8th Annual Ontario Bike Summit Asks, “What’s Next?”

OBS2016Over 230 advocates, planners, engineers, consultants, politicians and others recently convened in Toronto for the 8th Annual Ontario Bike Summit, once again hosted by the Ontario Share The Road Cycling Coalition. 

Here’s a quick summary via an online pdf share:

2016_OBS_At_A_Glance___final

Another summary and a link to the agenda is here.
And, a link to a DropBox share of all the presentation material is here.

Here is the author’s quick notes as discussed at a recent cycling advisory committee meeting:

  • There were 234 attendees, comprised of advocates, municipal/provincial planners, consultants, municipal engineers/cycling coordinators, provincial ministry senior staffers, and politicians from all levels.
  • Of regional note, Mississippi Mills received a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community designation, becoming one of 30 communities across the province that are home to 60% of Ontarians.  Bicycle Friendly Communities range from the large, like Toronto and Ottawa, to the small, like Mississippi Mills, Pelham, Town of Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach.
  • Cycle tourism continues to be the most rapidly growing tourism sector in Ontario, with about 1,200 places/providers registered with Ontario-by-Bike, with most regions providing marketing materials including maps, and with the Ontario Waterfront Trail network expanding to over 1,600km this year with the opening of the segment extending north along Lake Huron from Sarnia to Grand Bend.  Additional segments under development include a route circumnavigating Georgian Bay, and the Lake-to-Lake route from Toronto to Lake Simcoe.  Mayor Henderson will once again be participating in the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure cycling tour, from Pelee Island to Grand Bend this year, as co-honorary tour leader.  This is the third Adventure for the Mayor, giving him a great opportunity to meet with colleagues in cities and towns along the route and see firsthand how they harvest the benefits of cycle tourism and being bicycle friendly.
  • A missing piece in Ontario has been an active cycling skills training/education program. CAN-BIKE has been available yet not well constructed, current, marketed or used.  A major revamp, with funding from MTO under Action Plan 1.0 of the #CycleON strategy, is underway now, with both short and longer term goals committed.
  • Glenn Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, provided an overview of the coming Action Plan 1.0 of the provincial Climate Change Plan.  It is aiming to continue the OMCIP funding program with $200 million over four years.
  • Action Plan 2.0 of the #CycleON provincial cycling strategy is currently under development, once again engaging about a dozen ministries and many stakeholder groups. Look for it to be announced in the Fall.
  • The Summit is always a good chance to network with those from other communities facing similar challenges. Of note, Toronto’s new cycling coordinator provided some insight in working with rail companies on paths along rights of way, and Thunder Bay’s mobility coordinator provided good advice regarding seasonal use of removable flexible bollards.
  • While we make glacially-slow progress in Brockville, most of the rest of the province seems to be accelerating away from us down the trail to Bicycle Friendly economic benefits.

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Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.