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Township of Essa

Trail Plan

and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Preface
The Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active
Transportation is intended to be a tool for the
community to be creative; leverage their assets;
facilitate community participation; and focus on
practical solutions to improve their trail system and
active transportation options. This Plan has been
put together in this unique way because it was
determined that this combined approach would

The projects in this Plan relate to the planning for,
and development of, trail and active transportation
facilities and a supportive culture; as well as, ways
of engaging and mobilizing citizens to help with
implementation.

1) increase overall use of trails:

2) improve connections to all areas of the
Township:

3) make active living a more practical
choice for citizens.

This Plan is specifically structured as a series of
distinct projects designed to advance the long-term
vision for the trail system and active transportation
in the community. These projects were crafted so
that they would work together and build upon each
other. This Plan was developed with a focus on:

a) community building;

b) neighbourhood scale improvements;

c) walkability and bikeabilty;

d) human-centered design; and,

e) practicality of implementation.

If you can’t differentiate your
community from any other, you
have no competitive advantage.
Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Long-Term Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Concurrency Review of Existing Regulations . . . . . .18

Guiding Principles & Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Cycling Friendly Community Tourism Program . . . . .20

Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Active Transportation Expertise and Funding . . . . . 22

Study Area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Bike Routes and Trail Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

Existing Trail System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Family-Friendly Bike Priority Network . . . . . . . . . .28

Existing Trail System - Angus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Mid-Term Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Implementation Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Multi-use Trail Crossings and Improvements . . . . . .34

Categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Cycling Route Enhancements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Sidewalk and Crosswalk Improvements . . . . . . . . .38
Complete Streets Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Bike Routes Wayfinding System . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Near-Term Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Healthy Community Design Standards . . . . . . . . .46
Awareness Program and Walk & Bicycle Summit . . . 48
Urban Acupuncture and Traffic Calming Program . . .50
Community-wide Walkability and Bikeability Audits . . 54
Immediate Action Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Citizen “DO-TANK” Task Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
Downtown “Walk Your Town” Signage Program . . . .60
Project Short-list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

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Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Introduction
Over the past decade the value of trail systems and active transportation
to the success and livability of communities has become increasingly
better understood. The importance of this has been described in a
vast number of professional journals, books, documentary films,
conferences, and studies. This will continue to increase in importance
due to an aging population; challenging peoples’ quality of life and
enhancing the appeal of compact, walkable communities. In fact, trail
systems and active transportation affect:









livability, accessibility and community health
economic and business resiliency and success
real estate development
potential tax revenue
the cost of services
traffic congestion
access and mobility for residents
safety and security
business and population attraction and retention
reduction of municipal costs for transportation and services.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) identifies that
moderately intense physical activity such as walking and cycling
increases health benefits and has the potential to reduce cardiovascular
disease by as much as 50 percent. Communities designed with active
lifestyle infrastructure that prioritize pedestrians and cyclists, support
healthy daily physical activity.

6

Additionally, the Ontario Professional Planners Institute identifies five
areas of community benefits from active transportation1:
1. Health;
2. Safety;
3. Environmental;
4. Social/community; and,
5. Economic.
These benefits are significant, far ranging, and are affected by a variety
of planning and engineering activities undertaken by the Township.
This Plan is a hybrid plan that also includes active transportation
elements. This has been done because of the important connection
active transportation has to the overall potential success of the
trail system and for developing an active lifestyle culture within the
community.
Active transportation means any form of transportation that is humanpowered. In fact, all trips include active transportation components,
sometimes even just the act of walking to and from a car or transit
vehicle. The most popular modes of active transportation are walking
and cycling. Walking/wheeling is the only form of transportation that
can be taken completely independently of all others for an entire trip
from beginning to destination.
Active transportation is particularly important recognizing that it
is necessary for people that do not have a choice outside of these
modes for getting around. People who are physically, economically
and socially disadvantaged often rely on walking and cycling, so
non-motorized modes can help achieve social equity and economic
opportunity objectives. Paying attention to all modes in street
planning can also create a more efficient system that responds better
1
Ontario Professional Planners Institute, Planning and Implementing Active
Transportation in Ontario Communities: A Call To Action, 2012 pg. 3

to travel demand. The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
states that:
“Communities that support walkability (active transportation) have
better health and well-being, lower rates of traffic injuries and deaths,
better access for people of all abilities, higher property values, better
air quality and less greenhouse gas emissions”.
A number of the specific local challenges that will need to be addressed
to do this are:
• Roads with higher design speeds than posted speeds
• Street treatments are inconsistent with support for active
transportation
• End-of-trip facilities missing for bicyclists
• Gaps in trail networks
• Poor wayfinding
• Active transportation network does not support people of all
ages and abilities
• Crossings need to be updated
• Public information and education about trails and active
transportation needs to be improved
• Active lifestyle needs to be supported
Through the projects described in the Plan, the community will be
able to address these challenges and realize the multiple benefits of
being a community that supports trail use and active lifestyles.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Purpose
The purpose of the Plan is to define implementation projects that
will guide the Township’s development of a trail system that is safe,
easy to use, desirable, and, convenient; while also ensuring that
active transportation infrastructure and improvements are also
integrated to further support active lifestyles. The Plan is focused
on a short timeframe and the following characteristics to facilitate
implementation:

a) Connecting places and supporting active lifestyles
throughout the community

b) Facilitating citizen participation

c) Defining projects that strategically fit within the
Township’s current capacity for implementation

The intent is for this plan to be a tool for the public and Township to
affect positive change and give the community a series of projects it
can implement to develop a more complete trail system and make it
more walking and cycling friendly.
This is not a “vision” document that defines a final goal that the
community is expected to develop. This is an action-oriented plan
that supports the long range policy of the Official Plan to improve
the wellbeing of residents and the overall livability of the community
through a series of strategic improvements.

This plan describes a clear set of projects for implementation. The
goal is to create a trail system and active transportation improvements
that:1





Supports community and places
Supports economic activity
Maximizes transportation choice
Integrates with the natural setting and built form
Emphasizes walking as the fundamental unit of the network
Creates harmony with other transportation networks

1
Adapted from the Congress for the New Urbanism, Sustainable Street Network
Principles

In recent decades, conceptualizations
of health and disease have shifted from
individual treatment to acknowledge the
importance of disease prevention and health
promotion in populations. This has included
increased attention given to the impact
of environments on collective wellbeing
and on the interdependence of physical
environments and human behavior.
Australian Healthcare Design 2000-2015

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Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Guiding Principles & Goals
Improve Community Through Progressive Change

Address Challenges

The intent is that through the implementation of this Plan over the
next five years, the Township will significantly improve its trail system
and active transportation, making it more walking and cycling friendly
for all ages through infrastructure, education, and culture.

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has identified the “most important” barriers that impede progress toward community objectives
for greater active transportation activity, these relate directly to the challenges that this Plan must face. To address these, they have also
defined eleven principles to guide practitioners and communities across Canada. Each one of these have been carefully considered during the
development of the projects that make up the Plan. They are listed below:

The results of completing the Plan’s projects are expected to be:

Changed Culture:

Making access to trails and active transportation
easier for daily activities; and supporting the local neighbourhoods
and economy.

Leadership: Proactive change requires leadership, and can come from

Travel Facilities: The provision of safe, comfortable and convenient

Changed Environment:

Partnerships: Use a multi-disciplinary approach, and work effectively
across departments and jurisdictions.

Road safety: Improved

Addressing all aspects of trail development
and active transportation, including: people-oriented design;
better walking and cycling facilities; better signage; and, complete
streets approaches, that will all make the town’s physical form more
supportive of walking and cycling.

Empowered Citizens:

Making it easier for citizens to get involved in
projects and facilitate partnership with the Municipality.

within government and from outside.

Public involvement: Successful public involvement benefits from non-

traditional approaches and involve stakeholders in a focused dialog.

Financial and human resources: Make the most of available resources
through strong partnerships and creative approaches reflecting
diverse community benefits.

Changed Scope:

Facilitating improvements to the variety of elements
that support active transportation.

Knowledge and skills: Use data collection programs and pilot projects

Changed Expectations:

Policy and planning: Support trails and active transportation in plans

Improved understanding and ongoing
community input throughout the Plan’s lifetime.

to build local knowledge and improve practices.

facilities for walking and cycling is fundamental.

facilities such as sidewalks and bicycle lanes
are key; as are, road safety audits and with strong community and
stakeholder representation to effectively identify and remedy
problems.

Crime and personal safety: Overcoming real and perceived concerns.
Affecting attitudes and perceptions (culture): Increase the profile trail use

and cycling and walking as viable, enjoyable, safe, and convenient for
all ages.

Outreach to encourage active lifestyle choices:

Help interested people
overcome barriers to walking and cycling as modes of transportation.1

and policies at all levels.

1
TAC Primer on Active Transportation: Making it Work in Canadian Communities,
2012

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Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Implementable and Dynamic Time line
This Plan is designed to be generally implementable within
approximately five years, with some long-term and ongoing processes
that will be used to guide its “regeneration” for the following five year
cycle. It is also set up to be project focused so that it is more easily
manageable.
The Plan includes a number of opportunities to add and adapt
projects, making it dynamic and able to address changes, specifically:

Awareness Program and Walk & Bycycle Summit: opportunity to assess
progress, and bring together people from diverse fields to share
ideas.

DO-Tank: a working group to support staff with project needs.
Immediate action projects: an evolving list of short-term projects based
on current interest, capacity, and conditions.

Communities
that
support
active
transportation have better health and
well-being, lower rates of traffic injuries
and deaths, better access for people of all
abilities, higher property values, better air
quality and less greenhouse gas emissions.
Walkable and Livable Communities Institute

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Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Community
Overall Essa Township`s physical form and built environment is well
suited to a community-wide trail system and can support active
transportation realatively easily. Essa has great connectivity, provided
by overlapping sections of trails, roads, and sidewalks. It has also
developed at a scale that is very walkable and bikeable in the built-up
areas with an overall size that are well within the accepted thresholds
for peoples’ desire to use active transportation modes and trails. The
Township also has well-arranged and designed park sites that could
be interconnected with a trail network.
A growing body of national and international research agrees on a
basic set of features and elements that make walkable environments
or 20-minute neighborhoods. According to the research, the most
walkable environments generally include the following:






Building scales that are comfortable for pedestrians
Mixed-use development near neighborhood services
Distinct and identifiable centres
A variety of connected transportation option
Lower speed streets
Accessible design
Street grid or other frequently connected network of local
streets.

The built-up areas of Essa generally have the attributes, and scale, of
a complete community or a series of “20-min neighbourhoods” as
described by Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The
challenge is to take these characteristics of the community and build
upon them to improve livability through active lifestyles.

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The built environment is the result of many years of improvements
and construction projects. By paying specific attention to the needs
of pedestrians and cyclists, the Township can help create a community
that becomes more successful and more livable.
It is also important for the success of the Plan to have projects that
focus on facilitating the culture of active lifestyles. In this context this
includes the following:
• Making trail use and active transportation desirable and
convenient choices
• Making trail use and active transportation practical for
those citizens that do not have a choice outside of active
transportation modes
• Making community engagement in trail and active transportation
projects desirable and easy as well as empowering people to
affect positive change
The 2012 Ipsos Reid poll done for the Ontario Professional Planners
Institute identifies the following about Ontarians’ views about
infrastructure planning for active transportation: 60% would place
more emphasis on cyclists compared to 6% that would place less;
52% would place more emphasis on pedestrians compared to 4% that
would place less; and, while increased emphasis on infrastructure for
private vehicles was split between 24% for more, 25% for less and 51%
for no change.

