Active Transportation

On agenda for October 19 Council the report on Active Transportation has been brought back.  It was originally presented a month ago when some concerns were raised which required some additional research by Staff.  I am excited about this as it captures many ideas identified many times as being valuable enhancements to our daily living.   The importance of this Plan is accentuated by how increasing options for safe and pleasant use of active transportation modes can contribute to our effort to reduce greenhouse emissions as fossil fuel vehicles are one of the largest sources of GHG. Importantly it provides a methodolgy for setting priorities as there are budget constraints.     Here is the brief staff report recommending that Council receive the Plan for information; and here is the Plan.  As has been Township practice since COVID you can observe live stream at http://meeting.king.ca; and if you want to submit comments or register to make a deputation, contact [email protected] do so by noon Oct. 19.

Understanding the budget requirements for the implementing the AT strategy can be confusing.  As identified in the report, full implementation has an estimated total cost of $2.4 million or $3.1 million including design and contingency; and it is proposed to be done over a 10 year period.  (see page 40/172 in the pdf).  In reality full cost is much higher  as it is assumed that some of the AT projects will be funded by developers when they do their development projects which is generally the norm today. As identified in the report there are opportunities for grants for which applications will be made but they are not assured.  One of the grants which is relatively assured is the gas tax funds; I will be asking whether there are restrictions on how those funds are used.

But, there are occasions when it would be highly advantageous to have the AT project done in advance of the project which would trigger the developer to do the work.  This is the case on north side of King Road east of Peter Glass where the required sidewalk will be constructed when Mansions of King project is done.  The timing for the latter is uncertain but the AT asset i.e. sidewalk is desirable now.  (Vision is that pedestrians using the desired sidewalk would cross to the Municipal Centre where there will be a light and from there can walk east on the sidewalk.) This issue is identified as a “special consideration.” (see page 35/172 of pdf)  and as noted there could be an interim solution with collaboration of York Region as King Road is a regional road.  We need to have a cost analysis; and the reality that any work would likely be deemed obsolete when the the longterm solution is executed will need to be considered also.

The other cost factor when talking about Active Transportation (AT) facilities is maintenance.  Traditionally, with the exception of some sidewalk sections winter maintenance is not provided.  We will need to re-assess this practise as the goal is to replace traditional/vehicle transportation methods with active transportation.  I would expect that there will be a strategy which defines the priority facilities; perhaps such would be linked to both usage and terminus. e.g. a trail leading to the GO Train station would have higher priority than one which is used to connect neighbourhoods.  This policy implementation will need to be included in budget.

This represents a real change in how our communities are developed.  Too long the focus has been on cars.

 

 

 

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