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Community Highlights

Richmond Hill was originally awarded a Bronze WALK Friendly designation in 2013. In the 2016 intake, the Town maintains Bronze status as a Walk Friendly Community. Richmond Hill’s Official Plan and Urban Design Guidelines support and articulate a vision for pedestrian-friendly development, both throughout the Town and to abutting municipalities. Richmond Hill has a town-wide pedestrian system and began work on its portion of the Lake to Lake Cycling Route and Walking Trail in 2016. Other trail initiatives it has undertaken include contributing to the opening of a new portion of the Oak Ridges Corridor Conservation Reserve Trail and the development of a York Region trail guide and several other publications promoting active transportation. As Richmond Hill continues efforts to promote walking and walkability it will achieve greater success in shifting the community from being motor-vehicle reliant to becoming a community with multiple and viable transportation options.

Some highlights from Richmond Hill’s 2016 application include:

  • Major progress in advancing the first phase of the Lake to Lake Cycling and Walking Trail route which provides a key north-south connection for recreational and commute purposes and sets the stage to advance similar projects within York Region. The Richmond Hill portion of the trail is 14 km; as of January 2017, 4 km has been completed.
  • The Walking and Cycling Attitudes and Behaviours survey conducted in 2015 has provided a good benchmark for measuring the future impact of the Town’s Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan.
  • The guiding principles of Richmond Hill’s Official Plan are connectivity and mobility, which directs that development be transit and pedestrian oriented with accessible connections between neighbourhoods, employment lands, parks, and open spaces; and all future development within the Town calls for the incorporation of pedestrian and cycling facilities where feasible.
  • Walk signals at pedestrian crossings are displayed for seven seconds followed by the flashing don’t walk signal based on a 1.0 m/s walk speed.

Some highlights from the Town of Richmond Hill’s 2013 application included:

  • The Town of Richmond Hill established a study team to gather input from residents and stakeholders to inform the creation of the Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (PCMP). The PCMP is comprised of short-, medium-, and long-term actions that establish and support a desired level of walking and cycling for the residents of Richmond Hill.
  • In order to ensure the Plan’s success, Richmond Hill employs user surveys and public attitude surveys as monitoring tools. Some specific performance measures include: increase in the percentage of children walking/biking to school; a reduced percentage of reported pedestrian collisions per 1,000 population; and an increase in the percentage of residents who commute primarily by walking or cycling.
  • To encourage residents to shift from car trips to walking and other modes of sustainable transportation, Richmond Hill participates in the transportation management program Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill. The Town received the Employer of the Year Award in 2013 for its involvement in, and support of, this program.
  • Richmond Hill has introduced a creative transportation demand management (TDM) strategy for all new developments. The Town now requires developers to submit a TDM plan, which is included in the site plan – a legally binding agreement. The TDM plan is expected to include accommodations for sustainable travel modes including walking, cycling, and access to public transit, as well as details for implementation.
  • Richmond Hill’s Cultural Plan speaks to strengthening cultural districts and corridors through active transportation. The Town recognizes that the concentration of cultural resources needs to be connected to the Town’s network of walking infrastructure and an attractive public realm. The Cultural Plan calls for attention to urban design and a mix of uses that cater to a diversity of needs, as well as strong links to public transit.
  • Over 75% of the Town’s intersections have countdown signals, and all new signalized intersections will require countdown signals to be installed. A more generous walking speed of 1.0 m/s is used to calculate how long the walk signal will be displayed. In addition, signalized crossings are located in areas where there are high volumes of pedestrian traffic and vulnerable road users, such as at schools abutting collector roads, near community centers and parks, and to a mall providing a safe crossing for senior citizens living nearby.
  • Richmond Hill has also conducted pre- and post-evaluations as part of the Harding Blvd W Road Diet Project and the Spadina Road Traffic Calming Project in order to understand the impacts of these interventions, inform future projects, and improve safety for all road users.

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