In addition to the specific direction provided through the Township`s
Official Plan; this Plan is being informed by the following documents
and resources:








Provincial Policy Statement
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Simcoe County Official Plan
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
Ontario Professional Planners Institute
Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)
Ministry of Transportation (MTO)
American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials (AASHTO)
• National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

4th

6th Line

5th Line

Don Ross Dr.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation
4th Line

19th Srd.

County Rd. 21

Barrie St.

6th Line
County Rd. 27

5th Line
11th Line

County Rd. 1
0

9th Line

5th Line

3rd Line

County Rd. 15

d.

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& Recreational Areas

6th Line

Conservation Area Lands

Existing Features

ls
Ta

County Rd. 1
5

County Forest Tract

County Forest Tract

County Rd. 21 THORNTON

BAXTER

10th Line

County Rd. 21

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8th Line

County Forest Tract No Hunting Allowed

y Dr.

BAXTER

County Rd. 56

Denney Dr.

Parks & Recreational Areas

Trillium Ln

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19th Srd.

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4th Line

6th Line

5th Line

4th Line

ANGUS

20th Srd.

Water

20th Srd.

COLWELL

County Rd. 56

Margaret St.

The study area for the development of the Plan was the entire
Township as shown here.

30th Srd.

30th Srd.
UTOPIA

Centre St.

County Rd. 27

Cecil St.

9th Line

County Rd. 90

Brentwood Rd. Mill St.

County Rd. 10

Study Area

±

ESSA TOWNSHIP

Highway

Essa Township Boundary

Settlement Area

Essa Township Boundary

00 1

12

2

Kilometers

Kilometers
4
4

Highway 89

Highway 89

11

© The Corporation of the County of Simcoe

Don Ross Dr.
Margaret St.
ANGUS

19th Srd.

Denney Dr.

Highway

Essa Township Boundary

12

0

1

2

County Rd. 10

3rd Line

County Rd. 27

11th Line

Denney Dr.

County Rd. 56

Barrie St.

9th L

8th Line

5th Srd.

Essa Township Boundary

Settlement Area

0

Scotch Line

Settlement Area

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d.

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Local Road

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5

d.

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Road
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iR

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County Forest Tract

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9th Line

Parks & Recreational Areas

County Rd. 10

Existing FeaturesConservation Area Lands

8th Line

County Forest Tract

ls
Ta

County Rd. 15

Transcanada Trail

3rd Line

County Forest Tract No Hunting Allowed

County Rd. 21 THORNTON

BAXTER

Scotch Line

Municipal Trail

County Rd. 21

6th Line

Parks & Recreational Areas

5th Line

HTG Loop Trail

Trillium Ln.

County Rd. 27

Existing Features
Ganaraska Trail

IVY 20th Srd.

6th Line

Regional Trails

Trillium Ln.

BAXTER

11th Line

Transcanada Trail

Regional Trails

County Rd. 21

20th Srd.

Municipal Trail

10th Line

HTG Loop Trail

25th Srd.

County Rd. 56

Ganaraska Trail

Existing Trails

6th Line

5th Line

19th Srd.

County Rd. 56

4th Line

20th Srd.

4th Line

Existing Trails

COLWELL

County Rd. 56

30th Srd.

30th Srd.
UTOPIA

Centre St.

This map shows the extent of the existing trail system
throughout the Township.

6th Line

5th Line

Cecil St.

4th Line

Existing Trail System

County Rd. 90

Brentwood Rd. Mill St.

9th Line

±

ESSA TOWNSHIP
EXISTING TRAILS

ANGUS

4th Line

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

UTOPIA

Margaret St.

1

2

Kilometers
4

Kilometers
4

Highway 89
Highway 89

© The Corporat

© The Corporation of the County of Simcoe, County of Simcoe

MANSONIC

SANDY LANE

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation
UE

County Forest Tract
Angus
Community
Centre

Parks & Recreational Areas

Road County Forest Tract

Robson
Parkland

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Essa Township
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MILL STREET

Essa Township Boundary

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WILLOUGHBY ROAD

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© The Corporation of the County of Simcoe

WILLOUGHBY ROAD

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D

30TH SIDEROAD

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GRAHAM STREET

HURON STREET
ALMA STREET

OSBORN STREET

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AUBURN STREET

VERNON STREET

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CR
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VER NON STR
EET

MASSEY STREET

CALFORD STREET

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COLLIER CRESCENT

5TH LINE

MARGARET STREET

Existing Trails & Features

T

LEGION WAY

GREENWOOD DRIVE

T

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Angus
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OSBORN STREET

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Park

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DR

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0

ET

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BRIAN AVENUE

ANGUS
EXISTING
TRAILS
Existing Trails
& Features

STR
E

LeClair
Park

TREE TOP STREET

COULSON AVE

IV
E

SIMC
OE

ROBERTSON ROAD

TARBUSH AVE

DR

RI
VE
R

SUMMERSET PLACE

SANDY LANE

BUSHEY AVENUE

OO
D

Nottawasaga
Community
Centre

Rippon

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PINE RIVER ROAD

T

Nottawasaga
Fishing
Park

SHELLEY PLACE

Peacekeepers
Parkland

O
M

VERNON ST
REET

MCCARTHY CRESCEN

LEE AVENUE

ES
TW

PARK ROAD

UE

JOHN JAMES DRIVE

MANSONIC WAY

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ET

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Wildflowers/McCarthy
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FO
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BRENTWOOD ROAD

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±

COMMERCE ROA

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RO

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EXISTING TRAILS

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UE

IV
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DR

BUSHEY AVEN

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LeClair
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This map shows the existing trails within the
Angus area.

DARREN

BERKAR

JU

±
Existing Trail System - Angus

ROBE

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Implementation Projects

Categories
The following sections of the Plan describe its
specific projects.
Note that these often relate
to strategic actions, and some require building
physical features and infrastructure, while others
support the culture of active lifestyles. Some
projects provide the necessary design, analysis, and
direction to inform larger capital projects that will
be completed in the future.

There’s this tremendous fear of doing anything
that’s out of the ordinary. Whenever some fad
gets hot, whether that be ‘creative class’ or
streetcars or bicycles, everyone jumps on it...
They’re all trying to check the boxes of what
they think makes a world-class city instead of
thinking of how they can add some new boxes.
Will Doig, Salon

These projects are grouped by general time frame.
However, the groupings are not necessarily related
to a priority of execution, nor a time line within
which they must be completed. These time lines
are related to:

Long-term
5+years

Mid-term
3-5 years

• The length of time it is expected to take to
complete the projects
• The time frame within which the project is
most appropriately executed in relation to
the overall Plan
• The project in terms of its impact and
relationship to others

Near-term
1-3 years

These time frames are also not definitive, as projects
may be arranged as best suited to the Township.

Immediate action
100 days

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Focus
The focus of each project in the Plan is identified by
these symbols on the project pages.

Policies &
Regulations

End of Trip Facilities

Assessment

Placemaking

Economic
Development

Wayfinding

Connections

Network Improvements

Accessibility

Culture
15

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Long-Term Projects
5+ year implementation
1
2
3
4
5
6

16

Concurrency Review of Existing Regulations and Processes
Cycling Friendly Community Tourism Program
Active Transportation Expertise and Funding
Bike Routes and Trail Network
Family-Friendly Bike Routes
Inter-community Connecting Links Trails

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

The projects that are in this group are generally of a larger
scale and relate to long-term policy and design direction
that will guide the evolution of the community. They
also include community-wide network and infrastructure
projects. These may require a number of years to complete
or set the path for the community to follow in its ongoing
efforts to improve walking and cycling opportunities.

17

1
LONG-TERM
5+ YEARS

NOTE
• this is an extensive process
that should be initiated
at the earliest stages
to ensure that it will be
completed within the 5
year time frame of the Plan

Concurrency Review of Existing Regulations
Challenge

Action

A Township cannot effectively manage its
implementation programs, nor give appropriate
direction to possible partners and other
stakeholders, if their policies and/or regulations are
conflictive.

There are number of documents that need to be
reviewed and amended as part of this exercise to
ensure that they support a walkable and bikeable
community.

As with all municipalities, the Township of Essa is faced
with managing many documents defining policy
direction as well as their resulting implementation
programs and By-laws. As the community evolves it
becomes necessary to review the direction given by
newly adopted policy documents against those that
have been adopted previously. This is also needed
because the physical and social context of the town
changes over time as well.
Therefore, for this project the Township shall
undertake a concurrency review exercise which
is necessary to ensure that the different existing
policies, regulatory and implementation documents/
processes are complementary and supportive of a
more walking and cycling friendly community.

To complete this work will require input from all
departments, as well as the citizens. In addition to
any minimum requirements relating to community
information and engagement, the following should
also be incorporated into these concurrency review
exercises to ensure the public is involved.
• The concurrency review exercises should
be presented for discussion as part of the
annual summit
• A social media strategy should be developed
to facilitate communication and information
access for citizens, staff, stakeholders, and
others (this relates to the Awareness Program
defined in a later projcet as well).
• The members of the “DO-Tank” task force
should participate in the process.
The end result of this project will be updated and
mutually supportive regulations and work programs
relating to trails and active transportation.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU)
The SMDHU recognizes that the built environment can affect the
overall health of the community both negatively and positively.
SMDHU has published Healthy Community Design - Policy
Statements for Official Plans, which provides policy statements to
assist municipalities in creating healthy and complete communities
while also meeting the Provincial Policies.
The Document speaks to the research which shows that physical form
and development patterns of community impacts air pollution and
greenhouse gases, water quality, levels of physical activity, access to
nutritious food, rates of injuries and fatalities for motorists, pedestrians
and cyclists and social cohesion. The guide includes statements
related to active transportation, for example:
• Ensure a built environment that supports and encourages
active transportation
• Develop a transportation system that is multi-modal,
accessible and interconnected
• Provide infrastructure that supports safe walking & cycling
• Design roads that ensure the safety of all users

19

2
LONG-TERM
5+ YEARS

NOTE
• the Ontario by Bike criteria
will direct the actions
needed for this project
• this project should link
with other tourism and
economic development
related programs but
should be executed as a
stand alone initiative

Cycling Friendly Community Tourism Program
Challenge

Action

The economic benefits of cycle tourism are well
documented and can affect everyone from shop
keepers, to hoteliers, to restaurateurs, and others. The
scale at which these benefits are felt can also range
from single businesses to entire regions depending
on the services provided and experiences offered to
visitors.

The Ontario By Bike™ Network (formerly the Welcome
Cyclists Network) is a project of Transportation
Options, a non-profit organization dedicated to
fostering sustainable mobility and tourism solutions
across Ontario. It is focused on providing key
facilitation and support services that support cycling
tourism for communities. They do so by engaging
in projects that research, develop and promote new
transportation and tourism choices, with a focus on
those that are integrated, environmentally sound,
healthy, service-oriented, and improve the experience
of users.

There are numerous excellent examples of
communities and regions that have benefited from
economic development initiatives centered on cycling
tourism, for example Quebec`s Route Vert system.
Essa is located within a regional context that already
has distinct characteristics around which a cyclingoriented economic development program could be
developed. Because of this potential and its impact
on active transportation a cycle tourism oriented
strategy should be developed and implemented.
The challenge will be to build the economic
development strategy for cycle tourism by crafting
a vision and implementing strategic initiatives that
evolve over time.

