Over the last six or seven years, the City has laid the planning foundation upon which to create a more walk and bike friendly City, and over the last two years some progress has been made. What follows is a summary.
In 2009, Council approved an Official Plan including a commitment to invest and implement an “active transportation” network, including completing the Brock Trail linear park network, and developing an on-road cycling network.
Section 5.2.1 #7 prescribes as follows: “Although it is anticipated that the automobile will continue to be the main mode of transportation within the City in the foreseeable future, a land use pattern, density and mix of uses, transit-oriented design, and new bicycle lanes shall be promoted, particularly within the Downtown and Central Waterfront Area and along the major roads in the City thereby reducing the length and number of vehicle trips, complementing the increased level of transit and facilitating pedestrian activity.”
Section 5.2.3 on parking stipulates, “Opportunities to provide alternative modal choices such as cycling, walking and transit shall be promoted to reduce parking demand.”
The theme is further developed in Section 5.2.5 “Active Transportation”, with a proposed cycling network shown in Schedule 5.
In 2010, Council approved the formation of a cycling advisory committee (“BCAC”) of Council with terms of reference including advising staff and Council on relevant matters in support of the goals of the Official Plan. All of BCAC’s meetings are public, as are meeting agendas and minutes.
From 2011 on, Council:
- approved a newly-signed and improved route for the Ontario Waterfront Trail through the city, as proposed by BCAC;
- approved installation of bike racks and rings downtown, as proposed by BCAC in partnership with DBIA;
- entertained and defeated several requests to update the City’s transportation master plan, including an active transportation plan;
- welcomed BCAC’s input as an intervenor in reviewing development applications;
- adopted a new Zoning By-Law incorporating bicycle parking requirements (Section 3.9);
- committed to a ten-year capital funding stream for active transportation infrastructure (Brock Trail and cycling);
- charged BCAC with development of a cycling network per the Official Plan
- endorsed and adopted the Healthy Community Vision, including its active transportation components (Sept 2015)
- unanimously approved a plan for Phase 1 of the cycling network, proposed by BCAC (Dec 2015) as shown here.