The City has completed the Guelph Active Transportation Network (ATN) study. The study recommends 54 km of trail improvements and new connections to provide direct, quiet routes across the city for people travelling by bike or on foot. The proposed routes avoid busy roads and intersections, and will appeal to people who would bike more often if a quiet or off-road route existed.
Guelph’s vision is to provide a safe, attractive and practical cycling environment, and become one of Canada’s top bicycle-friendly communities. The ATN study helps address the first two elements of the Bicycle-Friendly Guelph vision:
- To get more people cycling; and
- To create a safer and more connected network.
Active transportation supports healthy lifestyles, cleaner air and attracts business and visitors.
Consultants working for the City used the existing network of on- and off- road trails, existing plans for future trails (including the Cycling Master Plan, Guelph Trails Master Plan and Guelph’s Official Plan), public feedback, and a review of other municipalities to propose an active transportation network.
The consultants also recommended prioritization of the work, design guidelines for each segment of the network, and estimated costs.
Staff are presenting the study recommendations to Council on July 4. The staff report available online (page 186) asks that:
- Council approve the proposed active transportation network identified by the study,
- Council allocate recommended funding in the capital budget forecast to complete the proposed network, and
- Council approve annual operating budget increases for maintaining trails year-round as they are completed.
The estimated cost of implementing the study’s recommendations is $12.3 million. Annual maintenance costs for the entire network (once complete) are estimated at $271,020. All costs include both on- and off-road sections of the network.
- A mixture of paved and unpaved trails are recommended for off-road trails, with some sections of boardwalk through environmentally sensitive areas
- Winter maintenance and snow removal is recommended for the entire network
- Lighting of the entire trail is not recommended; lighting should be used as appropriate
- Network construction should focus on connections to key destinations such as community centres, schools and major City parks
- Developers should be encouraged to build trails as part of new neighbourhood development
Prioritizing the work
The study recommends addressing connectivity gaps and completing repairs or upgrades to existing trails before building new sections of the network, and identifies a priority schedule for building the new sections.
The highest priority network segments identified by the study are:
- The Silvercreek hydro corridor and Woodlawn Road multi-use path from Silvercreek Parkway to Elmira Road
- Marilyn Drive, Woodlawn Cemetery and Woodlawn Road multi-use path up to Silvercreek Parkway
- Spurline Trail at London Road West and Edinburgh Road to the Trans Canada Trail at Eramosa Road
- Watson Parkway multi-use path to Eastview Road multi-use trail
Active transportation network expansions in progress or being planned
- Centennial Park trail widening and trail bed improvements from the soccer dome to Municipal Street (in progress)
- A multi-use path and pedestrian crossing along Eastview Road from Summit Drive to Watson Parkway (construction starting in summer 2017)
- A multi-use path along Woodlawn Road from Silvercreek Parkway to Elmira Road (budgeted and in design)
- A multi-use path along the north side of York Road from Victoria to Watson Parkway (being considered as part of the York Road environmental design study currently underway)
- A paved path and pedestrian crossing through Silvercreek Park (on the north side of the Speed River) from Edinburgh Road to Roland Street
- An extension of the Trans Canada Trail from Marilyn Drive to Woodlawn Road (currently in planning)
- A trail underpass under Speedvale Avenue beside the Speed River from Mac Avenue to Riverside Park (feasibility study underway)
If Council approves staff’s recommendations based on the ATN study, the City’s next steps will be to:
- Review the recommended improvements and prioritization of the ATN study and select projects for implementation based on available budget and connected projects currently underway
- Identify areas where developers can help plan, design and build the network in new neighbourhoods
- Consult with the community as detailed designs for new trails are developed
- Move ahead with identified projects including any additional studies needed, and pending budget approvals
Monitoring and evalution
Part of any project is continued monitoring and evaluation. The City will monitor the success of the active transportation network including:
- Tracking progress on trail upgrades and construction projects, including timeline and budget tracking;
- Completing annual counts at various locations along the network to monitor growth in trail use;
- Monitoring public feedback to understand how the route is meeting the needs of the users; and
- Monitoring the effectiveness and sustainability of year-round maintenance.