HUNTSVILLE – The former Ryerson University students who hammered out an active transportation study for the Town of Huntsville want to keep the ball rolling.
Rebecca Francis, sustainability co-ordinator for the town, said five of the graduates who worked on the study have expressed an interest in continuing their work with the town to enhance active transportation infrastructure here.
“They said they wanted to take some of the feedback they received about their study and refine it,” said Francis.
She made her comments at a sustainability committee meeting on March 14.
The students were invited by the town’s former Unity Plan implementation committee to investigate the area’s active transportation infrastructure and provide recommendations on how to enhance it.
Active transportation is non-motorized travel, such as walking, biking, running, canoeing or kayaking.
The students presented their 167-page report to the town in January. The report was completed as part of their fourth-year university course work.
It included recommendations for sidewalk enhancements, signs to identify trails and bike routes, and crosswalk markings, among others.
Francis said the graduates were hoping to work with the town over the summer.
“It’s great,” she said of the graduates’ proposal. “They’re essentially certified planners now.”
She suggested that the town could create an ad hoc committee headed by the graduates that would engage businesses and active transportation users to do more in-depth research into their recommendations.
Whether the town would pay the graduates for their summer work is unclear. Francis said there was some discussion about available bursaries, but at least one of the bursaries is reserved for full-time students, which the five no longer are.
Investigation into possible partnerships with the graduates continues.
Coun. Scott Aitchison, chair of the sustainability committee, said the town’s active transportation attack squad, which is tasked with implementing some of the easier, more affordable recommendations from the study, is busy tracking down funding opportunities.
He said the squad has a list of projects that would cost about $100,000 to complete and it is now working on an application to access the active transportation reserve fund held by the District of Muskoka.
The reserve has about $750,000 in it, which can be used to enhance active transportation and regional connectivity.
An example of a project the squad wants to tackle is the painting of sharrows on area roads. A sharrow is a directional marking that delineates an on-road bike route and lets motorists know they have to share the road with cyclists.