Municipality: City of Burlington Implementation: 2009-06-01
Policy Name: Cycling Master Plan (CMP) Contact: Dan Ozimkovic
Department: Transportation Services Title: Transportation Tehnologist
Community profile:

·         The city of Burlington is located in Halton Region, South West of the City of Toronto, covering an area of 185.66 square kilometers.

·         In 2011, the population of Burlington was 175,779; population is expected to increase to 186,169 by 2031. (

·      It is bisected by the major highway Queens Elizabeth Way/403 running East-West. And highway 407 running North-South

·         Public transportation is provided by Burlington Transit. GO Transit and Via Rail offer regional transit in the GTA.

·         Burlington’s park system encompasses over 1000 hectares of developed parkland and 3500 acres of land slated for park development, and 42km of pathways  (FYI … Burlington has 1,472 acres of city-owned parkland, and the city each year takes care of 60,000 trees, plants 600 new trees and maintains 796 acres of grass.)

·         7 major sectors contribute to its growing economy: food processing, packaging, electronics, motor vehicle, business sector, chemical/pharmaceutical and environmental.


Short Description:

Cycling Master Plan

Intended to guide the City in creating a network of on-road bikeways and multi-use pathways throughout Burlington, along with supportive policies, practices and programs to encourage more people to cycle.


Pedestrian Charter

Guiding principles for creating an environment that encourages walking in all parts of the community.


Transportation Master Plan

To address current and future transportation needs by accommodating safe movement, and the development of a balanced transportation system to accommodate transit, cyclists, pedestrians and the automobile in an accessible manner; helping guide transportation and land use decisions; and developing a transportation network that provides logical connections.


Cycling Master Plan

  • In June 2009, the City of Burlington’s City Council approved the Cycling Master Plan (CMP).
  • The three primary goals of the Cycling Master Plan are:
    1. Identify and address areas in the city that are barriers to cycling or uncomfortablefor cyclists;  
    2. Develop policies and other initiatives to create a bicycle friendly Burlington;
    3. Develop a long term cycling network and implementation plan
  • Provisions for a dramatic increase in the number of bike lanes, paved shoulders and multi-use paths in the city, as well as the implementation of 50km of bicycle priority streets.
  • Increased signage and year-long maintenance of paths and trails is identified as a priority.
  • Provisions for new end-of-trip facilities at municipal facilities.
  • Recommendations for bicycle and pedestrian crossings over the QEW to improve connectivity and safety of the cycling and pedestrian network.
  • City of Burlington won Halton Region’s Smart Commute employer of the year 2009 for encouraging corporate active transportation.
  • Active and Safe Routes to School project in partnership with Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board.
  • Clean Air Commute – week long corporate staff event held in June to encourage active or more sustainable modes of commuting.
  • Bike to Work day in May – encourages corporate staff to ride to work. May 31, 2010 event for Burlington citizens in conjunction with Halton Region and Metrolinx at Burlington GO station.
  • All Burlington Transit buses equipped with bicycle rack.


Pedestrian Charter -

  • The City of Burlington recognizes the value and benefits of working incollaboration with agencies, governments, businesses, groups and individuals to support apedestrian friendly community.
  • The City of Burlington encourages walking in all parts of our community. This charterexplains our vision for a city that values and actively supports walking

The charter focuses on:

  • Accessibility:Walking helps to create a richer social life and makes it possible for all of us to take part in the life of our community. The City values easy access to our streets, squares, buildings, and public transit and assists in removing physical and social barriers so that opportunities to walk to these places is available to all.
  • Well-designed and managed spaces and places for people: We enjoy living in a healthy, convenient, attractive environment that is tailored to our needs. This way, we can enjoy our public areas in comfort and safety, away from noise and pollution.
  • Better walking routes and networks: A well-connected network of walking routes that are direct and easy to follow encourages walking. The City works to provide safe, comfortable, attractive and well-maintained routes that link all the places we need to go, such as homes, shops, schools, parks and public transit.
  • Land use and planning that supports walking: Our planning decisions place importance on active transportation and include smart growth principles. Our future community designs will include mixed spaces, increased density and more public green spaces that will reduce our dependency on cars and make walking the preferred choice.
  • Community Safety: The City values safe routes and infrastructure that prevent accidents. This includes well designed streets that manage traffic, reduced vehicle speeds in residential areas and around schools and lessen the impact on busy roads to create pleasant, safe and convenient walking routes within the city.
  • A Culture of Walking: Our leaders will do what is needed to promote a culture of walking in our city and actively encourage all members of the community to walk whenever and wherever they can as part of their daily lives.

