GWWRTC, GCAT & GORBA Submit Public Comments on Identifying a Province-Wide Cycling Network

In April, the Ministry of Transportation released it’s strategy for a province-wide cycling network and called for stakeholders to comment. GWWRTC, GCAT, and GORBA collaborated to submit comments regarding the existing and proposed network routes in the region. The comments submitted to the Policy and Planning Division at the MTO, are listed below.

Here is the link to the MTO #CycleON Action Plan 1.0, and EBR with map and KML file embedded

May 26, 2017

Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation
Guelph Wellington Waterloo Regional Trail Committee
Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association

Monica Russell
Senior Policy Analyst
Ministry of Transportation
Policy and Planning Division
Transportation Planning Branch
Environmental Policy Office (Toronto)
777 Bay Street Suite 3000
Toronto Ontario M7A 2J8

Subject:  Public Comment on Identifying a Province-Wide Cycling Network

These comments are being submitted jointly on behalf of several Guelph based organizations that are active stakeholders in the advocacy for, development and use of trails and cycling infrastructure within the Guelph community and surrounding region.

Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT)

GCAT is an incorporated organization whose mission is to increase the quantity, quality and safety of active transportation options in Guelph. The organization has over 60 members and 500 supporters.

Guelph Wellington Waterloo Regional Trail Committee (GWWRTC)

Formed in August 2016, GWWRTC is a collaborative trails initiative in Wellington County and surrounding areas with aims to centralize regional trail resources, advocate for greater trail use, liaise between local government, trail users, and property owners, and support new trail infrastructure development.

Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association (GORBA)

GORBA is the largest group in Guelph devoted to the needs of the off-road cyclist since 1992. By providing a group voice, we can preserve, maintain, and even increase the trail network in the Guelph area. As a group, we can participate in discussions with other trail user groups, and with organizations such as the Grand River Conservation Authority and the City of Guelph.

We would like to comment on the proposed province-wide cycling network, with a particular focus on the routes in the Guelph region.

To accompany this online submission (submitted through the environment registry/EBR), we have also sent an email to CycleONStrategy@ontario.ca with maps that correspond with our comments. The maps in the email are numbered and those map numbers are referred to in the comments below.

Guelph To Goderich Trail Connections (Refer to “Map1 – G2G”)

We have concerns/questions about routing from the city of Guelph boundary to the Guelph to Goderich (G2G) trail via the Edinburgh Rd. extension/hydro corridor.

  •     The current condition of the “trail” using the hydro corridor beginning at Edinburgh, and extending north of Woodlawn Road is not bicycle-friendly (very large rocks, not well marked). Are there plans to improve the condition/accessibility of this trail?
  •     This hydro corridor is under private ownership. It is our understanding that Ontario Hydro requires fences to be built around the base of each tower to keep trail users from climbing. has this issue been resolved with property owners and Ontario Hydro?
  •     County Road 30 is a busy highway without space for cycling. An alternative connection from the hydro corridor to the G2G trailhead is the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) “Marden Tract” trail that goes from the hydro corridor to the current G2G trailhead (this trail already allows bikes and is in good condition.)
  •     Currently, most cyclists utilize Silvercreek Pkwy. N/County Rd 39 to reach the G2G trailhead. This route does not accommodate cyclists. We recommend that wide paved shoulders along this road be added to improve safety.
  •     Regardless of the route chosen, we urge the province to work with all levels of government to implement a safe and direct connection to the G2G trailhead. This is a critical link in the regional cycling network.

Alternative Routes (Refer to “Map2 – Alternative Guelph”)

We would like to propose an alternative route using mostly established Guelph trails and lower traffic roads on two draft routes that travel south from downtown Guelph. We would propose to avoid routes on Gordon St. (and also Claire Rd. if possible), which are high-traffic streets with no physical separation from motorized traffic. Instead, Guelph’s established recreational trails (“Royal Recreation Trail”) and lower-traffic streets could be used.

  •     These alternative routes connect to the routes which connect Guelph to Hamilton/Greenbelt Route, and Guelph to Hespeler/Cambridge.
  •     A few connections in Guelph could be improved with minor trail improvements. We urge the province to provide the City of Guelph with funding opportunities which would prioritize the completion of the province-wide network.

Downtown Guelph to Guelph Lake Conservation Area (Refer to “Map3 – Guelph Lake”)

We recommend that the network provide a route to connect downtown Guelph via existing trails to Guelph Lake Conservation Area. Along with the conservation area providing the only campsites near the city, there are also opportunities for swimming, mountain biking, and hiking. The trails that lead to the conservation area are excellent for cycling.

Guelph to Hamilton Route (Refer to “Map4 – Hamilton”)

A more direct route that connects Guelph with Hamilton should be included in the network. We recommend using Watson Rd. and Centre Rd. This would not replace the proposed route in the draft network, but would provide a more direct alternative which does not prioritize the connection to the Greenbelt Route.

Hespeler to Cambridge Connection (Refer to “Map5 – Cambridge”)

We recommend an additional connection from Hespeler to Cambridge west of the Grand River. Existing trails are in place including the “Mill Run Trail” and “Riverside Park” trails, along with on-road use of Fountain St.

  •     This is a preferred connection to the trail that runs continuously from this region to Lake Erie. It is mostly off-road (therefore safer) and also more direct, while still passing through or very close to city centres.

Guelph to Kitchener Connection

We strongly urge the province to provide a safe, direct cycling route connecting Guelph to Kitchener. The province’s leadership is critical since there are so many jurisdictions involved (cities, county, township, etc.), and also due to their role in ongoing ON Highway 7 and rail transit projects that could be leveraged.

Additional Suggestions

  •     We urge the province to recommend that campgrounds enact “no-turn-away” policies to accommodate self-supported touring cyclists that arrive for a single night without prior reservations. For more information refer to Adventure Cycling.
  •     We urge the province to continue to grow their investment in cycling infrastructure, both on and off-road, to provide safe cycling routes for everyone.

We thank you for the opportunity to comment. If any clarification and additional feedback is required, please use the contact info listed below.

Sincerely,

Taylor Moran (taylor.moran@gmail.com) – GWWRTC
Yvette Tendick (info@gcat.ca) – GCAT
Don Casey (don.casey0@gmail.com) – GORBA

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