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York Region Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan – Towards a More Sustainable Region


This paper focuses on the Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (PCMP) developed for York Region, a rapidly growing regional municipality located immediately north of Toronto. York Region is comprised of nine local municipalities with a population approaching 1 million at the end of 2007. The Regional government has recently embraced a number of growth management and planning initiatives with the goal of becoming more sustainable and reducing the Region’s carbon footprint. This is being achieved through improved Regional transit services, aggressive transportation demand management and the development of a regional scale pedestrian system and cycling network. York Region Council formally adopted the PCMP in April 2008. The Plan is intended to guide the Region as it works with local municipalities over the next 25 years to implement a comprehensive pedestrian system and region-wide cycling network. The PCMP also includes facility design guidelines as well as supporting policies and programs to encourage walking and cycling in the Region. Developing a pedestrian and cycling plan for the Region involved several unique challenges, such as the need to develop a regional scale network that can connect to existing and previously proposed local municipal networks. Opportunities were identified and capitalized upon to integrate pedestrian and cycling facilities with Regional transit, leveraging synergies with local municipalities and other stakeholders, and coordinating pedestrian and cycling infrastructure projects with Regional road construction projects. The PCMP concludes with a series of recommendations that address the opportunities and challenges identified through the study. Some of the key recommendations include: • Implementing a comprehensive outreach program and other initiatives aimed at educating the public and promoting active transportation; • Establishing an inter-municipal working group to coordinate between the Region, local municipalities and other stakeholders; • Establishing a Pedestrian/Cycling Coordinator staff position at the Region to manage and guide the implementation of the PCMP; • Adopting a 10-year Implementation Plan, which coincides with the Region’s 10-year Capital Roads Program to pursue opportunities to incorporate pedestrian and cycling infrastructure with scheduled road projects; • Adopting the Municipal Partnership Program, an unprecedented initiative whereby York Region shares up to 50% of construction costs for qualifying local municipal pedestrian and cycling infrastructure projects that are consistent with the Region’s PCMP; • Establishing the “Lake-to-Lake Route” through York Region, a major cycling destination linking Lake Simcoe at the north end of York Region to Lake Ontario at the south end via cycling routes through the City of Toronto; and • Applying detailed Planning and Design Guidelines, developed as part of the PCMP. Implementation of several elements of the Plan has already begun, and this paper includes a discussion of the preliminary evaluation of these initiatives and how they may be improved in the future.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Robert Grimwood
Dave McLaughlin
Loy Cheah
Richard Hui