Kim Hunton from consulting firm WSP reported back to the Committee of the Whole in Smiths Falls on Tuesday evening with results from this summer’s Public Active Transportation Survey. WSP heard back from 244 total respondents. 70% of those surveyed identify as a pedestrian; 37% feel very comfortable walking in town on existing roads and sidewalks.
20% of respondents are cyclists or e-bike users; 10% feel very safe cycling in town. Over 40% feel the most comfortable riding a bike on a physically separated facility. Survey results show that 65% of respondents own a bicycle, but only 20% regularly use them.
65% of those surveyed enjoy active transportation for fitness, health, and recreation; 42% walk or cycle to shop, run errands, and visit friends.
Respondents suggested three best ways the town of Smiths Falls can invest in active transportation: 1. Improve maintenance of existing pedestrian and cycling facilities; 2. Build more paved trails or multi-use paths; 3. Improve crossing signals and lighting.
“Our pedestrian infrastructure on its own is less than par, and quite frankly I wonder if that shouldn’t be the priority right now,” commented Councillor Dwyer.
Councillor McGuire pointed out that a large percentage own the equipment to be cyclists, and would use their bicycles if the infrastructure was in place.
Councillor Brennan, a regular walker in Smiths Falls, noted that he would like to hear from more citizens, and is looking forward to the virtual public open house on October 20.
The virtual public open house will include a presentation from WSP to outline the proposed changes to active transportation infrastructure in Smiths Falls. There will also be an opportunity to comment on proposed cycling routes and sidewalk links, as well as a question and answer period. This public meeting will be held virtually via Zoom from 7pm to 8:30pm on Wednesday, October 20.