Questions for Municipal Candidates: How do we invite citizens to move around Guelph more actively?
Posted October 16, 2018
Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation would like Municipal Candidates to express their views on topics related to Active Transportation. To help with this, we request that the candidates respond to these three questions. The answers will be posted as they come in, and will be highlighted once a week in our e-mail, twitter and facebook pages. Scroll down to your ward to get your candidates’ answers.
- Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation believes that building safe, connected Active Transportation infrastructure will make it more inviting for people of all ages and abilities to walk or bike around town. This has health,environmental, social and economic benefits to the City of Guelph and its citizens. Currently, building cycling infrastructure is often tied to road reconstruction, which results in a patchwork approach to building the network, and a longer time to complete. Would you work to implement stable, dedicated funding to build connected Active Transportation infrastructure at a faster pace?
- What would you do to encourage and invite citizens to get around the city of Guelph, besides using their cars?
- What concrete steps will you take to reduce the number of pedestrian and cycling deaths and serious injuries to zero?
Q2 Prioritize the funding of public transit in the city budget, and take transit and my bicycle on a regular basis, the latter I already do. Leading by example is something we all ought to do, both for the visuality of it, but to make sure we can understand from the first-hand experience too, something too few on Council until now have done.
Q3 As only one vote on council, there is little that could be done by me directly within Council chambers – it’s not what I want to say. What I want to say is that I could stop it from happening across the board, but the truth is, it’s a lot of intersecting issues that converge and coalesce into pedestrian and cyclist death. We need to prioritize smart infrastructure that clearly indicates and segregates bicycle lanes, we need officers to enforce dangerous driving and cyclists adhering to the law, and we need stronger education around safe driving and cycling in our communities as well. These need multiple agents within and outside of City Hall, and I am very grateful for the work taken on by GCAT on this.
Did not respond: Cam Guthrie
Q1 I believe through development and intensification (especially in Ward 1), over the coming decades there are some unique opportunities to leverage developer interests as a means to expand our active transportation network. Under the Places to Grow Act, this is the predominant type of growth our City of forecasting (intensification), so developing a funding model that focuses on Active Transportation and transportation alternatives as a means to alleviate vehicular traffic is something I’d be willing to consider.
Q2 I have been vocal in my support of the concept for a Ward Neighborhood Trail along the Guelph Junction Railway line throughout the Ward. A file GCAT is credited with being a champion of. http://www.ward1guelph.ca/
Q3 Since getting elected in 2014 I have made pedestrian safety (and by extension cycling safety), a top priority of mine. I have worked hard to bring crossing lights to the intersections of York & Elizabeth, as well as Watson Parkway & Eastview in my Ward. Through traffic studies I’ve been able to advocate for the installation of signalized cross walks at Watson & Fleming, Grange & Auden as well as Grange & Kearney in the East End. We’ve also seen the reconstruction of Eastview Road between Starwood & Watson Parkway in East Guelph which included a multi use path (i.e. separated bike infrastructure). I have also supported the inclusion of the Speedvale pedestrian underpass as part of the long term vision for the reconstruction of the Speedvale Avenue bridge.
Q1 Yes, absolutely! But we need to stop forcing cyclists to ride on dangerous and busy arterial roads. The active network needs to be separated and safe.
Q2 Build an active network that is safe, fast and enjoyable. This means underpasses at Speedvale Ave, the Hanlon Expressway, and Victoria Rd. so active citizens can move around town more quickly.
Q3 Reduce speed limits throughout the city to 40km/hr on neighbourhood streets, 50km/hr on busy arterial roads. Implement red light cameras and speed radar as a revenue neutral deterrent.
Q1 I have been reviewing the City budget and as many candidates and current council members advise, there is a large infrastructure deficit that needs to be addressed. Many of the newer or re-surfaced roads come with better signalling, and bike lanes.
Speaking for my observations in Ward 1, I plan on advocating strongly to get our East End roads the attention they deserve – and as soon as possible. To answer your question 1 – Yes.
Q2 As I have stated and maintain, the East End has few to no accessible services. We are required to drive or use transit. We need to encourage business to come to the East End. We need Loblaws to build or release the land they have left vacant for almost 20 years, We need to get the Guelph jail grounds back. We need to get York Road fixed and ready to accept new business. AS it is today, York Road is not safe for pedestrians or bikes. There is lots to do – and once we see businesses come to the East End – the reliance on cars will hopefully decline.
