Corp Comm Connects

Provincial funds roll in for Newmarket east-west bikeway plan
March 17, 2016
Chris Simon

There’s a new east-west bikeway coming to Newmarket.

The province is providing $325,000 in funding toward the construction of a new 5.28-kilometre bike lane between Eagle Street West and Leslie Street.

The money, announced by Newmarket-Aurora MPP Chris Ballard at the Newmarket Operations Centre Tuesday morning, is part of the province’s two-year, $10-million Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure program.

“Investing in our local cycling infrastructure will help keep our cyclists safe and encourage more people to ride a bike,” Ballard said.

“I know we talk a lot about GO train service, 400-series highways and that sort of thing, but cycling infrastructure is a significant part of (transportation). We realize how important it is to get people out of their cars and on to bicycles. It’s helping us move to that low-carbon economy.”

The bikeway’s design should be complete later this year and construction is expected to wrap up by mid-2017.

Once finished, it will run mostly along Millard Avenue and Srigley Street, though the exact path through the downtown core has yet to be determined. The entire project is expected to cost $650,000, with the town’s portion paid for through development charges.

“For me, this commitment is not just about the dollar figure,” Mayor Tony Van Bynen said. “It means the provincial government believes in Newmarket. They believe we have something wonderful to offer our community and have the ability to truly enrich the lives of families, friends and neighbours through… progressive infrastructure. This investment (is) providing pedestrians and cyclists with a safe, convenient, healthy and sustainable alternative mode of transportation.” 

This is the maximum amount of funding that can be awarded to a project through the program, Ballard said.

The bikeway will be separated from motorized traffic wherever possible. It will include bike racks and way-finding signs along the route, as well as a sheltered cycle parking area in the downtown.

Projects eligible for funding can include the installation or improvement of on-road lanes, off-road paths, active transportation bridges, bike racks and cycling specific traffic signals and signs. Selected projects align with the province’s objectives of improving connections between cycling networks, promoting safety and tourism and improving awareness of biking as a viable transportation mode, Ballard said.

“Several different kinds of cycling infrastructure will be installed,” he said. “(Newmarket) obviously impressed people at the program with what you have done and what you’re going to do.”