Ontario Cycling Implementation Discussion Paper Out Now

The desire line short cut to the bus stop as seen on the map at the top of this post.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

I got this email in today from the Citizens for Safe Cycling Advocacy Working Group. The email comes with a 16 page PDF to which I posted a link at the bottom of this post. At the bottom of the post are a number of discussion items, which are repeated on the page of the Environmental Registry.

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), released on June 8, 2016, committed to creating a cleaner transportation sector in Ontario, in part by promoting cycling.

 The Ministry of Transportation is ready to do its part to support the CCAP by implementing a number of initiatives that support reductions to transportation emissions. These initiatives will be funded by proceeds from the province’s cap and trade program.

 Through a discussion paper posted to the Environmental Registry, we are seeking your input on a proposed plan to implement actions identified in the CCAP to improve commuter cycling networks. 

 We encourage you to review the discussion paperaccessible through the Environmental Registry or the Ministry’s Cycling Strategy web page and provide your comments by November 30, 2016. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jill Hughes, Director

Transportation Policy Branch
Ministry of Transportation


Tel: (416) 585-7177

I cut and pasted some of the content for a summary:

The purpose of this discussion paper is to consult on MTO’s proposed approach to implementing the actions in the CCAP. The following actions are noted in the CCAP, as is an intended investment of $150 million to $225 million from cap and trade proceeds to support them:

Creating better cycling networks:

  • Commuter cycling networks will be established across Ontario, targeting routes with high-commuting volume such as between residential communities, major transit stations and employment areas. Cycling routes will be established on or near municipal roads and, where it is safe and feasible to do so, on provincial highways and bridges that are currently barriers to local cycling networks. Making cycling safer:
  • There will be more cycling facilities in urban areas, including grade-separated routes and cycling signals. Making cycling convenient:
  • There will be more bike parking at transit stations and provincially owned, publicly accessible facilities.

Cycling has been increasing in urban centres across the country and Ontario is no exception. A 2013 survey commissioned by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) found that 1.2 million adults in Ontario (over 10 per cent of the adult population) ride a bicycle daily during the spring, summer and fall, and 2.8 million (more than 25 per cent) ride at least once a week.

There has also been an increase in support for recreational and tourism cycling. Since 2010, the Ontario by Bike Network has certified 435 bicycle-friendly accommodation locations and 650 other bicycle-friendly locations across Ontario. The multi-use Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is now over 1,600 kilometres long and spans from the Quebec border to Lake Huron.

Cycling is increasingly seen as an option for commuters as well. Many commuter trips currently made by passenger vehicles can be made by bike. One third of Ontarians have a daily, one way commute of less than five kilometers – a distance that an average adult can cycle in 30 minutes or less – so increasing and supporting cycling can help reduce GHG emissions and manage congestion. In addition, there is a growing opportunity for Ontarians to cycle instead of drive from home or work to public transit, as well as to other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis such as shopping areas or recreational facilities. 54 per cent of Ontario residents say they want to cycle more than they currently do and, of these, 42 per cent would consider cycling more to work or school.

In Ontario, the barriers to cycling are similar to those in other jurisdictions, including safety concerns, infrastructure needs, climate, lifestyle choices and long distances. We have heard from the cycling community that they would like to see more and continued investment in cycling infrastructure. What’s more, 67 per cent of Ontario residents say they would be more likely to ride a bike if their community had more and better cycling infrastructure, such as physically separated bike lanes and paved shoulders.

Municipalities are also keen to realize the benefits of active transportation, including cycling. 52 per cent of Ontario municipalities now have active transportation policies incorporated in their Official Plans and increasingly communities across the province – small and large, urban and rural, northern and southern – are developing plans for cycling routes. At least six Ontario municipalities already have a physically separated bike lane or cycle track.

On April 1, 2015 the Ministry of Transportation announced the details of the $15 million investment in provincial cycling infrastructure. The investment is supporting the implementation of key cycling related projects on:

  • Highway 33 west of Kingston, which is part of the Waterfront Trail; 3 Stratcom. Share the Road Public Opinion Survey 2014. 8
  • Thousand Islands Parkway structure over Highway 137, which is part of the Waterfront Trail;
  • Highway 6 on Manitoulin Island and south of Highway 17 at Espanola, which is part of the Georgian Bay Cycling Route; and,
  • Highway 17B and Highway 17 between Sault Ste. Marie and Espanola, which is part of the Lake Huron North Channel Cycling Route.

