A resident comments on an Engineering project.
It was a pleasure meeting Staff at the Wellington/Gordon Street Reconstruction Open House last week. Below are my comments on this project:
1) Open House Timing
• Having this meeting between 5pm and 7pm precluded the participation of many citizens who have families and must be home after work for dinner.
• Informing the public and council less than two months before construction starts, makes a mockery of meaningful consultation. How will great suggestions be implemented when engineering and planning have, most likely, made up their minds before the September 25th open house consultation? Or is city council, staff and the hired construction firm ready to make substantial changes?
2) Creating a Human Friendly Multi-Modal Corridor and Gateway
There are huge lost opportunities for multi-modal transportation in the Gordon ROW south of Wellington due to the City’s inflexible attention to vehicular traffic flow. Instead of widening the ROW, I strongly suggest revisiting the proposed street design by:
• Reducing number of lanes from 6 to 4 lanes. This would be more consistent with the 2-lane section just south (towards the Speed River Bridge) and save capital funds (currently allocated to widening and streetlight relocation) for other (hopefully active) transportation projects.
• Creating street symmetry and 21st century urban design standards by:
o expanding sidewalk width on east and west side
o adding 10 parking spaces on east side of Gordon
o maintain 1.5 meter bike lanes on both sides of street
o ensure same number of trees exist on both sides of Gordon to provide more canopy. This would mean more trees added on east side and existing trees on west be augmented rather than cut down
• Reserving one parking space of 10 for community car share.
• Adding at least five (5) bicycle ring and posts on each side of Gordon Street.
• Redesigning east side strip mall ingress and egress so it is similar to strip mall located on northwest corner of Woolwich and Speedvale (Woolwich ingress/egress).
The above changes may increase congestion somewhat at peak but will save the city money, increase road safety (less weaving and passing at high speeds), continue the pedestrian/cycle-friendly environment found on Gordon south of Wellington, meet (surpass?) progressive urban design standards and support local business. If the same ideas are used north of Wellington and at other ugly intersections across the City (e.g. Woodlawn/Woolwich), transportation engineers and planners can slowly meet Guelph’s motto of “creating a difference”. MC