TBM works through master plan as growth puts pressure on transportation systems

With significant growth pressure expected to continue, the Town of The Blue Mountains is planning its future transportation needs.

The Blue Mountains held a pair of Public Information Centres (PIC) last week to gather public input for the development of the town’s Transportation Master Plan. Members of the community had the opportunity to comment on ideas for the master plan at a pair of open houses held at town hall on Thursday evening (May 5) and Saturday morning (May 7). In addition, community input was gathered through a virtual PIC held from April 18 to May 7.

“A lot of the feedback has been positive and constructive,” said the project coordinator, Adam Fraser, at the PIC on May 7. “It’s helping us recognize the community’s needs going forward.”

With growth pressures showing no signs of slowing down, the transportation master plan will be a significant resource for the town as it adapts to future needs. During the study, a vision will be established, actions and policies will be defined, and a financial strategy will be developed to address the short, medium, and long-term transportation needs of the community.

Fraser said the town has received a lot of feedback and comments from the public through the virtual PIC.

“A lot of folks are excited about some of the proposals we have for active transportation, public transit and speed limits,” he said.

Study goals include:

1. Improve connectivity and travel choices by providing reliable, equitable and accessible options.

2. Improve the safety of transportation systems for all users.

3. Plan the transportation network to support seasonal tourism fluxes and efficient development within the municipality.

4. Encourage active transportation and transit modes.

5. Plan transportation infrastructure that assists in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Align with the transportation goals of Simcoe and Grey Counties and improve regional transportation and transit connectivity.

7. Support the movement of goods and services throughout the region.

“There is a lot of concern and interest in the long-term role Highway 26 plays in our community,” said Fraser, adding the town continues to work with the MTO about the long-term vision for the highway. “Having this document will help position the town to continue to advocate for those conversations (with MTO).”

One of the goals of the master plan is to ensure future transportation plans fit in with the local agricultural community.

“How do our plans for the urban and rural areas interact with agricultural operations?” said Fraser. “We want to make sure our plans are harmonious and we’re proposing things that don’t cause headaches for farmers.”

The final master plan will identify strategic short, medium and long-term actions, strategies on policies for the town to achieve the master plan objectives. It is a roadmap for a future sustainable transportation system.

The master plan is currently in Stage 2: Identify and Evaluating Alternative Solutions. With the PICs now complete, a detailed report about Stage 2 will go to council at a future committee of the whole meeting.

Following that presentation, a draft transportation master plan, which will include preferred alternatives, a timeframe and high-level costs, will be presented to the community.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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