Ontario is well on its way to becoming one of the provinces most dedicated to cycling, with $10 million funding for the Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program.
Cycling Infrastructure is a part of the province’s #CycleON Action Plan 1.0, which is a plan to increase accessibility for bike riding. Ontario is allocating funding for cycling lanes, off-road cycling, cycling traffic signals and signs, transportation bridges and bike racks. The funding will be allocated to 37 municipalities across the province. Municipalities were eligible for funding up to 50 per cent of the total project, with a maximum of $325,000 per municipality. The program was launched on July 3, 2015 and nearly 150 municipalities showed interest. Out of the 37 approved municipalities, 25 areas are set to receive the maximum amount of funding.
Toronto and the GTHA, Whitby, York Region, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Markham, Newmarket, Mississauga, Niagara Region and Tecumseh received maximum funding. To the east, Brockville, Peterborough, Ottawa, United areas of Prescott and Russell will also receive $325,000 for cycling projects. In Southwestern Ontario, Chatham-Kent, Cambridge, London, Lasalle, Kitchener, Kingsville, and Windsor has been approved. Northern Ontario will also receive the highest possible amount in Orillia, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Temiskaming Shores.
#CycleON Action Plan 1.0 outlines the guiding principles to make Ontario one of the top cycling destinations in the world. The plan sets out five goals for 2033.
The 20-year plan outlined specific objectives to create an ideal cycling network. These objectives stress the importance of creating a diverse cycling community, improving infrastructures to benefit cyclists on the road, and making highways and streets safer. It also emphasized that promoting great cycling trails to encourage more people to use their bikes and increase cycling tourism opportunities would help develop cycling as a way to commute as well.
With more investment and infrastructure into creating safe and fun cycling paths, it will create a stronger biking community and healthier people. It will be exciting to see the results of the municipalities approved for cycling funding and to bike throughout Ontario on well-funded paths.