Transportation plan

  • Currently working on it, expected to be complete next year
  • Looking to update cycling master plan as well, incorporate cycling master plan in new transportation plan


Step by Step Process:

Cycling Master plan: in 2007 working with city in November 2008, cycling committee was involved in and public meetings, were looking for a lot of input. IBI was the consultant company.


Primary Drivers:

There was a City Bikeway Committee working since the 1980s. Burlington Parks and Recs were funded by the Province to install trails in parks and along the Lake Ontario. Funding was also secured from the Waterfront Regeneration Trust to upgrade the lakefront trail. These funding bursts allowed for the installation and upgrade of paths and set the stage for future development. Following from this, the Bikeways Committee got into more serious infrastructure planning, Councillor Denison was elected at this time and helped move the agenda (he is still elected today).  Active transportation has been recognized as important in Burlington since the late 1980s, not just recreational bike use, but utilitarian use also.

What started as general goals were incorporated in the formal Transportation Plans in the 1990s and also into the Development Charges Studies which attributed costs to new developments in the City. Most recent update in 2009 confirmed goals and also outlined the plan to expand the network and signage over the next 30 years.


Councillor Denison has been an advocate and champion since the early days. Mayor Mulkewich also moved this agenda along at the City during his tenure (1992 to 1997). Mayor MacIssac (1997-2006) was also key following from Mayor Mulkewich. Eleanor McMahon was a key player also in moving this agenda in Burlington. Burlington is twinned with Apledoorn in the Netherlands, and have traded staff visits to discuss active transportation opportunities.


Challenges: Burlington has a large number of highways transecting the City. Compatibility between cycling infrastructure and these highways is complicated.

Total cost of road widening is high. Grade separation over highways is expensive. Some of these projects have been deferred pending senior government funding, but no such programmes exist right now.



Funding: The CMP included an ambitious number of projects to be implemented within a 10-year timeframe. While most of the cycling projects identified are included in road reconstruction and re-surfacing projects, there are a number that are not and require separate funding. The following link lists projects that are in the CMP but are not included in the City’s 2011-2020 Roads Capital Budget and Forecast.



The CMP proposed that cycling facilities be implemented in short, medium and long-term phases based on road projects included in Burlington’s Capital Budget andForecast and in the 2009 Development Charges Study.

Performance measurement process: bicycle data collection system is planned as the preferred method of measuring the performance of the CMP. This will be done collaboratively with the Burlington Cycling Committee in 2011.

Other cycling initiatives that have been implemented in 2010 that were either scheduled in later years or not identified specifically in the cycling master plan are as follows:

  • Installation of new cyclist and pedestrian facilities at Fairview/QEW interchange
  • Improved pedestrian/cycling crossing at Centennial and Hydro Corridor multi-use path which were paved in 2010. Improvements include a refuge island on Guelph Line and intersection pedestrian signal at Walkers Line and the Hydro Corridor multi-use path.
  • Installation of proper signage and pavement markings for all bike lanes in Burlington
  • Installation of secure bike racks at Tansley Woods and Brant Hills Community Centre
  • Installation of Public Art bike racks in Downtown (installation started in December 2010)
  • Transit, Trails and Tourism map showing all of the cycling facilities in Burlington.

Cycling Improvements for 2011:

  • Enhance signage and pavement markings for our bike priority streets and installation of way finding signage on Burlington’s multi-use paths
  • New bridges on Hydro Corridor and Centennial Multi-use paths
  • Widening of the narrow bike lanes throughout Burlington to bring them to a standard of 1.3m-1.5m
  • Install bike lanes at locations identified in our cycling master plan where it’s possible to do so by narrowing the vehicle lanes
  • Environmental Assessment for Walkers Line, Appleby Line and Burloak Drive from Lakeshore to New Street to provide on-road bike lanes within the existing road platform
  • New paved shoulder on Walkers Line from 407 to No.1 Side Road
  • Improvements to paved shoulder on North Service Road from Waterdown Road to King Road
  • Minor Cycling Network improvements (signage, curb cuts, pavement markings)
  • Cycling facilities on all arterial roads requiring complete reconstruction, will be considered for implementation.