It is recommended that the Township implement
the tourism friendly system developed by Ontario
by Bike, through the necessary partnerships with
local businesses. This system has a number of
characteristics that make it appropriate:
• relatively easy to execute
• member driven
• scaleable
• low investment
• partnership opportunities
This project will not only benefit the community
economically, the supporting infrastructure and bikefriendly cultural associated with it will benefit active
transportation throughout town as it evolves.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

The Ontario by Bike program includes the following certification criteria for business areas that will greatly influence the
work program for this project:

Obligatory/Minimum Requirements

Suggested Additional Services

• Bicycle-Friendly Business Areas (BFBA) must submit the registration for the designation through a
Business Improvement Area, Chamber of Commerce or similar association.

• Establishment of leadership team (BIA staff, business owners, community members, etc) to meet
periodically to evaluate efforts and share lessons learned.

• At least five (5) applicable businesses participating and certified as bicycle friendly locations,
including one of each category – accommodations, food services, attractions. Note: A certified
bicycle-friendly accommodation business located no further than a 3km distance away for proposed
business area.

• Bike Welcome Centre equipped with First aid kit and readily available.

• Ample bike parking available within proposed business area.

• Promotion of bike parking locations.

• Allocation of (at least) one storefront location designated and clearly promoted as a Bike Welcome
Centre, equipped with a bike repair station and up to date local cycling information and maps.

• Provision of larger bike parking options, including bike corrals.

• Cycling infrastructure and/or signed route in and out of proposed business area.
• Dedicated web page indicating the BFBA designation, listing certified bicycle-friendly business
locations.

• Access to public washrooms (where possible), rest area (preferably covered) and water (either from
a water fountain or by purchase from a concession stand)

• Creation and promotion of discount programs for cyclists.
• Bike share station or bike rental location within proposed business area.
• Customer deliveries made by bike where possible.

• Participating locations display Ontario By Bike Network Decal in visible locations.

• Shared bikes available for business operators and staff to sign out for local area use.

• BFBA must be located within a region supporting the Ontario By Bike Network.

• Installation of signs showing bicycle-friendly status and welcoming cyclists to Bicycle-Friendly
Business Area

• Bicycle-Friendly Business Area champion(s) to outreach and promote Ontario By Bike Network to
member businesses through distribution of the Business Outreach Kit.
• When hosting community events, additional bike parking or bike valet service is made available.
Cycling promoted as an option to get to and from local events.
• Assistance with Ontario By Bike Network evaluation, including an annual Business Perception Survey
of both participating and non-participating businesses.
• All association staff informed of participation in the Ontario By Bike Network, the Bicycle-Friendly
Business Area designation and above services and amenities

• Creation of an integrated marketing campaign that highlights the Bicycle- Friendly Business Area
designation and participation in the Ontario By Bike Network.
• Upon designation, promote participation with media release and outreach to media outlets working
to maximize public relation opportunities. Bike-themed launch event may be considered.
• Where applicable participation in other complementary programs promoting cycling, safety, health
and education, as well as programs that promote cycling activities for residents. (E.g. Share the
Road, CAN Bike, etc).
• Working with municipality to promote and provide improved bicycle infrastructure and parking.

21

3
LONG-TERM
5+ YEARS

Active Transportation Expertise and Funding
Challenge

Action

Expertise

Funding

The necessity to integrate the needs of pedestrians
and cyclists directly into the design of trails and streets
is now widely recognized by municipalities. This is
because of the impacts they have on the mobility
and health of citizens, the benefits to economic
development, and improvements to traffic. To
successfully support active transportation and trail
development, municipalities must have appropriate
planning and design requirements that place “front
and centre” of planning and engineering work.
One of the challenges will be to provide dedicated
technical expertise in this area to implement the Plan.

The
Transportation
Association
of
Canada,
in
recognizing
the
increasing
costs municipalities are facing to fund
transportation
infrastructure,
recommends:
Realistic means must be found to provide
adequate and sustaining sources of funds
for new, expanded and properly maintained
urban transportation infrastructure and
services.2

NOTE

In
fact
the
recently
adopted
AASHTO
Guide
for
the
Development
of
Bicycle
Facilities speaks to directly to this need:

They also identify that funding should be stable
over time, predictable in magnitude, transparent,
open and easily understood by decision makers and
the public, and designed to foster transportation
systems that operating at the lowest possible cost.

• model staff roles and
duties on similar examples
from other successful
organizations

All roads, streets and highways, except
those where bicyclists are legally prohibited,
should be designed and constructed under
the assumption that they will be used by
bicyclists. Therefore, bicyclists’ needs should
be addressed in all phases of transportation
planning, design, construction, maintenance
and operations. All modes of transportation,
including bicycles, should be jointly
integrated into plans and projects at an
early stage so that they function together
effectively.1

Given the role that active transportation plays in
the mobility, health, and the economic success of a
community, it is important that funding specifically
for active transportation initiatives be integrated
into the Township’s budget. Note that funding for
this plan’s implementation does not necessarily
need to address all the capital spending required
for final development of some of the larger scale
projects outlined in the Plan (as these can be
funded on a project by project basis such as cycling
routes that include roads under the jurisdiction of
the County).

1 AASHTO, Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities,
2012, pg. 1-1

2
Transportation Association of Canada, Urban Transportation
Council, A New Vision for Urban Transportation, Reprint November
1998, pg. 1

• develop a performance
based
budget
to
implement the Plan

To ensure that the needs of walkers and cyclists are
being met, and the projects in this Plan are being
effectively implemented, the Township requires
dedicated staff resources who possess the necessary
professional and technical skills as well as mindset.
As such the Township should support
implementation of the Plan by the Planning
Department through the allocation of training and
additional staff expressly dedicated to this program.
While different departments will be responsible
for various components of the projects listed in
the Plan, it is generally not appropriate to divide
responsibility for its implementation to more than
one department
The funding of this work program needs to
be consistent and predicable.
As such it is
recommedned that a specific 5 year budget be
developed for the implementation of the projects
defined in this Plan.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

New planning and engineering policies and
standards are being developed throughout
North America and globally, not only to allow,
but to require the safe, efficient and effective
accommodation of active transportation modes
within the shared right-of-way. Planners in Ontario
should be facilitating adoption and implementation
of similar requirements, plans, and projects.
Ontario Professional Planners Institute

23

4
LONG-TERM
5+ YEARS

NOTE
• develop a community
education and information
program associated with
this project
• partnerships with the
County will be required
for
designing
and
implementing a number
of the routes identified
• OTM Book 18 will provide
the lead technical design
guidance for the bicycle
infrastructure on each
route

Bike Routes and Trail Network
Challenge
While the Township has provided “share the road”
signage on a number of roads, there is no dedicated
on-road network of cycling routes throughout the
community. It also has a growing trail system; but
this unfortunately does not meet the needs for
active transportation and is primarily recreation
focused (this could change in the future).
On-street bike routes can provide the directness
needed for active transportation, which is difficult
for recreational trails to provide (see table) An onstreet bicycle network generally consisting of streets
with bike lanes, marked shared lanes, and streets
that are specifically designed as family-friendly bike
routes would address this need and support the
mobility of residents.
The desire to use cycling as a mode of transportation,
as opposed to just recreation, is quite high
throughout Ontario. The 2008 Ontario Walkability
Study identified that nearly 75% of students
surveyed would prefer to walk or cycle to school;
and although 3.5% said they currently ride their
bicycle to school, 26.8% would prefer this mode of
transportation.1 Also Go for Green identifies that
70% of Canadians indicated they would be willing
to travel up to 30 minutes to work if they could
enjoy the safety and convenience of a bike lane.2

cycling and active transportation, cyclists are often
categorized by their level of comfort with riding in traffic.
The Ontario Bike Plan3 describes these categories:

Characteristic Recreational Trips

Utilitarian Trips

Directness

Directness of route not as
important as visual interest,
shade, protection from wind.

Directness of route & connected, continuous facilities
more important than visual
interest.

5 to 10% of the
population who are cycling now, attracted by
improvements made to bikeway networks. They may
be comfortable sharing the road with motorists, but
appreciate bike lanes and other facilities designed
specifically for them. They are likely to cycle
more often as further improvements are made.

Connectivity

Loop trips may be preferred
to backtracking; start and
end points are often the
same.

Trips generally travel from
residential to schools,
shopping, or work areas
and back.

Distance

Trips may range from under
a mile to over 50 miles.

Trips generally are 1-10
miles in length.

The Interested but Concerned:

Parking

Sort-term bicycle parking is
needed at recreational sites,
parks, trail heads, and other
recreational activity centres.

Short-term & long -terms
bicycle parking is needed.

Topography

Varied topography may be
desired.

Flat topography is desired

Riders

(Individuals) May be riding in
a group.

(Individuals) Often ride
alone.

Destinations

(Individuals) May drive with
their bicycles to the starting
point of a ride.

Use bicycle as primary
transportation mode; may
transfer to public transportation; may not have access
to a car for trip.

Time

Typically occur on the weekend or on weekdays before
morning commute hours
or after evening commute
hours.

Bicycle commute trips may
occur at any hour of the
day.

The Strong and the Fearless: 1% of the population will
ride regardless of the condition of roadways.

The Enthused and the Confident:

This represents
approximately 60% of the population.
They
may like riding a bicycle but are afraid to
ride regularly. These citizens will ride if they
feel the roadways were calmer and safer.

No Way No How: Around one third of the population
will never be interested in or capable of cycling.

Throughout much of the research and literature on
1
Catherine O’Brien, PhD. Centre for Sustainable Transportation,
Child and Youth Friendly Planning, presentation, 2008
2
Go for Green The Active Living & Environment Program,
Fitting Places: How the Built Environment Affects Active Living and
Active Transportation, pg. 18

3
Cycle Ontario Alliance, Ontario Bike Plan, February 2008,
pg. 5

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Action
Not all streets can be redeveloped or retrofitted to
provide cycling lanes or other improvements for
active transportation. Sometimes this is the result
of the characteristics of the roads in question, the
amount of roadways in a town, the short and longterm costs of improvements, or any combination of
these.
Expansion of the trail system needs to be done in
such a way that it addresses the following:
• supports opportunities for active living
• improves walking options thoughout the
community for all ages
• is designed and constructed to support
accessibility for persons with disabilities
• creates both loop trails and provides
connecting links where gaps currently exist
• provides connections to neighbouring
communities and regional trails.

Bicycle Routes

facility types to be considered

A multi-disciplinary team of planners and engineers
should confirm these routes, their designs and final
implementation. Given the basic characteristics of
the roads in question, it is expected that the network
will principally consist of a combination of bike lane
and shared lane markings (sharrows), and share
the road signage. The map on the following page
illustrates the suggested bicycle route network.
These streets were chosen through a selection
process and criteria that included the following
considerations described by the acronym SAFE:
S
A
F
E

the routes safe and secure
the routes accessible and attractive
are the routes functional
the routes are effective & efficient

Although there is no formula for determining the
exactly appropriate facility, it is important to note
that the bicycle facility type should be determined
through the clearly defined process as described in
the Ontario Traffic Manual: Book 18 Bicycle Facilities
listed below. This selection process should be used
to determine the final design of the improvements
for each of the routes illustrated on the map. The
Ontario Traffic Council briefly describes the three
basic steps of the selection process as follows4:

Step 2 - Examine other factors







Skill level of anticipated users
Number of lanes
Traffic characteristics
Number and frequency of potential conflict points
Adjacent land uses and lot patterns
Frequency of transit stops
Pedestrian safety
Collision patterns

a number of these trails would be part of future
development, are located on railway corridors, and
are on hydro corridor, it seems appropriate that
the Township assess its priorities for these in an
ongoing and dynamic way. While funding should
be set aside for construction as best as possible, it
is understood that the timing of the development
of many of these trails will be outside of the control
o f the Township.

