A letter from the Share the Road – Essex County team…

I wanted to share this with all of you… some good news from Sue and Tom Omstead (sent out on Dec. 20th).

The Essex-Amherstburg Greenway won’t receive any money from the Aviva Community Fund, but the publicity was excellent. Now, more people are aware of existing trails, and the number of votes can be used as evidence that cycling and active living are valid concerns for Essex County residents.

Hello Cyclists and Supporters,

It’s about time we gave you a report on progress being made in the County to make our local roads safer for cycling.

County of Essex

As you know, the County completed the County Wide Active Transportation Plan this year. This Plan is a comprehensive document planning for safer cycling and walking facilities to be constructed all across Essex County and its member municipalities over the next 20 years. The County and its municipalities share costs for such facilities and the County has committed to allocating $1,000,000/year toward its cost of Plan projects.

Town of Essex

On CHYR radio this morning, Town of Essex Councillor John Scott announced that the Town has approved $100,000 to pave shoulders along a section of CR50 in Colchester in 2012. The Town of Essex has recognized the importance of active transportation facilities in creating a healthy, vibrant community and they are actively incorporating such facilities in their Town Plans. Here’s a link to part of his commments.

Town of Kingsville

The Kingsville Community Active Transportation Committee has recommended to Council that they include $200,000 in the 2012 budget to make cycling improvements on County Road 20 between Kingsville and Leamington. Kingsville has already made good progress in making the Town’s roads more cycling friendly and Council has agreed to include the recommended amount in budget deliberations. Here’s a link to a news report.

Town of Leamington

Tom and I made a presentation to Leamington Council to request that they provide the required funding in their 2012 budget to make cycling improvements on County Road 20 between Leamington and Kingsville. While most, if not all, of the Councillors recognize the safety concerns on County Road 20, they are gathering more information from the County before including the recommendation in budget deliberations.

Those of you who have been with us since the beginning (2005!) will know that we started Share the Road – Essex County by focusing on CR20, possibly the County Road most travelled by cyclists and yet one of the most unsafe roads since it has no safe space for cyclists to use. The cyclists using this road are not just out for pleasure rides; they are migrant greenhouse workers who use their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. We think the risks associated with cyclists on CR20 should have been resolved years ago and we hope that Kingsville and Leamington both approve the funding to do so in 2012.

If you are aware of progress in your municipality not identified here, please feel free to let us know so we can share it with our supporters. We always appreciate your comments and feedback.

We are pleased to have such active supporters and you should know that when you write a letter or send an email to your Council representatives, it does make a difference. They have many budget priorities to balance and they need to hear from you that safe cycling facilities are important to you and to your community.

Happy holidays, everyone! and ride safely,

Tom and Sue Omstead
Share the Road – Essex County

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