City of Kawartha Lakes staff is working to develop the municipality’s active transportation master plan (ATMP).
The goal of the document, due to be completed by March 2023, is to identify a continuous and connected network of safe and sustainable active transportation routes and facilities.
“There isn’t really a comprehensive document like this that currently exists within the municipality,” said Jonathan Derworiz, a planner with the City of Kawartha Lakes.
“We’re hoping to use this document to propose short, medium and long-term recommendations and strategies for developing the active transportation network within the municipality.”
Another goal of the ATMP is to create more and improved opportunities to use active modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, skateboarding and rollerblading as well as mobility devices for people of all abilities within the municipality.
Staff is working with a consultant team at CIMA+ to review and identify routes, facilities and strategies to support the ATMP.
“There are pieces of a network. There are trails to run and cycle. There isn’t much in-terms of on-road facilities or treatments like dedicated bike lanes, bollards, share roads and things you’d see in more of an urban environment,” Derworiz added.
“There is very much a network. It’s fragmented. It’s a little bit piecemeal. One of the big pieces of this plan is connectivity and bringing all of those pieces together to develop a network that considers both the rural and urban environments that the municipality is comprised of.”
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The task at hand is connecting the existing trails throughout the municipality by using on-road routes, for example.
“We know these trails exist and we know that there are folks who are cycling throughout the municipality but not in a formal capacity. The safety aspect isn’t necessarily there. If you’re a seasoned vet on a bicycle, you obviously will feel more comfortable and confident using the informal facilities, whether it’s a road or the shoulder of a highway,” Derworiz said.
“We want to make sure we’re making an equitable and accessible network for folks of all ages and all ranges to be able to use these facilities. Take the rural routes, urban routes, the loops to connect you to a park or the library or your place of employment and then home.”
Once completed, the ATMP will also be a tool to drum up tourism in the municipality.
“Active transportation is intended to be for folks of all ages and all ranges of ability. We’re hoping this document will allow different folks to get out there and explore the municipality recreationally, passively or with the intent to walk or cycle or skateboard to work,” Derworiz added.
The project team is putting together a task force to provide advice and recommendations to council and staff on improving opportunities for active transportation within in the municipality.
Members will review materials and technical studies to help inform decisions on the development of the ATMP.
The task force will hold a minimum of four meetings during its term and will conclude with this term of council on Nov. 14, although an extension could be recommended under the newly elected council later this year.
Anyone interested to give feedback or read more on the development of the ATMP can go to jumpinkawarthalakes.ca/activetransportation.