Step 3 - Select Appropriate Facility Type

• Based on results from Steps 1 and 2, plus
sound engineering judgment

The determination of the routes and the specific
design of the bicycle facilities for each section of
roadway will have to follow the above steps, as each
section will have its own unique characteristics.
This project is intended to improve safety for
cyclists traveling throughout the community. This
will be done by developing a defined communitywide network of bicycle routes. These will be
improved based on the characteristics of the routes
in question.

Step 1 - Preselection Nomograph

• Collect and review existing and future volume
and motor vehicle operating speed data
• Plot on Nomograph
• Nomograph provides a general guide for

4
Ontario Traffic Council, OTM Book 18: Bicycle Design
Guidelines, Ontario Bike Summit 2012 presentation, page 9

Trails
Similar to above the trails suggested in the
following maps need to be properly designed an
constructured. The priority with which these will
be developed is up to the Township. Given that

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• Some sections would be on-road, or
Multi-Use River Trail Corridor
within right-of-way that requires County
Existing Trails
partnerships.
Proposed
Trails
• River corridors are also identified for trails
Ganaraska Trail
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within a more natural setting. These would
HTG Loop Trail
be expected to be completed over !many
Multi-use Trail
years.
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Municipal Trail
Trail
• Rail and hydro corridor trails identified
Trail
River TrailTranscanada
Corridor
are dependant upon the development Multi-Use
of
agreements with outside agencies; likely
also Trails
Regional Trails
Existing
taking a number of years to complete.
Ganaraska Trail
Existing Features
• The Township should develop a prioritization
HTG Loop Trail
Parks & Recreational Areas
for completing the trail sections (considering
Municipal
Trail
things such as missing links, safe routes to
County Forest Tract No Hunting Allowed
school, business areas, linkages to parks,
Transcanada Trail
County Forest Tract
creating trail loops, et cetera).

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The maps on these two pages illustrate the
suggested complete trail system and bike route
network. The one the facing page is for the most
intensely built up and populated area of Angus.

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Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

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5
LONG-TERM
5+ YEARS

NOTE
• use pilot and test projects
to inform designs and final
routes
• work with top quality
engineers skilled in the
design of these facilities
and a record of success
• develop a community
education and information
program associated with
this project

Family-Friendly Bike Priority Network
Action

Challenge
An active transportation network has to be designed,
developed, and maintained to function well for the
many different kinds of people in a community. This
includes young people and those who may not be
as comfortable or proficient at cycling in traffic. This
project is necessary to making cycling enjoyable,
efficient, and practical throughout the community
but particularly for families and children/youth.

the following four points2:

The greatest number of cyclists can be identified
as “interested but concerned”. This group prefers
physical separation from cars, off-the-street
cycling opportunities, and quiet neighbourhood
streets. They are not comfortable riding in traffic
and prefer low-volumes and low-speeds. Based
on this knowledge, the Plan calls for a network of
dedicated routes that are more family-friendly and
comfortable for less experienced or less confident
riders. These routes are to be improved as FamilyFriendly or Bike Priority Routes, and include sections
of improved multi-use trails as well.

Pedestrian/cyclist Exposure to Risk:

These should be a series of contiguous street
segments modified to accommodate bicycle traffic
and minimize through motor traffic.1 The challenge
with this project is to create a bike route network
that is part of the overall cycling network but
appealing to families and those that are generally
uncomfortable riding in traffic.

Vehicle Speed:

◦◦ Significant determinant of crash severity
◦◦ Critical factor where modes conflict
◦◦ Appropriate with respect to context

◦◦ Reduce time in vehicle travel lanes
◦◦ Physical and visual cues to increase
legibility for users
◦◦ Human-centered design focus

There are a number of streets that could be suitable
for an enhanced family bikeway routes. These routes
should primarily connect to the downtown, parks, and
residential areaswithin the community.
For families to use bike routes1, there needs to be a
dedicated set of streets that achieve the following:
1. Provide routes with design features enhanced
for safety (families, elderly people, and less
proficient cyclists) focusing on residential
areas where practical;

Driver Predictability:

2. Provide aesthetic enhancements such as
street trees along entire lengths because
they improve user comfort and increase
appeal of the routes;

Effective 24hrs a Day:

3. Connect with the rest of the bike routes and
trails;

◦◦ Need for vehicle use to be predictable
◦◦ Self-evident function and use
◦◦ Self-enforcing through physical
characteristics

2 Michael King, Nelson\Nygaard Associates, “Designing
Complete Streets” presentation, May 29, 2007

4. Prioritize the movement of cyclists over
cars through traffic calming using “road
diets” to create a lower target speed geared
requirements of cyclists;
5. Link key destinations within the community;
and,
6. Include enhanced wayfinding signage.

Traffic calming is an integral component of the
design of these kinds of routes. The principles under
which traffic calming functions, can be defined by

1 ASSHTO, Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities,
2012, pg. 1-2

1
OTM Book 18 desribes the five design elements of Bicycle
Priority Steets as follows: Signage, Traffic reductions, Intersection
treatments, Priority, Traffic calming

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

These bikeways are envisioned as streets with
specific enhancements to make cycling along them
particularly safe and comfortable for all cyclists.
They will be created through the introduction of a
number of traffic calming features, and landscaping
for example:
• Travel lanes can be strategically narrowed
(through the use of curb extensions)
• Shy space around features such as refuge
islands can be enhanced with wide drain
gutters and/or wide striping to reduce
vehicular speeds
• Highly visible bikeway markings can be
painted on the street
• Signage designating the family-friendly
bikeway.

Note: The implementation of the design features for
each of these should be significantly influenced by
the Ontario Traffic Manual Book 18: Bicycle Facilities.
The project to develop a network of family-friendly
bicycle priority streets is one of the more complex
defined for this plan. However many of the other
projects defined here will help inform the design
elements and processes/expereinces needed to
complete this network. The Plan has projects that
relate to: wayfinding and signage; traffic calming
and traffic reduction/management; intersection
and crossing treatments; and design expertise
through the Do-Tank and advancement of staff
resources. All of which relate to the necessary
design components of this project.
This project should be completed by a multidisciplinary team with a strong community
engagement component, and should include test
projects with low-cost temporary measures to test
the design solutions. A monitoring and assessment
strategy will have to be developed to coincide with
these test projects.

Characteristic

Experienced/Confident Riders

Casual/Less Confident Riders

Comfort

Most are comfortable riding with vehicles Prefer shared use paths, bicycle bouleon streets, and are able to navigate
vards, or bike lanes along low-volume,
streets like a motor vehicle, including
low-speed streets.
using the full width of a narrow travel
lane when appropriate and using leftturn lanes.

Traffic

While comfortable on most streets, some May have difficulty gauging traffic and
prefer on-street bike lanes, paved shoul- may be unfamiliar with rules of the road
ders, or shared use paths when available. as they pertain to bicyclists; may walk
bike across intersections.

Directness

Prefer a more direct route.

Often use a less direct route to avoid
arterials with heavy traffic volumes.

Sidewalks

Avoid riding on sidewalks. Ride with the
flow of traffic on streets.

If no on-street facility is available, may
ride on sidewalks.

Speed

May ride at speeds up to 40 km/h on
level grades, up to 72 km/h on steep
descents.

May ride at speeds around 13 km/h to
20 km/h.

Distance

May cycle longer distances.

Cycle shorter distances. 1 to 8 km is a
typical trip distance.

29

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

The following is adapted from OTM Book 18 (page 130) and describes
the kinds of design treatments that are part of this project. Examples
of the kinds of design treatments that this describes are illustrated in
the photographs to the right.

Bicycle Priority Streets
In some areas, particularly residential neighbourhoods, design
treatments can be used to create ‘Bicycle Priority Streets’, which
are often referred to as ‘Bicycle Boulevards’ or ‘Local Bicycle
Streets’. Bicycle Priority Streets are typically low-volume, lowspeed streets that have been optimized for bicycle travel through
treatments such as traffic calming, traffic reduction, signage,
pavement markings and intersection crossing treatments.
These treatments allow through movements for cyclists while
discouraging similar through trips by non-local motorized
traffic. A variety of design elements which may be considered
by practitioners when designing a bicycle boulevard. Some of
the design elements, such as signage and pavement markings
are already an integral part of on-road bicycle facilities such
as signed bicycle routes and bicycle lanes. The other design
elements are context sensitive and should be considered based
on the unique set of site characteristics of the corridor. Traffic
Reduction on bicycle boulevards may be achieved to restrict
through motorized traffic while still providing through access
for non-motorized traffic. Intersection Treatments such as bike
boxes, advanced stop bars, bicycle actuated signals, crossrides
and refuge islands can improve a cyclist’s ability to cross a major
roadway more comfortably and safely. Priority given to travel
on Bicycle Boulevard through the use of pavement markings
as well as stop and yield signs on intersecting roadways.
Traffic Calming measures such as roundabouts, speed tables,
road diets and reduced speed limits aim to reduce the speed
and volume of motor vehicle traffic on a particular roadway.
However, consideration must be given to ensure traffic calming
designs do not adversely affect cyclists

30

Numerous intangible benefits are associated with
bicycling and walking. Providing more travel options
can increase a sense of independence in seniors, young
people, and others who cannot or choose not to drive.
Increased levels of bicycling and walking can have a
great impact on an area`s sense of livability by creating
safe and friendly places for people to live and work.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

31

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Mid-Term Projects
3 to 5 year implementation
6
7
8
9
10

32

Trail Crossings and Improvements
Cycling Route Enhancements
Sidewalk and Crosswalk Improvements
Complete Streets Policy
Trails and Bike Route Wayfinding System

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

The projects listed in this section are generally lesser
in scale and scope than the previous.
These are
projected to be completed within 3 to 5 years. This
section includes projects that address a variety of
important aspects of communities supportive of active
transportation, trails, and active lifestyles, including:
culture; networks; different modes of transportation;
and the needs of different ages and user groups.

33

6
MID-TERM
3-5 YEARS

NOTE
• also look at winter use of
the multi-use trail and the
snow clearing maintenance
improvements that may
be needed

Multi-use Trail Crossings and Improvements
Challenge

Action

The multi-use trails that are part of the Plan can
support active transportation as these are a great
option for pedestrians, and a safe alternative
to on-street riding for cyclists. The difficulty
with incorporating them as part of the active
transportation network is the conflict potential that
exists between cyclists and pedestrians using the
trail, and conflicts at road crossings.

A multi-disciplinary team should conduct a review of
the multi-use trails, with particular attention to road
crossings to determine the best design solutions.
These crossing locations should provide adequate
sight lines and appropriate signage. Crossings of
less-traveled roads and streets must be well marked
and have good sight lines so that trail users and
road users are visible to each other. They should
always be designed for the fastest user type (usually
cyclist), and for 20-30 metres of clear visibility from
the intersection.

These are issues related to expectations, familiarity,
travel speed, and signage. Note that these facilities are
often too narrow to allow for full separation of walkers
and cyclists. The TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines
for Canada also states the preference not to separate
these uses but indicates that Pathway Organization
Signs can be used in specific instances:
On multi-use paths, segregation of bicycles
and pedestrians should be avoided, wherever
possible. However, where study has shown
that this type of operation is suited, these
signs may be used.1
This project will involve creating and implementing
an effective strategy for these shared-use routes to
improve their functionality and safety for users.

OTM Book 18 should be the main resource for
design guidance. However, the Bikeway Traffic
Control Guidelines for Canada, by the Transportation
Association of Canada, and other similar references
should also be consulted to inform the underlying
principles, strategy, process, design criteria, and
implementation used throughout this project. An
additional excellent resource that has recently
been published is from the UK Department for
Transportation, Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians
and Cyclists1.

