Active transportation projects proposed under the County Wide Active Transportation System for 2021 will enable Amherstburg cyclists and ambitious pedestrians to travel on paved shoulders all the way from the edge of downtown to Holiday Beach.
Projects put forward by the CWATS committee call for the construction next year of paved shoulders on 6.5 km of County Road 20 from Front Road South to County Road 50 and the construction of paved shoulders on 2.1 km of County Road 50 from Ure’s Country Kitchen to Collison Side Road, across from the entrance to Holiday Beach Conservation Area. The County Road 20 project has been approved by Essex County Council and the County Road 50 project is up for approval next month.
Plans are already in the works to create an off-road, single track cycling facility adjacent to Holiday Beach as part of a joint effort between the Essex Region Conservation Foundation and the Amherstburg Community Foundation. Fundraising continues for the project to construct a one-acre wetland and use the excavated fill to fashion a new cycling trail that will “traverse around the new and existing wetlands, through the Essex County Demonstration Farm, and connect with trails already created within the Conservation Area.”
The paved shoulder projects are in an extremely popular cycling corridor between Amherstburg and Essex and come on the heels of two major active transportation projects completed under the CWATS program in 2020: 1.3 km of paved shoulders on Alma Street between Fryer Street and Meloche Road and 1.3 km of paved shoulders on County Road 20 from Front Road South to Lowes Side Road.
I really got into cycling this summer in the midst of this pandemic while nursing a broken toe and even managed to complete my first century, which is a ride of 100 miles. (I had to finish on the Greenway in the dead and dark of night and survived a fairly epic wipeout into some trailside scrub but still managed to get it done.)
I made it a habit on my long weekend rides to refuel in downtown Amherstburg, where I would set up shop on a picnic table outside Downtown Espresso Café and throw back a long doppio and some gelato. A few times I took my treats to go and enjoyed them in King’s Navy Yard Park while listening to live music from the gazebo and watching the boats cruise by on the river.
It was a great experience and I wasn’t alone. I saw multiple posts on social media last summer praising the Town for catering to cyclists with the bicycle parking stations set up outside the Open Air Weekends zone. That kind of earned social media coverage builds a buzz, encouraging other cyclists to stop in Amherstburg and enjoy everything we have to offer.
From the Greenway in McGregor to River Canard to Creek Road to County Road 20 in and out of Town, Amherstburg has some incredible cycling opportunities with spectacular waterfront views and there are even some rolling slopes if you know where to find them. The active transportation projects proposed for next year will make cycling in Amherstburg even better for residents and tourists alike.