Population and employment in Markham is expected to continue to increase significantly over the next 20 years. It is not sustainable nor physically possible to accommodate travel demand solely on automotive vehicles, without major disruptions to existing communities, as the predominant mode of transportation. Other transportation options such as walking, cycling and transit are becoming increasingly critical as means to move people more efficiently between places and sustain the health and economy of our community. The sidewalk network is a unifying infrastructure that facilitates a multi-modal transportation system as every trip using either an automobile, transit or bicycle involves a walking component. Improving the overall pedestrian network and environment in neighbourhoods with limited pedestrian facilities will be essential to meeting the objectives of a multi-modal transportation system and encourage walking and transit use.
The Sidewalk Network Completion Program currently prioritizes sidewalk gaps on roads classified as “arterial” or “collector” as most community amenities and services such as schools, parks, community centres, public transit, employment areas, etc. tend to be located along these corridors.
At the end of 2018, there were about 112km of sidewalk gaps on arterial and collector roads of which 65km is identified to be programmed for construction by the city. The remainder are either already programmed for construction (4.3km), to be incorporated into larger capital projects (21.1km), deferred due to constructibility issues (7.7km), and deferred as the gaps are on the boundary roads that are outside of developed or developing areas (13.9km).
<See Link to Maps>.
The overall goal is to complete the current sidewalk gap program in 10 years, subject to funding plan.
The Sidewalk Network Completion Program supports:
- Markham’s 2014 Official Plan objective “to develop a transportation system that increases mobility options for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders…” and the policy of Council: “184.108.40.206 To support walking and cycling throughout Markham as competitive mobility choices for everyday activities such as work, school, shopping, business and leisure by:
- Creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment that is interconnected by a network of safe, direct, comfortable and convenient pedestrian routes that are suitable for year-round walking
Designing, constructing and integrating new streets and retrofitting existing streets, where appropriate, to focus on the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and persons with disabilities and ensuring safety, accessibility, convenience, and comfort of all street users are considered.”
Markham’s Sustainability Plan (2011) direction to equitably design streets so that walking and cycling are safe, efficient, and viable year round.
- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), by removing barriers to ensure communities and facilities are accessible to all Ontarians.