Posted by Editoress on 03/6/17
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition (Share the Road) is calling on the province to invest $50 million in cycling infrastructure as part of CycleON: Ontario's Cycling Strategy.
Through CycleON, the Province of Ontario has laid out an ambitious 20-year vision for becoming the most bicycle-friendly jurisdiction in Canada. A key part of achieving this goal includes funding municipal infrastructure and building communities that support and promote cycling for all trips under 5km.
"Ontarians want to bike more," says Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director of Share the Road. "Our research shows that more than half of Ontario residents want to bike more and that 67% of residents would be encouraged to cycle if they had safe cycling infrastructure in their community. This is in addition to the 3.8 million residents who are already riding their bikes at least once a month." Stuckless added, "It is important that the province work with municipalities to make it easy for residents to choose cycling and to ensure the safety of the millions of people who are already out there on their bikes."
The Province made their first significant investment in cycling in 2014 when they announced $25 million for cycling infrastructure. This funding was announced as part of CycleON Action Plan 1.0, the first step to implementing the province's 20-year cycling vision, and included $15 million for provincial roads and $10 million in partnership funding for municipal projects. More than 150 municipal applications were submitted and thirty-seven municipalities received matched funding of up to 50% in 2016.
"The initial provincial investment was well received by municipalities and road safety partners at all levels," says Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. "Most of the communities that applied did not receive funding, so we know there are many more projects ready to go should the Province announce a second round of funding. This Provincial commitment has done a great job leveraging local support to change the conversation on cycling and bring new municipal partners to the table."
In a recent survey of more than 360 cycling stakeholders, provincial funding for cycling infrastructure was a clear priority. Conducted by Share the Road, this survey also highlighted that we are heading in the right direction with 95% of respondents indicating positive momentum towards a more bicycle-friendly province.
"Stakeholders have seen the positive steps taken by the province since the launch of CycleON Action Plan 1.0 three years ago," says Stuckless. "We don't want to lose this momentum. Together with our municipal partners we are calling on the province to continue their leadership role on cycling. A second investment in infrastructure this year would be a meaningful step."
This call for funding has been lead by a coalition of cycling organizations including Share the Road, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, the Greenbelt Foundation and Ontario by Bike. A second round of infrastructure funding is an important part of ongoing advocacy to see CycleON Action Plan 2.0 launched in 2017.
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