City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the May 26 Meeting?

What is the future of transportation in Guelph going to look like? This is not just a question about transit, but about all manners and methods of travel. How much room on the road will there need to be for cars? Can we make more room for cyclists? How to we promote more walkability and transit use? How to we advocate for more intercity transit? The Transportation Master Plan may help point the way on these and other questions.

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on May 21. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.

NOTE #2: The meeting will be closed to the public, though it will be live-streamed on the City of Guelph’s website here.

Transportation Master Plan: Our Preferred Future – “Transportation in Guelph will be safe, equitable, sustainable, complete, affordable and supportive of land use.” That’s the vision and values of the new Guelph Transportation Master Plan, which will be discussed at this special Wednesday, standalone city council meeting. Practically this means creating reasonable transportation options for everyone, more complete streets, a more equitable modal share, sustainability and resilience, and a Vision Zero road safety strategy.

To get there, City staff will present four options. The first option is to make no changes to the current plans, and the fourth option is to make sure that Guelph streets have the capacity for more vehicular traffic and not just private automobiles, but ride share and transit. Strictly speaking, this is not too much different from how the City manages traffic now, and it will unlikely help Guelph reduce the modal share of cars, from 80 per cent in 2016 to 60 per cent by 2051.

The middle two alternatives are where the real differences are. In option #2, the focus is on sustainability and shifting more of the load to cycling, walking and transit while squeezing cars off the road. This could result in more congestion, and it makes it harder for the City to responded to possible changes like driverless vehicles. The staff recommendation is option #3, which is billed as having a sustainability *and* resiliency focus. This option, while keeping the lofty goals of option #2, has more flexibility, and takes into account emerging technologies and the complexities of changing people’s behaviour.

There are some aspects in common to all the plans. All options concede that the Ministry of Transportation’s planned improvements to Hanlon are unlikely to be completed by 2031. Endorsement of two-way, all-day GO Train service, plus improvements to intercity transit between nearby municipalities and regions is also encouraged. The plans also all feature a Cycling Spine Network meant to enhances road access for cyclists, as well as something called Quality Transit Network, which will transit priority access to the roads around Guelph including dedicated lanes.

If council sees fit to approve the third option, or perhaps another option, the next move by staff will be to begin the development of an implementation plan, begin the development of the capital budgeting process, and then go back to the general public for more community engagement. The complete Transportation Master Plan should be ready for a final vote by the end of the year.

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