It’s almost Bike Month! So Many Great Events! May 27-June 30

It’s almost here!  A whole month of bike events hosted by various organizations!

Here is a full listing of events hosted by a variety of groups. (Speed River Bicycle, Guelph Off Road Bicycling Association, Guelph Police Services, City of Guelph, and many more!!)

Below is a listing and description of events hosted or co-hosted by GCAT:

( Pre-Bike Month)

May 22  Why We Cycle Movie and Discussion, 6:30pm, Bookshelf Cinema, 41 Quebec St.

Bike Month

May 27 Bike to Work Day.  GCAT  (Active Guelph) will be leading the bike ride from Franchetto Park going to City Hall for a Bike to Work Day celebration. Ride leaves at 7:30 am

June 1 Royal City Bike Rodeo, 12:30-4pm Exhibition Arena, 70 Division St, Guelph

June 8 2Rivers on Two Wheels and a Cold Brew Too, Fixed Gear Brewery, 20 Alma St S, Guelph

June 15 Love Your Bike Festival 9:30-12:30pm, St. Andrews Church, 161 Norfolk St,

June 23 Tour de Guelph all morning, University of Guelph Athletic Centre, 150 Reynolds Walk, Guelph. GCAT will have a booth and will participate in the ride.

Something for everybody! For more info on GCAT rides, contact info@gcat.ca

Back by popular demand: Why We Cycle Movie and Discussion, May 22

On Wednesday May 22, the City of Guelph is presenting the documentary “Why We Cycle” at the Bookshelf Cinema. This internationally popular documentary explores the hidden effects of bicycling on people, societies, and the organization of cities.

This film screening is free, courtesy of the City of Guelph.

Afterwards, Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation will give the movie goers a chance to discuss the movie and socialize. We will be hosting table top discussions in the Greenroom (next to the E-Bar)  upstairs related to how some of the themes in the movie can inspire us in Guelph. For those who want to just have a pint and socialize, you can do that too!. GCAT will provide some nibbles.

Details:

Movie: Wednesday May 22 at 6:30pm at the Bookshelf Cinema,  41 Quebec St, Guelph

Discussion: after the movie, at approx 7:30pm at the Greenroom upstairs from the cinema

More info about the movie:

In this movie regular cyclists and regular scientists from all walks of life paint a picture of Dutch cycling culture. We learn that cycling leads to happiness, health, keeping up cognitive functions and creativity and a state of readiness. Cycling also leads to happy children who enjoy the autonomy of independent travel. Because cyclists are open to their surroundings and each other, city life tends to be more open. Trust among people grows as they interact through cycling.

Contact

benita.vanmiltenburg@guelph.ca  (movie)

info@gcat.ca (discussion afterwards)

 

Join us for Guelph’s Royal City Bike Rodeo!

Welcome to Guelph’s  Royal City Bike Rodeo!

Presented by the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT), Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association (GORBA), City of Guelph, and Guelph Police Service, the Royal City Bike Rodeo will take place rain or shine, at Exhibition Park Arena on Saturday, June 1, 2019 , between  11:30 to 4pm.

The Guelph Police Service will run a fun and challenging bicycle agility course that will give children in grades 4 and 5 the opportunity to become better and safer bicyclists, and practice the rules of the road. Children will receive immediate feedback in a positive manner to help improve their cycling skills. Each rodeo time-slot lasts one and and half hours (1.5 hours) and includes: the agility course, a pre-ride safety check, and helmet fitting. What’s more, the Guelph Off Road Bicycling Association (GORBA) will be offering a skills demo just outside of the arena!

Participants must:

  1. Bring a bicycle in good-working condition, a helmet and a lock.

  2. Arrive 30 minutes before their registered time to have their bicycle checked and sign-in. You must register your preferred time on Eventbrite.

  3. Be accompanied at the Bike Rodeo by parent/guardian. The parent or guardian must sign their child’s participation waiver at the event, and remain at Exhibition Park Arena while their child participates.

  4. Be in grade 4 or 5

  5. Be a resident in the city of Guelph.

  6. Cost is $5 (includes one loot bag!) and only 100 spots available. You must register for the event at Eventbrite.  Register early!

Please contact info@gcat.ca if you need more information.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Join Us Sunday May 5 For A Magnificent Magnolia Ride!

