Municipality: City of Mississauga Implementation: 2010-12-01
Policy Name: Cycling Master Plan; Downtown 21 Master Plan Contact: Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati
Department: Transportation and Infrastructure Planning, Cyclin Title: Manager, Cycling Office
Community profile:

  • Mississauga is located in the Regional Municipality of Peel, west of the City of Toronto covering a land area of 288.5 square kilometers.
  • In 2011, the population of Mississauga was 713,443; population is expected to increase to 812,000 by 2031.
  • The City has four major highways that intersect it, the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 401, 403 and 410.
  • City’s public transit service is MiWay, which connects with Toronto Subway and RT, GO Transit, Oakville transit and Brampton Transit. GO Transit offers regional transit in the GTA.
  • Mississauga has over 522 parks.
  • As of the end of 2012, the City has approximately 440km bikeways of various types which includes 47 km of bike lanes, 6 km of sharrow lanes, 68 km of signed bike routes, 76 km of boulevard multi use trails, 87 km of off road multi use trails and 160 km of park pathways.

Short Description:

Cycling Master Plan

Strategy to develop over 900km of cycling routes over a 20 year time period, and foster cycling growth by creating a safe environment for cycling.


Downtown 21 Master Plan

Creating a vibrant downtown core with a vision of making a walkable environment that offers various amenities.



Cycling Master Plan

  • Approved in 2010, Mississauga's Cycling Master Plan outlines a strategy to develop over 900 kilometres of on and off-road cycling routes in the city over the next 20 years.
  • 3 main goals: Foster a culture where cycling is an everyday activity; Build an integrated On-Road and Off-Road Cycling Network as part of a multi-modal transportation system; Adopt a “safety first” approach for cycling in Mississauga.
  • From 2011 to 2012 over 45 km of cycling facilities were built.
  • Goal of adding an average of 30 km to the cycling network per year over the next 20 years.
  • Once fully implemented,  the plan will provide a multi-modal approach to transportation in the city, placing 95% of the city’s population within 1km of a primary cycling route.
  • Priority routes include: completion of primary routes, connecting nodes, links to rapid transit, natural and cultural destinations.
  • Following approval, Cycling Master Plan was embedded into Mississauga Official Plan.

Mississauga Official Plan

  • Section 7.3.3 addresses cycling and pedestrian design.
  • Underlying philosophy is to direct growth around multi-modal nodes to reduce car dependence.
  • Encourage a multi-modal transportation system that moves away from thinking of bicycling and walking as just recreation.
  • A new urban system comprised of three distinct, yet, inter-connected components including the Green System, City Structure and Corridors.
  • A city structure based on a growth management strategy that identifies functional areas for density, height and appropriate growth: Downtown, Major Nodes, Community Nodes, Corporate Centres, Neighbourhoods, Employment Areas; and, Special Purpose Areas.
  • Intensification areas where growth will be directed, multi modal a key feature of intensification areas.  

Downtown 21 Master Plan

  • Creating an environment that encourages walking by having street shops, outdoor cafes, public squares, parks, outdoor markets, an entertainment district and venues holding arts and culture.
  • Expanding cycling network will improve the accessibility to downtown and traveling around the city, creating sustainable connections for users


 Cycling Master Plan

  • This entailed a full planning process, which included a hired consultant company, and several public meetings which initiated the process. Followed by the development of a draft by the consultant and staff that was presented to council, and then a report that was presented and approved by Council.

Primary Drivers:

Key driver was an update to the 2001 Trails Master Plan - there was willingness for the plan to reflect an increased emphasis for cycling as a mode of transportation, as the 2001 Trails Master Plan had a recreational focus.


Secondary Drivers:

  • At the same time the cycling master plan was being produced, city was completing a new Strategic Plan for the city and it recognized the need for more cycling facilities, primarily in the areas of three pillars - connecting communities, living green and developing a multi modal transportation–oriented city and “living green” (i.e. multi modal transportation can help the City achieve environmental objectives.)
  • The Cycling Master Plan can also be aligned with the two other pillars of the Strategic Plan, but it has not been explicitly stated as such in those sections of the plan.  The other two pillars are: prosperity and building economic competitiveness of the city and helping new immigrants, youth and older adults thrive.


