The 2018 Municipal Election Cycle

October 2018:  A question heard in the cycling community as the Mississauga municipal election (October 22, 2018) nears is... 'How can we make cycling an election issue?'  Mississauga was planned and built as a car-oriented suburban city with a sprawling mall and parking lot at its core, and wide high-speed roads separating communities.  Transition to an urbanized, multi-modal transportation environment will be slow and difficult for many reasons and will require sustained political will.  In fact, the 2018 update to the 2010 Cycling Master Plan is paced for an additional 27-year rollout of 18km/year (new infrastructure) to 2045.

Because MCAC is a citizen advisory committee appointed by the present Mississauga Council, we are unable to collectively vet or endorse candidates for elected office in this municipal election.

Independent cycling advocacy groups in other Ontario cities are politically active: conducting bike rides for municipal candidates, reviewing cycling policies in their platforms, and rating the candidates as a result.  Good News!  This indicates that support for cycling as a safe, active transportation option is rising on municipal agendas.

CASE STUDY:  In the City of Toronto, there is high-profile mayoral campaign discourse regarding the role of cycling in city-building.  In any city, the cycling topic can be most impactful at the mayoral campaign level, given the city-wide network & safety context.  Ward boundaries should be a non-issue in the debate, although in some cities the ward boundary proves to be yet another (political) barrier to connecting or extending cycling infrastructure.

UPDATE:  October 18, 2018 - Today, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), in partnership with 8 80 Cities, Friends and Families for Safe Streets, Cycle Toronto, and Walk Toronto, released the results of their election survey: #BuildTheVisionTO.  The survey asked candidates to commit to 15 road safety priorities for building streets where people of all ages and abilities can get around actively, sustainably and safely.  The answers were overwhelmingly positive.

TCAT Press Release (includes map of the 25 wards and response distribution).

MCAC is monitoring the Toronto mayoral race in regard to cycling policies, because:

1.  Citizen infrastructure is not (yet) in place in Mississauga to conduct a comprehensive candidate survey and push politically for priority-based cycling infrastructure and a basic network (also known as a minimum grid), such as advocacy groups are doing in Toronto.  Lack of media coverage in Mississauga makes this challenging as well.

2.  DNA of the Toronto mayoral race can be partially traced back to the Strategic Plan of the City of Mississauga.  Jennifer Keesmaat, now a mayoral candidate, was lead consultant on the strategic project (Our Future Mississauga) 2007-2009.  The Plan has five (5) pillars: move, belong, connect, prosper, green.  As MCAC has emphasized at presentations to Council, e.g. Supporting Cycling Culture in Mississauga (Dec. 2016; 24p PDF), a cycling network and amenities could enable the City to achieve multiple objectives outlined in the Action Plans for each pillar.

But Mississauga hasn’t met the targets in the 2010 Cycling Master Plan, which committed to an annual increase in cycling infrastructure of 30km/year for 20 years.  From 2010 to 2016 (7 years), 80 km of cycling infrastructure in total was constructed in Mississauga, including 12 km of sharrows which MCAC does NOT regard as infrastructure.  The final number for 2017 is still being derived; the target number for 2018 is only 9.5 km.

3.  The campaign platform of Jennifer Keesmaat includes four (4) Key Safer Streets policies in support of cycling and walking, consolidating what many GTHA cycling advocates have long promoted:  1) Reduce the speed limit to 30km/h on all residential roads;  2) Transform Toronto’s 100 most dangerous intersections within two (2) years;  3) Ensure areas around schools are safe by design within two (2) years;  4) Make a Vision Zero approach a requirement of every infrastructure and development project involving roads and sidewalks.

Of note to MCAC is the urgency with which unsafe conditions are planned to be rectified with these policies.  One of many MCAC concerns with the updated 2018 Cycling Master Plan is lack of urgency, with an opportunity-based 27-year timeframe, even assuming serious funding is sustained over three decades by subsequent councils.  Priority connections in our City of Barriers may not be constructed, nor dangerous intersections made safe, for decades.