Come join The Guelph Hiking Club on Sunday, May 5 for a free, casual bike ride to kick off Spring and enjoy the Magnificent Magnolia trees getting ready to bloom. We will ride about 12km on mainly quiet residential streets and trails around some of the quaint neighbourhoods of Guelph.  Make sure you pack your cell phone and get some beautiful shots of these beautiful trees getting ready to bloom!
 

For added fun, we’re having a costume contest to brighten the day. There will be prizes for: The Best Dressed Cyclist, The Most Outlandish Ensemble, and The Best Spring Bonnet, so get your best outfit ready!

In addition, we are honoured to be joined by mixed media artist Rosanne Morris, who will be busy painting under one of the magnificent magnolia trees. Rosanne’s current work blends photo-based digital images with acrylic paints and pastels.

The trip will begin at Speed River Bicycle at 135 Wyndham St. N. at 1pm  and end at Arthur Street N., for a free garden party where refreshments will be served.  Spaces are limited, so you must register at info@gcat.ca in order to participate.

Helmets are encouraged.

Prizes and refreshments courtesy of Speed River BicycleThe Wike Bicycle Company, and Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation.

For more information, please contact activeguelph@gmail.com, info@gcat.ca, or sgates14@hotmail.com

 

GCAT is leading bike rides for Doors Open Guelph, April 27, 2019

New Doors Open Guelph Event!!

Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation is leading  bicycle tours in this year’s Doors Open Guelph Event.  We will be leading tours to Spring Mill Distillery, Greenbriar, The Victory School and Aberdeen House.  Join us!

Spaces are limited. Please register at info@gcat.ca.
Optional stop at end of ride at either Spring Mill Distillery or another nearby pub.

When: Saturday April 27, 2019
Time: There are 2 rides of 15 people each.
They both start at 11am and end around 4 pm.
Bring helmet, water and snacks!
Start and Ending location:  Spring Mill Distillery, 43 Arthur Street South
Distance:  10km
Signed waiver required to participate in event.
For more information, contact info@gcat.ca

Highlights of the GCAT Annual General Meeting Feb. 21, 2019

Over 70 people attended the AGM this year, with guest speaker Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director of Share the Road Cycling Coalition. Lots of great information was shared!

The evening began with the usual AGM stuff…call to order, financial statements, etc. It was followed by a brief presentation by Yvette Tendick, GCAT president, presenting some of the highlights of 2018, such as the Ride the Ward Rides with your Municipal candidate, and partnering with the Guelphpolice to encourage people to register their bikes with project 529.

Our big projects in 2019 will be encouraging the city to install a minimum grid of protected bike lanes (as was recently approved in the Kitchener capital budget), as well as beginning a pilot program for Bikes for Refugees, including a mentoring program.

Jamie Stuckless from Share the Road spoke next. The focus of her talk was the Share the Road’s new campaign, entitled #BikesCanDoThat.

On a local level, she let us know that Guelph will maintain it’s Silver Status with Bike Friendly Communities, which is a Share the Road program that monitors cycling progress in cities across Ontario.

According to Share the Road, our strong points are:

  • Achieved 3% target for cycling modal share
  • Growing network of cycling infrastructure, including focus onaddressing “pinch points” and trail crossings
  • Strong partnerships with stakeholders like GCAT and police services to support programs

What we need to work on:

  • Identify and work towards a higher modal share target
  • Conduct a gap analysis to build a minimum grid
  • Investigate bike share
  • Adopt a Vision Zero Policy
  • Encourage businesses to become Ontario by Bike certified

On the subject of #BikesCanDoThat, many graphics were offered to make the point that:

  1. 2 way protected bike lanes have a capacity of 2,000-3,000 persons per hour per direction, while cars only have 700-1,100
  2. 32 % of Ontarions want to cycle to work
  3. Separated bike lanes make roads safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

As well, the new board of directors for GCAT is now formed.  The members are:

Ted Bangay, Laura Brown, Mike Darmon, Suzanne Gates, Jordan Richard, Yvette Tendick and Luke Weiler. Congratulations to all!

Come to GCAT’s Annual General Meeting and After Party!

Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation invites the public to GCAT’s  Annual General Meeting and after party on Feb. 21!

Join us to hear about the accomplishments and goals of GCAT to make Guelph one of the best places in Ontario for cycling and walking. Our guest speaker will be Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director of Share the Road Cycling Coalition. Her topic is “How Bikes Make Cities Better”

Share the Road works to influence legislative change in Ontario, unite cycling organizations from across the province and work with and on behalf of municipalities to enhance their ability to make their communities more bicycle-friendly

Come out and get inspired!

