Public input from GCAT public meeting, Oct. 14

GCAT - Open Meeting - 2015There was good attendance at the public meeting on Oct. 14.  The group was diverse, from high school age to seniors.  All were interested in getting around the city using healthy transportation.

Xander Huggins, an engineering student at University of Guelph, welcomed the audience and thanked Planet Bean for the use of their space.  He then gave the audience in introduction of Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation. He spoke about some of our goals.

  • Establishing partnerships with local organizations and residents
  • Organizing community events and engagement via social media
  • Increasing cycling modal split to 6% by 2022
  • Advocacy for increased on and off road connections in the city, with the Cycling Master plan and the Active Transportation Network plan as our guide.

Yvette Tendick, president of GCAT, spoke about has happened in the last two years with GCAT. She spoke about the events we hosted or sponsored, such as

  • The Magnolia Ride,
  • Riverside Cycling and a Pint,
  • Two Active Transportation parades,
  • Discussion of the movies “Bike City, Great City,” “The Human Scale”, and “Bikes vs. Cars”.
  • “Happy City” book club
  • Santa Claus parade entry “You can do anything on a bike

She also spoke some advocacy that took place this year.

  • bike lanes re-instated on Downey Road,
  • Speedvale reconstruction
  • underpass under Speedvale Bridge
  • a Woodlawn Multi-use path
  • Active Transportation network study.

Justin Hall from the City of Guelph spoke about the Active Transportation Network Study and other city initiatives.

Bryan McPherson rounded off the evening about future directions of the group.

  • GCAT to become incorporated in 2016.  This will help us in 3 ways:  give us credibility, increase our profile, and allow us to apply for community grants related to GCAT initiatives
  • Will continue representing a community voice at City delegations and meetings with City staff
  • Increase GCAT profile & build our volunteer base
  • Will continue organizing bike rides, movie nights, book talks and other AT events.
  • Revisit our strategic plan – establish priority areas for AT infrastructure improvements.  Improve our understanding of the municipal process in decision making, work with likeminded organizations to represent a unified community voice to better facilitate AT priorities.
  • Facilitate a ‘pop up’ installation related to AT design *
  • Promote the reinstatement of GotBike
  • Website & blog, facebook, twitter enhancements – continue posting media related to local, national & international AT initiatives).  Potential for interactive mapping application.

Public input:  Here were some comments from the public:

  • Need for education in high schools about benefits of cycling.. So far, the only focus in from CELP and HEADWATERS programs, need a wider focus. We need to get off of environmental focus and relay that cycling = Freedom!
    • peer role models from university would help with this
  • Motorist education also needed so that they realize that bikes belong on the road
  • Flags on the side of the bike are a great way to remind motorists about new 1 metre law
  • Guelph should consider modeling a program after Wisconsin to stem the bike thefts happening in Guelph, where bait bikes with GPS are put out to catch criminals.  GCAT has been in contact with Guelph police over this initiative
  • We need more workplace support-showers, bike racks
  • Parking Study currently done by city of Guelph.  Contact Transportation Demand manager to let them know that there is a demand for more cycle parking in Guelph
    • City hall employees should be encouraged to cycle rather than park.  A financial incentive would be best.
    • incentivize businesses to get employees to come to work by bike
  • Active Transportation Network Study-will be at Farmer’s Market on Oct. 31 –looking for input on what kinds of network is preferable
  • We need better traffic signs and education. Examples include priority crossing, bike boxes, etc..

So that’s it, folks!  What else would you like to see happening with Active Transportation in Guelph?

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