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Vision for safe cycling through the County comes with price tag and plans

A vision for paved shoulders, multi-use paths and bike lanes creating a connected safe cycling and walking system throughout Prince Edward County comes to council with an almost $20 million price tag – approximately half in County jurisdiction and half in Ministry of Transportation jurisdiction.

UPDATE: The presentation purpose was as an update, and was received by council for information, not for endorsement.

Shawn Smith, of the Toronto-based consultancy firm WSP, is to address council Tuesday night to share key recommendations of a year-long Cycling Master Plan (CMP) which features short (within 10 years) and long-term (beyond 10 years) goals.

The report notes funding would be required from all levels of government along with prioritized improvements as money becomes available and an eye to capitalizing on opportunities to bundle work with other infrastructure projects.

Smith’s report is to include more information about key recommendations, including use of the Millennium Trail as the spine of the network, along with partnerships to improve the cycling experience and culture and continued work with the Ministry of Transportation to improve conditions for cyclists on highways 33 and 62.

The report to council notes an updated paved shoulder policy could help save money in the long run on routine gravel and grading operations. It cites Lennox and Addington reports average cost savings of $10,000/km (both sides) and break-even in 10 years. Lanark County, Smith reports, shows 10 per cent extended life-cycle of roads with paved shoulders and break-even in 16 years. Over an 18-year period, annual capital and maintenance costs per km at Grey County show $1,645 per year for granular shoulder vs $1,861 per year for paved shoulder.

The CMP began in summer of 2020 and Smith notes in his report there were 1,600 project site visits and 82 survey responses with 54 per cent of respondents stating they live and work in the County. About 20 people attended two in-person municipal meetings held at the Picton arena last fall, with others joining remotely.

The report notes key themes from public and stakeholder feedback include bike safety to and from the Sandbanks, and cyclist safety on all roads; concern with ATV access on the Millennium Trail damaging surfaces and creating unsafe surfaces for walkers and cyclists; and a need for co-ordination to ensure an active transportation and cycling plan moves forward.

Among 17 “Signature Infrastructure Projects” suggested are a multi-use path on Stanley Street from Bloomfield Main to the Millennium Trail entrance; paved shoulders on County Road 12 from the trail to Kleinsteuber Parks Road; from County Road 12 from Kleinsteuber to County Road 18; and County Road 18 from County Road 12 to County Road 11 (Sandbanks main entrance).

Next steps are council endorsement of the plan (at a future date following consultation with staff); a notice of study completion and a 30-day public review.

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  1. Chris Keen says:

    Perhaps this cost could be added on to the $163 million required to bring the County’s roads up to a minimum standard? It makes sense to do both at the same time. Completion date? 20 years from now??

  2. Emily says:

    Who is dreaming this stuff up and requesting consultant studies and at what cost? For gods sake, commom sense would tell you that until we can repair and maintain our current roads, bicycle paths are on the back burner.

  3. MissB says:

    Twenty million dollars would build a LOT of affordable housing. It’s time to get our priorities straight.

  4. todd says:

    Exactly right Diane. As someone who grew up riding my bike all over the county as a kid, none of this is needed. Especially at such a wild price tag. There is no way County Taxpayers should be paying for this. Also, ATVs should be, and should always be, able to use the millennium trail. If you don’t like it then move back to a big city. I have walked, skied, biked and jogged on the millennium trail for years and 99% of ATV folks are kind and respectful of me. Maybe thats because I don’t feel entitled to the trail and I treat them with respect too as they approach. Honestly, I miss the ruggedness that use to be the millennium trail.

  5. Ron Waslenko says:

    This is a bit of a laugh. I have heard advertised that the county has bike paths (along the highway). No one is aware of it riding a bicycle on the paved automotive right of way. The roads aren’t really wide enough to start with and so many ride way out like they own #33 or #2 for example. Huge transports and other massive vehicle complicate passing driving along hwy 33 and don’t appear to be dropping any product in the towns where clearance is minimal at best. Even towns like Wellington have a paved shoulder but I have never seen a bicycle use it.

    As for the Millennium Trail issue, It was first developed into a snowmobile trail and maintained by the Prince Edward trail riders as a snowmobile trail and ATV trail. A ton of work was done by members to improve this trail for better walking, cycling and dogs experienced by many ATV/UTV riders. Volunteers such as myself, were cutting bush along the near 50km to get it where it is now, filling holes last year and I generally patrol helping broke down machines/bikers I had come across.

    The path the bikes all drive on is the smoothened path created by the ATV/UTV tires crunching the marble surface into a stable smooth area. Off those tracks rider lose control as the bits of the surface shift and are soft in comparison and avoided by all riders. We are sharing the trail with cyclists as the trail was never is any condition to be used by bicycles before. Approximately two years of work by volunteers worked over it end to end to get it to this state.

  6. Dennis Margueratt says:

    I am happy to see one of the pieces being explored in this study is ATV access to the millennium trail. The County did a great job of resurfacing the trail a few years back, but increasingly I see the trail being torn apart by ATV users who consider the trail their private race track. Wear and tear, excessive speed, the noise created, and the dust all make the trail less than desirable for other users. Some ATV users take great delight in seeing how fast their units will go and how much dust they can create along the trail, safe in the knowledge there is really no law enforcement along the trail. I am surprised seeing how fast some users drive along the trail that there hasn’t been a serious accident either to drivers or others using the trail. I am an ATV owner myself but also a walker and cyclist user of the trail. I think the trail should be restricted, as are most other trails across the region with a similar purpose, to walkers and cyclist only during the spring, summer, and fall months (farm vehicles being the exception). A great deal of money was spent improving the trail. Restricting use on the trail would help greatly in seeing the long term benefits of that investment.

  7. Diane says:

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? With all the other misery we have on our plates here, especially overtourism, this has GOT to go on the backburner! Twenty million dollars? Give me a break. It’s time to prioritize and spend our taxpayer dollars to make improvements that make sense for everyone… not just those who like to ride bikes around the County. Most people, including myself, are already very respectful of bike riders and give them lots of room so they feel safe. The roads are just fine for them as they are. C’mon!!!

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