Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent has a plan to be at the forefront of revolutionizing transportation.
At Monday night’s council’s meeting, councillors voted to update the Transportation Master Plan (TMP), following several public consultations.
The 2008 TMP was created to consolidate and update all transportation plans created prior to the 1998 Chatham-Kent amalgamation, and to project future transportation requirements for the municipality.
The newest update to the 2008 plan is to integrate connected vehicle (CVs) and autonomous vehicle (AVs) technology on the roadways.
“As a growing industry, the investment into CV and AV creates new opportunities for researchers and consumers,” reads the report.
A collaborative provincial effort, led by the Municipal Alliance for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (MACAVO), is underway to pioneer AV/CV research and integration, to complete the Windsor-Ottawa AV corridor, the longest preferred corridor for the controlled testing of AVs in the world.
The goal of the project, facilitated under the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA), is to provide a seamless cross jurisdiction corridor and direct access to municipal roads for CV/AV research.
The identified corridor spans 5,500 kilometres of municipal streets across 33 municipalities. The project does not require upgrades to roads or existing infrastructure.
Sustainable and alternative modes of transportation were also in the report, which highlighted the need for complete streets – a multi-use road for pedestrians, cyclists, bikers and motorists.
“Connectivity and the demographics of our aging society should be key considerations in the selection of facilities for pedestrians and cyclists,” reads the report.
Coun. Marjorie Crew, who sits on the age-friendly committee, said she was impressed by the inclusivity of the new plan, noting that an active community is a healthy one.
The plan identified several active transportation projects that were to be implemented in the short term to expand and improve existing cycling networks.
Some of the immediate multi-use projects identified were upgrades to the Mud Creek Trails from north of Tweedsmuir Avenue to Indian Creek Road, and Indian Creek Trails from Lacroix Street to Queen Street.