Town endorses county wide active transportation study

By Karen Fallon

The County wide active transportation study, which was initiated in January 2010 by the County of Essex, was recently endorsed by council in principle.

“It is a great plan and one that I think is worthy of our attention,” said councillor John Sutton. “But of course we have to put our money where our collective mouths are and make sure it is in the budget.”

The plan which provides for bike lanes, signed routes, paved shoulders and multi-use trails/pathways to be located along existing transportation corridors throughout the County is intended to guide the region in implementing a county-wide network of cycling and pedestrian facilities over the next 20 years.

Some of the work is already on the town’s proposed budgets for the future, however, some of them are new projects, says Lou Zarenga, Director of Engineering and Infrastructure.

This program will not be out of reach for the municipality, added Zarlenga.

The object of the plan is to promote active transportation, while providing connections to the neighbouring municipalities of Chatham Kent and Windsor.

The Plan also recommends strategies and programs through which County municipalities can lead or partner with others to encourage people  to participate in various activities such as walking and cycling.

According to a report from Lory Bratt, Planning Coordinator and Zarlenga, consultation has been ongoing with County and local municipal staff, members of the public as well as a steering committee and local stakeholders which was a major aspect in the development of the plan.

Although providing many health and fitness benefits, says councillor Carolyn Davies, it will also enhance local tourism as a lot of people who cycle are coming to the area to utilize the trails along with Amherstburg residents.

The public was involved via newsletters, postings on the County’s website, an online questionnaire and two public information centers in addition to residents having opportunity to submit comments throughout the study, notes the report.

The CWATS study is available on the County of Essex website by clicking the CWATS link on the website.

According to the report before council, Amherstburg has been pro-active in establishing trail systems over the last several years on both County and municipal roads.

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