Metrolinx4 is committed to improving walking and cycling facilities and connections around GO Stations. Most stations have covered bicycle storage areas and several stations have secured bicycle parking enclosures or bike lockers. Metrolinx is also investing $4.9 million to help expand Bike Share Toronto.

Funding could focus on infrastructure that supports trips made on a daily basis, like the commute to work, or it could support infrastructure that enables a broader range of frequent trips.

Support for cycling can take several forms:

  • Implementing cycling facilities such as on-road cycling lanes and off-road cycling and walking paths to enable Ontarians to cycle to and from destinations.
  • Constructing cycling infrastructure on municipal roads and on provincial infrastructure. Municipal roads support many day-to-day cycling trips, but in some areas provincial highways and bridges may also support these trips.
  • Removing barriers to local cycling networks. For example, high-traffic provincial highways and bridges or private land ownership can reduce cycling levels. (There I say here that the MTO hasn’t been very cooperative in building safe bike infra when replacing Queensway overpasses – HM)
  • Implementing cycling-specific traffic signals, signage and bike storage facilities.

Discussion Points:

Plan to Improve Commuter Cycling Networks

  • What infrastructure should be prioritized to make cycling in Ontario safer and more convenient to support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis?
  • What evidence can demonstrate the impact of cycling infrastructure investments on the number of cyclists and on GHG emissions?

Local Cycling Infrastructure

  • For local cycling networks, what types of cycling infrastructure would best support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis?

Provincial Cycling Infrastructure

  • What types of cycling infrastructure on provincial highways would best support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis? Bicycle Parking
  • What types of bike parking facilities (e.g., bike racks, lockers, fee-based enclosures) are needed to support cycling for commuting and other frequent trips?
  • What types of government-owned, publicly accessible facilities should have bike parking?
  • What types of transit or transportation stations should have bike parking to support improved cyclist access (e.g., GO Stations, LRT stations, bus terminals)?
  • What types of private facilities could potentially be eligible to receive provincial funding for bicycle parking facilities?

See the 16 page document here:

Go here to leave a reaction: by November 30, 2016


  1. Good morning Hans on the Bike,

    Your latest e-mail struck a chord with myself. I am the old geezer that originally came up with the idea of a bicycle route in northern Ontario linking Sault Ste Marie with Sudbury, avoiding Hwy 17 wherever possible. My early involvement included researching, exploring and mapping the route, in addition to contacting the various townships and municipalities along the route. This led to my later becoming involved in the route planning for the Georgian Bay Cycling Route.

    While the MTO purports to want to do something to encourage cycling, we should remember that it has almost cut off the Golden Horseshoe from northern Ontario on mainland routes, as far as cyclists are concerned. Hwy 69 is now prohibited to cyclists south of the Estaire Road in Sudbury, to a point just north of Hwy 607 near the French River. Further plans for Hwy 69 will see cyclists prohibited north of Hwy 522, with no alternative but to go all the way round the east end of Lake Nippissing through North Bay. Similarly Hwy 11 is off limits to cyclists between North Bay and Muskoka Road 169 at Gravenhurst. North Bay is still reachable from the south, but involves a 33 km detour along gravel roads between South River and Trout Creek, using the Chemical Road and the Forestry Road. The 33 km detour could be avoided by the construction of a bike path a mere 2 km in length, on ground that previously accommodated the Old Ferguson Road.

    Public pressure is starting to have an effect on the MTO. It was pleasing to note in early September the installation of wide paved shoulders on Hwy 17 between Nairn Centre and the Spanish River nearer to Espanola. There was a 7 km gap here where Hwy 17 provided the only route between the end of the Jacklin Road and the Old Nairn Road. Would you be interested in receiving a copy of my proposals for Hwy 69 gaps north of Hwy 522, and the 2 km bike path required north of Goreville Road on Hwy 11 ?

    Denis Baldwin

    • Hi Denis,

      Nice to hear from another for me untravelled part of Ontario. I am guessing that the MTO has a hard time deciding where bike infra should go as the province is vast and mostly thinly populated. Therefore you might want to bring your plans up with local communities along the routes you describe as they can eventually apply for funding. Small communities may not have the staff to follow these developments and often help from volunteers is much appreciated. In Ottawa, we have an entire Advocacy Working Group That follows the city’s plans. I am only involved in cycling advocacy in Ottawa but an organization called Share the Road is active Ontario wide and they might welcome your suggestions too. As they have a much better picture of the entire province. See http://www.sharetheroad.ca

      Ps ‘old geezer’ is relative I guess.

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