The Town of Cobourg has initiated a study to develop a comprehensive Transportation Master Plan. This Plan will guide the development of Cobourg’s 20-year transportation network in a coordinated manner, while addressing existing issues and concern of Cobourg residents. The study will focus on accommodated and encouraging more sustainable modes of transportation such as transit, cycling and walking, while also considering the needs of vehicular traffic.
Sustainable Cobourg has made submissions in both October and November, to the Town of Cobourg with a Case for Action to transform Cobourg’s transportation system to support walking, cycling, public transit, and car sharing. Business-as-usual is simply not a viable option for future transportation planning. Some of the drivers for change include:
Climate change is a threat to the very survival of our society. It is difficult to overstate the urgency to take significant action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Personal transportation is a large contributor to GHG emissions. A significant modal shift needs to be made from motorized vehicular use to cycling and walking.
Health care spending
Canadians’ sedentary lifestyle contributes significantly to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia. All of these chronic diseases are creating an unsustainable cost for our health care system. Government health care spending is crowding out spending on other essential services. One of the solutions is disease prevention by increasing the activity and fitness of the public. “Active Transportation” through cycling and walking for everyday activities is one of the methods to achieve increased activity and fitness.
Decline of fossil fuel supplies (“Peak Oil”)
The supply of fossil fuels, particularly easily available sources, will decline rapidly over the coming decades. Maintaining our current auto-dependent transportation system will become economically and environmentally unsustainable. Shifting transportation options to less auto-dependent alternatives such as cycling, public transit, and walking will help create a more resilient and sustainable society.
New Official Plan and Provincial policies
Places to Grow and the Provincial Policy Statement require that municipalities revise their Official Plans to do land use planning and transportation planning which increases cycling and walking in the community. The recently revised Cobourg Official Plan reflects these requirements. This new Official Plan includes a shift to more intensive development and more neighbourhood based land use design and compact urban form. These changes require a corresponding change in the design of transportation planning.
Loss of farmland and natural areas
Cobourg’s current car-oriented, low-density, suburban style transportation design has contributed to the unnecessary loss of hundreds of acres of farmland and natural areas at Cobourg’s boundaries. This approach needs to be reversed in order to protect farmland and natural areas, which will never be recovered once developed.
Sustainable Cobourg is proposing that the Town of Cobourg implement specific projects to improve the safety and enjoyment of cyclists in Cobourg.