4.  While Mississauga Council has adopted a Vision Zero Framework (February 2018), several safety issues in new infrastructure during Summer 2018 have been highlighted in the MCAC articles below.  The main mayoral candidates in Toronto are talking Vision Zero.  Will Mississauga pass the Budget necessary to start implementing Vision Zero ?

5.  The City of Mississauga's Road Safety Committee (revived with the support of MCAC, among others), may be the best avenue to implement protections for Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs).  The Toronto mayoral campaign is bringing such terminology and concepts into the mainstream especially since Mississauga has little media of its own.

6.  The Mississauga Moves Transportation Master Plan study is geared to 2041; the City has conducted many cycling-related studies and master plans, all off in the future.  Recognition of cycling as a more-immediate method of city-building is a positive coming out of the Toronto campaign and media, especially if there is rapid implementation.

7.  Beyond the GTHA, many municipalities are starting to make progress.  Guelph has its first cycling-protected  intersection as does Waterloo, where CycleWR is making cycling an election issue.  There are several protected intersections in Ottawa (a Gold-level Bike Friendly City as of 2013).  The Town of Ajax just moved up to Gold this year and levers cycling to promote tourism and business development.  Having municipal campaigns beyond Toronto spotlight cycling issues is helpful in raising awareness of cycling advocacy, including encouragement for Mississauga.

LOCAL ADVOCACY TIPS:  The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial cycling advocacy organization working to build a bicycle-friendly Ontario.  STR maintains an advocacy webpage with materials and tips, plus a digital Cycling Advocacy Toolkit (10p PDF) for the October 22nd municipal election, including questions for candidates.

► Consult the interactive Mississauga Ward Map to identify your electoral ward boundaries.

VOTE:  See the Mississauga Votes website for information about all the municipal candidates (by Ward) in Mississauga, and when and where to vote!




QEW Credit River AT Crossings - Second MTO Workshop

September 19, 2018:  A second Community Workshop was held concerning MTO's QEW Credit River Bridge project, per: Detail Design of the QEW from west of Mississauga Road to west of Hurontario Street, including design of Active Transportation (AT) connections over the QEW (at Stavebank Road), and across the Credit River.  MCAC reps attended.

Materials and presentations at the workshop will be posted on the project website.  According to an attendee, there were approx. 25 participants (plus staff), concise presentations, and a LOT of good information and feedback.  Great questions were asked about the AT trails and safety issues re the alignment and intersections, specifically in the NW part of the project area.  The meeting was well-facilitated.

WORKSHOP AGENDA:  Trail alignment/design; landscaping and bridge aesthetics; construction staging, methods and proposed mitigation.

Images: Excerpted from the MTO Presentation: QEW Credit River Bridge - Aesthetic Opportunities (25p PDF) from the first Community Workshop (Dec. 11, 2017).  Slide 21: Chosen option for the active transportation link across the Credit River (existing utility passageway under the heritage bridge), which is strongly supported by MCAC.  Slide 24: Design for AT bridge over the QEW, reconnecting Stavebank Roads N and S.

► See MTO's QEW Credit River Bridge project website (includes all meeting Display Boards and updates). 

► CONTACT:  QEWProjectTeam@qewcreditriver.ca to provide follow-up comments. 

MORE:  See the MCAC MTO - QEW Credit River AT Crossings webpage item.




The Work of Wind - MCAC Bike Tour of the Exhibits

September 2018The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea (website) was a 10-day contemporary art festival in the Southdown Industrial Area of Mississauga, southwest of Clarkson.  Themes: Opening perspectives on climate change, environmental crisis, and resilience.  Presented by the Blackwood Gallery, the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) in partnership with the City of Mississauga.  OPEN: September 15-23, 2018.  FREE Admission.

► Interactive MAP of the installation sites.

MCAC conducted Work of Wind - Bike Around the Exhibits in the Southdown Industrial Area to tour the art installations, on September 21, 2018.  This MCAC Community Ride was an official event of the festival.

FACEBOOK ALBUM:  The Work of Wind: MCAC Bike Tour of the Exhibits.




Port Credit Slow Roll - Biweekly Summer Rides

September 2018:  A Slow Roll riding group sprouted in Port Credit this past summer.  Slow Roll is a global movement founded in 2010 as Slow Roll Detroit in Michigan, USA.

