Markham’s resident and working population will continue to increase significantly over the next 20 years, and in turn, an increase in travel demand is expected. This travel demand is not sustainable, nor physically possible, to accommodate the increasing travel demand focusing on personal vehicles as the only mode of transportation. This focus will only increase congestion and travel times experienced in our communities. Other transportation options - such as walking, cycling and transit - are vital in moving people more efficiently between places and in sustaining the health and economy of our community.
A sidewalk network is a unifying infrastructure where every trip begins and ends with walking, whether it is by automobile, transit, or bicycle. In order to meet our goal of creating a complete multi-modal transportation system and encourage walking and transit use, we must improve the entire sidewalk network and connect our communities by closing gaps in the sidewalk network.
The Sidewalk Network Completion Program will do just that. The Sidewalk Network Completion Program prioritizes sidewalk gaps on roads classified as “arterial” or “collector.” These priority roads typically provide direct links to community amenities and services such as schools, parks, community centres, public transit, employment areas, etc. The Sidewalk Network Completion Program provides a plan for the construction of sidewalks in these areas, and will communicate to those residents and homeowners that are directly impacted by a sidewalk project. The plan is currently scheduled to run for 10 years, subject to funding.
At the end of 2019, there were about 108 kilometres of sidewalk gaps on arterial and collector roads of which 65 kilometres is identified to be programmed for construction by the City of Markham. The remainder are either:
- incorporated into larger capital projects (21.1 kilometres),
- deferred due to constructability issues (7.7 kilometres), or
- deferred as the gaps are on the boundary roads that are outside of developed or developing areas (13.9 kilometres).
Although the Sidewalk Completion Program is based on 65 kilometres of sidewalk gaps identified along arterial and collector roads, an additional 21 kilometres will be constructed through development construction or larger capital programs. The 85kilometres of sidewalk gaps is shown on this map.
The Arterial and Collector Road Sidewalk 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: “126.96.36.199 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.