St Lawrence Rec Trail Improvements

Click to enlarge

Improvements are underway to the western terminus of the St. Lawrence Recreational Trail along the 1000 Islands Pkwy corridor. This route is also part of the Great Waterfront Trail, used by thousands of people cycling each season. Those familiar with the Gananoque end of the Trail understand that it has been frequently criticized for its configuration. Cycling between that end of the Trail and Gananoque requires crossing the Parkway and using the edge of the eastbound entrance ramp from County Road 2.

The new configuration currently under construction and shown in the picture above will feature an extension of the Trail along the corridor of the exit ramp from the Parkway to County Road 2. That intersection is already controlled by traffic lights. From there the Trail route will run along bicycle lanes in the existing County Road 2 corridor, under the Parkway Bridge through the interchange, near to the gates of Gananoque.

The resulting Trail route will be much more welcoming for families and cycle tourists, improving Gananoque’s connection to this regional asset.

Ontario Launches Cycling Tourism Strategy

At the recent 9th annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto, both Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon, made announcements about province-wide cycling initiatives.

Minister McMahon unveiled Tour by Bike, a tourism strategy that will develop and market Ontario as a cycling destination. The Minister emphasized the positive economic impact of cycling tourism, an industry drawing 1.7 million visitors per year, who spend $428 million. Cycling visitors tend to spend more per trip than the average visitor, and tend to stay longer. In cycling tourism research studies last year in Halton, Prince Edward County and Windsor-Essex, 50% of Ontario by Bike registered businesses surveyed said that cyclists were either a core or regular part of their customer base, and 1,594 cyclist nights were recorded at registered accommodation locations.

Learn more about Ontario’s Cycling Tourism Strategy in the comprehensive website here.

Provincial Cycling Network Draft Posted For Comment

At the recent 9th annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto, both Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon, made announcements about province-wide cycling initiatives.

Minister Del Duca announced the release of Ontario’s provincial cycling network. The draft network, with a map of existing and proposed routes, is open for comment on the Ministry’s website. He noted that over 8,000 km of trails and bike lanes already exist in Ontario. This plan, which has gone through an initial design and round of public workshops, will combine existing and new routes into one network spanning the province, linking municipalities and points of interest, and bolstering the rapidly growing cycle-tourism sector.

This initiative stems from Action Plan 1.0 of #CycleON, the provincial cycle strategy.  The draft plan is open for comments on the Environmental Registry until May 12, 2017.

Ontario 150 – Celebrate By Bike

“Ontario’s 150th anniversary is an opportunity for people to come together and to experience the incredible resources our province offers,” says Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Ontario 150: Celebrate by Bike will showcase incredible cycling opportunities and enable people of all ages to connect with their
communities by bike.”

There are three parts to this celebration, including signature events in 15 communities, new online guides to routes, events and resources, and a new cycling education program for 4,000 10 year olds, in partnership with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation. See the media release below.

Media Release - April 12 - Ontario 150 Celebrate By Bike

Cycle Touring Ontario By Bike

Cycling along the St Lawrence Recreational Trail – photo: Alan Medcalf

Looking to explore Ontario this summer by bike for a day, a weekend, or longer? The 2017 edition of Cycling In Ontario has now been published and is being distributed broadly as well as being available online.
(Read or download here)

Most regions in the province have been investing heavily in welcoming the growing cycle tourism sector with signed routes, packages, events and both online and printed information. There are now over 1,250 eateries, accommodation providers, and points of interests registered with Ontario By Bike as well, making trip planning easier than ever.

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail now stretches over 2,000 km around Ontario, linking shoreline communities ready to welcome you. That includes Brockville, featured on page 22 of the guide.

Happy trip planning!

The Case For Provincial Investment In Cycling

The attached letter to the Ontario ministers of transportation and finance provides input to the pre-budget consultations. It’s jointly penned by the leaders of the Share The Road Coalition, Ontario Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Greenbelt Foundation and Ontario By Bike, and provides rationale and recommendations for the investment stream committed in #CYCLEON, Ontario’s cycling strategy, as well as the province’s climate change action plan.

MTOFinLetter2017

Please feel free to use the ideas and information in the letter to send your own letter of support.

Uptake In Cycling Benefits Local Economies

tdl327cIt’s well established that increases in cycling modal share create a multiplier effect in population health improvements and reduced health care costs. Yet the economic effects don’t seem to be as well accepted, despite quinquennial study updates in places like Québec, published by MTQ and Vélo Québec.  It’s good to see other studies from other regions add to that evidence.  Here, BBC Research reports on Colorado, where cycling events and tourism add $1.6 billion annually to the state economy. That’s why Bike Friendly Business Areas and paved shoulders are so important in the larger economic picture. Read more here.

QuebecEconomicBenefits

Downtown Brockville Recognized As Bicycle Friendly Business Area

downtownbrockvillebialogoDowntown Brockville is now one of four certified Bicycle Friendly Business Areas in Ontario! The Ontario By Bike Network is a province-wide network of certified bicycle friendly businesses and business areas that collectively enhance Ontario’s cycle tourism sector and growing cycling market. This designation positions downtown Brockville as a hub for the excellent on road cycling and trail riding throughout the city and into the surrounding region.

Downtown Brockville Bike Friendly

 

Ontario By Bike August Newsletter

OBBlogoCheck out the latest newsletter from Ontario By Bike – your best source of information on the cycle tourism scene, for those looking to discover Ontario in an up-close way, as well as those looking to benefit from the most rapidly growing tourism activity.

This month’s edition features Waterloo Region,  Windsor/Essex County/Pelee Island (where the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure is currently underway), the Rideau Heritage Route and more.

Check out the newsletter here.

Ontario By Bike! June e-Newsletter

Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2014 - credit: Erika Jacobs
Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2014 – credit: Erika Jacobs

Ontario By Bike! is the leading organization in the province for cycling tourism, the most rapidly growing tourism sector. Cycle tourism ranges the gamut from single day or weekend adventures to multi-week tours, complete with culinary delights, cultural attractions and like-minded company. Their regular e-newsletter provides an update on highlights and developments.  Sign up for a free e-subscription or read the most recent newsletter here.

CAA Ups the Game for “Worst Roads” Annual Poll

CtyRd2LGDxO2For several years, the Canadian Automobile Association has run their “worst roads” poll, asking members to nominate and vote for those road segments deemed to be “worst” by whatever criteria matters to you. Walking and cycling criteria are now welcome too, following a few years of this author and others pointing out CAA’s strong partnership with the Share the Road Coalition and the majority of CAA’s members who also choose to cycle.  Let’s use this – explicitly nominate your “worst road” for cycling – say, County Rd 2 through Leeds & Grenville.