Location: Red Papaya

Time: 7-8 pm for AGM*, Registration begins at 6:30pm 
8-10 pm for after party. Come to one or both!

Free apps and great door prizes!!!! (Thank you Guelph Solar and other sponsors!)

*We are actively taking memberships, online, at the Guelph Farmers’ Market on Jan. 26 and Feb. 9, as well as at the AGM. Please see gcat.ca for more details. All members of the public are invited to the AGM but only GCAT members can vote.

Please let us know in advance if you are interested in running as a board member for GCAT. We meet once a month, and participate in other GCAT related events.

Photo of Jamie Stuckless courtesy of Tyson Burger, Big Red Oak

 

2018 Year in Review

GCAT 2018 Year in Review

 

Ward 1 discussion after Ride the Ward ride.

Ride the Ward bike ride with Ward 5 candidates

2018 was a great year for Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation!  We worked hard to support and encourage citizens who want to bike and walk in Guelph. Here are some highlights of the work that we have done this year. Please support our membership drive for 2019 so that we can continue to work hard for Guelph citizens to make Guelph a leading city for Active Transportation!

Advocacy

  • formed a coalition with other stakeholder groups to get staff and city council to reverse decision on cancelling Speedvale Bridge Underpass project. Again!!! Helped to organize delegates (7!) and letter writers (50!) and petitioned (420 names!) to reach this end
  • Organized “Ride the Ward Rides” which encouraged municipal candidates to ride their wards with the general public. Very well attended in all 6 wards.
  • We asked all Municipal candidates to answer Questionnaire about how to get people moving around Guelph more actively. Well thought out responses by all participants.
  • City of Guelph’s Transportation Demand Coordinator, Benita Van Miltenburg to spoke about cycling in Guelph at our second Annual General Meeting
  • Hosted Book Launch at the E-Bar, Building a Cycling City, book by Chris and Melissa Bruntlett. Over 100 people attended.
  • Hosted discussion at the E-Bar after Why We Cycle movie at the Bookshelf, hosted by the city of Guelph. Very well attended. It reinforced our belief that  Guelph citizens are really interested in getting on bikes!
  • Supported City of Guelph’s initiative Bike to Work Day by leading 3 of the 5 rides to City Hall to celebrate importance of cycling in Guelph
  • Participated in panel discussion of Livable Cities to promote a vision for Guelph that is more walkable and bikeable that attracted 50+ people.
  • Participated in CBC panel discussion before provincial election to discuss issues that are important to people in Guelph
  • helped the Guelph Police promote project 529 , a volunteer bike registry program proven to reduce bike theft in several cities in Canada. Free registration sticker with GCAT membership!
  • participated in citizen run Southwestern Ontario Regional Bike Summit sponsored by Bike Windsor Essex to learn best practices from other advocacy groups in Southwestern Ontario
  • wrote this and this article in the Guelph Mercury Tribune to raise awareness of importance of trail connections and of cycling in Guelph.
  • facilitated at Bike & DIY sustainability to educate University of Guelph students on importance of alternative transportation options
  • had booths at several community events, such as the EcoMarket, Tour de Guelph, Hillside Festival

Bikes, Trees and a Pint… a celebration of Henry Kock

Fun Events to encourage a culture of cycling in Guelph

  • Magnolia Ride-ride through the Magnolia trees in Guelph, followed by a tea party
  • Trees, Bikes and a Pint -celebrated at 2Rivers Festival with a bike ride to honour Henry Kock, beloved arborist at the Arboretum. 65 people attended.
  • Love Your Bike Festival– celebrated with 2Rivers and St Andrews Church, and led families on a bike ride through Exhibition Park, and finished at Wooly’s pub for free hotdogs.
  • Tweed Ride– we dressed in old timey clothes and rode through the beautiful neighbourhoods of Guelph and celebrated with a pint at Royal City Brewery
  • Guelph Community Santa Parade-we all got dressed up and rode all kinds of bikes..please join us next year!

Book Launch, Building the Cycling City by Chris and Melissa Bruntlett, hosted by GCAT and held at the E-Bar

Please join us in 2019 on our journey to get more people to enjoy healthy transportation!  For only $10, your membership in GCAT will allow us to give a voice to more and more people who want to be healthy, fit, and contribute to the well being of the city.