Rides departed @ 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm during the summer from the parking lot at J.C. Saddington Park at 53 Lake Street (map) in Port Credit.  The FREE rides have averaged 10km.  Bike lights are a necessity for riding at dusk.

ROLL OVER:  The rides series is now over for 2018.  If you'd like to be part of the organizing team for Summer 2019, see the contact below.

From the Organizers:  Slow Roll is for everyone: all ages, skill levels and types of bikes are welcome.  The slow pace keeps the group safe and gives riders a unique perspective of sights along the route.  Organizers are confident that Port Credit's own Slow Roll will result in 'endless cycles' of fun!

SPONSORSHIP:  See Berts Sports for the latest information about their support of the Port Credit Slow Roll series.

E-MAIL:  Ray at pcslowroll@gmail.com for information about the 2019 program.  Join the Facebook Group.




Lakeshore Royal Windsor Hydro One Corridor: Multi-Use Trail

August 2018:  Construction has begun on this long-awaited recreational trail in the Clarkson area (discussion began in 2013).  This project will provide a new multi-use trail within the Lakeshore Royal Windsor Hydro One Corridor.  The trail is approximately 9 km long and will extend from Winston Churchill Blvd east to Westfield Drive, with some sections on-road.  This is a joint project between the City of Mississauga and the Region of Peel in conjunction with Hydro One Network Inc.

Sections have now been opened to the public, from Lorne Park Road to Indian Road and most recently, Truscott Drive to Lorne Park Road. The trail is in beautiful condition and it even meanders a bit through the trees and around the hydro poles (since it is on a hydro corridor).  At left: Interior view of the latest section.

SAFETY ISSUES:  MCAC does have some safety concerns, in that all three road crossings (Truscott Road, Lorne Park Road and Indian Road) do not have any lines, signs or lights to mark them for vehicular traffic -- not at the crossings, nor are there any advance notice signs as vehicles approach the road crossings from either direction.

These three crossings would have been perfect candidates to be added to the City's crossover pilot project.  We would suggest that some traffic calming measures should be considered here as well.  All three roads see most drivers travelling over the posted 40 or 50 km/h speed limit.

Signed and marked crossovers should be part of this off-road trail (ORT) project and should be added as each project stage is completed.  These crossings should be looked at again with Vision Zero principles in mind.  School resumes in September and local students will surely be using this beautiful new short cut to get to school.

See images and descriptions on the Facebook album of the trail.  Add your comments!

MORE:  See the City's Lakeshore Royal Windsor Hydro One Corridor Multi-Use Trail webpage.




Burnhamthorpe Water Project - Disruption for Active Transportation

August 2018:  The Burnhamthorpe Water Project (BWP) began construction in the Mississauga City Centre in Fall 2017, and is now moving eastward along Burnhamthorpe Road where existing cycling infrastructure (Burnhamthorpe Trail) is severely impacted.

The BWP incorporates twelve kilometres of infrastructure, including a new 1500mm watermain under Burnhamthorpe Road from Grand Park Drive to Cawthra Road, together with the associated water and sewer improvements to accommodate significant planned development in the downtown.

This project connects to the Hanlan Water Project at the intersection of Burnhamthorpe Road and Cawthra Road.  Work in the Mississauga City Centre area will be completed by 2021.

The Burnhamthorpe Road watermain will be installed by tunnelling instead of open-cut to "minimise traffic disruption" along this long and busy corridor.  But what about pedestrians and cyclists?

 

SAFETY ISSUES:  MCAC has expressed concern about the safety of cycling detours (maps at left) and alternate pedestrian routes provided by the contractor in conjunction with the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel.  MCAC has latterly been asked for suggestions to address the safety issues we have raised.  We are proposing improvements, including *protected* on-road bike lanes to eliminate the need for unsafe detours.

See images on the Facebook album.  Add your comments!

UPDATE:  (August 22, 2018) City AT staff person has now ridden the detour routes.  Details pending.

Cycle Alert (August 2018): Burnhamthorpe Trail, Confederation Pkwy to Central Pkwy (2p PDF).

