Markham’s roadmap to a more sustainable future

By Connor Simonds, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Markham is charting a transformative course toward sustainable growth as it unveils its ambitious Transportation Master Plan (TMP). With eyes set on the horizon of expected population and employment growth until 2051, the Planning Department is leading the charge to address the city’s future transportation demands.

The TMP is not just a plan; it’s a dynamic roadmap poised to redefine Markham’s transportation landscape. This visionary initiative encompasses policies, strategies, and infrastructure updates designed to seamlessly accommodate the city’s anticipated extended growth. Join in on this forward-looking journey, where public engagement, strategic alignment, and comprehensive planning converge to shape a transportation system that stands as a testament to Markham’s commitment to a sustainable and connected future.

In tandem with the anticipated population and employment growth until 2051, Markham’s Planning Department is proactively addressing future transportation demands.

“As a part of this process, there is a need to review […] the new Markham transportation master plan. [It] will look at […] updating policies, strategies, and infrastructure plans to accommodate the future extended growth in Markham,” Frank Clarizio, the city’s director of engineering, told council.

A capital project budget approved by council in the first half of 2023 marks the initiation of the Transportation Master Plan. The plan involves collaboration with a qualified transportation consultant and engagement with internal and external stakeholders from Engineering, Planning, and Operations.

The TMP’s ultimate goal is to create a forward-looking and adaptable transportation plan that aligns with the city’s vision for sustainable growth and improved multi-modal mobility options.

The study will cover transportation needs until 2051, aligning with regional and municipal plans for a cohesive and integrated approach.

Public engagement and stakeholder involvement are integral to the TMP development, ensuring residents, city council, the business community, and other interest groups contribute to shaping the future transportation landscape.

The proposed TMP Study Terms of Reference include developing a comprehensive consultation plan, a background review of relevant information, and a transportation needs assessment.

“The objectives of this study will endeavour to analyze current and forecasted transportation demands, define a multi-modal transportation network, create a transportation policy framework, develop a complete street guide, and a micromobility strategy,” Clarizio added.

Additionally, it entails establishing an overarching vision, developing whitepapers on electrification and autonomous vehicles, and creating strategies for micromobility and complete street design.

During the council session, the committee provided valuable feedback on various aspects. They clarified that the Transportation Master Plan study is distinct from the city-wide Parking Strategy. However, they emphasized that insights from the parking strategy would play a crucial role in informing and defining objectives for the TMP study.

Additionally, it was confirmed that the same consultant would be retained for both the micromobility strategy and the TMP study, ensuring a cohesive and integrated approach. The committee noted that a council workshop in the fall would offer further updates on the parking strategy.

The discussion also touched upon the possibility of incorporating accessible on-road parking, with a commitment to assessing the associated liabilities and risks for feasibility.

Lastly, the committee explored the dynamics of parking operations within private commercial plazas, highlighting that the city does not govern these operations. Instead, the allotment of parking spaces within private properties typically occurs through agreements with property owners or management.

The city council endorsed the TMP Study, and the procurement process will begin immediately. The study is expected to conclude by the end of 2025, with interim updates provided to council at key milestones. The study aligns seamlessly with the city’s strategic goal of building safe, sustainable, and complete communities. Various city departments have been consulted in the preparation of the draft TMP Terms of Reference.

Markham’s Transportation Master Plan is more than a document; it’s a roadmap to a future where transportation is seamless, sustainable, and supports the city’s strategic goals. The commitment to public engagement, strategic alignment, and comprehensive planning reflects the city’s dedication to creating a transportation system that will stand the test of time.

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