Outcome of Council meeting for the Speedvale Underpass trail (Dec. 17)

photo credit: Guelph Today

With the Christmas season coming to a close, it’s time to talk about the outcome of the Dec. 17 council meeting and the Speedvale Underpass Trail.

The coverage in Guelph Today was a little sparse, and the Guelph Mercury didn’t even bother. Then again, council only began the discussion about it at 9pm, after the cannabis in retail stores vote. The actual speedvale underpass vote took place after 11:15 pm.

Here’s some background, in case you missed it:

The current bridge on Speedvale Avenue East (near Riverside Park) is nearing the end of its useful life. A new bridge will be installed in 2022. At the same time, $16 million in road improvements will be made to Speedvale Avenue.

GCAT and other community groups have recognized that the bridge reconstruction offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to build an underpass trail along the west side of the Speed River and make movement along our trail system so much safer and easier.

Last year, Mayor Guthrie and councillors unanimously supported moving forward on the project.. Twice. Especially since there was (and is) an enormous outpouring of public support for this trail.

However, since that council meeting, things didn’t turn out the way we had hoped.

At the Sept. 12 Open House for the Speedvale Underpass Trail,  instead of offering a trail on the North side of Speedvale, staff recommended an “Interim Solution.” This solution was basically to move the traffic light on Speedvale to the west, which may make it marginally safer to cross Speedvale Ave. After the city spends 16 million dollars to reduce congestion on Speedvale Ave, traffic will still be brought to a halt several times a day due to trail users crossing the road to go to Riverside Park or to downtown. It really doesn’t make much sense.

Staff did not actually say no to the underpass trail. They recommended, however, a wait of 10-20 years to construct a trail on the north side, when the retaining wall, which the trail will sit upon or beside, needs to be replaced. The cost? Over $5 million!!.

Fortunately, the staff consultant’s report determining a 10-20 year lifespan of the retaining wall was challenged by 2 delegations at the council meeting. Two engineers, Jack Tacoma, retired structural engineer and Harry Oussoren, geotechnical engineer, disputed the assessment. It turns out that the city consultant’s tentative estimation of 10-20 years is “based on the results of a visual inspection” (city’s report) of the retaining wall. Both Jack and Harry reckoned that the retaining wall could last another 50 years, or longer!  Tacoma emphasized that, with reasonable maintenance, many houses in Guelph have provided safe and comfortable homes for well over 100 years, and there is no reason to doubt, without conducting a more detailed assessment of the retaining wall, that it too will last and last.

If Tacoma and Ousorren are correct in their assessments, the city will be able to save the cost of an interim trail solution altogether and instead complete the entire section of trail as soon as the bridge is complete.

Another  bright spot did emerge that evening.  Staff did listen to our suggestions.

GCAT’s position, along with that of the Guelph Hiking Trail Club and the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association, was that the trail could be built in 2022 when the new bridge is installed. We asserted that, “There are perfectly workable and fiscally responsible ways to build the underpass and the trail. A simple variance to the zoning bylaw would allow an anchored boardwalk, attached to the retaining wall, next to a short section of steep slope.”

Well, it turns out that we were right on the mark. Before the council meeting, staff, after input from stakeholder groups, (as well as anticipating letters from the community 🙂 ) added amendments to their original recommendation to council. The amendments included exploring the feasibility of amending the policies and regulations that prevent structures from being built in floodplains, in consultation with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA). This amendment, if favourable, would allow for them to design a trail on the west side. We are confident that the GRCA will support an anchored boardwalk to allow the project to proceed. These amendments, along with the original staff recommendation, were passed unanimously by council.

The only problem:  staff is tying the amendment of the zoning bylaw to allow a structure, with  a comprehensive City of Guelph Bylaw review that is expected to take 3 years. And how long do we have before they build the Speedvale Bridge? Three years.

That timing is being cut close. However we are optimistic that with continued pressure on staff and council, that we can still get the underpass trail built at the same time as the bridge in order to save costs.

The outpouring of public support has gotten us this far. It is very much appreciated, and has been absolutely crucial in getting this further amendment to the staff recommendation. We can’t thank the public enough for all they have done to help to keep this issue at the forefront.

Stay tuned; there will be more to come over the coming year.