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Bike lanes on Downey get nod from city council

Downey Road residents have managed to get city council to put the brakes on plans to remove on-street parking along the road and replace it with bicycle lanes, at least for now.
City council made that decision in February of 2013, but last week council passed a motion of reconsideration and nullified its previous decision.
The new motion  directs city staff to design traffic calming on Downey Road, with bike lanes to be included in some way in the redesign.
“The volume of traffic is increasing rapidly . . . it really disrupts our community,” said Downey Road resident Pat Johnson. She said Downey is seeing some through traffic from Cambridge and Hamilton, as well as traffic from the new Hanlon Creek Business Park, which is nearby.
However, Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation president Yvette Tendick said bike lanes are effective in calming traffic. “They slow down traffic and promote a more human scale to a neighbourhood,” she told council.
Coun. Maggie Laidlaw agreed. “Parking for cars should not replace bicycle lanes. This is a basic tenet of the 21st century,” she said.
The completion of the Laird Road interchange on the Hanlon Expressway has changed traffic patterns on Downey Road, said a motion proposed by Coun. Leanne Piper, which was approved in an amended form. Piper also put forward the motion to reconsider council’s 2013 motion.
Coun. Ian Findlay said council should be cautious about motions related to traffic calming, as Guelph doesn’t have a great record in this regard.
“We haven’t had a stellar record on traffic calming,” he said. “We don’t really have a program. We don’t have any money for traffic calming” in recent years.
In 2009, city council adopted a new bicycle policy that called for bike lanes on all arterial roads.
Downey Road is classified as an arterial road, and the cycling master plan approved by council in February 2013 specified that bike lanes should replace on-street parking on Downey.
However, Downey residents have questioned whether their road should be classed as an arterial road.
The motion approved Monday calls for city staff to report back by the third quarter of 2015 on the classification of Downey.

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