  • Project was co-led by Community Services and Transportation and Works Departments. Multi disciplinary and multi-departmental team.
  • Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee


  • Planning a network that will serve various types of cyclists with different preferences (i.e. those who will use bike lanes and those who will use trails)
  • Determining appropriate timeframe for implementation.  20 year timeframe proposed, but Cycling Advisory Committee wanted accelerated implementation
  • Determining priorities for implementation (short term, medium term etc.) with regard to routes and programming efforts


  • Council overall was supportive of this plan and it tied well with the strategic plan
  • Timing is good


Mississauga’s communities are separated from each other by several 400 series highways.  Improving cycling connections across these highways and interchanges are critical to making the network functional.  Historically it has been challenging to liaise with the province on improving cycling at these locations, as significant design, funding and policy challenges exist. 


Cycling Master Plan was aligned with policies in Places To Grow, Metrolinx’s Big Move and Smart Commute initiatives.


  • In 2011, a Cycling Office was established within Transportation and Works to oversee the implementation of the Cycling Master Plan.
  • The City fostered the growth of community cycling events including Bike to Work Day, the Tour de Mississauga and local ward rides.  The annual Tour de Mississauga is a free public ride to encourage cycling culture.  In 2013, 2300 people participated in the Tour de Mississauga.
  • From 2011 to 2012, over 45 km of cycling facilities were built, following approval of the Master Plan.  New wayfinding signs have been installed on several key routes.
  • Cycling has become embedded in the City’s key planning documents such as the Official Plan.
  • Secure bike parking rooms have been constructed at Civic Centre and Central Library, temporary bike parking is now available for major events, and an inventory of City-owned bike parking has been completed.  Bike parking is now requested as part of new development application approval process.
  • Green pavement demonstration projects are being used to mark bicycle lanes.  Projects were installed in 2011 and 2013.
  • Crossrides (pilot project crosswalk with designation for cyclists were installed for the first time at three signalized intersections and three busy driveway crossings in 2012 and were installed at several non-signalized intersections a few years ago.
  • Bicycle detection has been established in many bicycle lanes at signalized intersections locations across the City.
  • Cycling safety programs were offered such as CAN-BIKE courses and community safety workshops. The Road Safety Handbook was published and includes a chapter on cycling safety.  Mississauga Cyclists Handbook was published.

What is the process for reporting on Plan implementation progress?

  • Quarterly and annual reports to Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee on cycling network implementation, number of cycling facilities built
  • Reports to council as required for proposed construction programs and bylaw changes required
  • First comprehensive report on cycling master plan implementation to end of 2012 issued in June 2013, which included a report to council and an executive summary etc.

Lessons Learned:

  • Consulting across internal divisions - a high degree of coordination is required in terms of cycling facilities development into capital projects, especially with those that are mid-way through the process, easier to integrate cycling facilities into capital projects at the start of the planning phase, but those initiated prior to the Cycling Master Plan are more difficult to insert cycling into.
  • The Cycling Master Plan includes a conceptual network, but a great deal more analysis and community consultation will be required to implement cycling facilities on a corridor by corridor basis.

Applicability Across Ontario:

  • Useful example of how a lower tier municipality tackled a cycling master plan when part of region
  • Interesting case study for others of how regional active transportation plan deals with those regional roads and programming, but these local plans deal with local roads and planning - valuable to see how the two tied together

Similar Tools Used by Other Municipalities:

Looked at guidelines and standards of other manipulates for active transportation facilities, like bike parking and facilities standards and width guidelines.

Further Information:

City of Mississauga

Cycling Master Plan

2012 Report on the Cycling Plan

Downtown 21 Master Plan

Bikeways and Trails Map

Peel Active Transportation Plan

Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee


Additional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Scan Update Questions:

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?

Primarily cycling advisory committee (not really community group, but functions as one)

Outcomes, having a buy in for the plan, they feel responsibly on reporting and a sense of ownership with it 

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?

