The City of Mississauga has been designated a 2014 Silver WALK Friendly Community for its ambitious vision and goals for improving walkability. The City has built walking into its policies, plans and projects to make Mississauga more pedestrian friendly, and the downtown area and new transitway show the progress that has been have made. Every transit trip begins and ends with a walk. Mississauga continues to encourage active transportation and the environment to support it.
Some highlights from Mississauga’s application include:
- Mississauga’s downtown is undergoing an exciting transformation from its car-centric past. In prioritizing walkability, Mississauga’s Official Plan has shifted away from suburban built form with the intent to create dense, walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented urban form that inspires vibrant communities.
- Mississauga ranks fourth among large Canadian cities for walkability and seventh across Canada according to Walk Score. In addition, many of Mississauga’s neighbourhoods are rated as “very walkable” indicating that the land uses are there to support walking trips.S
- High-level plans such as the Strategic Plan and Downtown21 Master Plan aim to create a vibrant city centre through walk-friendly block lengths, mixed uses, and an animated public realm and pedestrian environment.
- The City used an innovative approach to let the community know that its downtown is being developed with “pedestrians first” in mind by commissioning well-known, Montreal-based street artist Roadsworth to design public art crosswalks in two locations. The iconic “Pedestrians Crossing” crosswalk was installed at the central intersection of Duke of York Boulevard and City Centre Drive, with the ‘pedestrians’ walking towards the newly-renovated Mississauga Celebration Square adjacent to the Civic Centre.
- Duke of York will soon be an art boulevard with not only the crosswalk design, but also the existing public art pieces around the Living Art Centre, video art on the new Mississauga Celebration Square media screens and a soon-to-be-unveiled iconic sculpture that will be constructed in the centre of the roundabout next to Sheridan College’s Mississauga campus.
- Mississauga has undertaken efforts to calm traffic in specific areas through a pilot in 2014 involving two raised intersections. The pilot will be evaluated to determine its effect on traffic speeds.
- The City has an impressive list of schools involved in School Travel Planning with support from Peel Region Public Health. Mississauga also has a Traffic Safety Council that is leading a School Walking Routes Program. These sorts of initiatives go a long way to educate and encourage children to form active commuting habits.
- Mississauga is a fast growing, multi-cultural city and has created walking handbooks promoting road safety to newcomers and diverse communities. The handbook was printed in five different languages and distributed in the Cooksville area to over 9000 residents.