Q3 I am all in favour to get cars to slow down. I am in favour of bringing photo radar to all school zones, or designated community safety zones.
Did not respond: Charlene Downey, Dave Heffernan, Jamie Killingsworth, Barbara Mann, Jax Thornton
Q1 an enthusiastic yes!
Q2 On the doorsteps I hear that there is an increased desire to partake in cycling and walking opportunities for getting around the city. There DOES seem to be consensus that a painted line on a road does not create a bike lane that makes riders feel safe on busier thoroughfares. Separated lanes ARE being introduced more often now, but I believe that we need to be more ambitious with this. Making sure that we eliminate the gaps in our cycling infrastructure will really help too. If a rider knows that there is a continuous, safe way to commute within the city, we’ll see use skyrocket which benefits our community well-being in so many ways
Q3 Separated lanes will help with this, but we need as a city to support a major cultural shift from the antiquated position that “cars rule the road”. We need cameras at stop-lights, more traffic calming measures, a greater presence in speed limit enforcement, and safer intersections. In particular find ways to take the “Speed” out of “Speedvale”. That road has become a dangerous highway, and I believe we have failed as a city to properly address this. We need to rethink the way cars and trucks move from west to east in Guelph. We can do it, and if re-lected I am committed to continuing my work as a vocal active transportation advocate. Any investment we make in active transportation infrastructure pays back in our increased quality of life, our citizen’s health and well-being, and the new businesses that offer good jobs with good new residents that are drawn here because they see this as a cycling and walking-friendly city. Keep up the good work GCAT!
Q1Absolutely I would work to implement stable, dedicated funding to build connected Active Transportation infrastructure at a faster pace. Active transportation has some funding allocated and is one of the recommended focuses that were Unanimously accepted by Guelph City Council when we presented the updated Community Energy Initiative in May 2018. I plan to hold myself and others accountable to these priorities through Our Energy Guelph as we move forward.
Q2.What would you do to encourage and invite citizens to get around the city of Guelph, besides using their cars?
Based on what I have seen and heard from residents the two top reasons for not using active transportation are:
a.) Safety; not wanting to be too close to vehicular traffic whether personally or fear for their children being too close to cars and trucks and;
b.) Connected trails through the entire city; to go for a bike ride is nice but if you cannot get to where you need to go to visit a friend or run an errand then it is less useful and less likely to be adopted.
To remove both of these concerns I am very much in favor of having an inter-connected trail network across the city. Having vehicles and walkers, runners, cyclists and other active travelers separated from the roadways is less stressful, safer, and much more appealing for us all.
Q3.) What concrete steps will you take to reduce the number of pedestrian and cycling deaths and serious injuries to zero?
The primary improvement to safety would be the inter-connected trail network as mentioned in last question. Increasing police presence to discourage poor driving habits as well as enforcement to reduce speeding, reckless, and impaired driving is a top priority for our residents’ safety. I would like to see input from all of the cycling community here in Guelph as well as best practices evaluated from other similar cities on what they have had success with. Overall awareness communication needs to be continued and change peoples’ perception of the car being the only important means of moving around the city. Cyclists and runners should be embraced, not resented, by drivers. Making the infrastructure better will make positive change on all of these fronts.
Q 1. Yes.
Q2. One of my personal goals as City Councillor is to bring the “Bike Share” program to the City of Guelph.
Please google: ‘Bike Share’Toronto .The site states the benefits to the citizens .
I will commit to working with GCAT & other community neighbourhood groups to implement this active transportation option.
I’ve spoken to various employers who would be willing to consider subsidizing the Bike Share rider pass for their employees. They especially like the possibility Bike Share may have a positive impact on addressing a small component of the parking challenges in the downtown core .
I have family members who live & work in Toronto’s downtown core & advocate
the benefits as listed on the Bike Share website .
Using the Bike Share rider pass saves money, saves time, is fun , provides exercise & promotes GO GREEN .
To enhance this program we can continue with our collaboration with City staff regarding the Cycling Master Plan & the Official Plan .
Let’s take this ‘Bike Share’ model & design it to meet the unique needs
& characteristics of our city & make it happen for our citizens.