The concept of Complete Streets wasn’t as well known at the time this plan started.  Language around Complete Streets was integrated into the City’s Strategic Plan.  There has been some discussion – some staff felt not every street can be a complete street  - currently trying to understand how to apply complete streets in different contexts 

3.Have you developed any road or trail standards that aim to improve pedestrian and bicycling opportunities and infrastructure? Ex. Road design guidelines that require the inclusion or consideration of active transportation infrastructure? Complete Streets policies, guidelines?

A set of guidelines and standards were included in the Cycling Master Plan.  As staff we refer to the Transportation Association of Canada  Bikeway Design Guidelines, and the upcoming Ontario Traffic Manual for Bicycle Facilities.

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

We have been counting trail users in several locations for a few years now, but the counts do not distinguish between cyclists and pedestrians.  In 2013 we installed bike lanes counters on bike lanes and multi use trails - currently this is a pilot project with potential to expand.

As part of the City’s intersection turning moving counts, in 2013 we started counting cyclists.  Previously a cyclist was either counted as a vehicle or pedestrian, depending if they were on the road or the sidewalk but now they are counted separately as cyclist.  Every intersection counted approximately every 3 years.

5. 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?

Mississauga does not have transportation master plan right now but an interim transportation strategy. Hurontario Light Rail Plan is being developed now, cycling routes are being addressed in that, as are other facilities including parking for bikes

Mississauga Transit way (BRT) - one section opening in Spring 2014, will include bike parking at stations and ramps and stairs accessible by bike

Downtown21, a plan for downtown addresses cycling in the downtown - right now a Movement Study is being completed.  Among other analysis, it is looking into differences between the cycling master plan and the downtown21  plan, identifying facility type and how to address multi-modal transportation in the downtown.

6. 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?

Cycling office was created in early 2011, two staff in this office, which doesn’t include staff working on off road trails from Community Services Department (Park Development . Overall capital budget, average about $2m each year.

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

Not explicitly

8. Has your jurisdiction considered low-powered vehicles (ex. E-bikes)? If so how are they being integrated?

Mississauga has made a distinction between two types of e-bikes, when it comes to operating e-bikes on multi-use paths.  Only e-bikes weighing less than 40 kg. (88 lbs) are allowed on multi-use trails including those in parks and on boulevards.  This is intended to exclude the heavier scooter-style electric powered bikes that operate using a throttle.  E-bikes that resemble a conventional bicycle that must be pedalled, but have a power-assist function, are permitted to use multi-use trails. For bike lanes, Mississauga hasn’t made any distinction, so all e-bikes would currently be allowed in bike lanes. 

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

No nothing notable.

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

Yes.  Work closely with Smart Commute on Bike to Work Day programming.  Have a Smart Commute Employee Bike Share for municipal staff.

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

In 2012, received bronze designation of Bike Friendly Community 

How does your municipality use bikes? ex – Police on bikes, by-laws?

Police have bike units. Corporate security and bylaw enforcement have a bike fleet, they also enforce bike laws. There are 20 bike unit officers plus 2 supervisors for the Peel Police in the City of Mississauga of a total of 557 officers in the City of Mississauga (3%). There are 4 City of Mississauga by-law enforcement officers of a total of 50 officers (8%). There is a bike fleet for employees at city hall, they can borrow. If employees use their own bike to get to a meeting they can make a claim and get money back for the amount that it would have cost them to use public transportation.

13. 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?

Considered but emphasis on this has emerged after the Cycling Master Plan was approved.  Peel Public Health is very concerned about this issue, particularly since they completed their Active Transportation Plan, and recent findings about increasing obesity and higher levels of disease (diabetes) in the Region. The Medical Officer of Health co-presented the Active Transportation Plan to Peel Region Council and to local council, partnership report, suggesting these changes are essential to having a healthy community.

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

Yes, involved in several Smart Commute initiatives such as: car pool and a successful bike to work day kick off, to encourage people to bike to work regularly.  Autoshare program is being piloted.  Several Bike Month events. The City and the Region work on walk to school / bike to school and school travel planning initiatives. 

15. Any suggestions, for knowledge that would be valuable to you?  Information requests? Capacity building? Implementation support?  Problem Solving? Community Engagement Strategies?

Having a better way to communicate among jurisdictions would be very helpful.  We need a better venue to share best practices, implementation support and community engagement/ education strategies.