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Bike lanes

Tribune file photo

Since 2009 the number of kilometres of bike lanes in Guelph has doubled from 54 kilometres to 101 kilometres.

Plan snuffs parking for bike lanes

By Doug Hallett
Guelph Tribune

Residents of five streets are set to lose their on-street parking as part of a new cycling master plan for Guelph that earmarks bicycle lanes for these streets.

The five affected roads are Downey, Eastview and Grange roads, Starwood Drive and Stevenson Street. The proposed plan would see room created for bike lanes by restriping of the road and by “removal of on-street parking as currently provided,” a new city staff report says.

On-street parking is currently allowed on Downey between Niska Road and Ptarmigan Drive and on Grange between Starwood and Watson.

Overnight parking is currently allowed on Eastview. Stevenson, described as “a convenient north-south corridor for active transportation,” is getting on-street bike lanes as part of reconstruction work now underway between Eramosa and Speedvale, the report says.

Residents of these five streets “will be given adequate notice and the opportunity to provide feedback on safety concerns or other relevant information” before the restriping is done to create bike lanes, it says.“Staff will take steps to address residents’ concerns and minimize the impact on parking to the extent possible,” the report says.

The new cycling master plan proposes a huge expansion of the city’s on-street and off-street network of lanes for bike travel in order to promote more commuting by bike.

NEEDED BIKE LINKS

Jennifer McDowell, the city’s transportation demand management coordinator, said the five streets are regarded as providing “a necessary transportation link though the city” for transportation by bike.

Staff are recommending the five streets lose their on-street parking because they aren’t wide enough for both parking and bike lanes, she said. “Cycling is a form of transportation as much as it is a recreational activity. Those who use it to get from place to place require safe and continuous routes throughout the community,” McDowell said.

“As a result, some of our proposed routes go through residential areas where currently on-street parking is permitted. However, in some cases there isn’t enough space to provide both parking and bike lanes,” she said in an email sent in response to a Tribune query.

The new staff report goes to a city council committee on Feb. 19. It says cycling is being increasingly recognized as an active mode of transportation rather than a purely recreational activity.

However, “cycling is not yet an attractive or accessible mode of transportation” in Guelph, the report says. “There is insufficient space dedicated to cyclists in the road network, there are many barriers and obstacles to cycling in the city, and many people surveyed in Guelph state that they do not feel safe on the road.”

ONE PER CENT

As a result, it says, only one per cent of daily trips made in Guelph are made by bike, according to 2006 statistics that are the latest available.

The new cycling master plan proposes a variety of measures to encourage more commuting by bike, including “restriping” of some existing roads to create bike lanes.

City hall announced in 2008 that it was launching a major initiative to make the city more bicycle-friendly, with an aim of tripling the percentage of transportation trips in Guelph taken by bicycle within a decade.

NUMBERS DECLINE

Cycling’s “modal share” of transportation trips, which doesn’t include recreational cycling, had dropped from about 1.5% in 2001 to about 1% in 2006, according to national census data, city hall officials said at the time. The aim of the new cycling master plan is to boost cycling’s modal share to 3% by 2019.

The reasons for encouraging more cycling include lower greenhouse gas emissions, health benefits and reducing accident rates for cyclists.

In 2009, city council adopted a new bicycle policy that called for bike lanes on all arterial roads. Since then, the number of kilometres of bike lanes in Guelph has doubled from 54 kilometres to 101 kilometres, the new report says. This doesn’t mean that 101 kilometres of city roads have bike lanes, though, because there are usually bike lanes on both sides of a road.

The 101 new kilometres of bike lanes created since 2009 includes the city’s first grade-separated cycle track on Stone Road and multi-use boulevard trails in the Hanlon Creek Business Park, the report says.

The new cycling master plan suggests expanding the city’s network of on-road cycling infrastructure by adding another 150 kilometres of bike lanes. One-third of this would involve road widening to add bike lanes or multi-use boulevard lanes. The other two-thirds would involve restriping of existing road pavement.

‘SHARROWS’

As well, the report proposes 20 kilometres of shared bike lanes, known as “sharrows,” with special signs indicating they’re for use by both bikes and cars.

The report also suggests 10 kilometres of multi-use boulevard trails – within the road allowances along sections of Woodlawn and Edinburgh roads where on-street bike lanes cannot be accommodated. Pedestrians would also use these trails.

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