Q3.It is the responsibility of City Council to ensure all Transit safety concerns are addressed for our citizens from elementary to Third Age .
To ensure this commitment as a Councillor I would collaborate with GCAT, City Transportation Services & Community partners to identify ‘high risk’ residential locations or main roads where cycling accidents have occurred or have the potential to be unsafe.
When knocking on doors I’ve heard from many residents in WARD 2 who are very upset with the increase of drivers ‘racing’ through their neighbourhood to bypass main intersections.
Evidence would show the racing interloper often appears when children are walking or cycling to school in the morning creating a very dangerous situation for everyone.
An inclusive Active transportation model must address all aspects of road safety not only cycling.
Consideration & attention must also be given to assisted motorized wheelchairs, scooters, those who use walkers & young children on their way to & from school & play.
For example many individuals have expressed the need for longer lights where Seniors & children require more time to cross certain intersections or cross walks, red lights as deterrents, reduced speed limits & stiffer fines for speeding especially in residential neighbourhoods.
There must be an ongoing educational component & Best Practice reviews to remind drivers, cyclists, Seniors & children to ‘act safe ..to stay safe ‘.
I’m looking forward to being involved in the current Cycling Master Plan, City Master Trail Plan & the City’s Official Plan which identified Active Transportation as a City priority .
I know City Council is addressing our current & future transportation, cycling & mobility Transit needs through community engagement & I urge all residents to stay connected to their Ward Councillors to make sure their concerns are heard & addressed .
I’ve been to City Council advocating for Seniors’ Transit needs & I’m encouraged that City staff are receptive to our suggestions for transportation improvements as part of the Transit review.
By improving our active transportation model Council can provide increased safe & efficient opportunities for all ages to get outside & live an active healthy life .
Did not respond: Rogrigo Goller, Mary Thring, Sudha Sharma
Q1Yes. I would like us emulate Montreal and cities like Amsterdam
Q2 Improve buses, support infrastructure for alternative transport including bikes, mobility scooters, I would also advocate to repair our badly in need of repair sidewalks. As we all agree, walking is the most active form of transit that there is. Everyone is hurt by sidewalks needing to be replaced. They’re dangerous,unsightly and points of anger for many people.
Q3 I am currently working with many people who wish traffic calming and speed enforcement measures throughout Ward 3. Speedvale Avenue needs bike lanes and needs to be re-examined by our traffic department to see how we can stop cars travelling at speeds in excess of 100 kmh. Residential streets need to be thoughtfully assessed to see what traffic calming can be done to ensure they are not used as short cuts. Why we do not use one way streets and 365/24 parking as a cheap form of traffic calming eludes me. If Montreal and Toronto can use these measures, Guelph can too.
Q1 I agree that biking and walking have health, environmental, social and economic benefits to the City of Guelph and its citizens. I also agree we need a better approach than the patchwork scenario. Last year council approved $12 million be included in the proposed 2018-2027 capital budget. Council also approved year-round maintenance funding. To answer your question yes I would work to implement stable, dedicated funding to build connected Active Transportation at a faster pace. Perhaps we could approve a percentage of our road budgets go towards Active Transportation. Happy to work on such a motion with the community.
Q2 Establish the city’s vision to become one of Canada’s most bicycle-friendly communities by providing a safe, practical cycling environment. Upgrades to our city trails to improve connectivity for all forms of transportation walking, running, cycling and even inline skating. Commuter trails that are not necessarily on the streets, curb cuts, controlled crossing locations, underpasses and bridges where feasible. Also protected bike lanes. I will also champion frequent, reliable bus service that will get people to their destinations in an efficient fashion. Sidewalks that are accessible, more multi-use paths, and more pedestrian crossovers.
Q3 Traffic calming, speed enforcement, pedestrian crossovers, bike boxes, green painted lanes, protected intersections in other words investing in the a safe active transportation network.
Did not respond: Jason Dodge, Steve Petric, Patrick Sheridan
Q1 The data is clear: a population that can rely on cycling for transportation is fitter, healthier, and happier. Our city’s current patchwork approach fails on two fronts: not only do we have many disconnected parts of our bike grid, but what we do have is still right in the middle of traffic! Only dedicated cyclists are brave enough to dodge cars and trucks (and swing around stopped buses) to get to their destination. If we’re going to make cycling work for everybody, we need separate, stable and dedicated funding to build a separated bike travel network.
Q2 We need to accept a real paradigm shift: we need to view cyclists not as vehicles on a road but as pedestrians with wheels. Right now, in Ward 4, nobody lives more than a 20 minute bike ride from downtown. (Sometimes it takes me twenty minutes just to find parking!) But almost nobody chooses to bike — because we haven’t built the kind of infrastructure that makes people feel safe. We need a traffic-separated bike network: connecting our park and river trail system with effective overpasses and underpasses (across the Hanlon, the rivers, and the CN tracks), building new bike routes off the roads and safely away from traffic and bus stops, and building on-road “bike lanes” only as a last resort. We need to stop thinking of bikes as an afterthought and treat them as a viable transportation alternative.
This isn’t a novel idea. The University of Guelph has been criss-crossed with this kind of pedestrian/bicycle shared infrastructure for as long as I’ve lived in Guelph — and it works! Wide sidewalks, asphalt paths, brick walks, and (just as importantly) effective transit connections all combine to make this the only real pedestrians-first area in town.
Q3 By taking bicycles out of car traffic, cycling will be much safer (and drivers will be better off!) We also need to redesign some trouble roads like Speedvale at Kathleen — drivers in that area are subtly encouraged, by the location of the hills and the layout of the road and sidewalks, to treat that section as a fast highway instead of a city street. Good design encourages safety — and we can use good design to make our intersections better.
Back in my first term of council we had a number of road reconstruction projects completed WITHOUT bike lanes. The reason was that they were not identified as bicycle routes in the cycling masterplan.
The policy that I forwarded and helped implement was that when arterial and collector road reconstruction projects are completed, bike lanes would be included BY DEFAULT. On one hand, the result is a patchwork of cycling infrastructure, but in the long view we will achieve a comprehensive multi-million dollar cycling infrastructure we could not otherwise afford. Short term pain for long term gain…. All the while stretching our tax dollars.
To answer your specific question – YES, we absolutely continue to build connected infrastructure to implement our Active Transportation masterplan as quickly as possible, particularly the Hanlon Expressway underpass.
Q2 – As a lifelong cyclist I support more off street path options particularly to be able to access employment lands and shopping. The west end (ward 4) has serious challenges with regards to this. I fought hard to ensure that the underpass beneath the Hanlon Expressway be included in the Active Transportation Masterplan so that we could develop an off road linkage to the downtown and the Hanlon Creek Business Park. I will continue to make this a top priority for the residents of Ward 4.
Q3 – In 2003 I was hit by a car that turned in front of me while riding down Gordon Street and was nearly killed. There is currently a green cycling awareness lane there now so I’m guessing I’m not the only person who has had vehicle conflicts here.
In addition to improving infrastructure we need to promote Bicycle Safety Campaign that aims to help educate both drivers and cyclists on how to properly use bike boxes, shared lanes and how to make right turns across bike lanes. Cyclists are vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act – nothing makes me angry when I see adult cyclists racing down the wrong way on pedestrian sidewalk. Safety is a joint responsibility. YES, we need to provide safer infrastructure, and YES we need to educate both cyclists and drivers, but we also need to enforce rules of the road to reduce the number of pedestrian and cycling deaths and serious injuries.
Did not respond: Indu Arora, Christine Billings, Brendan Clark, Peter Hamtak, Eli Ridder
Q1Yes, I believe we need safe and reliable transportation choices that includes walking and cycling. The Active Transportation Network was approved in 2017 . Council needs to keep its commitment of $12 million over the next 10 years to implement the improvements and connection gaps.
Q2 The good news is that bicycle trips have tripled over the past 10 years so we are on our way. We need to continue to make cycling and walking a safer and more pleasurable experience so that it becomes a ‘real choice’ for Transportation. We have to carry through with and continue our sidewalk repair program and other infrastructure repairs. Also, we need to ensure we have good winter maintenance on our sidewalks and network trails. Promotion and education needs to start young with expanded ‘walk to school’ programs. Partnerships with GCAT and other groups are important for collaboration in the promotion of alternatives to the car. We also need to improve our transit system with more frequent and reliable service which would include extended service on Sundays.
Q3 This will take a number of approaches – safer separated bicycle lanes, education, better enforcement for cyclists and vehicles, protected intersections, speed photo radar in school zones, change municipal cycling legislation and laws as recommended in the Cycling Master Plan- to name a few. We have an opportunity with the update of the Transportation Master Plan next year to really look to best practices to move us in the right direction in regards to reducing pedestrian and cycling deaths and injuries.
Did not respond: Alex Green, Leanne Piper
Q1 Infrastructure projects cannot be looked at in isolation, both for financial and work capacity reasons. This past term of council we created an Asset Management department to take a holistic approach to the creation of new infrastructure and the rejuvenation of older infrastructure. Council will review the Transportation Master Plan update in 2019, which will help guide the direction of all methods of movement throughout the city, and I look forward to reviewing the recommendations regarding our active transportation network. Until we have a new Master Plan in place, we must take a measured approach to active transportation infrastructure that follows our current guidelines. When feasible, its important to prioritise work to ensure no area of the city is left deficient for safe non-automobile travel (such as we did when we installed the separated active transportation lanes on Woodlawn).
Q2 The transit service review that is currently underway is critical to understand how we can improve public transit to help skew the modal split away from personal autos. The next term of council will have an excellent opportunity to make substantial improvements and strategic, targeted investments in our public transit service. For cycling infrastructure, I would like to see more off-street path options (or physically separated paths) when it is financially and infrastructurally feasible. These changes are more difficult in older, built-up areas of the city, so we need to ensure we take advantage of the clean slate opportunities in new neighbourhoods such as the Clair-Maltby and Innovation District areas. I also support the city’s recent installation of new cycling road markings, whether it be green paint highlights at intersections or the creation of a “cycling crosswalk” like we now have at Gordon and Stone. To assist pedestrian traffic, I support the elimination of sidewalk discontinuities across the city and welcome the investments council has made into extensive sidewalk repair and ploughing. Furthermore, residents will feel safer walking across busy roads when we install pedestrian islands (like we did on Downey) and new enhanced pedestrian crossovers (like we did on Grange). Our term of council set the right path forward by activating alternate transportation methods and we should continue this important work over the next council term.
Q3 The city must continue creating safer interaction spaces between vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. This includes installing enhanced pedestrian crossovers and cycling crosswalks at busy intersections, as well continuing our calming traffic plans such as pedestrian islands, vertical and horizontal deflections, and visible lane paintings and markings. These initiatives requires continued council funding during budgets and I have supported such work in the past and will do so in the next council term as well. Additionally, traffic enforcement is a vital component of street safety and I will continue to support council’s integrated relationship with both city bylaw and police departments. Finally, education and communication plays an important role to alert drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to safe travelling procedures and I will continue to support the city’s efforts through my social media accounts.
Q1 I agree with you on the patchwork style of road reconstruction. It looks terrible. I’d rather we build the roads correctly in the first place, knowing that when we have an arterial road, that the road be built with multi-purpose sidewalks for walking/cycling, and leave the roads for the vehicles. The funding itself would be part of the infrastructure funding that I would review.
Q2 If we got Transit working properly, that would be ideal. Having transit that would get close to popular stops would be recommended. From a south end perspective, most paths I want to bike are still dangerous or inaccessible by anything other than a car. I’m hard-pressed to encourage citizens to bike or walk outside of our ward, especially in light of all the bike thefts. But, within our ward, we’re just missing a few trail connections to be able to bike to the other wards and within our own ward; and I’m encouraged by the work that David Beaton is doing at the City to get us there.
Q3 I’m baffled by the number of students who don’t wear bike helmets, and regular citizens in general! Police are allowed to ticket these individuals, they could educate students at schools, and also put out media messaging on radio or print ads explaining the seriousness of not wearing a helmet.
Q1 As someone who has done extensive work with the Canadian Index of Wellbeing I understand how important active transportation is to physical and mental wellbeing and for the environment. Rather than a patchwork, we need to look at the city as a whole system and strive for continuity. The next term of council will have an opportunity to do this by updating the Transportation Master Plan.
With respect to dedicated funding to build connected infrastructure at a faster pace, I need more information about the costs, timelines and tradeoffs before committing to that.
Q2 Better civic design, better connectivity and better transit would encourage people to get around the city without their cars.
Q3 There are a number of factors at play.
Did not respond: Usha Arora, Anshu Khurana,