Public Input Sought On Amherstburg's Transportation Master Plan

There are some community-defining proposals under consideration as the Town seeks public input on the road to completing our Transportation Master Plan.

A storyboard outlining the downtown area that would be the 30-km safe zone. Examples of different gateway treatments of chicanes and signage.

Concepts under consideration and for which public feedback is being sought include:

>>> A 30-km slow zone in the downtown core to “create a safer, more enjoyable” environment, reduce the number of collisions and promote active transportation and the cultivation of “vibrant public spaces.”

>>> Traffic calming measures like mini roundabouts, raised intersections and speed gateway design treatments like centre medians, chicanes and signage.

>>> Curb bump outs in the downtown core to reduce pedestrian crossing distances, slow traffic and create more visually appealing elements like greenspace.

>>> Active Transportation: Cycling network to include Lowes Side Road and Richmond Street and the remainder of Fryer Street as well as William Street and Victoria Street and Hamilton Drive to connect with schools.

>>> Three Options for Murray Street from Dalhousie Street to Ramsay Street: 1) Keep it the same. 2) Expand sidewalks onto eight existing parking spaces, limiting street to one lane of one-way traffic with no-on street parking. 3) “Pedestrianize” Murray Street, eliminating one traffic lane and eight parking spaces to expand sidewalks and patio space.

>>> Simcoe/Meloche Intersection: 1) All-Way Stop 2) Marked Crosswalks 3) Curb extensions to slow traffic and shorten walk for pedestrians. 4) Centre median on eastern portion.

>>> Downtown: “Reallocating parking for wider sidewalks, safer crossings, better lighting and green spaces” to enhance walking experience, promote commerce and create a “welcoming and vibrant urban environment.”

>>> Sidewalks implemented on at least one side of all streets within the urban area and on both sides of all streets within the downtown core.

An overhead image showing potential improvements to the Simcoe/Meloche intersection including crosswalks, stop signs, extended curbs. Data showing some vehicles were clocked traveling 70-90 in a 50 zone.

Some of these concepts, should residents like them, can be implemented relatively quickly without great expense and others are significant, long-term infrastructure projects that would require time and considerable funding.

There is $200,000 in the 2024 Budget to begin work on priority projects associated with the Transportation Master Plan so let us know what you think and what you would like the Town to focus on in the short and long term.

You can view the concepts in more detail and provide your input at You can also email your comments directly to me or give me a call at 519-981-4875.

At first blush, I am quite supportive of making the suggested short-term changes to the intersection of Simcoe and Meloche. Installing stop-signs and painted crosswalks can be done fairly quickly and will immediately improve pedestrian safety.

The extension of curbs at each corner to narrow the lanes is a bit more ambitious but would provide two positive impacts: traffic will slow and pedestrians will have a shorter distance to cross. The construction of a centre median for vehicles travelling westbound, where an 80-km zone turns into a 50-km zone, will also slow down traffic. A traffic signal will likely be warranted in the long-term, the consultants said.

I’m also very intrigued about the proposals for the downtown core and anticipate some vigorous community discussions, especially as it relates to parking and promoting increased pedestrian activity. The consultants working on this project believe the Town has an “abundance of public and private parking options,” providing the flexibility to create wider sidewalks and additional greenspace.

One concept calls for 19 parking spaces on the east side of Dalhousie Street between Richmond and North Streets to be transformed into “wider travel lanes and sidewalks” to enhance and make safer the “downtown walking experience” while “creating a welcoming and vibrant urban environment.” The consultants say that “wider sidewalks positively impact local businesses by creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere.”

A graphic showing the proposal to reallocate 19 parking spots on Dalhousie Street between Richmond and Rankin.

When it comes to historic Murray Street, which is undergoing a remarkable architectural and commercial transformation, three options were presented following a “comprehensive traffic analysis” that showed closing the street to vehicles would have a “negligible impact on traffic.”

Option 1 is the status quo. Option 2 is the removal of eight parking spaces and maintaining one lane of traffic with expanded sidewalks. Option 3, which has been touted on social media as the Anchor District, envisions “pedestrianizing” the street to allow for expanded patio space and improved waterfront access.

The Town’s active transportation network has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years with the Big Creek Trail at the Libro Centre, the bicycle lanes on Fryer Street and the paved shoulders on County Road 20 and Alma Street, and it will expand again later this year with a multi-use pathway on Middle Side Road in McGregor and paved shoulders on Concession Road 2 North from Middle Side Road to South Riverview Drive.

But there are still significant gaps and the draft plan lays out a long-term vision for addressing them. It envisions cycling lanes on Lowes Side Road, Fryer Street between Simcoe Street and Lowes Side Road, Richmond Street, Kentucky Avenue, Balaclava Street, Victoria Street the remainder of Alma Street and William Street and Hamilton Drive to ensure connectivity with schools.

An illustration of existing and proposed cycling routes in Amherstburg. It envisions cycling lanes on Lowes Side Road, Fryer Street between Simcoe Street and Lowes Side Road, Richmond Street, Kentucky Avenue, Balaclava Street, Victoria Street the remainder of Alma Street and William Street and Hamilton Drive to ensure connectivity with schools.

About 40 per cent of respondents to the first survey told the consultants they were concerned about traffic congestion on the Town's main routes. A traffic capacity analysis conducted in 2023 concluded all intersections were "operating with capacity and acceptable delays during both the weekday a.m. and p.m. peak hours" but that longer-than-normal delays were observed at some locations. 

In the short-term the draft plan recommends a traffic signal at Sandwich Street and Fort and the discontinuation of the existing crosswalk nearby, and optimizing the timing of the signal at Sandwich and Richmond.

When it comes to public transit, the draft plan calls in the short-term for additional stops at William Street and Sandwich Street North, improved signage and concrete pads for accessibility, shelters at major stops and a fare reduction to promote increased ridership.

In the longer term, it calls for an extension of the existing service to the Libro Centre and Jack Purdie Park.

Review the concepts and provide your feedback by filling out a survey by February 29th. The project team will consider that input as they prepare a final report for Council’s review and approval sometime in the Spring!

Let’s get moving, Amherstburg!

An image of Donald McArthur urging people to sign up for his newsletter!