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ICYMI: Burlington's new mobility plan aims to unsnarl city traffic

Unanimous support at council for a system that replaces car-centric roadways with an effective transportation network
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally ran on Nov. 15.

The City of Burlington has created its first Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) to guide how people and goods move in and through our community for the next 30 years. The Integrated Mobility Plan Final Report was presented and approved by Burlington City Council on Nov. 14 and approved unanimously.

Several delegations spoke at the Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility (CPRM) Committee in support of the IMP on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

The Integrated Mobility Plan

The IMP is a balance of innovative policies, active programs and capital projects that will guide how Burlington builds and operates a sustainable transportation system city-wide. Together, these initiatives will make getting around Burlington safe, accessible, sustainable, balanced and liveable.

The plan has three key areas for action:

  1. Implement transportation network improvements through capital planning and budget,
  2. Guide future studies, plans and capital projects to meet the goals of the IMP and
  3. Enhance and develop innovative programs to support the implementation of the plan.

Key elements of the integrated network approach include:

  • Only widening streets if it improves walking, cycling, transit or safety.
  • Giving the right-of-way to pedestrians, cyclists, transit users or for safety.
  • Focusing multi-modal corridors, like sidewalks, bike lanes and cut throughs, in growth areas.
  • Developing transit infrastructure to improve bus service and reduce transit delays.
  • Developing high-quality cycling lanes and pathways for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
  • Improving walkability in employment, future growth and rural areas.
  • Create new connections for pedestrians and cyclists across the QEW and rail lines.

The IMP provides the vision for the City’s future transportation network and outlines the policy, programs and capital projects needed to meet long-term mobility goals for the next three decades. Council will set and manage how the plan is implemented through the City’s annual capital and operating budgets, and as part of the Multi-year Community Investment Plan (MCIP).

The IMP will be reviewed and refreshed on a 5-year cycle, incorporating updated population and employment forecasts, refining the strategic transportation demand model, and reporting on actual mode share usage and refining targets, where necessary. The IMP provides valuable guidance and input into the 5-year Transit Business Plan and will complement the transit planning.



Anyone who lives in Burlington, or travels to or through Burlington, was encouraged to get involved in the numerous stages of the project on Resident feedback was used to confirm the IMP vision, values and goal statements. Those concepts generally define the desired transportation system for the Burlington of the future. Staff has also used public feedback to help identify what aspects of our current transportation systems are not in line with where we want to end up in the future. The project page outlines the key dates from the past three years.

Community feedback was shared with Burlington City Council and the Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility Committee at various updates during key project milestones.

City Council direction

Burlington City Council has recognized that relying on a car-centric plan where streets are widened to add more room for cars is not the solution to solve traffic congestion. This creates a transportation network that does not offer other ways to get around, does not support the City’s growth strategy and has negative impacts on the environment and climate by adding to greenhouse gas levels.

In 2019, Council directed staff to form the IMP so that there could be no new road widenings for cars. Instead, the City chose to adopt a sustainable and integrated approach to offer its residents choices in how they get around Burlington.

For more information about Burlington’s Integrated Mobility Plan, please visit

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Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Burlington residents, and anyone who travels to and through our city, will benefit from our first Integrated Mobility Plan. The time is now to focus on sustainable and integrated initiatives that benefit our environment and improve it for future generations. We want to do everything we can to provide residents with a variety of options to get around our city: by walking; taking transit; cycling or driving. By planning safe ways to share our streets, we serve everyone, no matter how they’re getting across Burlington. I thank our City staff for their extensive work on the Integrated Mobility Plan and am grateful to my Council colleagues for their unanimous approval. The level of support we’ve seen from the community, Council and staff speaks to the quality and innovation of Burlington’s first plan to transform how we all move around our city.”

Kaylan Edgcumbe, Manager, Integrated Mobility

“The Integrated Mobility Plan represents an innovative approach to integrated mobility planning and provides a framework for responding to future travel demand associated with intensification. It has been designed to meet the 2015-2040 Strategic Plan goals to enable ‘people and goods move through the city more efficiently and safely’ and provide ‘more mobility choice within the city and region through improved public transportation, active transportation and community-responsive growth management to allow more residents to get where they need to go more efficiently.’

The plan sets a framework to rebalance the existing transportation network through adding people-carrying capacity by offering additional travel options to existing streets and replacing the traditional strategy of creating new auto capacity through road widenings. From conceptualization to implementation and operation, the IMP provides the city with a strategy for transforming mobility to 2051 and beyond.”


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