Cycling Improvements in 2012

·         On August 22, 2012, the City of Burlington was awarded a Bicycle Friendly Community bronze award.

·         A video promoting active transportation in Burlington released Earth Day 2012.

  • On-road bike lanes added in 2012 on Appleby and Walkers south of New Street
  • Buffered on-road bike lane.
  • A pilot along a 2.4 km stretch of roadway on Palladium Way between Appleby Line and Walkers Line in the Alton community. Staff will assess whether this buffer will further encourage cycling as compared to standard bike lane widths that are on other sections of the road throughout the city.
  • Bike to Work Day Breakfast (1st annual with Smart Commute Halton).
  • Two Car Free Sunday events

Cycling Improvements in 2013

§  Enhanced sharrows (158) and Share the Road signage (20) were added on Lakeshore Road between Guelph Line and Burloak in May 2013 and from Old Lakeshore Road to Guelph Line in the fall of 2013 (after road resurfacing project is completed).

§  As of May 2013, the City of Burlington has 36.9 km of roads with sharrows.

§  Bike to Work Day Breakfast (2nd annual with Halton Smart Commute)

§  Two Car Free Sunday events


Lessons Learned:

Public Consultation

Input from the Burlington Cycling Committee (BCC) was taken into consideration and has proven to very valuable during the development and implementation of the CMP particularly in prioritizing the numerous items in the plan with limited funding. Burlington staff and the BCC meet on a monthly basis to discuss various issues concerning cycling in the city. This close working relationship will continue with a staff member from the Transportation Services Department dedicating a considerable amount of time to seeing the implementation of the CMP through to completion.


Stakeholder input, citizen input, having the ad hoc committee formalized in the 1990s, all very important.


A clear plan and a clear framework provided a strong basis to work from.


Interdepartmental cooperation is essential.

Applicability Across Ontario:

Cycling master plan applicability - Burlington is comfortable with going with narrower vehicle lanes to allow for bike lanes to be installed on roads, using 3.1 meter wide lanes means proper on road bike lanes anywhere from 1.3 to 1.5 meters can be provided. How Burlington retrofits lanes is also applicable elsewhere (Guelph Line, Walkers Line and Appleby Line south of New Street). All 4 lanes (2 lanes in both directions) were retrofitted to be one lane both directions, a center turn lane, and proper buffered line lanes, 1.5 meters wide, with a painted buffer between road ranging from .7-1meter.

Policy in Burlington is every time a road is reconstructed, on road bike lanes are provided where possible. If widening a road for a vehicle lane, a bike lane is automatically introduced.


Similar Tools Used by Other Municipalities:


Aware of other municipality’s EA processes an trying to remove vehicle lanes to provide bike lanes


Research done:

In Cycling Master Plan development, and expert from Apeldoorn in Holland (twin city) was used to tell us what they are doing to look at the applicability Dutch examples

Further Information:

Cycling Master Plan

Burlington Cycling Master Plan

Burlington Cycling Master Plan Progress Update:


Pedestrian Charter

Quarterly updates are provided to City Council as necessary.


Transportation Master Plan –


Plains Road Corridor Functional Design and Implementation Strategy -


Vision for Downtown Burlington


Official Plan Review

Community Trails Master Plan (report





Additional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Scan Update Questions: No need to answer all of these. Whatever information you may have regarding the below questions would be extremely useful to other jurisdictions. 
1. Were there any community groups that were engaged in the development and/implementation of the Plan? If so, what were some of the outcomes of their engagement? And what were some of the lessons learned from the community engagement?

Burlington cycling committee was involved with the cycling master plan

2. Has there been any discussion regarding how a Complete Streets Policy may fit in with the goals of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan? If so, what steps have been taken in developing a Complete Streets policy?

