Active transportation planning and implementation is ramping up all across Eastern Ontario. Catch the highlights in the first newsletter from the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Network (EOATN). The newsletter includes a recap of the recent Summit held in Brockville, highlights of active school travel planning, and quick links to activities across the region. Read the newsletter and start your subscription here.
The Canadian Automobile Association has long been a promoter of cycling through their education programs and services, recognizing that the majority of their members don’t just drive – they also choose to ride bikes, both for purpose and for pleasure. In a recently published report, CAA provides an integrated set of approaches to address urban auto traffic congestion, putting investments in active transportation as an important component.
“building segregated bike lanes that makes cycling commuters feel safe and secure can be a relatively low-cost way to reduce urban congestion. Policymakers should also consider better integrating bike sharing with transit systems as a true “last mile” solution.”
If you will be walking, cycling, or driving on Québec roads, be aware that a number of updates have recently been enacted in the Highway Safety Code. The changes to road use regulations and accompanying fines and demerit points are fairly extensive. This article in the Montréal Gazette summarizes the changes, while all the detail can be found on the provincial website.
“One month ago we hosted our 10th Annual Ontario Bike Summit. It was an energetic and inspiring 3 days in Toronto! We have captured some of the highlights from the event throughout this newsletter, but too much happened to cram into one newsletter. For additional updates, photos and links check out our social media hashtag #OBS18 as well as our blog.” Read more here.
Two years ago, based on growing weight of evidence, Portland declared that by default all new bike lanes would be protected, that is, physically separated from motorized traffic, whenever possible. (Read here)
The evidence continues to mount not just in Portland but across North America that physically separating modes of transportation materially improves safety for all road users and provides a significant incentive for growth in cycling numbers. Portland’s response is to move to make protected bike lanes the standard and has identified more than 450 miles of city roads for upgrades. Read more here.
The 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit, held in Brockville on May 10th & 11th, hosted over 100 participants from a variety of municipalities and organizations across Eastern Ontario. Presentation material from the Summit is posted online here.
Turning a long history of commitments into action, Brockville Council voted 5-3 to develop a long-awaited active transportation plan for the city. While most of the media attention has been focused on the much-loved Brock Trail, meaningful long term impact will largely stem from the process to develop and adopt the cycling components of the plan.
This vote is one step today, for the Brockville we want tomorrow.
Will Brockville residents join the 70% of Ontarians who live in a bicycle friendly community, or the 84% who live in a “complete streets” municipality? Will Council choose the path toward a walk and bike friendly community, or leave us languishing in the mean grip of a decades-old transportation paradigm? Come to the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening and find out.
The Township of Leeds & Thousand Islands is in the final stages of a major update to their Official Plan, including a commitment to further develop active transportation opportunities (see pp 159-160 of draft update here), development of an active transportation plan has started. For those interested, the first round of public workshops is coming on May 19. See the notice attached below.
The Lake Huron North Channel extension of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail network is ready for you to explore!
“Stretching 380 km from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie, the trail travels along quiet back roads and paths as it traverses some of the most spectacular landscapes in Ontario, serving up rocky shorelines, picturesque Mennonite and Amish farmsteads, rushing waterfalls, gently flowing rivers, sandy beaches, and thick forests. Twenty-six communities and First Nations dot its length, offering opportunities to stop, rest, and explore. Stay the night in a lakeside cottage, partake in some locally caught smoked fish, or enjoy a refreshing end-of-the-day local brew.”
The long-overdue development of an active transportation plan for Brockville, first committed a decade ago in the Official Plan, finally gets underway. At this evening’s Finance Admin and Operations committee meeting (City Hall, 4:30 PM), an operations staff report outlining the results of the bid process will be presented and the committee will be asked to approve moving ahead with the selected bidder. That approval will then move forward in the FAO consent agenda to full Council on Tuesday, May 22.
Come out and show the committee and Council that you support moving ahead to develop, approve and then adopt an active transportation plan for the City. It’s also a great opportunity, with a municipal election coming in November, to listen to councilors comments and see who are supportive of Brockville’s residents gaining the health, social, environmental, and economic benefits of becoming a healthier, more active place to live, work, grow, and play.
