Municipality: Town of Richmond Hill Implementation: 2010-03-01
Policy Name: Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan Contact: Megan Lui
Department: Environment Services Title: Sustainable Transportation Coordinator
Community profile:

Richmond Hill is located in York region and is part of the Greater Toronto Area, North of the City of Toronto covering a land area of 100.95 square kilometers.

In 2011, the population of Richmond Hill was 185,541; population is expected to increase to 242,800 by 2031.

Along the East boundary is Highway 404 which runs North-South, as well Highway 7 runs along the South boundary. Major streets include: Yonge St.

Public transportation is provided by York Regional Transit, and Viva enhanced bus services is provided on major routes, and GO Transit offers regional transit in the GTA with 2 stations in the Town.

Richmond Hill currently has 17.1km of multi-use trails and in 2010/2011 installed 160km of bikes routes (including: bike lanes, shared roadways, bike routes).

Short Description:

Seeks to implement a town wide pedestrian and cycling network with short, mid and long term strategies for making both walking and cycling viable modes of transportation for commuting, leisure and recreation.


  • Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan approved by Council in March of 2010. It will guide the Town over the next 25 years in implementing a Town-wide pedestrian and cycling network. It also includes planning and design and operations guidelines as well as supporting policies and programs to encourage walking and cycling. which includes short, medium, and long term strategies for achieving a town wide pedestrian and cycling network over the next 25 years.
  • The plan focuses on connectivity, mobility, as well pedestrian and transit oriented development, to create a sustainable transit network and embraces a Complete Streets approach to rad construction and redesign.
  • Longer term plans aim to develop 20km of multi-use trails, 62km of bike lanes, 16km of signed bike routes, 4km of signed bike routes with or without edge lines or sharrows and 89km of new sidewalks by 2036.
  • The plan also identifies the importance of end-of-trip facilities, bike racks and community outreach and education in the implementation of the plan.

Goals of the Plan

Consult with the public, key stakeholder groups and local and regional municipal staff and other partners to identify the role of the Town, Region and other partners in facilitating walking and cycling and to identify the elements of a Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan that is right for Richmond Hill.

Recommend actions to improve conditions for walking and cycling in Richmond Hill for people of all ages by providing a convenient and continuous pedestrian sidewalk system as well as an on and off road Town-scale cycling network that is integrated with Regional network facilities.

Develop an effective and practical implementation strategy that will identify priorities, annual costs, best practices for facility design and support an improved sidewalk system and proposed cycling network that can also be integrated with Regional transit. The implementation strategy will also recommend management tools and approaches to assist Town staff in both implementation and monitoring of the plan.

Identify and recommend strategies and programs that the Town can lead, or partner with others, to encourage more people to walk and cycle more often for utilitarian and recreational purposes.


It is estimated that the total investment to implement new programs and infrastructure and maintain the network is about $27,269,700 over the next 25+ years. This cost consists of approximately $19,308,100 for updates, outreach and programs. Out of the total investment of the 25+ year longer-term strategy, $16,736,700 or 61% is estimated to be The Town of Richmond Hill's share. The remaining $10,533,000 or 39% would be the responsibility of York Region as the proposed facilities fall on roads under their jurisdiction. The Town was awarded in 2009 some Federal-Provincial Infrastructure Stimulus Funding to offset some of the capital costs of implementation.

Step by Step Process:

The Town initiated this study in July 2008 and established a study team, led by Engineering and Public Works Department that consulted with residents and stakeholders over the course of the study.

MMM Group Limited was retained by the Town to assist Town staff in the development of the Plan.