Daily Commercial News (Feb 23, 2018) $200-million water project in Mississauga a chess game in planning.

MORE:  See the Burnhamthorpe Water Project website.




Mississauga Installs its First Signalized Crossride - Safety Concerns

August 2018:  A recent article in the Mississauga News featured the unveiling of Mississauga's (and Peel's) first signalized bicycle crossing.  MCAC reps attended the announcement (on their bikes) on July 31, 2018.  Image at left appears in the article.

Mississauga News article (August 8, 2018): Mississauga's first signalized crossride aims to make city's roads safe for cyclists.  Excerpt:  "Located on Britannia Road and Winston Churchill Blvd, the signals and road markings at the crossride aim to provide a safer crossing for cyclists transitioning from the multi-use trail on Winston Churchill to the one on Britannia Road."

SAFETY ISSUES:  MCAC citizen members have since experienced safety issues with the placement and operation of the signal, and witnessed drivers not seeing nor following the new signal, including three (3) occasions where drivers have not stopped at all and MCAC cyclists have had to dodge getting hit, including ditching their bike in the road.  It seems harder for car drivers at the intersection to see cyclists because the crossing is set so far back from it.  One solution would be to prohibit cars from turning right while the bike crossing lights are green.  Councillor Pat Saito (chair of the City's Road Safety Committee), and staff in the City's Active Transportation Division have been notified.

See images and descriptions on the Facebook album of the intersection.  Add your comments!




Winston Churchill Multi-Use Trail (MUT) - Safety Concerns

August 2018:  Construction of a multi-use trail (MUT) on Winston Churchill Blvd (east side, between Aquitaine Avenue and Oka Road) is part of the 2018 Road-based Construction Plan for cycling infrastructure, and is already in use.

SAFETY ISSUES:  MCAC has been asked by Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito to advise on safety concerns she has shared not only with MCAC but also the Road Safety Committee which she chairs.  Both committees have been forwarded the Safety Audit Reports for the Winston Churchill MUT -- one prepared by Active Transportation (AT) Staff in the Transportation & Works Dept (July 6), and the second by consultant WSP (July 13) -- together with a cover Briefing Note (August 14) from the AT Manager, all resulting from direction at GC in May.

After the Winston Churchill MUT was built, Cllr. Saito raised concerns over how close it was to the curb and her fear that a cyclist could veer off into high-speed traffic (*).  She asked staff to look at installing a physical barrier given the trail is used by all ages and levels of cyclists, as well as pedestrians.  Cllr. Saito’s request was made at General Committee on May 2, 2018 and appears from 1:06:40 to 1:10:46 at: mississauga.ca/cityhall/council-and-committee-videos (scroll down the meeting list to the video for May 2).

► (*) Last year (May 2017), a young boy was tragically killed on Lake Shore Boulevard in Toronto (near The Boulevard Club) by accidentally falling into traffic from the curb-side Martin Goodman Trail.  Anything to prevent something like that has to be seriously explored.  Physical barriers have since been erected along that stretch of the MGT.  The comments in this article: Toronto boy's death in bicycle fall prompts call for more safety measures directly contradict the recommendations in the staff & consultant's Reports.

The City's AT staff and WSP have done their reviews and do NOT support a barrier but suggest painted lines to visually keep the trail further from the curb.  MCAC members have now ridden the trail and taken photos for documentation, and for circulation on social media.  MCAC has many concerns, and certainly affirms the NEED for a physical barrier.

MCAC thanks Councillor Saito for bringing this issue forward, sharing the reports and requesting our input.  With so much of the proposed cycling network yet to be built in Mississauga (897 kms over 27 years(!) per the 2018 Cycling Master Plan) it is important to establish safety standards now which adhere to the Vision Zero framework endorsed by Council on February 1, 2018.  For example, recommendations and corrective actions here would likely apply to the new Britannia Road multi-use trail.  Council next meets in November 2018; the Reports will be on the Agenda.

See images and descriptions on the Facebook album with more photos of the MUT.  Add your comments!




Riding Bicycles on the Sidewalk - A Safety Issue in Mississauga

August 2018:  An article in the Mississauga News (also published in the Toronto Star) has highlighted a long-simmering issue in Mississauga, that of sidewalk-ridingImage at left appears in the article.