• On-site testing of preferred options with
monitoring;
• Review of findings and implementation of
recommended actions.
The result of this project will be a better functioning
multi-use trail network that can play a significant
role in the active transportation network.
The following page has selections from OTM Book
18 as preliminary background information for this
project.

This process will include, at a minimum, the
following steps:
• Assessment of trail use (including on-site
monitoring);

1
Transportation Association of Canada, Bikeway Traffic
Control Guidelines for Canada, February 2012, pg. 25

• Review of best practices documents;
• Development of preferred design options;
1
Department for Transportation, Shared Use Routes for
Pedestrians and Cyclists, September 2012

Shared Pathway Sign

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

The Shared Pathway sign should be installed
along in-boulevard shared-use facilities to
indicate that users are expected to share the
space on the path.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Ahead
sign should be placed on the roadway at
the approach to an in-boulevard facility. The
right or left version of the sign should be
used as appropriate such that the pedestrian
and bicycle symbols are oriented towards
the centre of the road. The Crossing tab
sign must be attached below to convey the
meaning of the sign.3

Within in-boulevard shared-use active
transportation facilities, segregation of
cyclists and pedestrians should be avoided
where possible. Instead, a directional
dividing line may be marked on the pathway,
thus allowing it to operate as a “miniature
roadway”. This relies on users obeying
the basic premise that slower moving
pedestrians and cyclists should keep right,
and faster moving path users should pass on
the left.2

Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Ahead Sign
2

Adapted from OTM Book 18 Bicycle Facilities Page 117

The Bicycle Trail Crossing Side Street should
be placed on the roadway at the approach
to an intersection with a side street where a
parallel in-boulevard facility crosses the side
street close to the through road. The right
or left version of the sign should be used as
appropriate. The Trail Crossing tab sign may
be attached below to convey the meaning of
the sign.4

In-boulevard bicycle facilities should
be marked by a white bicycle symbol. A
pedestrian symbol should also be used where
pedestrians and other active transportation
users are permitted to share the in-boulevard
facility.
A solid yellow 100-millimetre directional
dividing line should be used where passing
should be discouraged on horizontal or crest
vertical curves with poor sight lines, and on
the approach to intersections. A broken
centre line is an optional treatment and may
be provided where sight lines are good and
passing is permitted.
Where an in-boulevard facility crosses the
roadway, apply white “elephant’s feet”
pavement markings to show the edge of the
crossride.5

Bicycle Trail Crossing Side Street Sign

Pavement Markings

3

4

Adapted from OTM Book 18 Bicycle Facilities Page 119

Adapted from OTM Book 18 page 119

5

Adapted from OTM Book 18 page 119

35

7
MID-TERM
3-5 YEARS

NOTE
• use
pilot
and
test
projects for bike parking
where practical, before
developing final designs
• provide online information
about the location of bike
parking
• look for partnerships with
businesses for potential
bike parking locations and
materials
• consider the needs of
families with bike trailers

Cycling Route Enhancements
Challenge

Action

Parking is also one of the necessary components
of an active transportation system. The municipality
has provided significant resources for vehicle
parking, while proportionally lagging behind in
terms of bike parking.

To facilitate efficient use of the downtown by those
that travel by bicycle, the Township should design
and provide appropriate long-term bike parking
facilities.

An effective active transportation bike network
includes not only designated routes and signage,
but also other supportive features such as bike
parking and air pumping stations. Additionally,
community members need to be made aware of
these if the culture of active transportation is to be
supported.
High quality, publicly accessible long-term bike
parking in the downtown areas does not currently
exist. There are too few bicycle parking facilities.
Those that do exist do not provide shelter from the
elements, nor are they supported by security options
or high pedestrian traffic to provide oversight.
There are many locations throughout downtown
that are not optimal for automobile parking and
other uses, but could accommodate secure bike
parking or bicycle corrals, without sacrificing
the facilities and amenities of other modes of
transportation.
By using these areas in the downtown areas to
effectively support bicycle transportation, the
Township could increase the overall number of
parking spaces for citizens, visitors, and tourists
alike.
This project will result in the design and development
of appropriate long-term bike parking facilities for
people who shop, work, and visit.

As part of the process to implement this, locations
for bike parking shall be reviewed and selected
through a collaborative process with businesses
and community members. Part of the process will
be the recognition that long-term bike parking has
specific requirements in terms of its design and
location. This kind of bike parking needs to include
the following:
• Weather protection;
• Clear wayfinding signage indicating parking
locations;
• Consistent passive surveillance from users
and passers-by; and,
• Central location.
There are two specific types of parking that are
recommended for this project:
1. Bicycle corrals
2. Bicycle shelters

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Bicycle parking is space efficient
and so generates about five
times as much spending per
square meter as car parking.
Victoria Transport Policy Institute

37

Sidewalk and Crosswalk Improvements

8
MID-TERM
3-5 YEARS

NOTE
• ensure
high
of
maintenance
crosswalks

level
for

• snow
clearing
needs
should be monitored
and adapted to maintain
an effective all-season
walkway system
• resources for the existing
sidewalk maintenance and
improvement
program
should be evaluated and
integrated into this project,
to ensure that the mobility
options of citizens are not
compromised

Challenge

Action

This challenge is somewhat unique to the Plan in
that it relates to the maintenance and updating
of existing infrastructure, specifically the sidewalk
system. This is important because this network
provides needed accessibility for all ages and
abilities.

The Township should update its sidewalk
development criteria and create a schedule of
updating crosswalks as well. The existing work
program should continue to be supported through
appropriate allocations of Township human and
financial resources because of its important
impact on active living. This work should also be
coordinated with the other projects defined in the
Plan.

The National Bicycling and Walking Study 15Year Status Report from the U.S. Department of
Transportation Federal Highway Administration,
states:
Numerous intangible benefits are associated
with bicycling and walking. Providing more
travel options can increase a sense of
independence in seniors, young people, and
others who cannot or choose not to drive.
Increased levels of bicycling and walking can
have a great impact on an area’s sense of
livability by creating safe and friendly places
for people to live and work.1
The challenge is to continue the existing
maintenance and improvement program that the
Township already has with two added components:
1. Refine the selection criteria for closing gaps
in the sidewalk network to ensure that those
with the highest need are addressed first
2. Update the design and maintenance of
pavement markings for pedestrian crossings
to meet current best practice.
1 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway
Administration, National Bicycling and Walking Study 15-Year Status
Report, May 2010, page 2

To conduct this important work an updated strategy
for closing gaps in the sidewalk system (including
sidewalks on both sides of the street) should be
developed. The suggested priority is as follows:
• safe routes to schools
• all streets adjacent to schools
• all downtown links
• streets adjacent to seniors facilities, hospital,
and civic/public buildings and parks
A similar hierarchy should be used for the
implementation of the updated on-street crossing
markings that should use the “ladder crosswalk”.

The battle for quality is
won in the small scale.
Jan Gehl, Architect

39

9
MID-TERM
3-5 YEARS

NOTE
• look
to
progressive
examples
from
other
communities
• work with the best
engineers available that
are skilled and have had
success with complete
streets and road diet
designs
• include requirements that
could be easily adapted
for road design RFPs
• base decisions on data and
progressive best practices
as much as possible

Complete Streets Policy
Challenge
In recent decades the design parameters of the roads
constructed throughout North America have relied
heavily on level-of-service (LOS), thereby skewing
their use towards a single mode of transportation.
This has negatively impacted adjacent land-use and
values, as well as the overall safety for pedestrians,
cyclists, and other users.
Streets have been
designed, built, and maintained in ways that favour
vehicle movements over the needs of pedestrians
and cyclists. In fact, “People who choose active
transport modes face an increased risk of injury
from collisions, relative to motor vehicle users”.1
Marginalizing safety for pedestrians and cyclists in
the design of transportation systems has resulted in
dangerous road networks.
However, there is encouraging evidence that
injury and fatality rates decrease as active
transportation use is shared/increased, and
this effect that has been dubbed “safety in
numbers”. This safety in numbers effect is
prevalent where infrastructure has been
designed to promote sharing.2
One of the effects of not designing “complete streets”
is increased risk to people that use non-motorized
transportation. The National Collaborating Center
for Environmental Health cautions:
1
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health,
Active Transportation in Urban Areas: Exploring Health Benefits
and Risks, 2010
2
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health,
Active Transportation in Urban Areas: Exploring Health Benefits
and Risks, 2010, pg. 3

to minimize the risk of injury, it is important
that urban transportation infrastructure be
carefully designed for active modes. 3
Just as with designing for moving vehicles,
designing for people requires close attention
to how people move and how they use spaces,
including the specific dimensions of the people
using the environment; for example, people walking
side-by-side, parents pushing a stroller, or persons
traveling in wheelchairs. Streets can be designed to
move cars efficiently without sacrificing the ability
of people to walk or bike along them.
The characteristics of each street is different and
should be acknowledged in the design process;
for example: intended use, the setting, traffic
volumes, and intended speeds. In the Congress for
New Urbanism’s 2012, Sustainable Street Network
Principles, they define the following as a principle
for road design that should be considered a priority:
All people should be able to travel within
their community in a safe, dignified, and
efficient manner.
A sustainable street
network makes that possible and ensures a
choice of transportation modes and routes.
People can walk, bicycle, take transit, or
use a vehicle. Each mode is integrated, as
appropriate, within each street.4

The first recommendation defined in both the
Pedestrian Death Review5 and Cycling Death Review
from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario is
focused on developing complete streets:
A ‘complete streets’ approach should be
adopted to guide the redevelopment of
existing communities and the creation of
new communities throughout Ontario.
Such an approach would require that and
(re-)development give consideration to
enhancing safety for all road users, and
should include:

Creation
of
cycling
networks
(incorporating strategies such as
connected cycling lanes, separated bike
lanes, bike paths and other models
appropriate to the community.)

Designation of community safety zones
in residential areas, with reduced posted
maximum speeds and increased fines for
speeding.6

The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation
describes the benefits of complete street design
strategies:
The implementation of Complete Streets
results not only in improved conditions for

3
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health,
Active Transportation in Urban Areas: Exploring Health Benefits
and Risks, 2010, pg. 5

5
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Pedestrian Death
Review, September 2012

4
Congress for New Urbanism, Sustainable Street Network
Principles, 2012, page 14

6
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Cycling Death
Review, June 2012, pg. 20

Action
cyclists, pedestrians, seniors, and children but
also supports vibrant, healthy communities.
Evidence shows that Complete Streets:

Provide better and more transportation
options

Improve safety
pedestrians

Reduce traffic congestion

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Create more walkable, therefore, livable
communities

Stimulate economic growth with
increased shopping activity, sales, and
property values.7

for

cyclists

and

The challenge for this project requires the Township
to develop a decision making matrix, and associated
process, for (re)developing roads that is complete
streets focused. This approach will ensure that
all modes of transportation are addressed in the
design/development process.