The following phases were undertaken as part of the Plan development:

  1. Develop Vision, Goals and Objectives of the Plan via meeting with Town staff, stakeholders and public consultation.
  2. Undertake inventory and assess existing conditions, analysis and summary – resulted in a background report and maps of existing and previously proposed pedestrian and cycling facilities at both the local and regional level, key destinations within the Town, results of benchmarking review and interim online survey results.
  3. Development of options, conceptual designs and consultations. Developed cycling route selection evaluation criteria, created pedestrian improvement and cycling network maps, facility types and the pedestrian/cycling network was defined and candidate routes were investigated.
  4. Policies and Guidelines and Marketing, Education and Promotion Programs. Developed draft official plan policies to support walking and cycling, a set of guidelines for the planning, design and operation of pedestrian and cycling facilities, plus a strategy for encouraging more people to walk and cycle more often in Richmond Hill.
  5. Implementation Program, Priorities and Budget. Implementation strategy developed that included a process and funding strategy; identified estimated costs and priorities, addressed risk and liability management, recommended monitoring implementation  and performance measures; detailed recommended policies, outlined an implementation schedule.

Primary Drivers:

  • Original member of Smart Commute since 2005. Supportive of sustainable transportation for a long time.
  • 2006 Transportation Master Plan recommended that by 2011 a PCMP that addresses the Town's pedestrian and cycling needs, establishes a formalized network and provides an implementation schedule for that network should be completed.
  • 2009 Strategic Plan identified the PCMP as a "key plan" that should be developed by 2010. The 4 goals of the Strategic Plan align with the PCMP:

-Goal 1 Stronger Connections - through the development of a safe, convenient, and continuous cycling and pedestrian network that encourages alternative modes of transportation

-Goal 2 Better Choice - by increasing awareness of the recreation offerings, pedestrian trails and cycling networks

-Goal 3 More Vibrant Community - PCMP provides an opportunity for people to experience the Town's natural environment through the network

-Goal 4 Wise Management of Resources - by using land responsibly

Secondary Drivers:

  • Media coverage on bike lines in Toronto
  • Concurrent development of York Regions PCMP (2009)



  • Early education and buy-in from Council
  • $1M from Infrastructure Stimulus Funds
  • $400,000/year from Gas Tax



Council buy-in to the initiatives and way of thinking


Coordination with Town departments (operations, parks, transportation, etc.)


  • Development of and integration into Town’s Official Plan
  • Funding for a 1 year contract Staff to implement the Plan


  • Reporting back to government
  • Infrastructure money had to be spent quickly (within one year)
  • Federal government reporting process 


  • Alignment with York Region PCMP
  • York Region Lake to Lake
  • York Region Bus ‘n’ Bike program


  • 2010/2011 implementation of 160km of on-road cycling network – acquired $1M in ISF
  • End of Trip Facilities:
    • Bike Lockers (17)
    • Bike Racks/Pedestals (5/17)
    • Interpretive Information Boards (GO, Trails, Viva/YRT) where networks of sustainable modes of transportation intersect
  • Cycling Map
  • Shift Gears brand and marketing, social media
  • Bike Valet
  • Outreach at Community Events
  • Employee E-bike pilot
  • Monitoring of end-of-trip facilities - use and locations
  • Report to Council on update after completion of phase 1
  • Phase II - $400,000 in gas tax funds, phase II focuses on multi-use trails and sidewalks
  • Incorporate with York Region Lake to Lake Route

Lessons Learned:

  • Importance of stakeholder input-
    • Early buy in and support from Council
    • Public Newsletters, Survey, PIC's
    • Partnerships with both outside departments and outside organizations (BIA, local Bike Shops, etc.) 
  • Clear framework based on local issues
    • Public Newsletters, Survey. PIC’s
    • Aligned with both Strategic Plan and Official Plan, increase buy-in and integration 
  • Consulting across internal divisions
    • Operations Roads – on-road network, signs, pavement markings, bike pedestals in the winter
    • Parks Maintenance – vandalism, repairs to lockers
    • Planning – connections with existing trails & planning for future trails
    • Design & Construction – ongoing implementation

Applicability Across Ontario:

If there is an approved Master Plan, then it is applicable in many Ontario municipalities

Similar Tools Used by Other Municipalities:

Looked at GTA CAC scan

Further Information:

Town of Richmond Hill

Richmond Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan



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?

