It’s 9:15 a.m. on a lovely summer morning. I am walking on Elm Street on my way to the dentist’s office. One big truck after the other rambles noisily by me.
As I look around, it crosses my mind that it would not really take all that much to turn this dreary and noisy main street into a wonderfully tree-lined boulevard, enticing people to stroll along it.
Firstly, I imagine a bylaw passed by the new council to ban all big trucks from entering the downtown core. Secondly, I visualize lots of elm trees planted on both sides of Elm Street.
There are 22 streets named after trees in the downtown core. What if we matched tree-planting to street names and dedicated each planted tree to a newborn baby in 2015 — our future generation?
Over the years, Sudbury has been very successful in regreening the environment. I think it is now time to focus on the heart of the city and make it the greenest city we can.
That leads me to the other topic that was on my mind this morning — the reconstruction of Second Avenue. There has been some criticism that the project is being delayed due to environmental concerns, and while some people are frustrated with this delay, others very much welcome the review.
John Lindsay has been the most outspoken person regarding the serious concerns many of us had about the plan presented at the public information session back in March. A lack of cycling infrastructure and the size of the road being built through the Minnow Lake community were the primary concerns.
City staff agreed to at least change the plans to include bike lanes and a light for pedestrians, but were unable to change the scope of the road and intersection.
There is no doubt that traffic between 4 and 5:30 p.m. is very challenging, not only on Second Avenue, but throughout the city.
The question is: do we want to build roads for 1-1/2 hours of heavy traffic per day or do we want to plan liveable cities where competing interests are managed for the good of all, not just motorists.
Roads are very much part of the community fabric. They need to be designed to address all aspects such as safety, expediency, health, fitness and quality of life. It is imperative that we give a big project like this a second thought instead of building something we will regret in the future.
The other day I attended the 50th birthday celebration of the Big Nickel. What a proud occasion for (creator) Ted Szilva and all of us.
Ted will be the first to acknowledge that his idea of building a Big Nickel as a tourist attraction was very much opposed and even ridiculed by many, and only his tenacity over many years allowed him to overcome the obstacles and naysayers.
Ted wanted “only the best” for his community, much like people like John Lindsay.
Thanks to people like Ted, John and many others who have vision, ideas and dreams, we will have a city that many love to call their favourite place to live.