A Challenging Faith Commuter Challenge

Submitted by our Sudbury partner, reThink Green:sudbury_map_sm

The City of Greater Sudbury is the largest city by land area in Ontario. It is composed of the main urban centre and various outlying smaller communities. It’s fair to say that most households in Greater Sudbury have at least one vehicle, and often have more than one. Many residents travel each day for work, school, recreation, and worship.

Greater Sudbury does have various forms of public transportation, but sustainable commuting is still much easier said than done. This is particularly true for anyone attempting to commute to a place of worship on the weekend. Many of the Faith Commuter Challenge participants faced barriers in their journey that impacted their ability to commute.

Weekday bus schedules are drastically different than weekend bus schedules. For example, if you attend worship at 10am on Sunday morning, you’d have to start your commute roughly one-and-a-half hours before the service begins. If you live in an outlying community, it could take up to three hours to reach your destination! One round-trip to worship would take the majority of your day.

Most public transportation systems are confined to the main urban center of Greater Sudbury, with some extending into the closest, largest outlying communities. Although public transit does extend that far, there are limited pick-up and drop-off locations. If you live beyond these points, you are required to take a “trans-cab” for the continuation of your commute. Unfortunately, these trans-cabs aren’t guaranteed to be available, or show up, especially on the weekend.

Access and distance to bus stops is an additional challenge. Bus stops aren’t always at the front door step of the departure point or the destination. Often a walk is required, which may or may not be along roads that lack safe sidewalks. This can be challenging for anyone with mobility issues. It can also be very challenging during harsh winter months.

Greater Sudbury has started developing cycle infrastructure, but unfortunately, many major roads are still lacking safe cycle lanes. This is a barrier for even the most experienced cyclist. Even if the destination was within reasonable cycling distance, the route may be too dangerous to attempt. Similarly, sidewalks are not always guaranteed on every Greater Sudbury road. Walking can be difficult, and even hazardous, especially on busy routes.

The best and most popular option for most Faith Commuter Challenge participants was carpooling. This is a safe, easy option that works well for our area, and can easily continue throughout the year.

Despite the barriers, the Faith Commuter Challenge was a great way to encourage our local faith communities to rethink their transportation options. We encourage each and every participant to keep up their sustainable commutes!