7
Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, Complete Streets
by Design, 2012, pg. 5

The development of the matrix will be a multidisciplinary process including active transportation
experts and planners and engineers. The matrix
shall include specific sections for each type of
transportation mode, as well as public participation
and stakeholder involvement.
Of particular note is that the matrix shall integrate
the use of “target speeds” as a primary parameter
of street designs. Target speed is the speed at which
vehicles should operate on a thoroughfare in a
specific context, consistent with the level of multimodal activity generated by adjacent land uses, and
to provide both mobility for motor vehicles and a
safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The design speed should be designed to those
geometric design elements where speed is critical
for safe vehicle operation. The target speed is
based on the street type and context including
neighbouring land uses.1
Land use criteria relating to the built form context
will also be important in this work and should take
into account the intended future of the area as
described in the Official Plan.
Understanding the land use context provides
guidance on who will need to use the road
and how. This understanding influences
the geometric design of the roadway and
the types of amenities required in the rightof-way... Land use context and roadway
1
Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization,
Complete Streets Design Guidelines, 2009, pg. 10

type comprise the organizing framework
for the selection of appropriate roadway
design values. A context area is a land area
comprising a unique combination of different
land uses, architectural types, urban form,
building density, roadways, and topography
and other natural features.2
The basic complete streets design approach from
which the matrix should be developed is outlined
in the following categories that should all be
addressed:

Safe:

◦◦ for people first
◦◦ real and perceived

Context sensitive:
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦

land use supportive
land value enhancing
target speed appropriate
Accessible:
diversity of transportation modes
facilitated
◦◦ affordable
◦◦ “8/80” accessibility

This matrix should be used to determine the
design parameters for future road and street (re)
construction projects.

Reliable:

◦◦ well designed
◦◦ appropriate infrastructure for all
transportation modes
◦◦ integrated modes of transportation

Effective:
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦

for all transportation modes
for needs of citizens and businesses
interconnected
efficient

Human-centred
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦
◦◦

addresses peoples’ needs
age appropriate transportation options
easily understood
aesthetically designed

2
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Transportation,
Smart Transportation Guidebook, March 2008, pg 23

41

Bike Routes Wayfinding System

10
MID-TERM
3-5 YEARS

Challenge

Action

One of the principle features of the on-street
bike route network is the wayfinding/notification
marking system that will have to be developed. The
National Association of City Transportation Officials
describes these as wayfinding systems consisting of
comprehensive signing and/or pavement markings
to guide bicyclists to their destinations along
preferred bicycle routes. Signs are typically placed
at decision points along bicycle routes - typically
at the intersection of two or more bikeways and at
other key locations leading to and along bicycle
routes.

The Town will develop and install a signage system
for all the on-street bicycle routes described in the
Plan.

Inclusivity: The system should address the needs of

This project should be undertaken by a team
that includes professionals skilled in signage and
wayfinding systems.

• Access and accessibility of information to
address different user users and increase
access to information (for example, consider
alternative materials for persons with visual
impairments)

A wayfinding system enables people to orient
themselves in physical space and navigate from
place to place. It helps answer the questions “Where
am I?”, “Where is ___?” and “How do I get There?”

NOTE
• develop a system that
integrates all the routes in
the Plan

The challenge is designing and implementing a
bicycle route wayfinding system throughout the
community (including signage for bicycle parking).

• make the information,
including maps, available
online

This system will be for all the on-street and shareduse routes described in the Plan.

• get expert
design

advice

on

• avoid designs that are
overly focused on brand
identity for the signage
• Swiss national trail system
wayfinding program is an
excellent example

It is recommended that the route signage system
design should begin with the Bicycle Route Marker
Signs described in OTM Book 18 Bicycle Facilities
which defines parameters for placement and
frequency. The recommended sign design should
however be adapted to a more context appropriate
and visually appealing design for Bracebridge.
A design framework that organizes the information
of a wayfinding system into five themes is suggested.
This approach is adapted from the recently
completed Toronto 360 Wayfinding Strategy.
The five themes as adapted from 360 are as follows:

Consistency:

Consistency of content and the way it
is presented.

all users and consider ways of advancing the goals
of universal design.

• Legibility of signage should be considered
for the intended users and type of signage
• Technology for mobile access to information
should be integrated into the overall system.

Sustainability: the full life cycle costs associated with
the system need to be considered.

• Reduce signage and pole clutter with
careful design and placement of wayfinding
features, taking into consideration other
signage needs (such as street, business and
regulatory signs)

• Hierarchy of information

• Flexibility should be considered so that
information can be easily updated

• Use of common conventions for the way and
kind of information that is presented

• Long-term maintenance of wayfinding
features should be cost effective

• Positioning to facilitate understanding and
wayfinding throughout the town and along
routes

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Transition: connecting places and making third
party input possible to help people move
throughout the community.

• Multi-modal
information
should
be
presented and consistent throughout the
system
• Route legibility should be supported through
intuitive wayfinding by implementing
lighting, sidewalk, or other urban design
features
• Fill in the gaps by providing information
about how to negotiate unclear connections

Local identity: building upon the unique context and
sense of place of the community.

• Historic names should be used wherever
possible
• Landmark buildings, spaces and nature
features should be promoted and used to
orient people

Small-scale pedestrian improvements
along streets results in increased physical
activity and high levels of public support.
Walk Boston, Good Walking is Good Business

• Local character through the participation
of citizens and businesses should be
encouraged during the development of the
wayfinding system

43

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Near-Term Projects
1 to 3 year implementation
11
12
13
14

44

Healthy Community Design Standards
Annual Walk & Bicycle Summit
Urban Acupuncture & Traffic Calming Program
Community Walking & Cycling Audits

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

This selection of projects is much smaller in scope
than those of the previous sections. These projects are
expected to be completed within 1 to 3 years. Generally
these are system or network oriented. They also include
projects to amend community-wide regulations. These
projects are designed to help make active transportation
more practical and functional, improve infrastructure
for walking and cycling through new development,
and engage the community in the process of creating
improved trails and active transportation system.

45

Healthy Community Design Standards

11

Challenge

NEAR-TERM
1-3 YEARS

NOTE
• standards
should
performance based

be

• citizens must be able to
read and understand
• incorporate opportunities
for alternative compliance
without variances
• streamline development
review
processes
to
maximize the use/benefit
of the standards
• train staff to effectively
use the standards once
adopted

Urban (or community) design can be complex,
not only in terms of what it relates to, but also
who does the actual design work. There is no
universally accepted definition of urban design, and
the professional practices of planners, landscape
architects, engineers, and architects all include
community or urban design.
Essentially community design is the definition of
space through the careful arrangement and design
of architecture, landscaping, and use, to create
livable places for people. Community design
is best executed through the cooperative work
of professional disciplines and informed by the
community through their insights and participation
in the process.
Unfortunately, most contemporary development
does not exhibit quality community design
principles. The result is development that is
auto centric, out of context, lacks connectivity
for pedestrians, has inconsistent relationships
between neighbouring areas, provides low quality
public realm, and isn’t human-scaled. To make a
community more appealing and functional for
people, the design quality of developments needs
to improve.
Good quality community design standards can
set a positive direction for new developments,
civic spaces, districts and corridors. Their purpose
is to encourage the design and development
of a complete, effective, and sustainable built
environment consistent with the community’s
character and vision for its future. They can also
significantly improve the physical environment to
support walking and cycling.

Action
The challenge is to achieve a high quality public
realm and active transportation supportive physical
environment throughout the community when new
developments are built.

For this project, the Township should undertake the
development of community design standards that
amongst many other benefits will help create an
environment supportive of walking and cycling.
These design regulations will relate to many different
elements of the built environment, including: public
spaces, trails, walkways, sidewalks, lighting, building
facades, locations of doorways and windows,
landscape treatments, street furniture, wayfinding
and signage, parking areas, et cetera. They should
provide guidance to ensure that development
projects are:
• of high-quality
• pedestrian oriented
• interconnected
• provide adequate
infrastructure

public

facilities

and

• address aesthetics
• connect with nature
• function well
Once adopted these standards should apply to all
development and subdivision projects. Through
their implementation the standards would help
ensure that as the community evolves and new
projects are built, the physical environment will be
supportive of all modes of transportation for all
ages.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

As an interim measure, it is suggested that a simple
twelve point checklist1 be used based on the
following criteria prior to final adoption of more
formal design standards:

On-site arrangements:

Off-site provision:

• Are the buildings arranged to minimize
walking distance to and from the local
network?

• Is the proposed development connected to
all adjacent areas for people traveling on
foot?

• Do all front doors face directly onto the
street?

• Is the proposed development permeable to
those on foot to travel throughout it and
beyond to adjacent areas/developments?

• Is all street frontage “active frontage” with
windows and activities that face the public
realm?
• Are there “dead” spaces that are out of view,
hidden, or create unnecessary restrictions
to pedestrian movement for the overall
intended use of the site, that have no
function and which could become the focus
of unsocial behavior?
• Are all areas compliant with accessibility
standards?
• Is the arrangement of the pedestrian network
throughout the site practical, efficient, safe,
and secure for pedestrians?

1
London’s Improving Walkability: Good practice guidance
on improving pedestrian conditions as part of development
opportunities, page 22

• Are there opportunities to create new
pedestrian connections?
• Are there new walkway/vehicle crossings
or conflict points proposed; and can they
be avoided, or designed in such a way to
minimize danger to the pedestrians?
• Will the development lead to an increase in
walking activity?
• Are walkways and waiting areas adequate in
width and area for the volume of pedestrians
and other activity?

Do you want the character of
your community to shape new
development - or do you want
new development to shape the
character of your community?
Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute

47

12
NEAR-TERM
1-3 YEARS

NOTE
• have hands-on oriented
events as part of the
summit
• keep
the
focus
on
advancing the Plan, as
opposed to repeated
visioning sessions
• seek participation from
citizens, municipal staff,
elected
officials,
and
outside experts
• focus on the variety of
things related to active
transportation, not just
routes and infrastructure

Awareness Program and Walk & Bicycle Summit
Challenge
The Township has used a variety of methods to
communicate extensively with the public, including
contemporary methods using social media.
However, while some of these methods work
better for informing people, they all share similar
limitations in terms of engaging people. The most
effective way to have meaningful exchange with
citizens is still face-to-face.
There is no forum currently available for the people
of Essa to get together with representatives from the
Township on a consistent basis to exchange ideas
and information relating to walking, cycling, trails,
and the mobility of citizens. This is just as much
about “educating” people as it is about learning from
them.
The Transportation Association of Canada speaks to
how important this is in relationship to implementing
initiatives associated with walking and cycling:
Public education will be a major key to
success. Without it political leaders will
not have the mandate to move in the right
direction.1

Action
are made to these kinds of plans, it is often done
well past the time when it could have been most
effective and instead results in a plan that becomes
inherently less effective at guiding the community’s
actions.
Therefore, the challenges for this project are to:
1.
Develop an ongoing active transportation
education and awareness program. This will help
engage citizens in the changes takling place and
also help create a possitive culture around active
living. This could be modeled after the materials
developed by the City of Thunder Bay for example;
and,
2.
Hold an annual walk and bicycle summit
to facilitate open and effective communication
between the citizens and the Township and to review
the Plan and the progress of its implementation.