“The Townships of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Front of Yonge and the Town of Gananoque are partnering to host the third annual 1000 Islands Parkway Challenge.
Participants can run, walk, wheel or cycle from Brown’s Bay, Mallorytown Landing or Fox Run to the Rockport Recreation Hall where they can then enjoy refreshments and watch the prize presentation.”
This is a family-fun event for all ages, all abilities. Read more here.
In Brockville, our Brock Trail provides opportunities for a leisurely walk or roll in a green space, away from the noise and smell of the roads. Community trails like the Brock Trail also offer the opportunity to connect with friends and neighbours, and meet new friends. “Hike with Mike” is an opportunity created to encourage just that, on June 16 at 9 AM, starting at the trailhead beside Westminster Public School. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Trail to downtown, where you can tour the Tunnel or visit the Farmers Market for a well-earned snack. For details, on the attached poster.
Also in planning, are some leisurely, family-friendly “slow rides” along the trail. On your bike, you will be able to meet up with the group at various times and places along the Trail, starting at Laurier Blvd and ending downtown at the Farmers Market, once again for that well-earned snack. Stay tuned for more info.
The above picture can be clicked to expand full-size, and downloaded for reference. It shows the projects currently underway on the Brock Trail. Heavy equipment and other activity on the under-construction segments may limit passage. The two segments in particular where this is true include:
Perth to Stewart – expected to be completed by early June, the work here includes removal of a utility pole and its support cables near the Perth Street end; additional fill, drainage and grading of the central part of the segment and the short connector to Front St; paving; and a pedestrian crossover on Perth St.
Laurier to Centennial – construction is likely to continue into early summer on this segment. Work includes:
bridge abutments, bridge installation, and connector trail to Aspen Dr
paving of the trail from end to end
a pedestrian crossover on Centennial road to the parking lot at the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area canoe launch
at the Laurier Blvd end, a paved and curb-separated trail connection on the road shoulder to the intersection with Bridlewood; a pedestrian crosswalk across Bridlewood; a pedestrian crossover across Laurier Blvd;
a new separated trail segment from the south side of Laurier at the crossover to the Fieldhouse and then across the existing bridge to connect with the existing Brock Trail segment.
When the Laurier to Centennial segment is completed, the Brock Trail will provide an off-road active transportation corridor from the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area all the way to downtown and waterfront, where it connects with the 3,000+ km Great Lakes Waterfront Trail network spanning Ontario.
Thanks to a new partnership between Green Communities Canada and Cycle Toronto, the annual Bike to School Week campaign has now expanded from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to all Ontario schools. Read more here, and be sure to ask at your school how you can help bring this important program to your community.
Ontario already leads Canada in adoption of complete streets policies. Fully 84% of Ontarians live in a municipality where complete streets are either provincially mandated or have been adopted by local council. Sarnia is about to move up to that level of competing for families, talent and new business when their council moves to adopt a complete streets policy this month. As in other cities, the complete streets policy will ensure that public roads safely serve all members of the public – all ages, all abilities, all modes of transportation, for purpose and for pleasure.
Here are two articles about walkable communities. The first article asks whether your municipality is demonstrably unfriendly for walking, featuring many instances reflecting what we find in Brockville (as in the picture above). Read first article here.
The second article is “The Complete Guide to Creating More Walkable Streets”. The guide offers a diverse array of approaches to planning and implementing more walk-friendly access for a large variety of common streetscape situations. The guide also has numerous links to more detailed case studies of each example. Read the second article here.
Brockville will be designing and approving an Active Transportation Plan this year. Stay tuned for the public workshops and be prepared to come out and collaborate in building a plan that will provide policy and guidance, leading Brockville to become a more walk-friendly community.
MTO recently completed a major update and republished the Ontario Cycling Skills guide. It now provides a complete and current summary of how to ride and operate a bike and how to safely navigate Ontario’s roads. The pdf can be downloaded here.