‘One stop shop’ map to be part of town’s trails master plan

August 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The process to adopt a new official bicycle and trails master plan in Orangeville got underway earlier this month with stakeholder and public consultation sessions designed to gather feedback from the community.

Justin Jones, Manager of Bicycle Friendly Ontario with the Share the Road Cycling Coalition has been working alongside Jeff Axisa, a transportation planner with Toronto-based Dillon Consulting, for the past few months gathering up information on Orangeville’s existing network of cycling infrastructure and trails.

The pair have been tasked with putting together a “one stop shop” plan to display the Town’s existing and future trails network. On Aug. 8 they hosted two separate sessions at the Lord Dufferin Centre, getting feedback from the community on what they would like to see included in this new plan.

“Currently, there is limited information relating to cycling and trails, and the information exists in various forms in different places. Orangeville is beginning a project that aims to pull this information together into one place,” said Mr. Jones. “Essentially, we are providing an update to a trails master plan the town has had for a number of years and incorporating cycling in a more considered way. It’s not only about trails, but it’s about how we integrate on-road cycling and make the whole system work better for all users here in Orangeville.”

Close to 30 residents were on hand for the evening session on Aug. 8, when discussions centred around safety, trail placement and promotion of the new system. There are currently 32 kilometres of trails in Orangeville, and this plan will look to encompass that system, as well as providing recommendations for potential trail construction in the future.

Having spent the day chatting with residents about their concerns, thoughts and ideas, Mr. Axisa says he’s gotten a good feel for what the community hopes to see in this master plan.

“People, I think, are really encouraged by what’s going on. They’re very happy about the infrastructure that currently exists in Orangeville,” Mr. Axisa said. “There are some priority gaps people identified, some programming they would like to see implemented to encourage more cycling use.”

He added, “The important thing, I feel, is that both the public and stakeholders appear to be on the same page, touching on the same things – filling those gaps in infrastructure, helping promote cycling to groups who are less likely to cycle, encouraging them to cycle more by showing them all the routes in town and how they can use them safely.”

Mr. Jones said he, along with Mr. Axisa, will continue to gather input from the public, stating they will be at several community events up until the end of August. They are also encouraging locals to submit their thoughts online at orangevillecyclingandtrails.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible so that we can make sure we’re putting an effective plan together that will benefit the whole community,” Mr. Jones said. “And we don’t want to just hear from cyclists, we want to hear from people who aren’t currently riding in the community. A lot of people at the stakeholder and public meeting fell into that category and we got some amazing feedback. We want to make sure as many voices as possible are included.”

The public consultation period will end on Aug. 31. Then, Mr. Axisa says the pair will work on actually writing up a draft master plan, which he expects will go to Orangeville’s new council in the new year for final approval.

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