The Province Ontario has announced a major new funding boost for bike lane infrastructure, more than doubling its investment in local cycling to build bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure in towns and cities across the province. This investment is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s cap on pollution and carbon market.
Bike lane in downtown Ottawa. Image via City of Toronto
Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, and Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, were in Toronto today where they were joined by Cristina Martins, MPP for Davenport and Ana Bailão, Deputy Mayor for Toronto and East York to announce the recipients of the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program — and an increase in the program’s funding.
Bike Share Toronto station. Image by Secondarywaltz via Wikimedia Commosn.
The City of Toronto will use this funding to help deliver their Ten Year Cycle Network Plan and to expand the Bike Share Toronto system with up to 300 new Bike Share locations, 3,000 bikes, and 6,000 docks. More cycling infrastructure and expansion of the bike share program will encourage people to cycle more often, improve safety and provide more travel options.
Active transportation is a critical part of the transportation system, and across Ontario, 120 municipalities from Essex County to Thunder Bay will receive funding from the province to build more bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure, or enhance existing infrastructure.
According to the province, “making cycling safer and more convenient is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change.”
A historic announcement for cycling this morning >> ALL 120 municipalities that applied for funding through the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program will be receiving it. We’re DOUBLING our commitment from $42M to nearly $93M 🚴🏼♂️🚴🏽♀️ pic.twitter.com/VIr2Bc2y5Z
The province’s plana also includes a progressively higher minimum wage and mandates improved working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through a significant expansion of medicare.
The province is investing $93 million this year, more than doubling the initial $42.5 million announced earlier this year. Toronto is receiving $25.6 million.
All Ontario municipalities will have additional opportunities to apply for and benefit from the 4-year program.
The Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program builds on Ontario’s Cycling Tourism Plan: Tour by Bike and the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program, helping 37 municipalities across the province build or improve cycling infrastructure. About 1.5 million people in Ontario hop on their bikes at least once a week during the spring, summer and fall, and many cycle year-round.
A 2016 survey found that over three quarters of Bike Share members felt that their riding behaviour has increased as a result of using Bike share.
The Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program is a commitment under Ontario’s five-year Climate Change Action Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050.
#CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy was announced in 2013 to promote safe cycling and encourage more people to ride their bikes to work, school and for recreation.