Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation Comments on Speedvale improvements

From GCAT

Re: Public Meeting /Speedvale Avenue Improvements on April 9, 2014
6-8 pm at Parkview Church, 89 Speedvale Avenue E.

Option 4: Speedvale Avenue improvements that are friendly to all cyclists and pedestrians

Background:
The City of Guelph is in the process of making improvements to Speedvale Avenue as it is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced. GCAT is very interested in the type of infrastructure chosen since Speedvale Ave. is an important east-west corridor in Guelph. There are currently no bike lanes or other safe way to travel from north-east end of the city. This lack of infrastructure is a significant impediment to the choice of cycling as a method of active transportation in Guelph.
The Guelph Cycling Master Plan, passed by council in 2013, provides a way forward. It proposes bicycle lanes on both sides of Speedvale, as a connector route for those going from west to east Guelph. While this option should be considered, GCAT would like to present OPTION 4 that provides both safety for cyclists and pedestrians and opens even more active transportation options to Guelph residents.
Here are the 3 options currently being presented by the City of Guelph:

Option 1 Expropriate land on both sides of Speedvale in the stretch of road from Woolwich to Manhattan Court near Stevenson Street to widen the road to add a bike lane on both sides of Speedvale Ave.

Pro: bike lanes for a needed east-west passage across the city
Con: Expropriation of land is expensive and a bike lane along Speedvale could be unsafe when required to turn left from Speedvale onto a side street and having to cross multiple lanes of traffic. The traffic volume is quite high and separated lanes on Speedvale would be a better choice.

Option 2 Reconstruct Speedvale Avenue in its present form with wider travel lanes

Con: No advantage whatsoever for cyclists except for a slightly wider lane. However, if it is works with our proposed Option 4, there could be a great advantage. See below.

Option 3 Speedvale is reduced to 3 lanes of traffic with added bike lanes on either side of Speedvale Avenue

Pro: cheaper than expropriating land and cyclists have safer passage than they do at present.
Con: is likely not viable due to the high traffic volumes along that stretch of road.

GCAT would like to propose an option 4.

Please see attached map for locations.

Option 4 would encourage cyclists to move off of Speedvale altogether along the stretch from Woolwich to Stevenson Street North, and provide a safer alternative on Emma.
GCAT proposes 3 steps that would conserve the money for the expropriation of land on Speedvale Ave. for bicycle lanes and applies these funds to a more effective and safe active transportation infrastructure corridor.

Step 1 construct a pedestrian/cyclist bridge across the Speed River at Earl Street to connect with Emma Street on the other side. The cyclists and walkers could continue on Emma Street all the way to Stevenson and beyond, thereby possibly avoiding Speedvale Ave. altogether.

Step 2: construct a multi-use underpass link for pedestrians and cyclists under Speedvale Avenue at the current bridge site to connect the trans-Canada trail to Riverside Park without exposure to traffic.

Step 3: A trail linkage would be constructed on the west side of Speed River (north of Speedvale) to connect the Trans Canada Trail to the existing Riverside Trail system with access to the Evergreen Seniors Centre.

Pro: Earl Street intersects with the Trans Canada Trail, so pedestrians and cyclists, young and old, could cross to the other side of the Speed River safely onto Emma Street, which is a quiet residential street that goes to Stevenson and beyond. Emma Street is only two shorts block away from Speedvale, which is still convenient on a bike.
This trail system would then allow Guelph citizens to travel from the north of the city , down to the centre of the city on trails without having to deal with traffic. Separation from cars, where possible, is an important goal to those using active transportation.
As well, the west-east route down Emma Street could be done in relative safety as Emma Street is a quiet residential street.
The proposed additions will create a pleasurable active transportation experience by opening up scenic views to areas of natural and cultural importance. This new route includes access and view points of the Speed River, the Evergreen Centre, Enabling Gardens, Holy Rosary Church and the Trans Canada Trail to name a few.

Please come out to the public meeting on April 9, 2014 6-8 p.m to voice your opinion on this issue.
Parkview Church, 89 Speedvale Avenue East, Guelph to provide your ideas. If you are unable to attend, please voice your concerns by letter before April 18. See below for details.
http://guelph.ca/living/getting-around/drive/road-maintenance/speedvale-avenue-improvements-from-manhattan-court-to-woolwich-street/

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