To make this Plan more nimble and proactive in its ability
to influence positive change for walking and cycling, an
awareness programm and annual walking and bicycling
summit should be developed. The Town should work
together with the “Do-Tank” to develop the process/
schedule and to conduct the annual event(s) and
develop the necessary resources.
Community awareness and education are important
components of effecting change and providing
good governance. Most municipal plans, reports,
and strategies quickly fall from citizens’ awareness
and interest shortly after their adoption. This is
partially due to their complexity and the often
technical nature of their presentation. It is also
partly due to the lack of updated information on
these.
The Ontario Professional Planners Institute discusses
how providing information/education plays an
important role in terms of active transportation:
Individual travel behaviour is influenced by
a combination of factors – infrastructure,
promotion, education – all of which are
integral to increasing the number of active
transportation users. In addition to building
new active transportation infrastructure, it
is important to promote new facilities and
offer information on safe cycling skills and
sharing the road.1

Also, plans such as this are often referred to a “living
documents”, implying that they are amendable
to deal with changes in circumstances or needs.
Unfortunately there is seldom a process or
mechanism for the plan, or even its components, to
be reviewed and potentially changed within a time
line that is effective and not reactive. When changes

It is recommended that the Township integrate a

1
Transportation Association of Canada, Urban Transportation
Council, A New Vision for Urban Transportation, Reprint November
1998, pg. 6

1
Ontario Professional Planners Institute, Healthy
Communities and Planning for Active Transportation: A Call to
Action, 2012, pg. 5

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

social media campaign to advance this Plan over its
lifespan.
Additionally by providing this online service
that focuses resources to improving community
awareness and education about active transportation
and the trails systems, the Township will be rising
to the challenge of an important recommendation
made by the Chief Coroner of Ontario:
A comprehensive public education program
should be developed to promote safer
sharing of the road by all users… Such a
program should include: - a targeted public
awareness campaign, in the spring/summer
months, with key messages around cycling
safety.2
At this time the most practical option would be
the development of a Facebook page specifically
dedicated to this Plan’s implementation.
The annual summits will help inform and “recalibrate”
the Plan, providing opportunities for ongoing
community input into the evolution, implementation,
and review of the Plan’s projects. This also includes
opportunities for additions to the list of Immediate
Action Projects and to replace those that have been
completed.
This process will also engage citizens and foster
meaningful
relationships
between
various
stakeholders, all of which positively influences
the culture of active transportation and overall
2
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Cycling Death
Review, June 2012, pg. 22

effectiveness of the Plan.
These events and reviews of the Plan should at a
minimum reflect the following criteria from the Share the
Road Cycling Coalition’s “5 Es” for reviewing bike friendly
communities3:

Evaluation & Planning

• Reviewing the systems and plans in place for
AT and their success and/or progress toward
implementation.

Engineering

• A review and assessment of what is on the
ground and what has been built to promote
active transportation in the community;

Education

• Determining the amount of information and
education there is available for both active
transportation and motorists;

Encouragement

• Assessing how the community promotes
and encourages bicycling;

Enforcement

• Examining the way enforcement personnel
are trained and conduct their duties
specifically associated with the rights
and responsibilities of all road users. The
enforcement category contains questions
that measure the connections between the
cycling and law enforcement communities;
and,

3
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition uses the “5 Es” outlined
when reviewing communities for their Bicycle Friendly Community
award. These, along with the walkability audits from the Walkable
and Livable Communities should be adapted to outline the basic
structure of the audit for this Element of the ATP.

As the economic role of “place” gains greater
significance, the role of land-use planning for
economic development is being reflected in deliberate,
placemaking efforts. Using forward-looking planning,
design and programming to manage the built
environment, municipalities are positioning themselves
to attract and retain the people and investments they
need to strengthen their economies.
Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

49

13
NEAR-TERM
1-3 YEARS

NOTE
• always gather baseline
information
prior
to
initiating
a
test/pilot
project
• monitor effects/results
• allow for adaptation/
improvements as projects
progress
• have progressive minded
and skilled designers/
engineers/planners
involved throughout the
process

Urban Acupuncture and Traffic Calming Program
Challenge
Urban Acupuncture
The community and its built environment is constantly
evolving. This means that not all features of what’s
been constructed in the past can meet the needs of
the community today or into the future. However,
similar to many communities, Essa is not able to
allocate large amounts of resources for updating
trails and active transportation infrastructure in a
short time line. This project is intended to create
a mechanism by which the Township can test and
make practical, or opportunistic, improvements.
This can be very helpful for the community, as
the ASSHTO Guide to the Development of Bicycle
Facilities identifies:
Many of the most successful bike plans have
been implemented through a pragmatic
approach involving phasing of improvements
and opportunistic partnerships with other
projects.1
Another challenge this project addresses is the
need to develop mechanisms that help leverage
the assets within the community that may be
helpful in improving the active transportation
infrastructure, how it functions, or the culture of
active transportation in the community.
The idea is to make it easier for the community to
affect change and test designs by using resources
that are readily available. This is what is meant by
urban acupuncture. By developing a mechanism
1
AASHTO, Guide to the Development of Bicycle Facilities,
2012 pg. 2-14

for citizens to work with the Township it creates
a system of support that is user-friendly and
effectively leverages the assets of the community.
Once designs have been tested they can then be
made permanent.

The purpose is to facilitate ways of creating
demonstration “tools” that show, test, and review the
potential of projects to create great walkable, vibrant
neighborhood streets and places.

NACTO describes the benefits of short-term
improvements in Urban Street Design Guide
(October 2012):

Neighbourhood Aesthetics:

One particular type of urban acupuncture initiative
that should be facilitated through this are traffic
calming projects. Traffic calming is a way to design
streets using physical measures to encourage
people to drive more safely. It creates physical and
visual cues that induce drivers to travel at slower
speeds. Traffic calming is inherently self-enforcing
due to principles applied to roadway design for a
desired effect, and does not rely on compliance
through traffic control devices such as signs and
signals.

Health & Safety:

Traffic calming is specifically identified and
recommended in the Chief Coroner of Ontario’s
report Pedestrian Death Review2 to improve road
safety. Traffic calming has four basic principles in
terms of design:

Short-term improvements allow residents and
visitors to experience new street configurations
without the commitment of major funding for new
curbs and other capital improvements. This method
has many advantages:
designs for temporary
treatments can be selected together with local
merchants and neighbourhood organizations, and
they can be involved in planting flowers and other
ongoing activities.
a quick turnaround project can
immediately address unsafe conditions on streets
and at intersections.

Low Cost: materials like paint or gravel are inexpensive
compared to asphalt and cement curbs.

Changeable: if a pilot project has negative impacts on

parking or traffic patterns, it is easy to restore the
roadway to its original condition.

Traffic calming

• Vehicle speed (significant determinant of
crash severity; critical factor when modes
conflict; needs to be reduced to context
appropriate target speed);
• Pedestrian/bike exposure risk (reducing the
amount of time that pedestrians are in the
street with reduced crossing distances and
appropriate pedestrian infrastructure);

2
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Pedestrian Death
Review, pg. 54, September 2012

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Action
• Driver
predictability
(making
vehicle
movements predictable for others); and,
• That traffic calming measures are active 24
hours a day, seven days a week (do not rely
on enforcement)3
By working with groups of citizens to implement
traffic calming projects in their neighbourhoods
through urban acupuncture, the Township will be
able to foster meaningful dialog with citizens as
well as improve their neighbourhoods.
The principle goal should be designing
streets where people walking, parking,
shopping, bicycling, working and driving can
cross paths safely.4
Regardless of the final outcome of urban acupuncture
projects, the benefit to the Township and general
public in working together to execute the project will
be significant. Anytime community members come
together in co-operation for everyone’s benefit,
the collaboration itself is a positive outcome. Pilot
projects also help inform future projects, as well as
develop local best practices.

The purpose of this project is for the Township to
develop a defined process to provide facilitation
for small scale neighbourhood improvements
or ``Urban Acupuncture`` initiative.
This is a
local development strategy that has produced
successful public spaces and is generally lower
risk and lower cost. It capitalizes on the creative
energy of the community to efficiently generate
new uses and revenue for places. The Township
will have to determine the level of assistant for
these community-based projects and if it includes
funding or just staff expertise and assistance.
Action can take many forms, requiring varying
degrees of time, money, and effort; and the spectrum
of interventions should be seen as an iterative means
to build lasting change. By championing use over
design aesthetic and capital-intensive construction,
these projects strike a balance between providing
comfortable spaces for people while generating
and leveraging local assets necessary for further
development.
The kinds of projects that would be supported are or
localized improvements based on the characteristics
and needs of the area. These projects should meet
criteria that will be defined by the Township.5
This is intended to provide a way for creating and
implementing small-scale projects that:
1. Are focused on improving
environment of the community;

3 Michael King, Nelson\Nygaard Associates,
Complete Streets presentation, May 29, 2007
4

the

built

2. Improve one or more of the requirements
for effective active transportation (including
quality
public
places,
connections,
connection to outside of town, improved
safety, improved aesthetics and visual
appeal, improved sun health, improved trail
and pedestrian crossings, et cetera);
3. Are permanent, or temporary pilot projects;
and,
4. Are initiated by community member (or the
Township) and facilitated/assisted by the
Town.
The kinds of items envisioned for this include:
• Public spaces such as public squares, meeting
spaces, and places for outdoor activities
• Support
projects
for
non-vehicle
transportation such as improved lighting,
signage, way-finding
• Neighbourhood or school zone traffic
calming

Part of this project will require a shift in perspective,
where streets are not only looked at in terms of
traffic performance (measured through speed,
delay, and congestion), but in terms of the multiple
real world roles they play in public life as public
spaces.
The parameters of the Town’s facilitation and
support will be determined by the Town and will
be based on the characteristics of the project, such
as those defined by the Street Plans Collaborative
manual Tactical Urbanism:
• A deliberate, phased approach to instigating
change
• Offering of local solutions for local challenges
• Short-term commitment
expectations

and

realistic

• Low-risks, with a possibly a high reward
• The development of social capital
between citizens and the building of local
organizational capacity

• Increased quality and quantity of bike
parking
• Building trail sections and/or installing
sigange

Designing

NACTO, Urban Street Design Guide, October 2012, pg. 9

5
See Project for Public Spaces, 11 Principles of Placemaking,
www.pps.org

51

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

The Walkability Toolkit describes a checklist for
creating pedestrian-friendly communities6 that
could also be adapted to develop the criteria. The
checklist includes:
• Continuous Systems/Connectivity
• Shortened Trips and Convenient Access
• Linkages to a Variety of Land Uses/Regional
Connectivity
• Coordination Between Jurisdictions
• Continuous Separation from Traffic
• Pedestrian-Supportive Land-Use patterns
• Well-Functioning Facilities
• Designated Space
• Security and Visibility
• Automobiles are Not the Only Consideration
• Neighbourhood Traffic Calming
• Accessible & Appropriately Located Transit
• Lively Public Places
• Pedestrian Furnishings

6

52

Walk On, Walkability Toolkit, 2009, pg. 9

• Street Trees and Landscaping
• Proper Maintenance
• Safe Pedestrian Crossings
These projects are to a great degree created with
community assets and skills. However, the review
criteria should also include an understanding, and
consideration, of the overall aesthetics and urban
design characteristics of the final project/area.
These community-based initiatives can take many
forms, requiring varying degrees of time, money,
and effort. The spectrum of interventions should be
seen as an iterative means to build lasting change.

53

14
NEAR-TERM
1-3 YEARS

NOTE
• conduct
these
at
different times of day and
throughout the year
• combine with specialized
audits for accessibility and
safe routes to school for
example
• map
the
information
online and also make the
raw data available
• revisit areas to conduct
follow up assessments
after improvements have
been made

Community-wide Walkability and Bikeability Audits
Challenge
The most effective method of analyzing the built
environment is through first-hand on-the-ground
experience; and its level of support for active
transportation. Particularly with mixed groups of
citizens and trained professionals or experts. This
provides insights into the physical features and uses
of the area that are otherwise assessed, particularly
pointing to issues associated with accessibility.
The need to effectively review walking
conditions to encourage travel on foot
intrinsically requires a systematic method
for assessing pedestrian environments.
Alongside this recognition, the importance
of particular aspects of the public realm such
as public spaces and interchange spaces are
considered to be of key importance in the
optimization of walking environments.1
Important considerations include moving through
a space; interpreting the space; personal safety;
feeling comfortable; sense of place; opportunity
for activity; quality of the environment; and
maintenance.2

Action
The Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Designing
Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive
Approach (2010) describes the “Continuum of
Walkability” as falling into a range which includes:
Pedestrian Places; Pedestrian Supportive; Pedestrian
Tolerant; and Pedestrian Intolerant.3

For this project, the Township should conduct
walking and cycling audits throughout the
community. These audits shall consider the full
range of factors influencing walkability/bikeability,
including: directness; continuity; street crossings;
visual interest and amenities; and, security.

