Active Transportation Planning Beyond the Greenbelt

Planning for Autonomous Vehicles: Imagining Alternative Futures
December 5, 2016

by Nancy Smith Lea, Dr. Raktim Mitra, Dr. Paul Hess, Neil Loewen, Danielle Culp

The Greater Golden Horseshoe Region is bifurcated by the Greenbelt, a legislated protected greenfield area. The Inner Ring, the most densely populated and urbanized section, is on one side of the Greenbelt, and the Outer Ring, comprised of more rural and smaller communities, is on the other side.

These 13 projects are wide-ranging and at times unexpected, as smaller towns, suburbs, and rural areas often face the perception that walking or cycling are not viable travel options there. Physical conditions such as topography and large distances can act as barriers, as do the presence of provincial highways that run right through the middle of historic small towns. Despite these and other challenges, the municipalities in this book have successfully implemented off-road trails, paved shoulders, bike lanes, sidewalks and more to create spaces that encourage active transportation.

Study highlights:

  • 12 of the 19 jurisdictions surveyed have active transportation master plans, or are in the process of developing them
  • Outer Ring active transportation projects are being built across a variety of settings, from compact centres to more rural, very low-density areas
  • Many of the same types of pedestrian and cycling strategies applicable to larger urban centres (e.g. bike lanes, multi-use paths) are being employed with success across the Outer Ring
  • Unique solutions are being employed to address specific conditions in the Outer Ring, such as paving shoulders on rural highways. Ontario’s Bill 31 Making Ontario’s Road Safer Act was an important precondition for this, as it made it legal for cyclists to ride on paved shoulders
  • The #1 challenge faced by nearly every municipality is funding. Of the 13 featured municipalities, five were recipients of the new Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program
  • Book Launch Event A launch event for the book is open to the general public, and will include a panel with Jennifer Juste, Transportation Demand Management Coordinator at the City of Guelph, Sarah Wilhelm, Senior Planner at Wellington County, and Dr. Paul Hess, one of the lead research investigators. It will take place on Tuesday April 4th, 2017 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, 341 Yonge St, Room 508, Toronto. Free tickets + advance purchase of book available on Eventbrite. Print copies of the book are $10 at launch event or $15 online.