A long-time proponent of safe cycling and green infrastructure, Oakville North-Burlington Member of Parliament Pam Damoff has been actively calling for increased federal investments to make safe cycling a reality.
MP Damoff is pleased that Oakville’s Crosstown Heritage Trail is receiving a significant upgrade thanks to funding from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. The important investment in the trail and its pedestrian and cycling facilities is part of the federal government’s activities to honour Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. FedDev Ontario will contribute up to one third or $235,000 of the total project cost of $735,000. The remaining $500,000 share of the project was included in the town’s capital budget as part of the Active Transportation Master Plan.
Part of Oakville’s 57 kilometres of heritage trails, the Crosstown Trail runs along the natural gas pipeline between Upper Middle Road and Dundas Street, from Bronte Creek Provincial Park to Ninth Line. Enhancements to a three-kilometre portion of the trail, from Neyagawa Boulevard to Eighth Line, will include widening sections of the trail and replacing limestone screening with asphalt to provide ease of access for cyclists and persons with disabilities. Other improvements include placing benches in rest areas; installing trail counting data recorders, trail signage, and pedestrian crossings; and creating improved landscaping and drainage. This trail could provide important connections to the Oakville GO station via Sixth Line and under the QEW.
On November 1, MP Damoff tabled a petition calling for minimum safety standards for the Trans Canada Trail in the House of Commons. Petition e-957 calls upon the House of Commons to adopt a Trans Canada Trail Act that will establish minimum standards for quality and safety, and, in particular, will ensure that the trail, the “longest trail system in the world,” is a genuinely non-motorized and world-class greenway. The Crosstown Trail is exactly the type of safe, non-motorized greenway envisioned by the petition.
In Oakville, a memorial ghost bike marks the location of the death of a cyclist August 2016 at the intersection of Third Line and Lakeshore Road on the Trail as a stark reminder of the need to do more to provide safe cycling infrastructure.
MP Damoff is a long-time supporter of safe cycling infrastructure, awareness and education. An avid cyclist, she co-founded Cycle Oakville to promote cycling and improved cycling infrastructure and received the 2013 Bicycling Leadership Award for her tireless promotion of cycling in Ontario.
“I made a commitment to the residents of Oakville North-Burlington that I would make infrastructure and cycling investments a priority as Member of Parliament,” said MP Damoff. “Public infrastructure connects people, supports job creation, and boosts economic development. ”
Fraser Damoff, Executive Director of Cycle Oakville, says the cycling community is happy to see the government placing an emphasis on cycling safety, something they have long been pushing for. “The Crosstown Trail is exactly the kind of investment a municipality needs to make in safe cycling infrastructure,” said Mr. Damoff. “It is great to see the federal government supporting this initiative and taking improved cycling infrastructure seriously.”
According to MP Damoff, “cycling safety is something that can’t happen unless all stakeholders work together – the departments of transportation and infrastructure, municipal, provincial and federal governments, cyclists, drivers and even pedestrians. It takes a concerted group effort to ensure we are all safe on our roads. I am proud of our government’s investment of almost $1 million towards these projects that will get people moving safely and connect them to public transit.”
MP Damoff applauded the Town of Oakville for prioritizing investments like the Crosstown Trail as the type of investment that supports safe cycling infrastructure.