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Peterborough cycling master plan aims to triple trail network system around city

The City of Peterborough's proposed cycling master plan aims to triple its trail network over the next 20 years and beyond. City of Peterborough/Twitter

The City of Peterborough’s long-term plan for cycling may see its trail system more than triple in size over the next two decades and beyond, according to a proposed cycling master plan.

On Monday, city council will vote on approving the cycling master plan, which aims to “build a more cycling-friendly city” to encourage more residents of all ages to choose bicycling as an option for transportation year-round.

Read more: Peterborough transportation master plan focuses on transit, cycling, walking

An executive summary of the plan can be found on the city’s website.

The plan would mean an annual city capital investment of $1.5 million, according to a report going to city council from Michael Papadacos, the city’s interim commissioner, infrastructure and planning services.

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The plan says currently there are 80 kilometres of bike network trails, including 42 kilometres of multi-use trails and 31 kilometres of cycling lanes and seven kilometres of boulevard multi-use paths.

The city says between 2006 and 2016, cycling has increased from 0.8 per cent to 4.7 per cent of all trips under five kilometres made by Peterborough households — “much higher than similarly-sized peer cities across Ontario,” the report states.

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Additional lanes aim to make Peterborough more cycling friendly – Feb 25, 2021

Following extensive public consultation and meetings with stakeholders over the past two years, the plan will use an “Accelerate-Spark” scenario, which was endorsed by city council in July 2021.

The hybrid scenario has a number of goals, such as improving cycling facilities in higher-density areas close to the downtown core, ensuring that all residents within two kilometres of the downtown be within 400 metres of a cycling facility and increasing funding towards programming and trail investment.

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“Implementing the Accelerate-Spark scenario has the potential to increase the future cycling mode share to 10-12 per cent, depending on the level of Spark network improvements that are implemented,” stated Papadacos.

“This scenario reflects the development of local bike culture, which reinforces cycling as a viable transportation choice among a much larger proportion of the population as increased ridership exponentially grows the visibility of cyclists.”

Read more: Cyclists don’t feel safe in Peterborough, survey finds

The plan’s “ultimate cycling network” would be 284 kilometres and the timeframe for build-out extends “beyond the 20-year time horizon of this plan,” Papadaco’s report notes.

Among recommendations for the cycling network — short-term and long-term — include:

  • Upgrades for 12 kilometres of the existing network, including resurfacing and intersection improvements (areas of focus include the Rotary Greenway Trail and the Parkway Trail between Lansdowne Street and Clonsilla Avenue).
  • Build-out of the crosstown routes, including approximately 50 kilometres of new infrastructure in the short and medium term. A focus would be on the reconstruction of sections of Lansdowne Street West, Brealey Drive and Sherbooke Street West.

Long-term (implemented as external funding permits):

  • A new river crossing near the Riverview Park and Zoo.
  • A new bridge to accommodate a multi-use trail across the Otonabee River at the site of the existing railway bridge just north of Lansdowne Street.
  • Cycle tracks along Crescent Street.
  • A multi-use path along Towerhill Road.
  • Cycling connections to Fleming College along Whittington Drive and Crawford Drive.

The master plan notes funding for capital projects will include traditional tax-supported funding, development charges applied to new growth, funding from external provincial and federal government programs and existing city reserve funds.

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The report states in the nine-year period between 2012 and 2020, the city invested approximately $19.1 million on trails and on-road cycling infrastructure — approximately $2.1 million annually, comprising $1.5 million in city funding and $0.6 million in external funding.

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