April 24, 2008
Media Release

York Regional Council approves master plan to develop and promote pedestrian and cycling networks

Plan will require investment of $44 million over 10 years
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today endorsed the final Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan, a blueprint to develop walking and cycling infrastructure.  The plan will also promote alternate forms of travel, such as combining walking and cycling with public transit, to help The Regional Municipality of York reach our sustainable transportation objectives.
 
“A community with walking and bike paths is more liveable because they allow residents more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and maintain health and wellness through exercise,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “An extensive, inter-connected system of walking and biking facilities will enrich our quality of life and provide better mobility for our residents for years to come.”
 
A total of $44 million will be invested over 10 years for implementation of the infrastructure, programs and services.  York Region's portion will be about $33 million with the remaining portion to be from local municipalities and the Province.
 
“York Region is taking a leadership role to support and accelerate local municipal efforts in developing walking and cycling facilities,” said Town of Markham Regional Councillor Tony Wong, Chair of the York Region Planning and Economic Development Committee.  “Walking, bicycling, public transit and carpooling can greatly reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions that are a major source of poor air quality.”
 
Poor air quality adversely impacts our health and can cause illness in people with heart and lung conditions.  Those at particular risk include young children, the elderly, asthmatics and anyone with existing respiratory or coronary conditions.
 
Reducing traffic congestion also leads to a more efficient transportation network.  Moving people and goods in a timely manner is necessary to help our economy remain competitive and prosperous.
 
The plan describes how York Region will work with local municipalities to connect local pedestrian and cycling systems into a regional-scale network.  It presents a continuous system of sidewalks along Regional roads as well as a network of cycling facilities, including bicycle lanes on roads and bicycle paths across York Region.  Both are integrated with public transit services that connect communities.
 
A 10-year implementation plan identifies a mix of on and off-road facilities, including:
• 460 kilometres of bicycle lanes and paved shoulders
• 60 kilometres of new multi-use trails
• New bicycle route signs on 125 kilometres of roads where the travel lane is shared by motorists and cyclists
• 60 kilometres of new sidewalks
 
Other implementation highlights include:
• Integrating walking and cycling infrastructure with public transit through bicycle rack installations at YRT/Viva stops and bicycle carriers on transit vehicles
• Public education, promotional and outreach materials such as a York Region cycling map
 
Since its initiation in March 2006, the study completed three rounds of Public Consultation Centres and involved stakeholders through its Regional Steering Committee, Technical Advisory Committee and Public Advisory Committee.
 
In June 2007, York Regional Council adopted the Pedestrian and Cycling Municipal Partnership Program to assist in funding local pedestrian and cycling infrastructure that match Regional priorities and goals of the Master Plan.
 
Local municipalities and stakeholders were asked to submit applications to the Region for pedestrian and cycling projects that serve a Regional context and improve the co-ordination and implementation of pedestrian/cycling initiatives.  The Pedestrian and Cycling Municipal Partnership Program has an initial budget of $500,000 per year.
 
In October 2007, York Regional Council adopted recommendations selecting 2007 and 2008 local municipal pedestrian and cycling infrastructure projects for Regional funding contribution.  Projects in East Gwillimbury, Newmarket, Aurora, Vaughan and Markham will be funded.
 
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Specialist, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
 Cell:  905 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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