The City of Mississauga is moving forward with an Active Transportation COVID-19 Recovery Framework following approval of a report that was brought to Council this week. Starting this summer, the City will introduce more short-term and long-term active transportation options for cyclists and pedestrians that allow for safe physical distancing. Residents can look forward to Quiet Streets that limit vehicle traffic, temporary road closures that provide more space for cyclists and pedestrians and 17.9 km of new separated and on-road bike lanes that will be installed by the end of the year.
“Our efforts continue to build cities for people and ensure our residents can continue to travel safely and comfortably around our city while respecting physical distancing,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “It’s especially important now that we are in Stage 2 and are further reopening our economy that we provide residents with more ways to move. During this pandemic, communities like ours have seen cycling increase by as much as 60 per cent. This framework responds to those needs and will work to provide our residents with more options to travel around our City comfortably while providing relief for our busy sidewalks, multi-use trails and enhancing access to local amenities.”
Throughout the spring, the City installed temporary active transportation lanes in Wards 4, 7 and 9 to give local pedestrians and cyclists more space to practise physical distancing. The framework allows for the introduction of more short-term options in the form of temporary road closures and Quiet Streets. Temporary road closures will help reduce crowding in Mississauga hotspots, particularly on weekends. Quiet Streets, which temporarily limit vehicle traffic to local traffic only, will provide more space for cyclists, walkers and runners to safely and comfortably use the road.
“Active transportation will shape how residents move around Mississauga during recovery and beyond,” said Geoff Wright, Commissioner, Transportation and Works. “We’ll be expanding Mississauga’s cycling network long-term. By adding 17.9 km of new on-road bicycle lanes and separated bicycle lanes by the end of the year, we permanently increase the City’s on-road bicycle lane network by 30 per cent.”
Based on data from Peel Public Health and the City’s transportation planning teams, locations for the projects outlined in the framework have been selected using criteria that includes: population density, vehicle ownership per household, commute distances and potential risk of COVID-19 exposure. Locations were also chosen to help fill gaps in Mississauga’s existing cycling network.
In addition to consulting Peel Public Health, several key City strategic initiatives support the rapid expansion of the cycling network in Mississauga, including the Cycling Master Plan, the Climate Change Action Plan, the Transportation Master Plan and Vision Zero. The Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee was also consulted in the development of the framework.
“Staff from across the organization have listened to residents and we recognize the immediate need for more options to travel safely by bike or foot, in both the long-term and the short-term,” said Helen Noehammer, Director, Infrastructure Planning and Engineering Services. “We’re reprioritizing our work plans and using relatively simple materials, available budget and existing contracts in order to accelerate this work.”
No new funding is required for the projects identified in the framework. Estimated to cost $1.3 million, budget for the projects will come from existing funding sources, with $830,000 coming from the Federal Gas Tax Reserve Fund and $470,000 coming from the Development Charges Reserve Fund.
Noehammer added, “The installation of additional cycling infrastructure will lead to operational impacts. We’re continuing to finalize what dedicated year-round maintenance of this infrastructure will look like, especially in the spring and winter.”