Harvard Road Buses – too many?

Harvard Road currently carries 9 buses an hour during peak times. The residents of Harvard Road have been advocating for a reduction in the number of buses. One of the buses is an express to the University and many believe it could be diverted to Stone Road.

On April 4th, the Public Services Committee will be discussing a staff report which explores a number of options. The recommended option is to reroute #57 to use Stone Road westbound for a trial period – Sept 2016 to April 2017. Public consultation will be part of the trial.

Here is the report: http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/040416_ps_agenda.pdf

If you wish to speak to the committee on April 4th please register with the Clerk’s Department clerks@guelph.ca before Monday, April 4th at 11:00. You will be given 5 minutes.

You may provide written feedback as well by sending it to the clerks@guelph.ca by 11:00 on Monday, April 4th. Please also copy Councillor Cathy Downer as Chair of the Public Services Committee -cathy.downer@guelph.ca

Guelph Transit Challenge

It was a sunny 20+ degree day outside when I said “I’ll do it!” to the Guelph Transit Challenge.  Although I am already an occasional transit user, the truth is that my car is my primary means of transportation.  The reasons vary by month:  work requirements, family commitments, weather, etc.

Can I shift my 90% (car) and 10% (other) lifestyle in the other direction?  Can I ready to go car-free, cold turkey, for 31 days?   Many residents in Guelph do not have a choice. Without a car, what are the challenges faced daily by those who ride transit, walk or bike around the city?

Fellow Councillor Phil Allt was the first to rise to the GT Challenge, inspired by local resident Sian Matwey to make a commitment to make alternate transportation (transit, walk, bike) the primary means of getting around for one full month.

Follow Councillor Allt @PhilAlltWard3 and @Ward5Guelph on our GT Challenge experience.  Or better yet, join us, and share your observations with us.


OPINION: City Streets for People?

Public “rights of way” existed long before the automobile. It’s Heritage Week in Ontario and I have been looking at old photos of Guelph. Here’s one of many that intrigued me from days gone by.


This, and many other photos, depict pedestrians, carts, horses, cyclists and streetcars sharing the streets.  No right angles, fluid and unencumbered.  Yes, I know that times have changed.  Our roads are paved, we drive cars, traffic volume and speeds have increased.  We manage traffic through lights, signals and intersections.    After all, roads are just for cars.  Or are they?

Councillor Allt recently posted a link to an interesting article about the History of Jaywalking.   Current regulations are the legacy of a very deliberate lobby effort by the automobile industry to turn our public spaces into car alleys.  Citizens fought this effort and mass protests tried to reclaim streets for people first, cars second.   The offence of jaywalking was designed to punish conscious acts of defiance.    Yes, Guelph Police still enforce on occasion.

Today, our conversations about active transportation (cycling and walking) focus on getting people off the roads.   Safety is the primary reason.  Let’s face it, any interaction between a car and pedestrian/cyclist usually ends badly for the latter, regardless of who is at fault.   Perhaps we need to shift the conversation back to why we built roads in the first place – for people to get from point A to point B.   City Council recently lowered speed limits around school zones, and there is further conversation to be had about lowering all speed limits on residential streets.   These actions recognize that multiple users must be considered in how we govern our roadways, that they are public spaces, for everyone.

Is it time for the City of Guelph to repeal our jaywalking by-law?  It would be a first step in a cultural shift towards walkable city building.   Perhaps a starting point would be to allow public all-access on all non-arterial roadways, including downtown side streets (Cork, Douglas, etc.).

I welcome the discussion.

Photo Credit: Guelph Public Library Archives (C6-0-0-0-0-802) St. George’s Square

Public Meeting — Potential Closure of Denver Road

The City is holding a public meeting to discuss plans for the proposed permanent closure of Denver Road. The meeting will be held to provide interested parties with an opportunity to review information and provide feedback related to the proposed road closure. You are invited to attend one of the two public meeting sessions:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
Public Works Boardroom
45 Municipal Street, Guelph, ON N1G 1G8

Public input will be considered when planning for the closure of Denver Road. The City will record all comments received and the input will be presented to the Operations, Transit and Emergency Services Committee and to Council. The input will help inform the Denver Road closure and Public Works yard expansion decision.

If you are unable to attend the public meeting you can also provide your comments by completing the online survey by Friday, April 19.



Guelph Transit Changes Proposed Based on Customer Feedback

The old saying “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray” (Robbie Burns) is appropriate for Monday’s Operations and Transit committee meeting. It is not easy when a plan does not go exactly as envisioned. The implementation of the Transit Growth plan was a major evolution of the Guelph Transit system, and despite having numerous benefits and efficiencies, it was not perfect.

General Manager of Transit, Michael Anders, should be applauded for his honesty and his courage in coming back to Council with his findings on transit route efficiency and customer service issues. He has listened to customers and drivers, and then validated their feedback with on-the-ground data, and is now proposing adjustments that will better meet the needs of our riders. One year after implementation, many tweaks and adjustments, and customer service feedback, Anders is proposing that 20 minute peak transit service should be the model moving forward (changed from 15 minute peak service).

Read the report here.