Mississauga News article (August 1, 2018): Mississauga residents concerned with cyclists packing sidewalks — but are unsafe roads driving them up there?  Excerpt: Residents in Mississauga are becoming increasingly frustrated with an old problem — cyclists on sidewalks, but a member of the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee says the fault is not entirely on the cyclists themselves but rather on the lack — or nonexistent in Mississauga’s case — of protected bike lanes available for safe cycling on main roads. ... compared to other jurisdictions "we are lagging behind".

Discussion is taking place on the Facebook posting.  Add your comments!

Implementation of the 2018 Cycling Master Plan (not endorsed by MCAC) will take 27 years with the proposed annual funding level, still to be approved for the 2019 City Budget and subject to annual continuation by future Councils.  Three decades is a long time to wait for a completed cycling network, especially since it is dependent on opportunity (i.e. other scheduled road work) rather than priority-driven.  The 2010 Cycling Master Plan did not deliver anywhere near the planned 30 km a year of cycling infrastructure (chart pending).  The issue of sidewalk-riding will not go away any time soon!

CITY BY-LAW:  According to The Mississauga Cyclists Handbook (16p PDF) which is available online in 7 languages: The City of Mississauga Traffic by-law prohibits bicycle riding on the sidewalk with the exception of bicycles with all wheels fifty (50) centimetres or less in diameter.  The intent of this by-law is to allow young children to cycle on the sidewalk.  The set fine for riding on the sidewalk is $35.




2018 Construction Plan - Road-based Cycling Infrastructure

August 2018:  Construction projects are underway around the City of Mississauga .  The City's Construction webpage provides information on all 2018 projects, be they roads, bridges, sewers, watermains or other types of infrastructure.  An interactive construction MAP is included on the webpage.

MCAC has derived the planned 2018 road-based cycling infrastructure projects; source documents are accessible on the webpage.  Approx. 9.5 km of cycling infrastructure projects are listed for the 2018 Roads Program (mostly Multi-Use Trails).

VIEW: Planned 2018 Cycling Infrastructure Projects (1p PDF).




Lakeshore Connecting Communities - Recommendations Presented

July 2018 Lakeshore Connecting Communities (website) is about reconfiguring the Lakeshore Road corridor in south Mississauga to safely support all modes of transportation and connect the historic communities of Lakeview, Port Credit and Clarkson while preserving and enhancing each community’s unique character and sense of place.

FINAL OPEN HOUSES:  The preferred design solutions for the Lakeshore Corridor were presented at Public Information Centres in each community during July 2018 (see Poster).  Cycling is part of the reconfiguration -- advocate for safe, continuous separation!  The latest Display Boards are now published on the LCC website.

Learn about the proposed recommendations and provide input on:

• phased approach to rapid transit
• cycling and pedestrian network improvements
• conceptual design and public realm enhancements
• Credit River crossing recommendations

► City of Mississauga - Press Release (June 28, 2018):  Lakeshore Connecting Communities July Open Houses.  Watch for the final LCC report in early 2019.




Mississauga Cycling Master Plan - 2018 Update

July 2018:  The City of Mississauga launched Does Cycling Move You? (website) in May 2017 to Update the 2010 Mississauga Cycling Master Plan.

► The Draft 2018 Cycling Master Plan was approved at the General Committee of Council on June 27, 2018: City Press Release.  Further to the 2010 Cycling Master Plan, the 2018 update includes an additional 27-year rollout of 18km/year (new infrastructure) to 2045.

NO ENDORSEMENT:  Resolution MCAC-0022-2018, as reported in the GC Agenda (June 27, 2018; Item 10.2): 'That the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee does not support the 2018 Cycling Master Plan'.  This was discussed and voted per the MCAC Agenda (June 12, 2018; Item 7.1.

► See the GC Agenda (June 27, 2018; Item 8.8) to view the 10-page Corporate Staff Report and the 80-page 2018 Cycling Master Plan presented by the City's Transportation & Works staff.

MORE:  See the MCAC Cycling Master Plan webpage (includes Barriers Map).