These kinds of assessments can be used to develop
a variety of work programs and projects, such as
those for sidewalk maintenance, trail connections,
bicycle parking needs, accessibility improvements,
and wayfinding signage.

As defined in Transport for London’s Improving
Walkability, the 5Cs are a principal criteria against
which the quality of provision for walking can be
assessed (see below). For further refinement, ways
of quantifying each criterion could be devised (for
example minimum sidewalk widths in relation to
pedestrian flows, or maximum lengths of “dead”
frontage to be allowed alongside walking routes).

The challenge is to conduct walkability and
bikeability audits for the entire town and then use
this information to inform the other projects of the
Plan and adding new projects to the Immediate
Action list. This will also be helpful with existing
programs like the Township’s sidewalk maintenance
program.

1
David Allen, Transport researcher, TRL Ltd, Auditing Public
Spaces and Interchange Spaces, presented at Walk21 the 6th
International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century, September
2005
2
The ISEMOA Quality Management System examines
transportation from door-to-door, describing each journey as
composed of several elements which it defines as the “mobility chain”.
If there is a barrier in one of the elements, then the whole mobility
chain does not work. Improving the mobility chain and accessibility in
a town can bring about a host of benefits and is a critical perspective
for active transportation planning and implementation.

The 5Cs of Good Walking Networks
1. Connected:

Walking routes should connect
various areas as well as those with key anchors
or attractors such as schools, retail or business
districts, and recreation destinations.
Routes
should form a coherent local and district network.

2. Convivial: Walking routes and public spaces should
be pleasant to use, safe to use, inviting, and with
diversity and continuous interest along the route.

3. Conspicuous: Routes should be clear and legible and

be easy for people to orient themselves along the
route and within the greater district or community.
3
Institute of Transportation Engineers, Designing Walkable
Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach, 2010, pg. 5

4. Comfortable:

Walking should be enjoyable and
safe with high quality surfaces, and attention
paid to accessibility and security needs

14

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

throughout their design as well. Opportunities
for rest and shelter should be provided
throughout the network where practical.

5. Convenient:

Routes should be direct, and
designed for the convenience of those on
foot (and assisted mobility devices), and not
those in vehicles. Road crossing opportunities
should be provided in relation to desire lines.
For this project a single methodology should be
used throughout the audit process. The Walking
Audit developed by the Walkable and Livable
Communities Institute is an excellent tool. It’s a wellestablished tool that has been used in hundreds of
communities. As of 2012, it was promoted by the
United States Environmental Protection Agency as
a community tool, and the process incorporates
community resources and volunteers to generate
solutions to specific problems.
This project
must include audits that integrate measures and
assessments relating to accessibility.
The audit process will help the community identify
and categorize its corridors, neighbourhoods,
places, and districts and identify opportunities for
improvements supporting walking and cycling.
In this way this project will not only help increase
awareness about the needs of walkers and cyclists,
it will be useful to develop priorities for future
active transportation initiatives. The “findings” will
be particularly useful for the Do-Tank, the annual
summit, and/or identified as future Immediate
Action projects.
The audits should be conducted with citizens
including youth, Township staff, and active

transportation experts, and accessibility experts. It
is also recommended that law enforcement officers
with training in CPTED (Crime Prevention Through
Environmental Design) be part of the audit teams.
These audits should be conducted during daytime
hours as well as after dark to identify concerns for
personal security.
So that the results of these can best be used the
following should be part of the project:
• documentation/cataloging of the results;
• monitoring
changes
improvements;

resulting

from

• GIS based mapping of the results;
• making the findings open to the publuc
through an online data base; and,
• reporting the status of these at the annual
summits (described earlier).

Streets should be designed
from the outside in.
Dan Burden, Blue Zones

55

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Immediate Action Projects
Implementation within 100 days
15
16
17

56

Citizen DO-Tank Task Force
Downtown “Walk Your Town” Signage Program
Immediate Action Short-list

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

These are quick action-oriented projects that can be
completed with approximately 100 days of dedicated
and focused effort.
They are low-cost, high-impact,
and affect all aspects of trails and active transportation
in the community.
They build on placemaking,
community asset development, community participation,
communication, and support for a culture of active living.

57

15
IMMEDIATE ACTION
WITHIN 100 DAYS

NOTE
• select task force members
based on skills and time
commitment
• volunteer selection and
management are critical
activities to the success of
the task force
• focus roles and work
program on actions and
results as opposed to
advice and guidance
• membership diversity is
critical

Citizen “DO-TANK” Task Force
Challenge

Action

One of the greatest challenges with efforts to
improve walking and cycling conditions and
opportunities will involve getting citizens and
stakeholders engaged and mobilized in initiating
and completing projects. It will be only through
the collective efforts and resources of the broader
community that the goals and projects of the Plan
can be completed. The Township needs to be
creative in meeting this challenge.

To implement this project, the Township will have
to develop a recruitment process and volunteer
selection parameters for bringing together a team
for each project’s task force membership.

Historically, the Township has extensively used
committees/volunteers to support its work on
active transportation and trail-oriented projects.
However, the mandates of these groups/projects
are often not dynamic enough to be effective
in the long-term or in response to changing
circumstances. The objective here is to create a
more flexible and empowered volunteer task force
to assist with implementing the Plan.
The goal is to develop a “DO-TANK” based on a
changing membership that will be focused on
completing a specific project or action in support of
the Plan, and then bringing in new participants to
complete the next.

The Do-Tank is not an advisory body, and members
will be expected to fully participate and contribute
concrete materials, actions, and products beyond
opinion or the review of others’ work. This group will
be focused on getting things done! The Do-Tank is
a resource for the Township, and must be focused
on implementation, not guidance, visioning, or
review.
The membership of the DO-TANK is important as it
must be broad and skilled.1 The citizens that are part
of this evolving group should include professionals
(Planners, Landscape Architects, Engineers),
business owners, moms and dads, youth, and
others. This is to ensure diversity in representing
the needs of the broader community and the time
and skills needed to complete the work.
This diversity of membership will also help identify
issues associated with social inclusivity, limited
mobility of children, and the locations where they
generally travel and the specific hindrances they
encounter.2 Do-Tank members must be selected
specifically for the expertise needed to complete a
1 Walk21, International Charter for Walking, 2010 “Consult,
on a regular basis, local organizations representing people on foot
and other relevant groups including young people, the elderly and
those with limited ability”.
2
Catherine O’Brien, PhD. Centre for Sustainable Transportation,
Child and Youth Friendly Planning, presentation, 2008

project for the task force to be effective.
Upon the initial formation of this task force, the staff
will work with the membership to develop a work
plan relating to the projects outlined in the Plan.

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

Land use planning is the most
important long term solution
to our transportation needs.
We need to change the way that
we plan, with greater emphasis
on enabling access by walking.
DETR Encouraging Walking, 2000

59

16
IMMEDIATE ACTION
WITHIN 100 DAYS

NOTE

Downtown “Walk Your Town” Signage Program
Challenge

Action

“A recent poll indicated that 82% of Canadians
would like to walk more and that 66% would like to
bike more”.1 To support a culture of walking where
this desire is so strong, it is important to provide
coherent and consistent information and signage
systems.2

The inspiration for this signage program comes
from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Walk Raleigh” project. This sign program included
information such as how many minutes it would
take to walk to various destinations like Raleigh
City Cemetery, as well as mobile QR codes for
downloading directions to smartphones.1

This project is intended to meet the challenge of
developing a signage program that is centered
around pedestrian`s experiences in the downtown.
areas This will be achieved through creating a
signage system that is based on the time it takes
a person to walk from one location to another, not
just based on the distances between locations. This
unique approach addresses how people interpret
their environment and travel through it when they
are on foot.

• excellent pilot project for
the DO-Tank, bikeway
wayfinding, and the urban
acupuncture projects

This project will highlight the walkable scale of
downtown areas.

• think in terms of multiple
iterations and making
improvements to the
system as time passes,
as opposed to seeking
perfection

1
Go for Green The Active Living & Environment Program,
Fitting Places: How the Built Environment Affects Active Living and
Active Transportation, pg. 2

Through the assistance of a “Do-Tank” team, as
described in the Plan, and in cooperation with
businesses, the Township should develop the
walking-time signage program modeled after the
Walk Raleigh project.
Ideally, the templates and signs available through
www.walkyourcity.org would be used for this project.
This is a low-cost, yet highly effective, wayfinding
signage system that is easily implemented and has
been done by a number of cities and towns. Once
the effectiveness of the program is evaluated, the
Township may seek to implement a more permanent
signage system.

2 Walk21, International Charter for Walking, 2010

• variations could be done
for school zones, cycling
routes, and recreation
areas
• include online resources

1

Media5 Interactive Corporation web site, www.media5.org

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

In general, the most successful
shopping sections are those
that provide the most comfort
and pleasure for pedestrians.
American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials

61

17
IMMEDIATE ACTION
WITHIN 100 DAYS

NOTE
• only projects achievable
within approximately 100
days should be included
(not long-term or visioning
projects)
• retrofitting that seeks to
correct something is more
difficult to execute than
projects that are additive
to an existing condition

Project Short-list
Action
There are numerous different projects that could
be undertaken by the community to make it more
walking an cycling supportive. Many of these
were discussed during the development of the
Plan. However, based on the guiding principles,
it was important to make sure that the Plan was
implementable. That meant that it had to be refined
in scope and scale.
The following is a list of additional Immediate
Action Projects that could also be undertaken. It
is recommended that these projects be undertaken
once the Township has developed a functioning DOTank task force, and they have in turn successfully
completed the Downtown “Walk Your Town”
Signage Program.
This should ensure that the processes, experiences,
and overall capacity is in place to execute additional
quick-action projects. It is expected that this list will
be adapted as progress is made with implementing
the Plan, and that one of the outcomes of the annual
summits will be additions to this list.

For the immediate action project the following eightstep process for leading change is recommended1.
1. Establish a sense of urgency and identify
major opportunities (based on walking and
bicycling audits)
2. Assemble the right group, with enough
power, energy, influence, and knowledge to
lead the change effort as a team (Do-tank)

SHORT LIST
ˆˆPublish a bicylce route maps (online
& print)
ˆˆCreate a community-wide bike
share network
ˆˆCreate a ``Bike rodeo`` training
program for children with the OPP

3. Develop a change vision to direct the
actions of the team (annual summit)

ˆˆDevelop mobile apps for trail and
bike route users

4. Communicate and teach the vision through
all methods available (use online tools)

ˆˆHave a Park(ing) Day event

5. Empower
action
and
encourage
nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions
6. Build on a process of incremental wins that
are easily visible improvements, and reward
those that make it happen
7. Be persistent and consistent in moving
forward, with new wins, promotion of
change leaders, and development of
people’s assets
8. Change the culture by illustrating the
link between the successes/community
improvements and the projects and people
behind them

1
Adapted from the Walkable and Livable Communities
Institute

ˆˆHold ``open streets`` events
ˆˆDevelop a parklet program for
downtown businesses
ˆˆDevelop a safe cycling video series
ˆˆDevelop a program to participate
in annual walk and cycle to work
events
ˆˆDevelop a more intense street
sweeping program for bicycle
routes
ˆˆExpand the walking school bus and
“cycle train” program
ˆˆPublish a winter cycling information
brochure

Township of Essa Trail Plan and Strategy to Support Active Transportation

To
do
good,
have
to
do

first
you
something.

Emily Pilloton

63

assE fo pihsnwoT

nalP liarT

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