Advocates say benefits include stronger local economies, lower infrastructure maintenance costs, healthier residents and safer streets for all road users.
30 of Guelph’s 42 candidates for municipal office have signed the Active Communities Pledge, providing voters in every ward with options to support candidates that will support walking and cycling if elected. In the wake of recent opinion polls that show growing support for measures to promote cycling, this Ontario-wide campaign is asking candidates in the upcoming October 27th municipal election to back policies that support cycling and other forms of active transportation.
“Cycling and other forms of active transportation such as walking bring multiple benefits to communities like Guelph.They reduce traffic congestion and cut pollution, boost local retail spend, draw in new tourist dollars, promote a healthy lifestyle for adults and children, and help build a friendlier, more cohesive community,” said Justin Jones, Manager of the Bicycle Friendly Communities Program with the Share the Road Cycling Coalition
“This campaign is about increasing public awareness, building voter support and encouraging local politicians to make a commitment to bike friendly policies that will benefit our entire community. Given the strong steps that Guelph has taken in recent years, moving from Bronze to Silver in the Bicycle Friendly Communities ranking in 2014, I’m not surprised to see such broad support for the Active Communities Pledge in Guelph. No community in Ontario has a higher percentage of candidates that have signed the pledge, which is indicative of how the conversation about active transportation is changing in Guelph.”
The Active Communities Pledge campaign invites all municipal candidates to:
- Promote active transportation, including cycling and walking, in their community;
- Support the construction of new projects that serve to make walking and cycling easier and more accessible to all residents, regardless of age or ability;
- Support their community in applying for a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from Share the Road or, if the community is already recognized as a BFC, work towards achieving the next award level by the end of this upcoming term;
- Work to ensure that their community supports and contributes to the implementation of the Ontario Cycling Strategy #CycleOn by developing programs, projects and policies that enhance safety, drive tourism, provide economic spinoffs and promote overall health in the community;
- Support the development of a Complete Streets Policy in their community to ensure that all roads serve all road users in a safe, effective manner;
- Ensure that their community has a dedicated funding source for active transportation projects to ensure consistent, continuous improvement in the conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.
Cycling and active transportation advocates in Guelph emphasize that the Active Communities Pledge is about boosting awareness of the issues, not pressuring politicians.
“There are so many candidates that already understand the benefits of building a bike friendly community. Our campaign is about giving those supportive politicians an opportunity to make their bike-friendly views known to voters” said Yvette Tendick, Chair of the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT)
From the Guelph Mercury: (Saturday Oct. 11, 2014)
“Among the local candidates who have signed the pledge are Bob Bell, Dan Gibson, Karolyne Pickett, Maria Pezzano and Terry O’Connor in Ward 1; and Chris Keleher Sr., James Gordon and Martin Collier in Ward 2.
In Ward 3, Bob Moore, Craig Chamberlain, June Hofland, Maggie Laidlaw and Phil Allt have signed on, as have Greg Roffey, Laurie Garbutt, Mike Salisbury, Rob Dunn-Dufault and Scott Tracey in Ward 4.
Alex Green, Bob Senechal, Cathy Downer, Leanne Piper, Scott Butler support the pledge in Ward 5. Keith Poore in Ward 6..(Todd Denis have signed on in Ward 6 as well.)
Mayoral candidates Andrew Donovan, Jason Blokhuis and Karen Farbridge have signed on, as well as Upper Grand District School Board trustee candidate Aaron Blair.”
The Share the Road Coalition, which is sponsoring the province-wide Active Communities Pledge Campaign, released a province-wide poll (2014) showing that:
- 68 per cent of the Ontario Residents said that the provincial government should invest in infrastructure for cyclists to encourage more people to ride their bikes more often. The survey also indicated that:
- 70 per cent of Ontarians agree that better infrastructure would get more people riding their bikes
- 66 per cent of Ontarians agree that getting more people on bikes benefits everyone, not just cyclists
- 89 per cent Of Ontarians support programs that are focused on getting more children to walk and bike to school
Please support candidates who support active transportation.