QUEEN’S PARK – Transportation options are often regarded as the ultimate real estate selling point, but in 2016, most GTA sales representative are likely to agree: roads alone may fail to impress.
In fact, as organizations like the Canada Green Building Council continue to put sustainability in the public spotlight, increasingly eco-friendly home buyers have begun to include greener transportation options – such as bike trails or rapid mass transit access – in their lists of neighbourhood must-haves.
That demand for green infrastructure was what drove York Region to invest heavily in rapid bus transit over the past few years, and now the region is set to focus on expanding its cycling networks — thanks to a $1.3 million funding injection announced by the Ministry of Transportation on April 1.
“Cycling is a critical part of our overall transportation network in York Region,” explained Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO of the Regional Municipality of York.
“It’s not only great exercise, but during much of the year cycling provides residents and visitors with a viable alternative to driving which helps reduce both traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Made possible via the $10M Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program, the new funding boost will see $325,000 allocated towards each of four major regional projects.
- Richmond Hill: Installation of a new 2.26-kilometre cycling and pedestrian path adjacent to busy Leslie Street.
- Markham: Significant upgrades, and addition of three new bridges, to two kilometres of cycling/walking paths in Milne Conservation Park — part of a “key active transportation route” that will provide a cycle-friendly connection between Markham and Unionville.
- Newmarket: Construction of a new 5.280-kilometre bikeway (including both bike lanes and paths) that will run east-west through several neighbourhoods.
- Region-wide: Construction and improvements to complete a 3.7-kilometre section of the Lake to Lake Cycling and Walking Path, connecting Highway 7 cycling infrastructure in Markham to the East Don River trail in Toronto.
York Region’s cycling investments also come hot on the heels of a recently-completed $128.9 million Queen’s Quay East revitalization that incorporated safe, user-friendly thoroughfares for cyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders.