Guelph residents want – and deserve – a city that works. And that means we need to get people home from work, to soccer practice, to the grocery store, and out to explore the four corners of the Royal City. Working with the community, I want to make it a priority to ensure Guelphities can get where they want to go faster, better, easier and safer. I will propose we develop a more Integrated Transportation Plan that works on connecting people, places, and communities.
The War on Cars?
It is time to end the imaginary “war” between different types of transportation. Most of us travel the city in more than one way. Sometimes we walk, other times we take Guelph Transit. We ride bikes and we drive. People should be able to count on getting home or anywhere else on time, in comfort and safely no matter how they get around. This is why an Integrated Transportation Plan is important.
An Integrated Transportation Plan would recognize that City Hall has a responsibility to support all transportation choices and work to design Complete Streets for them. This plan would focus on the people of Guelph as customers – people who expect and will get courteous and efficient transit service, accessible sidewalks and pedestrian paths, safe bike lanes and less traffic congestion (through such measures as improved contracting for roadwork).
Update the Transportation Master Plan
- The update of the transportation master plan is coming and is intended to set a direction for sustainable transportation planning by integrating policies with a focus on walking, cycling and transit use, as well as considering the impact of emerging transportation technologies such as ride-hailing, ride sharing, connected autonomous electric shared vehicles and other emerging transportation opportunities. It is important that this plan truly looks at all options and is fully integrated to work together.
Complete Streets offer a wide range of benefits
- Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation travelers. Everyone should be able to safely move about our streets. We should as a community work together to pursue complete streets. Find out more.
Transit that works for Guelph
When it comes to transit, we need to have more than just catchy slogans, broken promises and failed plans. Guelphities need a practical program that delivers.
Guelph Transit riders should expect service first. I will work with the community and City Staff to help usher in a smarter, more comfortable, more courteous, integrated system with the Waterloo Region and Wellington County—in short, a system that actually gets people around town and beyond.
- A Riders’ Charter: clear standards and benchmarks for service, treatment of the public and notification of changes or interruptions to service in a way that keeps Guelph Transit accountable.
- Free and/or Discounted Fares for Seniors and Students: Working together we can develop a proper fare strategy that helps those who need it the most.
- Smart cards: One card for all your fares, loaded up at your convenience and payable by internet or ATM without having to wait in line. Virtually every major transit system in the world has moved to electronic fare collection, and it works. Guelph Transit has a tender out for new fare cards. I will continue to ask that the community is consulted to make these new smart cards work for everyone.
- Affordable Expansion, Integrated over 10 Years: Everyone agrees that Guelph Transit needs to expand to keep up with growth. And everyone knows we can only afford so much at a time. We do need more buses for more frequent routes and service. It is time for politicians to set priorities. It’s time for a 10-year Business Plan and Transit Master Plan that focuses on building a transit system that is frequent, affordable, and reliable for everyone.
Transit is generally well used in the high-frequency areas, however, improvements are needed for long-term sustainability as the city grows.
Connected communities for all
Providing increased transit options that are more effective and connect to more community hubs, gives people the opportunity to not drive. It doesn’t mean people will stop driving – it does, however, mean there are other viable options for transportation so that cars are not the only way to effectively get around for work, activities, and errands. This can help save people money. For those that don’t have vehicles or can’t afford to drive to their work or school, Guelph Transit helps with accessibility and reduces their commute time, thus increasing overall productivity and opportunities.
The current Transit Business Service Review is a critical project for Ward 3 and the City. It could benefit our neighbourhoods. Once complete, it could usher in a real plan to provide greater transit services options to Guelphities, bring neighbourhoods together, and open up opportunities for our residents, now and in the future.
Regional transit will improve the quality of life for all residents
I have diligently advocated for the expansion and improvement of public transportation opportunities. This includes presenting creative solutions for improved regional transit between Waterloo Region and Guelph as well as advocating for two-way all-day GO Train service. We’ve been talking about this for decades – it’s time we actually put some service on the ground.
Better transportation options will better connect people and places within our community as well as helping grow the economy, help the environment, save time for commuters, and save money for taxpayers. It is time we expedite the updated Transportation Master Plan.
Cycling – Integrated With The Grid For Safety
Cycling in Guelph is important. Guelphites often choose from day to day whether to walk, drive, take transit or cycle to get where they are going.
An integrated transportation plan for cycling will continue to the Cycling Master Plan of how we plan, build, take care of and use cycling routes in Guelph but also how we can enhance it and better integrate it with other modes of transportation.
We can work together to make cycling safer and more efficient including:
- Continue to invest in the construction of new bike lanes on arterial roadways, but ensure our current cycling routes are safe and maintained properly.
- Physical separation of bikes and cars: bicycle lanes should be separated from cars with properly curbed lanes, so everyone can travel more safely.
- Expedite the expansion of dedicated multiuse pathways though hydro corridors, ravines and other non-roadways. Better path connections between Ward 3 and Ward 5 over the Hanlon with Ward 4 for seamless travel.
- Increase opportunities for children to learn bike safety and rules of the road.
- Better maintenance of bike routes: including year-round upkeep, with snow clearance of bike lanes.
- Integration of cycling into Guelph’s planning and transit: By looking at incentives and possible partnerships to build a better bike infrastructure. Guelph should consider better bike parking at Guelph Transit stops and hubs, shower facilities and other ideas that make it easier for “dual-mode commuting” (riding to Guelph Transit or GO Transit and hopping on transit)
Respect For Pedestrians – Integrated Plan For Sidewalks and Walkways
We must work together to make sure respect for pedestrians a priority.
- People who walk, push strollers or travel by wheelchair or motorized scooter are often the forgotten travelers in Guelph. Our sidewalks tend to be one umbrella wide—this doesn’t leave much room for families, people with parcels or even groups of friends in a lot of places. This is compounded when sidewalks are in disrepair, with gaping holes or high curbs that make it particularly difficult for people who need to get around with wheels.
- Snow clearing of major sidewalks and bus stops should be a priority. There are many spots where the snow that is plowed off the road ends up on the sidewalk making it inaccessible These areas should be better coordinated or addressed sooner than later.
Repairs and maintenance will be done promptly, on schedule and according to benchmarks and metrics established by City Hall.
- It should be clear to every Guelph resident why a sidewalk is being dug up, what is being done when it will be finished and why it will be better. And when there is repair work on sidewalks, crews should be required to make the area safe and accessible for seniors, parents with toddlers in strollers, and people with disabilities. This on many occasions does not happen.
A dedicated budget for pedestrian safety, tied to the percentage of traffic incidents involving pedestrians. We should make “Vision Zero” a priority. One accident is one too many. Pedestrian safety needs to be integrated into Guelph’s transportation plan. Active transportation needs to be encouraged.
The rules of the road will be better enforced to encourage safety for pedestrians. Police should be instructed to look more closely at the conduct of motorists and cyclists alike.
Traffic Calming and Traffic Laws
- We need to see that traffic laws are enforced more fairly and uniformly. People who block traffic illegally at rush hour should be charged. Anyone who runs a stop sign—motorist or cyclist—should face charges, we should investigate bringing in red light cameras, and pedestrians need to obey the rules of the road as well.
Road work needs to be better organized
- Let’s work on ways to minimize “days of disruption” and inefficiency caused by roadwork by imposing a mix of incentives and expectations on those who are completing the work. This means setting benchmarks, so everyone knows how long it should take to fix a pothole or dig up a street – contracts which place a premium on swift completion.
- To this end, the City should start compiling a “disruption index”, which will be available online, and it will work also with software developers to ensure that road work hot spots can be recognized by the latest GPS devices and apps.
- Better coordination with utility companies and between city agencies, including the Guelph Transit, and Guelph Hydro on road and sidewalk works.