Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ontario Trails News - Active transportation AND trails, thanks Mississippi Mills

Learn more about Ontario's Cycling and Hiking trails

Enthusiastic response to Active Transportation Workshop

 Neil Carleton 2by Neil Carleton
In the context of municipal planning, active transportation refers to all human-powered forms of transportation, in particular walking and cycling.  It includes the use of mobility aids such as wheel chairs, and can also encompass other human-powered devices such as in-line skating, skateboarding, cross-country skiing, canoeing and kayaking.

Healthy living includes being physically active.  Many people enjoy biking, a form of active transportation.  Birders on Bikes, for the novice and expert alike, has been a popular June event each year in Mississippi Mills during Bicycle Month
Healthy living includes being physically active.  Many people enjoy biking, a form of active transportation.  Birders on Bikes, for the novice and expert alike, has been a popular June event each year in Mississippi Mills during Bicycle Month
Walking in town or exploring woodland trails are other good ways of being active.  A Monday morning hiking group posed for this photo in September.  
Walking in town or exploring woodland trails are other good ways of being active.  A Monday morning hiking group posed for this photo in September.
The promotion of active transportation is based primarily on the issues of health and economics.  Being physically active on a regular basis is good for our health.  The benefits can range from increasing flexibility and muscle strength to lowering blood pressure.  As individuals, we save money by walking or biking instead of driving.  Investments for residents and visitors in trails and pathways, connecting corridors and people friendly routes, produce economic benefits for the community.
The creation of an active transportation plan for Mississippi Mills was initiated in June when our municipality awarded Dillon Consulting the contract to undertake a transportation master plan.  This work, to study the Town’s transportation needs for the next 20 years, must include active transportation.  This, according to Ontario Ministry of Transportation guidelines, includes “sidewalks, on-road bicycle lanes and routes, multi-use pathways, bike parking, effective signage, and pedestrian crossings, as well as human-scaled and pedestrian-oriented development patterns.”
The award of the contract was preceded by the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit, held at the Almonte Old Town Hall on May 29-30. http://millstonenews.com/2014/06/health-and-economic-benefits-of-active-transportation-promoted-at-almonte-summit.html.  There was much forward thinking on both days of the Summit about supporting healthy living through active transportation.  This was of particular interest to Mississippi Mills as both had been identified as important economic drivers in our town’s strategic plan for economic development.
  • Prior to the Workshop, a variety of positive developments had been reported.
  • Lanark County is now adding paved shoulders to many County roads for cyclists.
  • Mississippi Mills intends to “harden” part of the road shoulder when paving or repaving rural roads where a wide enough gravel margin already exists.
  • Earlier in the year a bilingual cycling map of the Town was released by Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month.
  •  Last year a group of mountain bikers completed a single-track cycling and ski trail from Almonte to the Mill of Kintail across private land.
  •  Two counties, Lanark and Renfrew, plus the Township of Papineau-Cameron, are negotiating with Canadian Pacific to purchase the abandoned rail bed that runs from Smith Falls to Mattawa, with the intent to make a trail