This is something the Planning Dept is reviewing and also our transportation master plan. In Burlington we also have Plains Road village vision. All the information is online.

3. Have you developed any road or trail standards that aim to improve pedestrian and bicycling opportunities and infrastructure?

Every time widening road, provide bike lanes with proper signage, on multi use paths install way finding signage, hydro corridors and most road crossing way finding maps, stating blank is x distance

4. What is the process your municipality has put in place to report on the progress of the Plan?

We write a report every year or every second year, stating what was done and what the challenges were. We work with the communication section to make sure that every cycling program is promoted as much as possible

5. Has your jurisdiction undertaken any pedestrian and cycling counts, if so how did you undertake them? What outcomes resulted from the counts?

Cycling counts on road, installed tubes counters that pick up cyclists and cars, and break it down x amount of cyclist on roads, leave them on roads for 7 days, for multi use paths attempted to install tubes but vandalism was an issue. In the process of acquiring counters that are portable and work for multi use paths, but don’t differentiate between cyclists and pedestrians. Counts are used for public meetings, to illustrate numbers of cyclists, use counts for these reports and to keep an eye on the modal split of the city.

6. What other transportation plans has your jurisdiction developed? Can you tell us a bit about how your jurisdiction has addressed the inter-connectivity between your various transportation plans?

We fall under Halton region, work with other municipalities, working with Halton region master transportation plan, make sure were all on the space page, working to increase cycling. We also work with Hamilton when it comes to cycling, example of that would be the lift bridge multi-use path on the lake side.

7. What staff resources do you have allocated to the implementation of your bicycle and pedestrian plan? How many staff? Overall budget? % of total transportation budget allocated to active transportation?

2.5 full time, 1 full time at the city and 1.5 at the region. $55,000 for minor cycling improvements, signage, pavement markings, EA. Majority of our bike lanes come from reconstruction projects, which have a separate budget (engineering).

8. Has your jurisdiction considered aging populations in the bicycle and pedestrian plan and if so what resulted from that consideration?

Yes, through the Cycling Committee we promote cycling for aging populations at events (7 events in summer 2013) and in libraries in the fall. These seminars are aimed at improving cycling for all age groups.

9. Has your jurisdiction considered low-powered vehicles (ex. E-bikes)? If so how are they being integrated?
Our traffic section is working on by laws for E-Bikes

10. Has your jurisdiction encountered any safety issues such as vandalism? If so how have your addressed them?

Counters on multi use trails have been vandalized, but not really. At 3 communities centres secure bike parking was installed. Covered bike racks with surveillance and bike lockers are in place at city hall.

11. Is your municipality a Smart Commute employer? If so if and how does that inter-act with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plans?

Yes. We are a member of Smart Commute Halton. We participate in Bike to Work Day and Smart Commute events. We’ve also received funding for initiatives such as bicycle racks, lockers in City Hall change rooms (to encourage active transportation), etc. 

12. Does your municipality have any pedestrian and bicycling certifications? Bike Friendly Community?

Bike Friendly Community – Bronze.

13. How does your municipality use bikes?

On May 27, the City of Burlington became the first municipality in Halton Region to launch a bike share program for city staff. The initiative, in partnership with Smart Commute Halton, will encourage the use of sustainable transportation, decrease staff dependence on single-occupancy vehicles, increase physical activity in short distance commuting and foster a culture of cycling in the city. Staff can sign out one of two bicycles which are stored at City Hall.  A lunch and learn information session was held on May 16th in advance of the launch. The session was presented by Cycle Toronto and attended by 16 people.

About two years ago, our roads and parks maintenance dept acquired a bicycle. Police use bikes occasionally, bike to work day to encourage employees to ride their bike, on last bike to work day we organized a bike ride for employees and aiming to organize monthly bike rides for city hall employees.

14. Has your jurisdictional considered the increasing levels of health concerns (ex. Increasing obesity levels among children)? If so what resulted from the consideration? How has this factored into the plan

Yes. We work with Halton Region who are responsible for health.

15. Is your jurisdiction providing programs regarding the environment and transportation (ex.  bike to work/school programs, carpool etc)

Yes, for city staff through Smart Commute Halton.