similar to a section of Bancroft Drive near the Curling Club) compared to 19.5 metres (almost 64 feet) for the proposed five lanes and no bike lanes which would be on the paved blvd between the roadway and the sidewalk.
the difference at the intersection would be significant: See below - first five lane intersection and then three lane roadway intersection. One one side with bus stop there would be 7 lanes to cross with five lane roadway. The City Plan is shown first then the alternative plan. Count the lanes across North and South with each plan.
The city rejected this option as they said it would not "handle" the traffic flow. Next suggested was a modern one lane roundabout that could "handle" up to 26,000 vehicles per day, far more than what the city had predicted for this corridor. Although the CAN does not pretend to be experts it was suggested that a roundabout would eliminate the need for a signaled intersection and extra traffic lanes resulting in savings of possibly up to 2 million dollars in the projected over six million dollar reconstruction cost.
The local CAN (Community Action Network) proposed a smaller intersection as described here.
The roundabout, similar in design for that proposed for other city intersections, and used in other Canadian municipalities (see below videos of Bracebridge roundabout) could accommodate far more than the present and projected vehicle volumes. A roundabout in this location would be a much more attractive option with landscaping providing an appropriate entrance to the cemetery and dog park and down Second Avenue to the Minnow Lake community.
The first video shows the roundabout being built and first drives, while the other was taken just a short time ago (May 2014).
Recommendation for a roundabout (Bracebridge) - full text here
The benefits of roundabouts are well known and can be reviewed by clicking this link to an Ontario Govt. document http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/engineering/roundabout/faq.shtml
Also the following information flyer was prepared for distribution.
The city has stated the roundabout could become congested at rush hours. It was suggested that a "metered" roundabout with signals operating at peak volume times could be a consideration as are used in other jurisdictions, however because the traffic flow is not consistent due to the traffic signals at Donna Drive and Bancroft pedestrians would have interval times to cross and under new provincial legislation have the right of way in roundabout crosswalks. In any event any design would probably require consultants to determine how the facility would operate in a satisfactory manner.
Three links of interest:
Basic description of one-lane roundabout video:
Informative and entertaining video of a controlled experiment showing benefits of roundabout over regular intersection (all way stop - but similar results with traffic lights - possibly better).
Video of one lane video in early afternoon in BC.
Google for other roundabout info on the Internet.
Master Plan Submission: Complete submission to the Sudbury Master Transportation Plan including reference to Second Avenue click here.
On another road issue of interest to all in Sudbury is the Maley Drive "extension" go to www.friendlytoseniors.ca.
Information with respect to bike lanes and cycling in Minnow Lake here
Concerns re New Developments Roads parks etc. click here.
Adamsdale Public School is part of the Priority Schools Initiative of the Rainbow School Board providing space for community groups to use school facilities throughout the year at no cost. An exciting program that you can learn more about by viewing the PowerPoint Presentation - just click here