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Transportation and cycling master plans unveiled at open house

Friends for Life fundraising participants cycle on County Road 1 in this file photo. – Sue Capon photo

By Sharon Harrison
A glimpse at what a cycling, walking, vehicle and transit network could look like in Prince Edward County was outlined at a recent public meeting.

Partnering with Toronto-based consultancy firm WSP, about 20 people attended the municipality’s two in-person meetings at the Picton arena, with others joining remotely. The two plans were presented through a detailed 30-minute slideshow.

“The meeting is to give a flavour of the two projects and how we are looking for your input,” said WSP’s Brett Sears.

The presentation covered existing conditions, cycling candidate routes and next steps.

Sears stated the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is a multi-modal long-range plan that looks at existing challenges, and also looks to the future.

“It is a living document and while we are talking transportation, we are still not reinventing the wheel, because the County has done other work with the Official Plan, the Strategic Plan and other documents, and we are trying to leverage those,” with an aim to build on existing assets.

He noted the TMP is not a detailed design for transportation improvement, or authorization to construct major transportation improvements, or a study for local issues, such as pot holes.

The Cycling Master Plan (CMP) is an infrastructure vision – a long-range blueprint of the cycling network and helps set priorities, said WSP’s Shawn Smith.

“It’s a tool to help guide the implementation of that network and is a communication tool as well to help build support for more investment in cycling,” he said.

The CMP is also a policy document that can help guide other policies in the County, such as the Official Plan, design standards and programming around cycling.

Smith said that while the CMP is not a commitment to fully cost and fund each project, “we will endeavour to make the plan as realistic and action-oriented as possible.”

He said both the TMP and the CMP have visions and objectives, and need to be dynamic, and flexible.

“The vision statement will reflect community goals and priorities, but also consider future trends in transportation, and what we need to do to support cycling,” said Sears.

He said they also want to ensure the plan is implementable, financially sustainable, and a well-connected multi-modal transportation network for the County, that is accessible, equitable and environmentally sustainable.

He expects the County will become known as, “Canada’s model ‘smart’ rural community”.

Emerging transportation technologies, such as electric vehicles, electric bikes, scooters and autonomous vehicles, he said, would be leveraged to achieve a sustainable approach to growth and create a better connected transportation network.

The objectives of the TMP include developing and maintaining a ‘smart’, efficient and safe multi-modal network, maintaining and promoting major transportation corridors, and minimizing environmental and social impacts.

“We are looking to do this over time. It’s not all going to be done in the next year as we are trying to set the County up for success so that it can be implemented in pieces,” stated Sears.

Smith said six objectives for the CMP, include being financially sustainable, optimizing phasing of infrastructure, developing a monitoring plan, and to promote cycling as key form of local tourism.

Prince Edward County’s existing cycling network is comprised largely of regional trail systems and touring routes.

Smith identified the Millennium Trail as an asset the plans will build upon, but he also identified The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, as well as many existing touring routes.

The plan will also look at existing walking conditions in Prince Edward County.

“Urban centres are already very walkable as most amenities can be accessed within walking distance, but there are localized areas that need improvement.”

Smith noted main streets and arterials have sidewalks on both sides generally, with residential neighbourhood having one or some, no sidewalks.

Sears noted they were also looking at the road network and noted 90 kilometres of expressway/highways (such as Highway 62) in the County, 346 kilometres of arterial roads (most of the County’s roads), four kilometres of collector roads, and 225 kilometres of local roads.

“We are looking at the network and trying to optimize it and see how we can best accommodate it for today’s needs and also into the future,” said Sears.

The cycling network process is a five-step process, with the first step to establish the base network of existing routes and trails.

“Step two is route selection criteria, and step three is identifying candidate routes, which we have completed up to that stage now.”

Next steps will involve field investigations before presenting a cycling network.

“The on-road routes we are distinguishing between ‘spine’ routes or commuter, and touring routes which are more recreational based,” explained Smith.

“The commuter routes are generally on higher traffic volumes and require more investment, such as paved shoulders for cycling. They are intended to make greater connections between the urban centres and communities.”

The touring routes are more for tourism opportunities; they are on roads with lower and slower moving traffic and they may only require signage rather than a more extensive options like paved shoulders.

Questions from the public raised concerns about the Town Hill in Picton, the use of motorized vehicles on the Millennium Trail including safety issues if access points to the trail were increased, as well as reducing the speed limit on the trail.

Further public engagement is expected in the fall of this year. Draft plans will then be finalized and recommendations are to be presented to council by the end of this year.

The public is encouraged to provide feedback on issues such as how the transportation network is functioning now, and the challenges experienced in daily travel.

“I cycle the County regularly and I think one of the first things that should be done is to install some ‘Share the Road’ signs on all of the main County roads, especially near curves, where visibility is not always great,” said Karole Marois, on the County’s Have Your Say comment section.

“I live in Cherry Valley and County Road 10 through our village is becoming like the 401 and it is becoming very dangerous to enter and exit my driveway,” said Kato Wake, on the site. “The speeding is out of control and the traffic is ridiculous. Seldom is speeding enforced. I would like to see enforced 40km in all County towns. I think traffic should be highly considered when approving developments.”

“I just looked at your map. The Touring routes (blue) suggest you are not considering dedicated bike lanes on County roads 10, 11, 12, and 18,” stated Graham Churchill. “This, in my opinion, is an oversight. Dedicated bike lanes on each of these roads would help make PEC an international destination for biking.”

To see more comments, make comment, or participate in the survey, visit the County’s Have Your Say website at https://haveyoursay.thecounty.ca

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesSports & Recreation

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  1. Emily says:

    A ton of roads require repair long before we start paving shoulders for bikes.

  2. Mark despault says:

    Agree with comment that speed limits 0f 40 Kms in populated areas ( towns and village’s) should be looked at . Consider improving the Great Lakes Waterfronft Route In the county ( paved shoulders ) as this is a major route for cyclists )

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