There were over 100 people in attendance at the Peterborough Cycling Summit which offered informative presentations from community leaders in planning and transportation.
|Dr Rosa talked about enjoying a healthy lifestyle and increasing physical activity to reduce mental stress and age related suffering. In an initial report on active health in Ontario, Peterborough is listed as number one. Dr. Rosa supports cycling which helps reduce vehicle use and improves air quality.|
Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett stopped by to enforce that Peterborough has been developing an infrastructure for 16 years. He also announced that three more bikeways will be completed by the end of this year. The Trans Canada Trail Foundation has been contributing in addition to local Doners to help build our 30km of riding trails. The new 2011 cycling map is being created and will be out shortly. Mayor Bennett closed by saying that cycling promotes good exercise, health and low energy consumption in Peterborough. He believes that a bike friendly city exists here in Peterborough.
|North Kawartha Deputy Reeve, Barry Rand mentioned that the trail between Lakefield and Peterborough is well enjoyed and highly used. Citizen input has made Peterborough a more cycle safe city. Many thanks were given to Kieran from Wild Rock for input and the creation of PtboRides website. Peterborough also has the highest riders per capita than any other city in Ontario.|
Ajax Mayor Steve Parish discussed the Ajax cycling plan. He believes that there is no better way to see our Province's countryside than by bicycle. The Ajax waterfront is publicly owned and has a 7km senic trail that was built with the environment in mind. There are over 107,000 people in Ajax and they are surrounded by a rich natural setting. Ajax has 100k of trails and cycling lanes throughout to appeal to cyclists of all levels and "they aren't built in a day, they take a generation".
When planning cycling routes he found that it was counter productive to "start a war on cars". It is tough to find the financial commitment. When times are tough, cycling is usually the first to take a hit. Ajax did it by thinking outside the box taking advantage of one time funding, making it a 'priority' rather than a 'want', building it into capital funding, lobbying for links and funding through partnerships (such as Trail Advisory Committee). If programs are pitched they are denied if they don't have cycling plan implemented which shows Ajax's dedication. Mayor Parish feels that Cycling changes the feel if the community.
Steve Roberts, the Manager of Roads and Bridges for the County of Lennox & Addington was the next speaker. He said that it took four years of development to create a county wide network of paved shoulders for stable rides for cyclists joggers and other non motorized vehicles. 12 distinct routes and 576km of routes that go through attractions such as Bon Echo. There are numerous route markers to identify routes (40% of them are paved). There was a huge focus for cyclists and the width of the shoulders of the roads are 1.2, 1.5 or 2m wide depending on amount of traffic. If new roads or bridges are about to be built, then widened shoulders are implemented as well. They found the shoulder widening caused less edge of pavement break-up and less gravel on the shoulder requiring cleanup. This concept was handy for submitting infrastructure and funding applications. This project started by taking surplus asphalt from existing projects and using it to stabilize shoulders. They are working it into a "touring" attraction which brings in money for local stores and Bed and Breakfasts. The County of Lennox & Addington created a committee with representatives from local trail groups and local government. Local Municipalities took over maintaining shoulders. A paved shoulder has a lifespan of 20 years. One small issue that they encountered was that the road shoulders weren't meant for atv/motorized vehicle usage, but were being used this way. A County Trails website was established and still grows. The County of Lennox & Addington won the Ontario trails council 2007 "Trail Builder Award".
Jane Fogal, Halton Regional Councillor and a Town of Halton Hills Local Councillor, spoke about the changes in Halton Hills. She noted that Halton Hills Council was indifferent about cycling interests and safety. The main issue was Maple Avenue which is a major road through Georgetown. The Mayor created a Green Plan that had a more environmental interest. A trails advisory committee was formed as well as an environmental plan. Halton Regional Health Department and the Halton School Boards worked together as they found too many parents were driving their kids to school and sat in idling cars. Encouraging walking and cycling became the first initiative, so a Cycling Advisory Committee was formed. They invited Councillors out to public events such as the local farmers market to see just how much public interest there was. Halton Hills adopted the master plan unanimously and enthusiastic Engineering staff were already starting to work on it before the plan was finalized.
Elenor McMahon, President and founder of Share the Road has a goal to make the case to create safer roads in Ontario through legislative reform and cycling advocacy. She found there was an uneven picture across municipalities in conjunction with a lack of progress, political will and funding. She found that without a policy, you won't be recognized in a political sense. Cycling is gaining in popularity with road cycle sales is up 21%. In a recent survey, 71% agree that cycling should be taught as physical education. 60% of people from Ontario say they don't ride because of the safety factor. Exciting news should hopefully be coming as a paved shoulder legislation is going through a second reading.
Six members of Peterborough council were in attendance for the summit and they are fully aware that we need more bike lanes and are looking to address the growing bicycle interest in Peterborough.
As 'homework' we had to each write the top three things that we felt would make biking better in the City or County of Peterborough on sticky notes and then post them to one of the boards.
The most submitted ideas were...
- A call for more planning for City
- Political engagement and awareness
- Bike racks on busses
- Traffic calming techniques
- Route signage
- More bike lanes
- Want bike lanes to be plowed properly and no parking on them
- Bike routes to schools
Thanks to the Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee for creating this event!