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Changes in city cycling scene

The return of warm weather generally brings a rash of car-bicycle collisions in Guelph. And now there’s a new cycling master plan at city hall that could bring another sort of collision – between cycling advocates and residents of five streets where creation of bike lanes could eliminate their current on-street parking.
It’s a trade-off not everyone will like, if it’s approved by city council. But it’s hard to argue with the overall aim of the cycling master plan.
Since 2008, city hall has been trying to encourage a lot more transportation – as opposed to recreational – trips by bike. The 10-year aim is to triple such trips. To that end, city hall has almost doubled the kilometre total of Guelph’s bike lanes since 2009. Now city staff have come up with a cycling master plan that would create a continuous network of on-road and off-road lanes for travelling and commuting by bike.
This network would include: a lot more bike lanes created through restriping or widening of roads; specially marked lanes known as “sharrows” that would be used by both bikes and cars; and multi-use boulevard trails. The multi-use boulevard trails – 10 kilometres of them in all – are an interesting idea. They would give cyclists and pedestrians alike a way to travel safely along stretches of Woodlawn and Edinburgh roads that are now safe only for cars. As well, many local and collector roads would be signed as bike routes – without lane markings – to provide connections to bike lanes on the main  roads.
The cycling master plan also identifies 30 kilometres of primary trail within the city’s trails master plan that it says should be considered for commuter trails – to provide a continuous on-street and off-street cycling network for bike commuting. Council would need to look at the feasibility of this, including the costs of paving and maintaining these proposed commuter trails, says a city staff report that goes to a council committee meeting on Feb. 19.
And there’s more – the new report even talks about “end-of-trip facilities,” such as bike racks, bike shelters and locker/shower facilities.
Change can be challenging and it can be expensive, and there’s plenty of change proposed in this new report. But it could make travelling by bike between all parts of the city a more viable and safer option, and that has to be good.

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