  • Followed Public Process with Public Information Centres (PIC’s).
  • Business Improvement Association
  • Local Bike Shop – Evolution Cycles

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?

  • In current council approved PCMP, there is a specific section that reference complete streets, what the focus is, why it is important and why we should implement. George attended conferences on how to do complete streets, is working with region to see what this looks like and how it would work on some regional roads
  • PCMP will be updated in 2015, no clear defined direction for complete streets until then, in 2015 probably be more specific. Projects we are working on include environmental strategies linking complete streets to health and lifestyle etc,
  • Complete streets being discussed, hopefully more in 2015

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?

Currently undergoing phase 2 of PCMP, looking at updating trails and multi use trails, looking to create a standard for multi use trails, in process for creating that design, will enhance cycling and walking, using OTM book 18, pretty new,  will be reference it

4. What is the process your municipality has put in place to report on the progress of the Plan?
In PCMP there is a monitoring part of progress report, in midst of best to that, writing capital business cases , and monitoring equipment, what areas used most, monitoring is ongoing, definitely next step

5. Has your jurisdiction undertaken any pedestrian and cycling counts, if so how did you undertake them? What outcomes resulted from the counts?
Have done some counts for facilities, such as bike lockers and how much they are used, counting and monitoring and gauge how well being used, in terms of counts and intersection and networks, part of next steps

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?

Transportation Master Plan and Transportation Demand Master Plan are overseen by Planning and Regulatory Dept. They work closely with these. These plans will be updated at the same time as the PCMP to ensure all plans are aligned with others.

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? 

  • Have the Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, manager, and yearly interns, that come and help programs and research, and generally support us
  • About a third of the manager's time is dedicated and 100% of Sustainable Transportation Coordinator's time, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator has an operating budget with roughly 85% for program support of the PCMP, and 15% for advertising and promotion.
  • Infrastructure improvements are covered by other departments, some of it comes from gas tax funding, not from Sustainable Transportation Coordinator's budget

8. Has your jurisdiction considered aging populations in the bicycle and pedestrian plan and if so what resulted from that consideration?
Considers all segments of population, subscribes to 8-80 cities, build for 8 or 80, a network that is good for everyone, accessibility standards are also complied with

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

In general, we piloted employee bike share for staff and promote alternative modes of transportation, we haven't formally promoted e-bikes to the general public, informal discussion, current PCMP created before. Not all trails designed for bicycles generally (may have bridges, stairs, steep elevation change that are not conducive to cycling).

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

Nothing major, some lockers were vandalized, sprayed painted with graffiti. We installed vinyl wraps promoting what they are, as most people didn't know what they were, made with anti-graffiti layer, paint can be wiped off, vandalism is not a major concern.

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

Yes. Since inception in 2005, and smart commute funder, we sit down with them and PCMP, and most of guidance with smart commute and align, comes from PCMP, a lot about education encouragement and complete streets, to get out to the public.

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

Bronze, bike friendly communities, and applying for walk friendly communities

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

  • Available for staff to use, shared e-bike program
  • By-law enforcement has a bike fleet

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.

Health concern and poor lifestyle fit into the plan, work with York Region and public health specifically on the committee Shaping Healthy Communities, also inter municipal working group working with these issues and building healthier cities, and developing awareness.

15. What might be useful for you in your job in terms of sharing of lessions learned etc?

To get new ideas, what worked, what pilot projects out there, something that is different, one example went to GTA CAC, eco-counter existed, this advanced our monitoring plan, these ideas help us reach out to the communities in different ways, something that’s new and will spur behavioral change. Bike locker wraps will do something new and interesting but still need to be monitored. Ideas like this help this position, implementation, behaviour change, etc, need to collaborate to and need to get a sense of what works, helps going to senior staff knowing what worked for others. Some type of centralized sharing network would be great, barrier to have to call others, if existing bench marking data base were there that would be great.