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Poll: Guelph’s $38.3 Million Protected Cycling Lanes Project

The Guelph Protected Cycling Network Study

A significant urban development project is underway. The city is developing plans for a protected cycling network, a project that aims to connect large parts of the community and provide safe, continuous connections for cycling and micro-mobility. This initiative, part of the 2022 Transportation Master Plan.

Should Guelph Spend $38.3M on Protected Cycling Lanes on 3 Roads?

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The Protected Cycling Network Study focuses on creating conceptual designs for protected cycling facilities along key corridors, including Eramosa Road, Gordon Street, and College Avenue. These designs aim to cater to all ages and abilities, enhancing the safety and accessibility of cycling in Guelph. The city has engaged in community involvement, including walking workshops, interviews, and stakeholder meetings, to shape these designs.

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The Financial Question: Is $38 Million Justifiable?

While the project promises to enhance the city’s infrastructure, it comes with a hefty price tag of $38 million. This expenditure raises critical questions, especially in the current economic climate where many residents are facing financial struggles. With a looming 10.3% tax increase for the city, the decision to allocate such a substantial amount to the cycling network project warrants a thorough examination.

On one hand, the project represents a long-term investment in sustainable transportation, potentially reducing traffic congestion and environmental impact. It aligns with growing global trends towards greener urban living and could enhance the quality of life for Guelph’s residents.

On the other hand, the immediate financial burden on taxpayers cannot be overlooked. In times where economic pressures are already high, the prioritization of such a project might seem out of touch with the immediate needs of the community. The question arises: could these funds be better allocated to address more pressing issues, or is the investment in sustainable infrastructure a necessary step towards a better future for Guelph?

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The decision to invest $38 million in the Protected Cycling Network Study is a complex one, balancing the need for sustainable urban development with the immediate economic challenges faced by the residents of Guelph. As the city moves forward, it will be crucial to continue engaging with the community, ensuring that the voices and concerns of all residents are heard and addressed in this significant urban planning decision.

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The total cost estimate for the design and construction of the recommended designs across the three corridors are as follows:

  • Eramosa Road: $2.3 million
  • Gordon Street: $26 million, constructed in up to five phases
  • College Avenue: $10 million, constructed in up to three phases

Implementation will be phased over the next 10 years, utilizing $3.4 million funding from Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) and other funding as it becomes available.

Several sections of the network will be recommended for funding in the 2024-2027 multi-year budget to use allocated funds according to the ICIP funding agreement.

Project Schedule

  • Launch the study – November 2021
  • Round 1 community engagement – December 2021
  • Design protected cycling solutions for each corridor – November 2021 to February 2022
  • Evaluate design options and select the preferred approach – February to May 2022
  • Round 2 community engagement – July to August 2022
  • Plan for implementation – Fall 2022
  • Feasibility study reports – Spring 2023
  • Next steps: Detailed design and construction, subject to City of Guelph capital budget
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